Christopher Columbus and His Legacy: Positive vs. Negative Essay

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Pages: 6

Upon completion of first grade, it is likely that children in America will have learned about the famous maritime explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus. Born in 1451, Columbus was a Genoese captain commissioned by the king and queen of Spain to find a route to the Indies. However, he sailed the opposite direction of his intended goal by crossing the Atlantic and landing in the Americas, resulting in the discovery of the New World for Spain. Like all major figures in history, Columbus has left behind a legacy that people will always remember him for. The nature of this legacy in question is what remains controversial. It can be summed up with two opposing camps: those that view Columbus with a positive, respectful regard that he …show more content…
Proponents of Columbus say that the Indians are unworthy whilst opponents say they have an equal claim to their land. Native Americans had been living in North America for centuries when Columbus came. Indian chief, Tecumseh would later give a speech to Americans on how he and his people were being robbed of their rightfully deserved land, his justification for why he should keep his lands, "[t]he white people have no right to take the land from the Indians, because [the Indians] had it first; it is theirs," (Tecumseh). Native Americans are no different than Europeans in terms of being human; they treat each other with civility, care for their young and elderly, and have language of their own. Thus taking Indian land cannot be compared to taking land from mere animals, as it is more complicated because they are civilized people. Columbus advocates stress that Native Americans did not use their land to its fullest potential, that they were wasting it and not even bothering with agriculture. Therefore it is believed, "that the cultivation or melioration of the earth, gives a property in it," (Brackenridge 48). Columbus and his followers deserved Indian land because they would actually take advantage of it and make profit through farming and other industries. Native Americans "are like cattle," (Brackenridge 53) they simply migrate to new areas for grazing, living, when they are forcibly