Howard Zinn's The Cruelty Of Christopher Columbus

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Howard Zinn takes the perspective that Christopher Columbus is not the hero that many people perceive him to be. He views him as a cruel and greedy leader who went to the Americas causes death in his wake for his unquenchable search for gold. Columbus took advantage of the Native Americans because at first they were "so naive and so free with their possessions"() by forcing them to collect gold for him else face the punishment of death. While Columbus may or may have not been as heartless as he is made out to be, he is not truly the one to blame for the harsh treatment of the natives on the Caribbean Islands. Almost every other European (at that time) that could have been in his position would have undoubtedly done the same things as Columbus. Only those completely loyal to the kings/queens of Europe and with an undeniable quench for …show more content…

Bartolome de las Casas is used by Zinn for many of the sources of the cruelty against the natives, but even Zinn admits that "his figures are exaggerations"(). However, Zinn still puts Bartolome under much less criticism than Columbus even though the priest did his share in being cruel to natives; this was most likely because he wanted to make the point that Columbus should not be so heroized. Overall, the monarchy of Europe is truly to blame for sending the greediest men with orders only to extract wealth from the New World. Whether or not America should celebrate Columbus Day is a highly debatable topic, but it should not really be celebrated or called after a relatively cruel man. Columbus just happened to be in charge of the right ship with a gamble that turned out to make him extremely successful, but he did not have anything, besides good seamanship to make him any more exciting than the average

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