An Important Journey
Christopher Columbus’s voyage was epoch-making because of the way in which Europe responded and Columbus’s importance is therefore primarily attributable to changing conditions in Europe, not to his having reached a “new” continent.
more things in Europe changed after Columbus “discovered” a new land. One example is new disease brought to Europe after Columbus’s second voyage. The packet says “Shortly after ships from Columbus’s second voyage returned to Europe syphilis began to plague Spain and Italy.” In addition, another major change in Europe, according to the packet, was a transition from a “Land-owning” era, to a “Gold” era, where gold began to take more importance than owning land. Also, the “discovery” of the new lands, started a competition in Europe for gold. As the packet states, the news of Spain’s success spread, other countries, like Portugal, France, Holland, and England became envious and they “joined in conquering the Americas.” Lastly, the founding of the new lands, and especially a new people, challenged the beliefs of Christianity. “American Indians simply did not fit within orthodox Christianity’s explanation of the moral universe.” These internal battles of the religion contributed to the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world.
The first phenomena was taking the native American lands and wealth and forcing them to make room for the white settlers. This in a sense led to the Western Hemisphere being as it is today. After many tribes in North America were exterminated and pushed out westward more and more, white settlers began setting up their own way of life, and broke treaties that promised the native Americans a piece of the land. Today this is seen in the Native American reservations that remain in the USA. The English took after Columbus and pushed out the native american people and claimed the land for themselves, today it is too late to undo that, so the original native Americans live on reservations. The second concept Columbus introduced was the transatlantic slave trade. Once the Indians were gone, Columbus turned to Africa for more slaves, and significantly altered the population of Africa. The concept of slavery was not considered wrong in the 1500’s and so it was allowed to continue. To some degree slavery is in practice today, but not significantly, although the racism it has created can still be observed today.
Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on March 12, 2012:
I've always enjoyed the Age of Exploration and Columbus' part in it. As for syphilis, I've read that syphilis existed in the New World before Columbus, but it was a different strain. Apparently the Europeans and Indians swapped strains at different times, making the "blame" for spreading it first difficult to ascertain. Later!
icy67 on October 12, 2011:
wow,what a great site