Travel is an effective way to experience other nations and their cultures. Open minded traveling allows people to immerse themselves in the culture of foreign nations. But, there are some forms of travel that revolve around a different mindset, a mindset in which the goal is to impose your culture on another’s culture. Examples of this negative imperialist type of travel are the travels of exploration done by Christopher Columbus’ in the Americas and, American soldiers in Vietnam, depicted in Francis Coopla’s film “The Apocalypse Now: Redux.” The negative effects of other forms of travel include the travels of migration to London by Caribbean’s in Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners.
Through travel you are provided with means to learn about a nation and to engage in foreign cultures firsthand nevertheless, some forms of travel are unconstructive towards the learning process.
In letters written by Christopher Columbus, his accounts of the exploration of the Americas showed how travel can be negative. Columbus wrote to Argon sovereigns, Santangel and Sanchez, about his time in the Americas. Their only source of information about the nation and its culture came from Columbus’ narratives and stereotypes. His letters flirted with the truth; it seemed Columbus’ intentions were to make the people of the Americas appear inferior and to make conquering them sound like an easy task. Throughout his letters Columbus shows a lack of respect for the people of the Americas and their culture.
In the quote, “I found innumerable people and very many islands, of which I took possession in Your Highnesses’ name,” Columbus neglects the fact that the islands were already inhabited by the people of the Americas. (Zamora, 3). Columbus is a good example of how some travelers do not respect the people of a nation they are visiting.
Towards the end of his letter Columbus comments on a specific group of people he meets, “[T]hese of Caribe are brave, but I think the same of them as of the rest. And when Your Highness give the order for me to send slaves, I hope to bring or send [you] these for the most part,” (Zamora, 8). Columbus groups all the people of the Americas together. This showed his complete disregard for the many different cultures that thrived in the Americas; Coluimbus is suggesting that the difference between the groups is insignificant. Cultural identity is an important aspect of a nation. To consider different cultures to be the same is undermining the people of the Americas ways of life.
Columbus also took the idea of being a slave and attaches his own stereotype, that good slaves were brave. The quote alludes to the idea that the “Caribes”, who are seen as brave in the eyes of the other people in the Americas, are worthy of merely good slaves, which is degrading.
Christopher Columbus’ letters about his travels of exploration lead people to believe that the Americas were the gateway to success. He letters focused on using narratives and...