In both Christopher Columbus’ diaryentry from 1492 and Bartolome De La Casas’ ShortAccount of the Destruction of the Indies, the characteristics that thenatives possessed and the culture that they followed is unmistakably evident.However, the two entries differ from each other since they both describe anentirely different world. Columbus’ attitude towards the indigenous Americans couldbest be described as a sense of superiority. He believed that his men andhimself were rather inferior to them yet you could sense this small hint ofcuriosity that he possessed for their ways and culture. Years and bloodshed later,Casas seems to display a sincere sympathy towards the exploitation that thenatives endured and the freedom that they lost 50 years later after ChristopherColumbus’ visit.
Columbus was sent on his voyage bythe King and Queen of Spain in seek of riches, in this case, gold to beprecise. Columbus stated that one of his titles is the “High Admiral ofthe Sea” which was given to him by the king himself. He goes on to statehow he was instructed to sail to the unknown territory which he assumed to beIndia, in order to assist with the conversion of faith to people that residethere to their religion, Christianity. But upon setting foot on the new land,it seemed as if his arrival didn’t have that exact result. Columbus immediatelydisplayed utter gentleness to the people and was cautious to not infuriate themin any way possible. He just wanted to record the location and observe hissurroundings and their ways to his king and queen. Columbus even states that hehad “saw a boy of the crew purchasing javelins of them with bits ofplatters and broken glass”, this implies that he participated in tradingresources and valuables with the natives as a form of peaceful globalization.It was almost as if he viewed theindigenous Americans as gullible because they openly accepted shattered piecesof glass that had no value whatsoever.
He even describes them as being somewhatunderdeveloped despite the customs they had and explained how they were easilyconverted to their Christian ways without the use of force. Columbus and hismen initially treated the natives this way mostly because they sought theconversion of the natives to Christianity and the possession of gold, spices,and other sources that could lead Spain to prosperity.Bartolome De La Casas’ account waswritten approximately fifty years following Christopher Columbus’ coming to the”New World”. From his perspective, he describes the scenery around himcataclysmic. He reveals how the population of natives that once flourished theterritory tragically diminished by the Spanish murdering them by the numbers.
Casas states, that the Spaniards were “acting like ravening beasts,killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the nativepeoples”. He goes on even further by stating that their cruel and harsh methodswere by far immoral, by far outlandish, and disturbingly innovative. Millionsof female and male natives were slain. In addition, even pregnant women andchildren were murdered. Women were raped by Christian officers, children werestarved, men were dismembered as if they were livestock in a slaughterhouse.The survivors, on the other hand, were sold off as slaves to serve in theuttermost harshest environments.Like Columbus, Casas says that theSpanish had the ultimate goal of conquering and seizing the notorious gold thatwas said to be within the “New World”.
Throughout the entry, it couldbe inferred that Bartolome De La Casas had believed that because of country’sselfish greed and sinister intent to become prosperous, innocent lives hadtraumatically fallen. Overall, the Spanish were at fault for this tragedybecause they were blinded by the concept of colonization and globalization. Inaddition, Casas even claims that he finds it almost hypocritical that the”Spaniards who call themselves Christian” were held responsible forthe bloody massacre of the innocent indigenous Americans.Overall, it may be said that bothChristopher Columbus and Bartolome De La Casas’ entries were imperative towardthe history of understanding the very first voyages to the “New World”.It was evident that the Spanish empire wanted to fulfill their deepest desireof bestowing their faith on the indigenous Americans and getting their hands onthe riches that they possessed, not caring if it would result in bloodshed.Both of their retellings even provided better knowledge of the characteristicsand the ways of the indigenous individuals who inhabited the Bahamian island inthe late 1400’s and the early 1500’s to historians.