Columbus and Indians

Topics: Christopher Columbus, Slavery, United States Pages: 3 (1136 words) Published: September 14, 2008
Regarding the article, “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress, Dr. Howard Zinn argues that there is another perspective to consider as to Christopher Columbus’ adventures. Dr. Howard Zinn’s position is that history books have omissions of slavery, death and innocent bloodshed that accompanied the adventures of Christopher Columbus. In the following statements Dr. Howard Zinn describes his perspective; “The writer began the history, five hundred years ago, of the European invasion of the Indian Settlement in the Americas. That beginning, when you read Las Casas- even if his figures are exaggerations (were there 3 million Indians to begin with, as he says or 250,000, as modern historians calculate) is conquest, slavery, and death. When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventures, there is no mention of innocent bloodshed, and Columbus Day is a celebration”.

In describing his position, Dr. Zinn references Christopher Columbus’ personal log and “eye witness” accounts of the history of the Indies written by a priest by the name of Bartolome’ De Las Casas. Dr. Zinn describes De Las Casas as a particapent in what he calls the “conquest” of Cuba. This priest authored 2 volumes on the history of the Indies, and Dr. Zinn supports his arguments in part based on information recorded in De Las Casas’ books.

Dr. Zinn begins the article in support of his position by relating a statement Columbus recorded in his log; “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and give me of whatever there is in these parts”. Dr. Zinn goes on to say that Columbus’ adventures, what he calls “conquest” was motivated by material gain. Dr. Zinn states that what Columbus wanted the Indians to know was that “the information Columbus wanted the most was; where is the gold”. In support of this statement, Dr Zinn uses another quote from...
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