Columbus Conquest of the New World

In: Historical Events

Submitted By jbhamilton
Words 659
Pages 3
Jeremiah Hamilton
CH 203: 1203
Reading Response
September 4, 2013

Columbus, de las Casas, and the Conquest of the New World

Christopher Columbus and Bartolomè de las Casas both describe their trips to the New World; however, they have very different insights about their experiences there. The letter that Columbus sent to the king and queen described his first voyage to the New World in 1492 and de las Casas writes about the things he experienced as he journeyed along Columbus’s later trip in 1502. It seems as if in the Columbus letter, Columbus was somewhat scouting out the area noting the land, resources available, and characteristics of the native peoples in order to decide what his people can gain from the land. On the later voyage in 1502 with de las Casas, it seems as if the Spaniards used Columbus’s first encounter with the native people and voyage experiences to, using the knowledge gained, exploit the land and people for the personal gain of the Spaniards. The purpose of the letter Columbus sent to the king and queen was to determine the resources available in the New World that they could take for the betterment of Spain. Columbus describes the Indies as many beautiful, fertile islands and points out where the resources are. He assures the king and queen that based on the timid nature of the indigenous people, it would not be hard to conquer and exploit the land for their own gain. Throughout the letter Columbus seems to see the natives as a lesser species. He views the indigenous people as just another resource he “discovered” in the New World. In contrast, de las Casas sees the native peoples as actual people. Columbus recounts the how timid the indigenous people are as well as the ease of reclaiming the resources of the New World when he describes how he took claim of the lands, “And there I found many islands filled with people without…...

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