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PFC Columbus Spanish Conquistadores and The Lost Colony of Roanoke Discussion


In Topics #1 and #2, we examined the origins and events of European exploration in the Americas.  We traced which European nations explored and colonized different parts of the Americas.  For Discussion Board #1, write a post where you address one of the following questions about Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquistadores or the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  Just select one of the questions for the basis of your post.  Do not try to answer all.  After your initial post, you may write and reply to other posts if you are interested in exploring additional questions.  Here are the questions you can address in your post:

1) Since Christopher Columbus’ monumental 1492 voyage to the Americas, different generations have interpreted in many different ways the Italian explorer’s life, actions and historical legacy.  In the 19th century, Columbus was seen as heroic and visionary, the brave intrepid explorer who crossed the Atlantic and brought the Americas to the attention of the Europeans.  This subsequently brought European colonization to the Americas, eventual new nations, and future globalization bringing an end to the isolated and fragmented pre-modern world.  However, in the late 20th and early 21st century, views of Columbus have dramatically shifted.  Columbus was now portrayed as a villain, a destroyer, even invader, who brought more harm than good to history and our own time.  Destruction of Native American peoples and the inception of African slavery in the Americas are referenced as more destructive consequences of Columbus’ 1492 arrival. 

Therefore based on this present-day view of Columbus, write a post addressing one of these two questions or you may combine both:

a. Since Christopher Columbus typifies such a major historical figure whose actions changed the lives and destinies of hundreds of millions of people, how do we assess, if possible, his accurate historical legacy? Should we judge his actions based on the values and attitudes of his time (15th and 16th centuries)? Or should we assess his actions on how we feel about him today, through the lens of our current values, feelings and attitudes?  This question of course plays into the challenge that historians face when establishing criteria to assess historical figures who lived so long ago.

b. Offer your own interpretation of Columbus’ historical legacy. Is it an overall positive or overall negative legacy? Or do you believe it is a combination of both?  Provide as much support and reasoning with your response as possible.

2. Historians have offered various reasons explaining why the Spanish conquistadores conquered and overwhelmed the Native American peoples and their land with stunning speed. These reasons include guns, horses, technological superiority, diseases, treachery, greed, religious zeal, nationalist aspirations, etc.  What do you believe is the dominant reason and why?  Or do you believe there is no dominant reason but a multiplicity of factors?  Provide your best assessment with insightful support.  You may expand on what was covered in the online lecture or offer new ideas and interpretations.

3. Based on the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke covered in the online lecture “Elizabethan England and Early English Colonization,” what do you believe happened to the missing colonists? Offer your best reasoning and explanation with insightful support.


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