Christopher Columbus: Success or Failure?

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Christopher Columbus could be considered successful in some ways, as an explorer and as a representative of Spain.  Although there are a lot of negatives when you evaluate him as an explorer, he did discover land that was new to him and the Europeans.  Because of this, he was able to bring gold and riches to Spain and Europe.  He also changed lives in both the Old World and the New World, though the changes for the latter were detrimental and unpleasant.  He introduced European colonization to the Americas, leading to an exchange in plants, animals, cultures, and ideas.  Also, while Columbus wasn't the first European to reach the Western Hemisphere, he was the first European to stay.  To be brief, Columbus quickly changed the world.

On the other hand, Christopher Columbus could be considered a failure in several ways, including him as an explorer, human being, and a representative of the Spanish government.  Columbus’ main voyage was one where he tried to find a direct sea route to Asia by sailing west of Europe.  He failed greatly, seeing as he unintentionally reached America instead.  As an explorer, he neither fulfilled his goal nor happened upon uncharted land.  The Native Americans had already settled there long before he came.  He even died claiming he had landed in Asia.  Columbus was also a failure as a human being.  He was stubborn and inflexible, leading to him not being able to govern effectively.  His choices were not always wise, and were often clouded by his attitude.  For one, Columbus took the attitude that Spanish lives were sacrosanct, and decided to punish the frightened natives who had killed a few of them when he and the Spanish were the reason behind countless Native American deaths.  As for him representing the Spanish government, he shows that their stance towards religion plays an awful role and risks many lives.
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