Howard Zinn Chapter One

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Columbus has always been portrayed as an enlightened, peaceful explorer who “discovered” a new world, and became friends with the native people. Howard Zinn’s view on Columbus’s encounter with the natives is an entirely different perspective. Zinn describes Columbus as a man who is willing to torture and kill others to be able to accomplish what he wants; in this case he wanted to obtain gold and other resources to take back with him to Spain. When Columbus and his men arrived to the islands, he noticed that the natives were generous, and accommodating because they willingly traded everything they owned and brought them such things like: food, water, and gifts. Since the beginning the natives offered all of their hospitality to Columbus and his men. Columbus believed that the natives were ignorant because they had no weapons for self defense; when he showed them a sword, they had no idea how to use it and ended up cutting themselves. Columbus was more than certain, that he could take control over the natives, and captivate them as slaves. In his writing he wrote, “They would make fine servants….With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” (Zinn, 3) This attitude leaded to enslavement, feeling superior, and genocide by Columbus and his men towards the natives. Columbus had persuaded the king and queen of Spain to finance an expedition to the lands, and the wealth; he expected to be at the Indies and Asia. Columbus would receive ten percent of all the goods collected, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with a new title: Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Columbus believed the natives could lead him and his men to where the gold was, to be able to take it back to the King and Queen so he took many of them as prisoners on his ship. He also wanted to take them back to Spain as slaves and be able to make them do whatever they wanted them to do. Columbus took advantage of the ignorance of the natives, and made them do...
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