The True Columbus

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Samantha Packard
The True Columbus
November 23, 2012

The True Columbus

History has always been a topic that I personally have never thought could be wrong or false; it has always been something that I thought was unquestionable, but Hans Koning opened my eyes to the fact that we should always question history and explore things further. The stories told about Columbus are those of heroism and adventure, but Hans Koning explains in his book Columbus: His Enterprise that our beliefs on who Columbus was as a person are astray. Koning says that the story of Columbus is “Eurocentric” and told to glorify the European civilization of that time period; therefore, the most important argument that Koning makes in his book is that Columbus really was a selfish, and greedy con artist.

Koning makes it a point in his book to show that Columbus was a very selfish man. He describes a scene from before his first voyage when Columbus left his son an orphan just so he could set out to sea. Throughout the book we can also see his selfishness get worse and worse as he becomes more and more infamous throughout Europe. Koning states, “Columbus assuredly was not a force for the good. If an entire race stood in his way, it had to go” (70). This only goes to show that Columbus only looked out for himself and really did not care about the well-being of others. Another part of the book that also demonstrates this idea is when Koning describes when Columbus and his men came across the “savages” on his second voyage. Koning describes how the savages were over powered and struggled to survive Columbus and his crew. The part that makes these killings so selfish on Columbus’ part is that he had no reason to kill these people, yet they still managed to massacre the helpless natives.

When I was growing up I never pictured Columbus as a very greedy man, in fact I always thought he wanted to explore the world due to his passion for discovery, but Koning makes sure to explain that...
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