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Columbus’ Negative Legacy Essay

1169 words - 5 pages

Thesis: Columbus tore apart everything in his path leaving a lasting legacy of slavery, genocide, disease, and destruction.
In 1492, Columbus landed in what is now known as the Bahamas, rediscovering the Americas. Though many believe that Columbus had a positive effect on the Americas, a vast number of negative events were caused by these voyages. Columbus and his men started the transatlantic slave trade, spread deadly diseases leading to a genocide of the native people, and directly caused major degradation of Native American culture.
Most people in the current times believe that Columbus wanted to find a new trade route. Columbus didn't care about foreign goods or trade, he wanted gold (Inman, Matthew). In an effort to find it, Columbus enslaved the Lucayan people as a free source of labor that could easily be controlled. If the natives disobeyed orders, they were tortured and sometimes killed. Columbus and his men forced the natives to mine gold for him and the few times they were able to fulfill their quota, they were rewarded with clay tokens to be worn around their necks. However, if they failed to, often times the native's hands were cut off and were worn around their necks instead (Inman, Matthew). Columbus’ legacy paved the way for other explorers to enslave and torture the natives, thus, the native culture slowly declined.
One of the many negative effects of Columbus's expedition was the spread of diseases which his men brought over that led to genocide of the Native Americans. Native Americans became victims to the countless new diseases that Columbus and his men brought over. New diseases included smallpox, measles, influenza, bubonic plague, diphtheria, typhus, scarlet fever, yellow fever, chicken pox and more. The estimated amount of Native Americans who died are anywhere between 2 and 18 million (David Meltzer). Columbus put the Native Americans in positions that he knew would kill them. For example, in 1492, he took 25 natives back to Spain with him, but only 7 survived because of new conditions they were not used to. To teach a lesson to all other natives in the land, Columbus killed and abused thousands of innocent Native Americans (Inman, Matthew). In addition to disease and abuse, Columbus made the Lucayans give him their people, their food, and their gold. When they refused, he cut off some of their body parts, like the ears and nose. Then the Lucayans rebelled which led to a war, causing Columbus to slaughter them and feed the remaining Lucayans to dogs (Inman, Matthew). Overall, the new diseases Columbus brought, the abuse and slaughter of the natives, and brutal war against the natives proves that Columbus was a villain who left a negative legacy.
As well as enslaving the natives, Columbus and other Europeans had also destroyed and invaded their culture. By forcing their religious beliefs upon the natives, Christopher Columbus and other Europeans caused the culture of the native Americans to fade away. The strict...

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