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The Voyages of Christopher Columbus Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 13th, 2021


How did the voyages of Christopher Columbus change the perception of geography and alter world economics? This is a fairly interesting question, which tends to draw varying conclusions. Although the path taken for most practical answers is the same, there are a few variations, which we would like to discuss through the means of this research paper. There is an interesting story that when Christopher Columbus finally set sail to locate Asia, in reality, his finding led to the exploration of the Americas. Although this can well be interpreted as a hilarious episode, those who look at it with the perspective of an enlightening global and economic scenario would never think of pointing a finger at the incident.

Instead, they would learn the true benefits this exploration had on the overall geography and economy of the world. With that thought in mind, let us now throw some light on the situation by elaborating this statement further. Please do keep in mind that this question has a historical significance attached to it, which in turn, needs to be answered at the very outset of the research paper (Brigham).

The Life and the Discoveries

According to Garden of Praise, Christopher Columbus took birth in the holy city of Genoa, which is in Italy. He happened to be the eldest of the five children and while his father was a weaver, Christopher Columbus was always interested in sailing. He was off to the sea in his spare time. Whenever we talk of geography, the true value of this subject in the olden days, with special regards to the Italian shores, was limited to the proficiency over the Latin language. Although Christopher Columbus seldom attended school, he traveled by sea and in those voyages, he learnt to read and write Spanish and he also developed fancy for Latin.

As he grew older, he realized that while most people were still trying to prove the already proven fact that the world was round, Christopher Columbus was more interested in setting sail to explore the lesser known Indies. Likewise, he also wanted some fame for himself along with some fame and wealth for Spain. It took him eight long years to convince King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to grant him ships and money. When they finally obliged, he increased his demands and asked to be knitted, made into an admiral besides being granted the privilege of an honorary Vice Roy and Governor General of the lands he visited and discovered.

Whenever we sit to critically analyze the actual findings of Columbus’s implications in terms of the global geography, we realize that it was indeed an eye opener and a demarcating statement, which deciphered the eastern nations with the western countries. Likewise, the onset of the global trade was indeed initiated when Columbus discovered America.

Improved Theories of Geography and Economics

Through the means of his discoveries, Christopher Columbus shattered the myth that the world was flat and that the entire planet was centered on the holy town of Jerusalem. He not only enlightened the world by proving that it was geographically possible to reach China from the west and in doing so, you would not fall off the planet, he also initiated the concept of global economies by initiating trade between European nations and the countries of the Far East. While his discoveries had some negative effects as well, such as the spread of the small pox virus and the STD, which devastated the Native American population, the overall impact was positive. Whenever we talk of the economical effect, we need to understand that it had a negative impact on the Native American population while proving beneficial for the European Nations. By making the natives work in gold mines till they laterally perished from forced labor, it proved devastating for the once flourishing Native American culture. Likewise, the concept of slavery also devastated the natives to a great extent.

Nonetheless, the voyages allowed Christopher Columbus to learn new techniques and he successfully managed to improvise upon the existing geographical instruments. He created new navigation techniques and mastering instruments, such as the cross-staff, which is even used in the modern days. When we talk of major economic impacts of the voyages, the discoveries of Columbus led to the initiation of trade between the native Indians and England. New foods, such as tobacco, spices and fruits were discovered and sent home, while cheap labor was primarily used to strengthen the economy of the western nations. Besides, the discovery of Christopher Columbus, initiated numerous explorations around the globe. Hence, it proved to be a turning point in the history of explorations and it was used to improve the existing economic and geographical conditions of the European countries (Schaefer).

Geographical and Economic Transformations

According to Columbus Day (2009), Although there is no specific research methodology that has been used to portray the overall contributions of Christopher Columbus in the improvement of the global economy as well as the existing geographical tools, the fact still remains that it was indeed his foresight which allowed people to realize that the world was not flat, but round in shape, and that people did not fall off while treading off the western hemisphere. Likewise, the discovery and creation of various geographical instruments pertaining to navigation and sea journeys, allowed people from all walks of life to improvise their journeys by making them a safer experience. It is interesting to note that although it was through accident that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas on October 12, 1942, he remained steadfast in his approach and clearly stated that the fabled land of the Caribbean was in reality, the cities which lay in the Asia Minor.

Columbus’s perception regarding the overall size of the earth, with special regards to the distance Europe and Asia, was based upon the works which could be linked to previous geographical citations, with special regards to the 2’nd century geographical scripts of Ptolemy, Imago Mundy and the journals of the legendary, Marco Polo. At the same time, Christopher Columbus judiciously utilized the knowledge that had been accumulated for years to navigate and make his journeys successful. He simply improvised the existing geographical instruments, which made his journey easier and more memorable. After the voyage and discoveries, Columbus presented the new measurements and was rightfully lauded for his effort.

The Economic Impact

The expeditions of Christopher Columbus had a direct link with the economies of the western world. One of the biggest advantages of his voyages, led to the exploration of new lands, which were blessed with rare raw materials. The raw materials started being used for the improvement of the western industries. Likewise, the lands which were discovered by Columbus were abundant with local inhabitants. The western nations took advantage of this situation and enslaved the population for their own vested benefits. These discoveries led to colonization, which in turn led to increased mechanization. Last but not the least, the concept of colonization helped in the development of weapons for military usage (Irving).

The End Results

Christopher Columbus was a sailor beyond compare and he is mentioned in the history books with utmost respect. When Columbus set sail in the year 1942, with an aim to discover the East Indies, little did he realize that land he would be discovering would be none other than the present day super power. By making use of three ships, namely, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus first sited the Bahamas. Later, he set sail to Cuba and also discovered a few small islands off Southeast Asia. It needs to be noted that geographically, Christopher Columbus was a weak student. He had grossly underestimated the overall size of this planet. Nonetheless, his economic contributions in terms of trade between the east and west can never be sidelined (Wilson).

A Brief Discussion

Discussing the overall economic as well as geographical implications of Christopher Columbus’s discovery through his voyages, it would not be incorrect to state that his contributions were worth recording in the annals of history. The only controversy which arouse was regarding the fact whether an individual could actually discover, already-inhabited lands. It has also been said that although geographically, Columbus discovered the Bahamas, the inhabitants f this place were already peaceful and friendly. Likewise, this land had been previously visited by the Vikings, some five hundred years before Columbus set foot on it. Regardless of the controversies, the discoveries of Christopher Columbus clarified the fact that the world was not flat and that there existed exotic foods and raw materials, which otherwise could never have been used to develop economies on a large scale (Wilson)

The Implications of His Voyages

Anonymous, “Christopher Columbus was born in Italy but he left the country to become a sailor, whilst he was still a teenager. He worked closely with navigators in Lisbon and had an ambitious plan to discover Asia. When he finally set sail in the year 1942 and docked at the Canary Islands, he realized that the global length of earth was larger than he had actually imagined. He therefore hid his original logs and made a fictitious log, which showcased the globe as a relatively small place. His idea was to show these false findings and convince the king and the queen to allow his plans of world travel, to be further renewed. Nonetheless, his efforts enabled the economic trade to open up and allowed the ancient geographical data to be replaced with more accurate findings”.

Work Cited

Brigham, Kay. Christopher Columbus: His Life and Discovery in the Light of His Prophecies. Editorial Clie.1990.

Irving, Washington. Life of Christopher Columbus Books 5 to 18.America: Kissinger. 2004.

Schaefer, Lola. Christopher Columbus. Capstone Press. 2002.

Anonymous. Infoplease. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. Web.

.2009. Garden of Praise. Web.

“Christopher Columbus Biography”.2009.Columbus Day: 123 Holiday.net. Web.

Wilson, Jerry. .2000.Wilstar. Web.

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