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Extended Essay: Columbus's Actions in the New World

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Introduction

The Question of Genocide on Columbus's Actions towards the Native Americans in the New World By: Debra Wei Teacher: Mr. Smith Due Date: 18th April 2008 Total Number of Pages: 13 TABLE OF CONTENTS Title Page..............................................................................................1 Abstract................................................................................................3 Introduction............................................................................................4 Body....................................................................................................6 Conclusion...........................................................................................11 Annotated Bibliography / List of Works Cited..................................................12 ABSTRACT This essay focuses on Columbus's actions in the New World, towards the Native Americans. The question being presented is "If Columbus were alive today, would he be tried and convicted for committing genocide?" Through his years of semi-ruling the Americas, a debatable amount of eight million people were killed. Columbus had ridiculous expectations of valuables from his slaves, along with cruel consequences. Determined in his conquest for gold, land and other resources, he enslaved and slaughtered millions of men, women and children. Many others died from the conditions they were put under, such as starvation, exhaustion, malnutrition, disease and displacement. Millions of births were prevented and suicides were committed due to these same reasons as well. Throughout this essay, I ensured that each aspect of a genocide's definition is identified with one or more of Columbus's actions. Based on factual evidence like statistics and primary sources such as quotes from Columbus and Las Casas themselves, I have settled upon the conclusion of: If Columbus were alive today, he would definitely be tried and convicted for committing genocide. ...read more.

Middle

(Zinn, page 6) Under Columbus's supposed 'rule', he caused severe body harm to the natives, as well as imposed conditions upon the natives so harsh, that it left them with no hope of life. (Churchill, para.3) He over exhausted and overworked the natives in order to accomplish his conquest for gold, forcing the natives to work beyond reasonable hours under the hot sun. Las Casas reports that "mountains are stripped from top to bottom and bottom to top a thousand times; they dig, split rocks, move stones, and carry dirt on their backs to wash it in the rivers, while those who has gold stay in the water all the time with their backs bent so constantly that it breaks them...the most arduous task is to dry the mines by scooping up pansful of water and throwing it up outside." (Zinn, page 6: para. 4) As you can see, natives were physically injured or killed everyday due to the harsh working conditions they were forced to meet, unless they wanted to be slaughtered. On top of that, the Indians faced malnutrition. They were compelled to spend each minute of their time searching for gold, meaning that they were left with no time to neither hunt nor gather provisions. Any food they did gather was meant for the Spaniards, leaving the Americas swept with starvation too. ...read more.

Conclusion

Logically, any written piece based on false evidence results in utter trash. I ensure you my sources are justifiable. My most-used source is A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Published multiple times in the past decades, Zinn is a credible author as he has devoted his life to studying history, being a professor and various universities even today. Seeing that Zinn had written this novel to convince the readers of his view on history (in this case, attempting to prove his thesis: Columbus is responsible for committing genocide), it is obviously limited as it is biased. However, being biased can hardly go far, as Zinn supports his theories and ideas with primary sources and evidences, including letters written by Columbus and principal witnesses like Bartolome de Las Casas. Including first-hand facts from the records of history, it is of great value to us as common people today, as it enables us to have access to pure historical facts. As for my second source, it is an excerpt taken from Indians are Us written by Professor Churchill Ward, written in 1944. The purpose of this book was to compare the Holocaust with the actions of Columbus, putting everything into perspective for the readers. Although this source should be biased, I find that it actually isn't as he states only pure facts, untainted with his personal thoughts. In truth, he defends both sides factually, even supporting Columbus at times, preventing limitations to a certain extent. ...read more.

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