1492: Conquest of Paradise
Columbus: Friend or Foe?
As many of us are aware today, Columbus is looked to by many Americans as not only a hero but a historical personage, who also carries many burdens. This description is how the film 1492 represents Columbus, in the film he was portrayed as a man of the people who treated the native people with dignity and respect and was looking out for the betterment of the people. The film shows no aspiration to explore and find the true elaborate and barbaric relations that Columbus had with the natives. Although the film does bring the natives into the main plot and consents the cruel system of slavery enforced upon them by the Spaniards, the film also remains far from Columbus's true responsibility for the inhumane conditions imposed upon the natives. Columbus is actually depicted as a guardian of the natives' rights, which could not be more opposite from what Columbus actually wrote in his letters.
In Columbus’s first voyage he describes the native people as a beautiful people, who were also very gentle. He also mentions that he shouldn’t have “allowed his men to take their things, the only exception being he had commanded it all be taken Your Highness, if it existed in quantity.” On the other hand if we continue reading one can infer that Columbus did all of this for his own personal benefit and to gain the trust of the native peoples. Columbus portrayed the natives to the Queen by saying “there is no better people, or better land, in the world.” This appears to be said because Columbus wished to return and wanted the Queen to think the best of the people and the land he had discovered for Spain. Because why would one want to destroy and hurt a people and land he admired so? On another one of Columbus’s expeditions he mentions how they seized twelve well-endowed and plump teenagers both male and female. He justifies his capturing off the Caribs because of what they believed to be the Cannibals inhuman...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document