Christopher Columbus is introduced to maize (corn) by Indians of Cuba
What Was Columbus Thinking?
Who was Christopher Columbus? Variously regarded as:
one of the greatest mariners in history, a visionary genius, a mystic, a national hero, a failed administrator, a naive entrepreneur, and a ruthless and greedy imperialist.
—The Library of Congress's 1492: An Ongoing Voyage exhibition
Columbus remains one of the most studied yet least known of major historical figures.
In 1492, Columbus sailed...
Most students recognize the name Christopher Columbus. They may be aware that his voyages ushered in the first period of sustained contact between Europeans and the Americas and its people. They may not know, however, why Columbus traveled to the New World or what happened to the native people he encountered.
In this lesson, students read excerpts from Columbus's letters and journals, as well as recent considerations of his achievements. Students reflect on the motivations behind Columbus's explorations, his reactions to what he found and the consequences, intended and unintended, of his endeavor.
Identify three stated aims of Columbus's voyages.
Characterize changes in Columbus's purposes in writing the documents studied.
Describe the native peoples Europeans encountered and the results of their contact.
Compare the goals of early European exploration with the results.
What were the intentions behind Columbus's voyages of exploration?
What were the consequences in the lives of Native Americans and Europeans?
Other Worlds: The Voyage of Columbus
Debate over the legacy of Christopher Columbus has opened new perspectives on the Renaissance world that gave impetus to his first voyage, and has raised awareness of the cultures he and those who followed him encountered in the world across the sea. Through the Internet, students can observe the events of 1492 from this dual vantage-point, exploring the two worlds that made contact when Columbus stepped ashore.
To gain an understanding of the forces within European society that found expression in the voyage of Christopher Columbus
To examine the cultures of those whom Columbus and his successors encountered in the New World
To analyze the degree to which cultural expectations shaped the encounter experience for Columbus
To reconstruct the encounter experience for those who saw Columbus sail into their world.
No guiding questions