Christopher Columbus Summary

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Chapter 1 Questions

How did the arrival of Columbus lead to the decline of the Arawaks?
The arrival of Columbus lead to the decline of the Arawaks because of many factors. Columbus took advantage of the Arawaks’ land, resources, and people. As Zinn mentioned, the Arawaks lived in Bahama Island (which Columbus arrived on) and they were known to be very kind and generous. The Arawaks had great agriculture and weaving skills; they had farms of corn, yams, cassava. But lacked on having working animals and iron. What intrigued Columbus the most was their gold earrings. With no iron and real tools of defense, the Arawaks became defenseless.
This is when Christopher Columbus used their weaknesses and his search for gold to his advantage. He took some of the Arawak people as prisoners to guide him to where they got the gold. After finding the area where the gold was located, Columbus decided to make promises to the Majesties about bringing back more gold and more slaves. On his second expedition to find gold and slaves, Columbus took fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, children and enslaved them; then proceeded to pick five hundred of the best Arawak people on ship. Of those five hundred people, three hundred died on ship.
Arawaks knew they were faced with terrible hardships; large amounts of their people were dying, and being sold as slaves. So the Arawaks decided to fight back. Unfortunately they were left with the problem they had in the beginning, no iron (which means no
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