• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how the changing reputation of Columbus illuminates the nature of historical study.

Extracts from this document...


Matt Eagles Explain how the changing reputation of Columbus illuminates the nature of historical study. Depending on which school of thought one belongs to will ultimately shape and mould opinions and interpretations of events and people. History although arguments support its scientific nature of fact-finding is still largely based on interpretation of evidence and its relevance to people; it is after all a humanities topic of study. Armesto immediately raises the question in his article with its title asking the reader for a conclusion as to the status of Columbus, hero or villain? Depending on the audience there will be polar opinions as to the answer. The theme of myth versus reality has considerable effects on the image of Columbus and his changing reputation. A statue in Barcelona commemorates his achievements yet there is no hallmark to his doings from the descendants of the Arawak Native that were enslaved, nor the indigenous Caribbean people. The notion of history being scripted by the victors is relevant to a topic as this; such myths hold information but little fact. ...read more.


This theory of empiricism was designed to purvey the truth by facts alone explaining what events happened yet not explain why they did or the effects the actions or events had on others. With examples such as Columbus this would highlight the whole importance of fact-based history through the selection of facts and the interpretation of the evidence. The accounts and diaries of Las Casas would only serve the needs of supporters of Columbus, documenting victories and reinforcing his role as a purveyor of civilisation. The accounts of the indigenous people enslaved by Columbus would be in direct conflict with Las Casas. Seemingly then there appears to be no middle ground. Historians such as Elton deem History to be "Dead reality, independent of the enquiry" Basing all comments on the collection of facts through sources alone is flawed as there is eventually the need to be a level of interpretation by the Historian and this is where the level of objectivity is quashed. ...read more.


Columbus would have been labelled as a cog in the wheel of Globalisation. The writings by Las Casas of Columbus were self-perpetuating and as Armesto claims an original form of P.R. The legend of Columbus has warped the historical truth, as we know it and raises an issue examined by Carr surrounding fact versus historical fact. If something is deemed true is it a fact? Ultimately history is written to instil a sense of nationalism or pride in ones home country. Spaniards from the legend of Columbus are depicted as brave and challenging faced danger full on and showing no fear, an image that sits well with the egos of people with strong nationalistic beliefs. The flipside is that the oppressed can use the history to the their devices also promoting an image of neglect an maltreatment as an answer for there problems in the present day. History can never be left to tell itself therefore there is an essential role of the Historian, these people can shape and change a persons reputation or life story by manipulating what is deemed fact to there own cause. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Was Cromwell a Hero or a Villain?

    Cromwell has once again saved the day." 1653 Both the Parliamentarian and Royalist Lady had their say again into Cromwell's actions at the sitting. The Royalist Lady once again, in a biased way, said: "Cromwell took advantage of his power and is beginning to rule like a tyrant."

  2. The Impacts of crusades on European and Middle Eastern Historical development.

    journeying into the East to gain gold or land even before the dawn-world of the Hellenic Bronze Age; and that when all the folk-movement had died away, and the "crusades" had failed, men continued to push on towards the Levant, like lemmings taking to the seas in spring, but now

  1. The Changing Role and Status of Women Since 1945

    the age of 5 were in employment, and there were many other factors such as the influence of youth culture in films and on television. Either way, societal pressures meant that many women felt that, if they went to work, they would be labelled bad mothers and their children would grow up to be criminals.

  2. Did Haig deserve his reputation

    This also shows us that he was not prepared to try and preserve life and as long as he was safe, the amount of death did not matter. Haig never got told accurate information from the frontline or the high commanders.

  1. Christopher Columbus - Our Nations Noble Founder... Or Is He?

    According to J. M. Cohen, this report was false. Columbus truly believed that just around the bend he would find the big cache to please the king. He just needed to buy more time and thus, he justified bending the truth. Of his third voyage, Columbus writes, May the Lord grant your Highnesses long life and health, and leisure

  2. Evaluate the arguments for and against oral history as an historical method.

    account is that there exists a fine line between usage and reliance. (O'Farrell, P 1979) Unless used in a sociology piece, oral testimony can not be given the significance of primary evidence because what results from an interview is the word from one person alone, which is frequently a commoners voice, one that does not portray a universal message.

  1. Sumer project

    The city of Ur eventually extended its political boundaries to form an empire which included Babylon: the Babylonian language came to be widely spoken throughout Ur. Early in Sumerian civilization, eighty to ninety percent of those who farmed did so on land they considered theirs rather than communal property.

  2. London during the Blitz

    However this doesn't really show us that they coped with what was happening; it just showed us that they were putting on brave faces at that time for the woman. Source C shows the people of East London coping well to the bombing but this source is very unreliable because

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work