1. Presentation on Explorer
2. Inner/Outer Circle
A. In the logbook of Columbus’s first voyage to the New World, what are the primary reasons he gives for wanting to sail to “the lands of India”? Do you think he was revealing the truth? What other motives might have influenced his decision to sail? Can you find evidence of them in this source? How did Columbus treat the inhabitants of the islands? Was Columbus a great explorer who reflected the adventurous spirit of the Renaissance, or an exploiter of peoples?
B. Analyze the sources in the section on the conquest of Mexico. What were Cortes motives in sailing to Mexico? Why did he decide to destroy the Aztecs after having been accepted as conqueror by Montezuma? Compare the two accounts of Cortes and Sahagun regarding the destruction of Tenochtilan by the Spanish. How do you explain Cortes’s statements that “there was not one man among us whose heart did not bleed at the sound” of the slaughter? Who bears the primary responsibility for the Aztecs destruction? Cotes? His Indian allies? or Montezuma himself? Is Cortes’s attitudetoward Amerindians consistent with that of Columbus? Were they explorers or exploiters
Primary Documents: Age of Exploration