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Reexamining Christopher Columbus' Legacy12:16
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This 2009 photo shows replicas of the Nina, left, and Pinta, two of the ships in Christopher Columbus' fleet, on Lake Michigan near Green Bay, Wisc. (AP Photo/Columbus Foundation, Morgan Sanger)
This 2009 photo shows replicas of the Nina, left, and Pinta, two of the ships in Christopher Columbus' fleet, on Lake Michigan near Green Bay, Wisc. (AP Photo/Columbus Foundation, Morgan Sanger)
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Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer and navigator from Genoa. And, of course, he didn't actually "discover America." But he did complete four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents.

And, he had an audacious plan to reach the East Indies by sailing westward across the Atlantic. And, in 1492, he landed in what we know today as the Bahamas, believing it to be the eastern shore of Asia.

Those are some of the facts. We also have some popular ideas about Columbus — among them, that he was a greedy conquistador, whose desire for gold fueled his passion for exploration.

And lately, Columbus has been blamed for a lot that went wrong in the new world: from greed to small pox to genocide.

But, Carol Delaney has a radically different view of Columbus. She says Columbus was a man of deep passion, patience and religious conviction.

Note: This conversation originally aired on Oct. 10, 2011.

Guest

Carol Delaney, visiting professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University and author of "Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America."

More

The Atlantic: Rethinking History Class On Columbus Day

  • "Factually, when it comes to Columbus, that’s pretty much where agreement ends. The lyrics then go into exhaustive detail about the sailors’ quest to make landfall, the hospitality of the Native Americans who greeted Columbus and his crew, and the Italian-born explorer’s many return trips to the Americas in search of gold, concluding that 'Columbus was brave, and he was bright' — all of which has been a source of dispute in recent decades."

The New Yorker: A Brief History Of Christopher Columbus And The Spice Trade

  • "Approximately five hundred years ago, in the days of Christopher Columbus, men were much more interested in spice. Men yearned for spice. They burned for spice. They traveled around the entire world for spice. Sex barely registered as an afterthought."

This segment aired on October 12, 2015.

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