Born in Genoa in 1451 between August and October, Christopher Columbus started going to the sea at a teenage stage. He travelled extensively making Portugal his area. He tried to gain royal patronage to no avail for Indies enterprise. During his time in the sea, he made other 2 voyages to the new territories and in the long run he was defeated and humiliated along the way. He was indeed great navigator, but failed in matters regarding administration and management. The study below shows his history in two historian’s perspectives.
A summary of the history of Columbus by Howard Zinn in “A People’s History of the United States”
In the treatment of individuals who are referred to as heroes in our society such as Columbus and the victims involved with consciousness, is definitely the acceptance of struggle and murders involved as atrocities. Such historic view point where the past is narrated from the conquerors, diplomats, leaders and governments is the most common as experienced by many.
In his book, “A People’s History of the United States” Howard Zinn starts with revisiting the events during the first encounters the Caribbean indigenous people faced with the expedition of Columbus. The radical notion of Columbus who has in a long time depicted as a peaceful enlightened explorer who befriended the native individuals he met with during his expedition.
Zinn’s view is somewhat different from the traditional accounts of the popular historical figure, in which Columbus is portrayed as an enlightened. In describing the history of Columbus, Zinn brings out his hidden demeaning characters. He depicts him as full of lust for the gold and other resources. Columbus was willing to let his animal side out by doing away with anyone who would stumble in his way in dispute of his selfish goals. He notes that, historian’s distortion was more ideological as compared to the technical and danger and being that, history readers would be unwilling in justifying Columbus actions despite his praise for channel through unearthed territories.
Zinn not only distorts many individual perceptions about the past, but as individuals realize the truths regarding Columbus, it relates to the distortion of an individual perception of today’s society. In order to attain what Zinn referred to as “moral proportion” writing off of the atrocities would facilitate the present and future progress required.
The historian goes on stating that, Columbus together with his motivation represented the clash of values during the New World. Taking a look on Columbus writing as shown by Zinn, Columbus views the inhabitants of the lands he channeled through such as the Bahamas Islands as an accommodating, peaceful and well self- defense organization. This is what catapulted Columbus as in his mind; the natives were ready to be overpowered and conquered by other European powers. Zinn later states that during his (Columbus’s) expedition, the land were not destitute neither was it a wilderness. In most of his channels, people dwelled in them and a larger population than that of Europe.
A summary of Columbus’s history by Morison, Samuel Eliot in Christopher Columbus mariner, 1955 Asia, or what review
In Samuels biography of Columbus, the poor understanding and appreciation of Columbus’s gifts is shared. Morison spends onset of his book praising Columbus, the discoverer of the New World he went on, which isn’t true. He depicts Columbus expeditions as spectacular and the most far-reaching land or geographic discovery ever achieved by an individual.
Later into the book Morison brings out other views in the act so balancing his views well with the candid weakness of Columbus. He points out Columbus as a terrible mathematician and scientist, poor governance when people are involved and a failure of colony planning.
Despite Columbus being compassionate towards the native people, he allowed his short comings to eventually take charge. This lead to Columbus bothers giving in to killing of the natives and the Spaniards. This writer shows how Columbus comes from being a hero, a victim and a tyrant simultaneously. Morison balances well his arguments as he brings his views on what Columbus should have stacked to and later leading to a great legacy. If only he could stick to an extraordinary seaman and a mariner he would have been the best. It is evident that every enterprise this great sailor tries leads to total failure and shame.
Morison's book depicts the history of the life of a great explorer. He doesn’t fail in appreciating the features Columbus had in person and that he actually sets out to duplicate the actual voyages himself. This makes the history of Columbus to remain fascinating, and insightful tool of study. The author also shows the right courageous voice used by Columbus for his discussion which others may dim it presumptuous. Morison's epically unfolds the story of Columbus history, the reading individual becomes more connected to the hero.
During his quest from Cuba to Asia where he hoped to find a welcoming fleet of Chinese junk that he would give presents to white wash the natives. Things that appeared strange to them. While in Cuba he wanted so much to make his way to Japan, to see the golden roofed temple and the dragon with a bronze canon on his mouth. He was determined to get the gold. He would later be distracted by the natives as they told him the presence of gold in Cuba. He seemed friendly to the natives. The author shows how the greed for gold drove both the Spaniards and Columbus.
Morison further shows how Columbus ended up staring his own Colony after being plead to. He late gave in and started his own and owing to his experience in past cases, it was to be well with him. The write shows an exemplary willed character who gave to nothing but to find the gold in his expedition.
Each historian’s perspective of Columbus.
In identify each historian perspective through analyzing and sampling their quotes from their works. Each depicts Columbus in two different ways, Zinn shows how Villain he is and Morison balances his faults and brings out his heroism in his expeditions. Zinn’s analyses, the behavior of Europeans together with that of their descendants. Columbus being one of the, also faces the knife because of his involving in the idea of exploiting. He exploited the resources, the people and their cultural differences. Zinn further states that, the conquerors and settlers of Europe were ready to deploy by all means force and coercion in getting whatever they wanted against a people whose views largely didn’t include such notions of forced labor, conquest and mass punishment.
Zinn then goes on to inform us of the devastating atrocities brought upon to the native populations during Columbus’ successive expeditions and strive for gold and slavery. The author states that, “In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead” and by 1650 they were almost entirely gone.” He shows an account Bartolome de las Casas, who was priest who actively participated in the Cuban conquest. This priest brings the actual happening of the situation then as stated by Zinn. He recognizes the cruelty of the Europeans and in this case, the Spaniards and the effect they had on the native people.
The priest clearly backs up Zinn’s deduction of Columbus as a Villain when he states, “But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then”. This gave Zinn to deduct that “total control led to total cruelty.” Where Columbus also differed from the views adapted by different scholars during his times was his other notion or ideas based on three factors. They were based on, his disregard or low estimation of the Earths size, high estimation of Eurasian landmass size, and lastly, his belief regarding the location of Japan. He happened to be wrong on the three aspects of his thinking and belief.
Morison loves Columbus, thinks of him as a great seaman and discoverer. He recognizes that his hero had many faults, but the title clearly reflects his evaluation. He further states how Columbus enjoyed long streams of delight that only a seaman knows and further expounds on the exultation that only the discoverer could experience The characterization of Columbus by Morison in his exposure inspires individuals to take leadership in the way Columbus exemplified.
The best book among the two to be used for a history lesson
The choice of source to use in teaching history students will surely be, Morison’s. Morison was a sailor and also an expert of the sea just like his case study Columbus. As a follow sailor, admired Columbus, as a captain of the sea and the leader of men. He also admired his accomplishments and discoveries made by him. However, Howard Zinn being a renegade kind of historian takes an underdog perspective at things. The issue of Spaniards oppressing the natives was surely wanting. He blames Columbus when the disease cleared the native people.
Zinn would definitely criticize Morison atrocity of assuming the native perspective. He can be pinned also for ignoring the effects caused by the exploitation to the indigenous people.
For Zinn, he brought out the characters of Columbus when he let his ambitions run wild. He depicted an inhuman character that’s saw no value in the native. History students would want to face the truth, not just to overlook the bad things (which in this case are overboard) done to a free people. The truth is definitely lies somewhere a midst and will erupt when time is due.
It's vital to keep in mind that behavior attitudes and moral standard in the many years ago isn’t the as today’s. As much as criticizing the atrocities committed by Columbus, he went too far by involving his own agenda in it. In a wholesome view point, Columbus was surely remarkable person during his and there’s the need to acknowledge that.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. Christopher Columbus, Mariner. Boston: Little Brown, 1955.
Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. New York: Harper & Rowe, 1980.