OBERSTUFE - Columbus: Discovery and Conquest OBERSTUFE

Question 1 of 11

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Please give an account for some of the major reasons and outcomes of Columbus' voyages.

Select one or more of the following:

  • Now that the Turks had conquered Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean, and controlled the land routes to Asia, a sea route was needed. The king and queen of Spain financed Columbus' exploration of a sea route to the other side of the Atlantic - to the Indies and Asia.

  • One purpose of Columbus' voyages was to subjugate (unterwerfen) and to enslave the native American population.

  • Columbus expected that there would be silks, spices and gold on the other side of the Atlantic – in the Indies and Asia.

  • One of the results of Columbus' voyages was the enslavement of the native American population - in order to pay back dividends to those who had invested in him.

  • One of the results of Columbus' voyages was the exploitation of the native American population - in order to pay back dividends to those who had invested in him

  • One of the results of Columbus voyages was the annihilation of the majority of the native Indian population in the Caribbean and many other parts of the Americas

  • The only purpose of Columbus' voyage was to proof that there was a westward sea route to Asia and the Indies.

  • Columbus voyages had no impact on the native population on Hispaniola and other islands.

Question 2 of 11

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Please give an account for reasons the king and queen of Spain financed Columbus' exploration of a sea route to the other side of the Atlantic - to the Indies and Asia - in 1492.

Select one or more of the following:

  • There was gold in Asia, it was thought, and certainly silks and spices. Now that the Turks had conquered Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean, and controlled the land routes to Asia, a sea route was needed.

  • Columbus had persuaded the king and queen of Spain to finance an expedition to the lands, the wealth, he expected would be on the other side of the Atlantic - the Indies and Asia.

  • In desperate attempts to find gold, Columbus and his men ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death. This shows how important the quest for gold was.

  • The only reason for the king and queen of Spain to finance Columbus was to proof that there was a westward rout to Asia and the Indies.

Question 3 of 11

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Can you give detailed, factual evidence to support the thesis, that one purpose of Columbus' voyages was to subjugate (unterwerfen) and to enslave the native American population from the very beginning?

Select one or more of the following:

  • After the first encounter with native Americans on the Bahamas Island, Columbus wrote a log entry, saying that they "would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." He continued to write: "As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force..."

  • Preparing for his voyage home from his first visit to the Caribbean, Columbus took Indian prisoners (on Hispaniola) and put them aboard his two remaining ships. Back in Spain Columbus promised the Spanish king and queen that he would bring them from his next voyage "as much gold as they need ... and as many slaves as they ask."

  • There is no evidence to support the thesis that Columbus intended to subjugate and to enslave the native Americans.

Question 4 of 11

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Can you give detailed, factual evidence to support the thesis that one purpose of Columbus' voyages was to conquer the lands he had discovered by military force?

Select one or more of the following:

  • On Hispaniola, out of timbers from the Santa Maria, which had run aground, Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere.

  • There is no evidence to support the thesis, that Columbus intended to conquer the lands he had discovered by military force.

Question 5 of 11

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Can you provide detailed, factual evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus' voyages was the enslavement of the Native American population - in order to pay back dividends to those who had invested in him?

Select one or more of the following:

  • In the year 1495, on their second voyage, Columbus and his men went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, then picked five hundred of them to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest (who) arrived alive in Spain were (...) put up for sale.

  • When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, known later as encomiendas. They were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands.

  • There is no evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus' voyages was the enslavement of the native American population.

Question 6 of 11

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Can you provide detailed evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus' voyages was the exploitation of the native American population - in order to pay back dividends to those who had invested in him?

Select one or more of the following:

  • After each six or eight months' work in the mines, which was the time required of each crew to dig enough gold for melting, up to a third of the men died. While the men were sent many miles away to the mines, the wives remained to work the soil, forced into the job of digging and making thousands of hills for cassava plants.

  • There is no evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus' voyages was the exploitation of the native American population.

Question 7 of 11

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Can you provide detailed evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus voyages was the annihilation of the majority of the native Indian population in the Caribbean and many other parts of the Americas?

Select one or more of the following:

  • The native Indians were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.

  • As husbands and wives were together only once every eight or ten months and when they met they were so exhausted and depressed on both sides ... they ceased to procreate.
    When he arrived on Hispaniola in 1508, the Spanish priest Bartolome de las Casas says, "there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this?"

  • There is no evidence to support the thesis that one of the results of Columbus voyages was the annihilation of the majority of the native Indian population in the Caribbean and many other parts of the Americas.

Question 8 of 11

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What are the facts about Columbus that are - according to historian Howard Zinn - generally accepted by all historians, by critical historians as well as admirers of Columbus?

Select one or more of the following:

  • It is generally accepted that Columbus was desperate to find gold.

  • It is generally accepted that native Americans who resisted the conquest were hanged and burned at the stake.

  • It is generally accepted that Columbus enslaved and exploited the native Americans in the Caribbean.

  • Critical historians doubt that Columbus was a great sailor and navigator

  • It is generally accepted that Columbus was a great sailor and navigator.

Question 9 of 11

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According to Howard Zinn, why is it important for historians to make clear what facts they are emphasizing in their particular telling the history of Columbus or any other person or period in history?

Select one or more of the following:

  • What is emphasized and what is ommitted represents the present values of the historian who is telling the facts.

  • Historians like Morrison, an admiring biographer of Columbus, emphasize the seamanship of Columbus and they de-emphasize the fact that Columbus committed genocide. To de-emphasize Columbus' atrocities implies the acceptance of these atrocities and of conquest in the name of progress or in the name of Western civilization

  • What is emphasized and what is ommitted has no importance in telling the history of Columbus.

Question 10 of 11

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Howard Zinn says that the important point is not to judge Columbus, because Columbus doesn't ask us for a "letter of recommendation." Why is it then, that we should be critical of Columbus and what he did? And why do many people feel uncomfortable with such critiques of Columbus?

Select one or more of the following:

  • The people who are anxious to maintain a "glowing image of Columbus and what he did", the people who are offended by the cirticism against Columbus and the people who defend what Columbus did are concerned about what the discussion of Columbus says about what is called Western Civilization, that is about the 500 years that have elapsed since then

  • Admirers of Columbus are worried that the casting of too harsh a light on what Columbus did, might also cast a harsh light on all the events that followed Columbus in the history of what we call Western civilization to the present day.

  • The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks) - the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress - is one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors and leaders.

  • In the 500 years that followed Columbus, Western civilization has achieved remarkable things in science, in medicine, in technology, in arts and in literature. People who ask for a second look at Western civilization are trying to degrade Shakespeare and other achievements of Western civilization.

  • Columbus was one of the earliest European imperialists. Even the expansionism of the United States followed the pattern set by Columbus, that is the elimination of native peoples in order to find riches.

Question 11 of 11

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Some historians have made the point, that it is "unhistorical" to judge Columbus using our modern values because after all, Columbus lived around 1500. What does Howard Zinn say about this issue?

Select one or more of the following:

  • There are - according to Zinn - values that transcend centuries. The values of concern for human beings are not limited to one historical period.

  • The concern for human beings can be found in writings of playwrights in Ancient Greece crying out against atrocities committed by Athenians on the population of Milos (an island in the Aegean Sea) in the 5th century B.C., in the same way that people cry out against war in the present.

  • There were the conquerors of the 15th century, there were people like Sepulveda, who argued for the right to enslave the native Americans. But there were, in all times, also the people who protested against war and conquest. Bartolome de las Casas protested against the treatment of the native Americans in the early 16th century. In all ages, there are people who are on the side of the powerful and there are people who take up the cause of the oppressed.

  • There are - according to Zinn - no values that transcend centuries. The values of concern for human beings were not expressed in the 16th century.

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OBERSTUFE - Columbus: Discovery and Conquest OBERSTUFE

Markus Grass
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Matura Geschichte Quiz on OBERSTUFE - Columbus: Discovery and Conquest OBERSTUFE, created by Markus Grass on 11/02/2014.

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