The extract was written by Christopher Columbus on his first contact with the Native Americans. He described the people there as welcoming and they willingly traded everything they owned. Columbus describes the people as poor in everything. Most of them walked naked including the women. The people there were not acquainted to arms because they did not understand how to use the swords that were given to them by Columbus. When the natives told Columbus how they had defended their land, he thought that they would make very good servants. He also believed that they would be easily converted to Christianity because they would repeat everything that is said to them. The natives believe that there is a God somewhere in heaven and that the visitors had been sent by God from heaven. He saw an opportunity to make servants out of the people he met there. He also saw an opportunity to expand his riches because of the gold that was supposed to be in the land without the knowledge of the natives. With the first visit he saw great potential in the lands and the natives of the land.
From his very contact with the Native Americans Columbus had their domination in mind. From the primary source provided one can be able to detect the personal feelings and the tone of the writer. From the extract, you can tell that Columbus was quite excited about his new discovery. He was also impressed at the hospitality of the natives of the land. The author seems to be biased against the people of this land. He writes “…and glass beads which they put on their chests, and many other things of small values, in which they took too much pleasure…” he continues to say that “but it seemed to me that they were a very poor people in everything.” These two sentences show that he believed that the people were actually poor and they would exchange anything in their possession with the things that they gave them without much confrontation. This was what led him to see the amount of wealth that he would acquire from the lands and without much resistance. The extract leads me to thinking that from the time Columbus set foot in the Native America his intentions were not right for the people. what were the intentions of Columbus before he left for Spain? That is what I would like to know, was he just an explorer or was he just looking for wealth? If he was just an explorer what changed his mind when he reached in the land of the Native Americans.
Columbus intention for the Native Americans is quite clear. He intended to introduce Christianity to the people since as he wrote, “…for it seemed to me that they had no religion.” The fact that they followed instructions very easily it made them look like they would easily convert to Christianity without putting up a fight. He also saw that the people here would make good slaves because they were very well built. They also followed instructions as they were given to them, which made Columbus think that they would great servants for the people of Spain. He saw a great opportunity within the land for gold mines and cotton. The cotton would be sold to greater cities without being taken to Spain where it would sell very well. Columbus plans for the people here was simply to introduce them to Christianity and make them slaves. For the land he saw a great opportunity for him to acquire riches from it. This means he would have to grab it form the natives so as to acquire the gold and be able to export the cotton.
Christopher Columbus’s First Impressions of American Peoples
Christopher Columbus Journals (1492)