Yingcen Xie

1.Columbus–Hero or villain? 

Fernandez-Armesto, F. (1992). “Columbus–Hero or villain?”. History Today, 42(5), 4.

Excerpt: “Columbus deserves the credit or blame only for what he actually did: which was to discover a route that permanently linked the shores of the Atlantic and to contribute – more signally, perhaps, than any other individual – to the long process by which once sundered peoples of the world were brought together in a single network of communications, which exposed them to the perils and benefits of mutual contagion and exchange. Whether or not one regards this as meritorious achievement, there was a genuine touch of heroism in it – both in the scale of its effects and in the boldness which inspired it. There had been many attempts to cross the Atlantic in central latitudes, but all – as far as we know – failed because the explorers clung to the zone of westerly winds in an attempt to secure a passage home. Columbus was the first to succeed precisely because he had the courage to sail with the wind at his back.”

Notes: This paragraph summary shows how Christopher Columbus did to today’s world, for example, he discovered a route that connected the shores of the Atlantic and helps the world to connect together. Also, it shows Columbus’s courage to cross the sea and explore new world.

Use: This paragraph is very useful for me when I want to prove my opinion that Christopher Columbus is a hero because it shows that Columbus is a man who has a lot of courage to explore a new navigation line and also, it shows Columbus’s great achievement, which is that finding the new world.


2.Columbus, Christopher

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages(2000)

Excerpt: “COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER (1451-1506). Born at Genoa in 1451 to a family of weavers, Columbus there acquired the practical education of 15th-c. merchants and sailors. He first went to sea in the service of Genoese businessmen, to Lisbon from 1476, then along the African coast, to Madeira, the Canaries and Azores. His reading, his experience of the sea and the information he gathered persuaded him that it was possible to “reach the Levant [China and Japan] via the Ponant”. Early in 1484, he put his project to the king of Portugal, who treated him as a crank. Columbus then left for Palos in Spain where he gained the support of the Franciscans, some nobles and Genoese and Florentine businessmen established at Seville. He completed his reading and was introduced to court, but had to wait for the capture of Granada before Queen Isabella would accept his project: the capitulations of Santa Fe (17-30 April 1492) specified the conditions of the expedition, financed by Italian bankers and “Marranos” in favour at court.”

Notes: This paragraph shows Columbus’s childhood and gives some information about the reason for Columbus to be a sailor. And also, the statement tells how Columbus got support to realize his dream. This shows that Columbus is a person who had persistence with his dream.

Use: I think this excerpt is useful because it shows Columbus’s childhood. Childhood is the most important part in a person’s life, and this paragraph tells us the reason for Columbus to be a sailor. If he did not want to be a sailor, he could not find the new world. Columbus’s childhood is very important for me to explain why he is a hero.


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