Presentation on theme: "Alanna Johnson CHS 245- 14004. Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two. An adorable and quite true saying from our childhood, but."— Presentation transcript:
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two. An adorable and quite true saying from our childhood, but a misleading tone. From childhood we were told that Columbus was a hero and so much so that he gets his own holiday that allows us to miss school. We were mislead into thinking that he in the Indians were great pals and worked together. But, we were lied to. When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventurethere is no bloodshedand Columbus day is a celebration (Zinn)
Arwak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the islands beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arwaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts (Zinn). An excerpt from Columbus diary: They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
Columbus, on a search for Gold for the king and queen of Spain, was relentless. They took natives captive to show them the lands and, of course, to show them the gold. The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed (Zinn) When it became apparent that there was no longer any gold, the Indians were made slaves to do extremely strenuous labor that resulted in the mass decline of their population. One can lie outright about the past. Or one can omit facts which might lead to unacceptable conclusions (Zinn).
The Spaniards thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades (Zinn) Wherever the Spaniards sailed, destruction, and death followed. Spaniards used Indians to carry them from place to place. Indians provided shade for the Spaniards.
Indians were not slaves willingly or without fight. The Indians attempts to defend themselves failed. And when they ran off into the hills they were found and killed (Zinn). There was no one to hear their cries and defend them. Indians died during hard labor and lack. Husbands and wives did not see each other for extended periods of time, causing depression. With the inability to properly care for their children 7000 children died in three months (Las Casas). My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write… (Las Casas)
Women in Indian Society were treated so well as to startle the Spaniards (Zinn). No marriage laws Can divorce willingly Can give themselves abortions if relationship with man fails No church or temple No trade Completely dependent on nature Living in communal bell- shaped buildings with up to 600+ people.
Las Casas mentioned that when he arrived in Hispaniola in early 1500s over 60,000 people were thriving. As great as this number is, only 14 years earlier there had been three million more people. Natives had died from battles, enslavement, and searching for gold. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it… (Las Casas)
Columbus was not the only antagonist of Natives. Hernando Cortes, from Spain, had the same mission: to find gold. When the Aztecs saw Cortes, they believed he was the powerful god Quetzalcoatl. They feared him and brought him gold and silver. Cortes took advantage of their naivety by manipulating the natives to turn on each other. Like Columbus, Cortes also left a trail of death and destruction behind. Pizarro, also from Spain and also on a quest for gold, enslaved natives, but in Peru.
Columbus the Murderer, does not sound child friendly, nor does it sound like someone who should get their own holiday and be deemed a hero. When thinking about how far the Untied States has come, we do not think about the cost of what it took. It is not that history books are lying, it is that they are misguiding and downgrading the actual truth. Human Progress sounds positive. The progression of society and humans is great, but it does have a cost. The sad reality is that, progression comes with sacrifice, whether of our own or of others.
Quest For Gold = $Millions of Lives Expansion = $The takeover of occupied lands New World + Old World = $Loss of Culture Building a New World = $Exploitation and Enslavement Total= $Genocide murder in the name of progress (Zinn).
Columbus was a nice man who should be celebrated for finding America. Indians and Spaniards sat around a table and ate turkey, laughing through the night. Human progress is for the benefit of all people. Columbus led a voyage that turned into terrorism of natives on many different lands. The Spaniards enslaved, tortured, and killed Indians. In this case, Human Progress meant the murdering of thousands of Natives, the tearing apart of cultures, and the confiscation of land.
My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present (Zinn). If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist to join together, occasionally to win (Zinn). Zinn does not set out to disqualify historians and their writing. He writes to make the blurry truth more clear, with no omitted facts or misleading opinions. He un-cookie-coats the horrible events that books have tried to hide. Zinn believes that if we do not know the truth of the past, how can we ever learn to avoid the mistakes in the future.