Columbus Essay - 1 Whittaker Spencer Whittaker Prof Venzke...

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1 Whittaker Spencer Whittaker Prof Venzke Western Civ 27 November 2012 The Legacy of Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor who led four voyages across the ocean to find a “New World”. Under the employment of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus was allowed to sail for the Spanish. His four voyages were some of the most important journeys that led to important discoveries but they were certainly fraught with hardship in great abundance. Christopher Columbus was revered as the Admiral of the Sea by many, but also seen as a murderer by others. What he was able to accomplish under strict employment from the King and Queen changed the way that the world was seen and opened up exploration in areas that had previously been deemed unapproachable. As one could imagine, there were many successes and failures during the four journeys to unchartered territory. Tyranny and greed led to many situations that posed an enormous threat to Columbus and his explorations along the way. He had to make certain decisions that led to setbacks in his travels, which also created a reputation that Columbus did not exemplify virtue in all of these decisions. It is through all of this that he has become a highly debated figure in terms of his lasting impression through exploration. By looking at some key successes and failures in the “New World” and in particular his fourth and final voyage, it is easy to see why Columbus’s legacy is still open to interpretation. A major success came during his third voyage to the New World. This New World was full of many phenomena that were unfamiliar to Europeans as well as Columbus. The voyage
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2 featured an encounter with sedimentary volcanoes that would spew deadly high-pressure bursts of mud and flames from the vents of the volcano. One night on August 4 th , 1498 one of the volcanoes erupted and created a swell as high as the ship Columbus was in. He quickly shouted commands that guided his fleet of ships toward an “egress into the placid waters of the gulf beyond.” Once the 3 ships had made it through the passage safely away from the volcanoes, they inspected their ships and found that no man had gone missing. This area that nearly swallowed Columbus’s fleet would be named Boca de la Sierpe or “Mouth of the serpent”. It was the next day that Columbus’s accomplishment would take place. He continued to sail north into a deep gulf where he claimed the waters continued to get “sweeter” and “fresher” the further he traveled. This land was some of the most beautiful country in the world and was very thickly populated according to Columbus. He was not one of the first Europeans to set foot on this fourth continent, but he did realize that this land was previously unknown and spoke to the Indians who resided there. They told him that the land was named Paria. Even though Columbus was known for ignoring Indian names, he chose to call it that, too.
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