1492, Columbus wrote:

They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... . They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

What can you infer based upon this note from the journal of Columbus?
James Gurney
9/7/2012 11:09:23 am

Columbus is saying that the natives would not be able to offer resistance if they were to imprison them and make them slaves. They would be able to trick them into giving all their valuables for practically worthless items

Tanner Flint
9/8/2012 04:20:41 am

I agree with you James. I think Columbus saw them as an economical claim to made into business and farm both their work and valuables for European and individual benefit.

Coleman Reardon
9/9/2012 01:38:14 pm

Columbus thinks it will be effortless to conquer the native peoples as thy are not aware of technology that is more superior to the tools, techniques and weapons they are used to using.

Courtney Densmore
9/10/2012 09:04:26 am

You can infer Columbus's shock when realizing the only thing that separates authority in his fellow men, whom he sees as superior, and these strong, powerful foreigners are knowledge and modern technology. He clearly will not share these things with them for fear of dominance.

Chelsea Landor
9/10/2012 09:35:47 am

I feel as though Columbus is referring to the Indians as being back woods people, not accustomed to the life of man or the Material objects be known to man. The Indians have a honest and giving way about them and Columbus knows that it would be easy to persuade these Indians to do just about anything , in the end hard work treated as a slave.

Alex Piper
9/10/2012 09:36:13 am

I believe that not only were the natives unaware of the technology available to Europeans but Columbus thought "They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance." they were used to the way that their weapons and technology worked, when Columbus showed them the sword they looked at it, saw a thinker end (handle), and a long flat end (blade), In their eyes, the natives thought it was a club, theirs being made from knots in trees, having a ball at one end with a long flat handle that may have come to a rough point. Columbus thought that with such 'stupidity' he could overwhelm the natives with ease and use their strong bodies as laborers.

Kevin Napier
9/10/2012 12:21:41 pm

I believe that Columbus saw these natives as easy prey for his own personal gain. Columbus, who is believed to have been somewhat of a shady man, would have no problem exploiting these people, after mesmerizing them with his technology. (The same tactics were later used by Cortés in his conquest of the Aztec civilization. The Aztec King, Moctezuma, was mystified by "deer (horses) as tall as roof terraces", as well as the Spanish guns. As a result of his ignorance, Moctezuma allowed Cortés and his men into Tenochtitlán, allowing the empire to be taken by disease and conquest.) Columbus viewed these Indians as savages. His statement, "They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features....", shows that he had determined upon first impression that these people would be physically capable of difficult work. When Columbus stated, "They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance", he demonstrated that he felt that they would be of no danger to himself or his men. Once he had determined that the Indians could do no harm and would be capable of working, Columbus decided that, "They would make fine servants...." This final thought shows that Columbus fully believed that his technology made him superior as a human being to these native peoples.

Ian Nolan
9/19/2012 10:02:29 am

Columbus saw these people as an inferior race that would be simple to manipulate. The Europeans were far more technologically advanced and they had small trinkets/shiny objects as the tools of manipulation. After he could take control of the people he would be able to have a large work force of laborers and indentured servants.

Ivana Cooke
10/3/2012 11:43:30 pm

Columbus is saying the Native Americans are very ignorant and could easily be conquered with very little men. They traded everything they owned for very little and dont even know of swords etc.

Paige Hawkins
10/3/2012 11:50:13 pm

I can infer from this note that Columbus felt no pity toward the Native Americans. The Indians were easily persuaded into giving up the things they had and it did not take much work from columbus and his men to take over, the Natives were oblivious to the take over because they willingly traded there goods to the Europeans. Columbus took advantage of the Natives due to their lack of knowledge


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