Christopher Columbus



Word Definition Sentence from the Text
Petrel A bird that lives around the sea. “we saw petrels, and a green reed…”
Doublet Two similar things “I would give a silk doublet to the man…”
Laden Something that is weighted down. “and a thorn branch laden with red fruits”
Indistinct Something which is not very specific or distinct. “It was so indistinct that I could not be sure it was land”
Leagues A measurement of land, 1 league = aprrox 3 miles “about two leagues away”



Comprehension Questions

Question Answer
1 Where was Columbus heading?
  • India or China
2 What signs did they have on October 11 that they were nearing land?
  • Fish that live near shore
  • Petrels
  • Green reeds
3 What did Columbus promise the first man to see land?
  • A silk doublet
  • 10,000 maravedis
4 Which of Columbus’ ships spotted land first?
  • The Pinta
5 What flags or banners did the crew carry onto the island first?
  • Banners with green crosses
6 What did the Europeans give the islanders?
  • Parrots
  • Balls of cotton thread
  • Darts
7 Describe the physical appearance of the men and women on the island.
  • Handsome
  • Well-built
  • Naked
8 Why did Columbus think the islanders were intelligent?
  • Their knowledge of the land
9 How many islanders did he want to take with him?  Why?
  • Six
  • So they could learn spanish
10 How did the islanders travel out to the ship?
  • Swimming
11 What did the island look like geographically?
  • Flat – Level
12 What kind of animals did Columbus’ men see on the island?
  • Snake
  • Parrots
  • Wild birds
  • Dogs
13 What was the weather like on the island?
14 On November 6th, what kind of place did the Europeans find?
  • A village of 50 houses
15 What did the islander women do to the Europeans?  Why?
  • They kissed their hands and feet
  • They thought that they came from heaven



Analysis Questions

Question Your Analysis
1 What evidence is there that Columbus was very religious? Columbus seems like he was very religious because he was telling his crew members about how god brought them there safely and Columbus was also trying to convert the natives to Christianity and he also used words like “heaven” in the text.
2 What kind of leader does Columbus seem to be? In this text he seems like a leader who is  Encouraging, Kind and rewarding.
3 How did they ‘take possession’ of the land they first found? They took control of the land by trading with the islanders to make friendships and then created colonies.
4 What was Columbus’ main intention with the islanders who he (they) met? Columbus’ main intention was to convert them to Christianity as well as to make them into servants and teach some of them how to speak Spanish.
5 What were Columbus’ first impressions of the character of the islanders? (See the October 11 entry) His first impressions were that they could be easily converted to Christianity and that they did not have religion.
6 In the journal entry for October 14th, what do you think Columbus is most interested in? During the October 14th entry, it seems that Columbus is most interested in the gold and resources the land has to offer.
7 What particularly impresses Columbus about the islands? The sights and beautiful lakes. Also the different fruits and resources
8 How are the Europeans treated by the islanders? (November 6) The Europeans were treated very well by the islanders because the islanders had never seen anything like them and the islanders also wanted to share resources with them and learn about their way of life.




What was Columbus’ attitude toward the islanders?  In other word: How exactly did Columbus view the islanders?  Did they impress him?  Does he respect them?  Is the critical of them?  What are his motives for being there?


Columbus’ attitude towards the islanders is a little bit mixed. Columbus is impressed by them because of their knowledge of resources, and the land, and he respects them to a certain degree. However from this text where he says: “They took anything, and gave willingly anything they had” one can see that he thinks they are gullible and desperate at the same time. In this quote though, it shows that he respects them “They must be good servants, and intelligent. For I can see that they quickly repeat anything said to them”. This quote tells us two things, one thing is that he thinks they are intelligent, but the other is that they repeat everything said to them, which could mean he thinks either they are obedient and would make good slaves or servants. 



Columbus perceived the Native Americans by….


Columbus perceived the native Americans in a good light for the most part. He says “All the men I saw were quite young, none older than thirty, all well built, finely bodied and handsome in the face.” Which shows that he doesn’t view them as ugly, but rather as handsome or beautiful. He also perceives them as good craftsmen, which can be seen in this quote: “we found many statues in the shape of a woman, and finely carved heads like masks.” He says finely carved which means he thought it looked good and detailed. Columbus also sees them as obedient, which is shown in this quote: “They must be good servants, and intelligent. For I can see that they quickly repeat anything said to them”.  A reader of this text can see that Columbus thinks that the islanders are well behaved.

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