No figure has haunted the American psyche as much as Christopher Columbus. He was, to say the least, a very complicated figure, and the focus of centuries of debate over his true legacy. On the one hand, he was courageous, devout, persuasive and single-minded; on the other, he was capricious, cruel and singularly inhumane. One thing is certain: his voyage directly brought about the rapid decline of thousands of years of indigenous society in the new world, and the ascension of European dominance to take its place.
This text tells the story of the background to and undertaking of Columbus’ voyages, and the consequence his “discovery” of the new world would have both for the Indians and Europe. Ultimately, it is not a tale for the faint of heart.
This is the chapter “Columbus ‘Discovers’ the New World” from my textbook “We Take Nothing by Conquest”. This chapter is also included in a complete and comprehensive mini-unit on Columbus available from my store. That complete unit includes not only this text but also an inquiry based study guide, PowerPoint, Cloze activity, assessment, and a Teacher’s Guide for using all of the materials
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