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The answer to the question of whether or not Christopher Columbus was a hero or villain is complicated. The Europeans alive when he sailed to the New World in 1492 would certainly have considered him a hero, for he introduced them to a new continent to colonize and extract wealth...

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The answer to the question of whether or not Christopher Columbus was a hero or villain is complicated. The Europeans alive when he sailed to the New World in 1492 would certainly have considered him a hero, for he introduced them to a new continent to colonize and extract wealth (gold, silver, profits from agriculture) and resources (sugar, vanilla, tobacco, etc.). Moreover, Columbus--a very pious man--truly believed he was accomplishing the will of God.

The indigenous Americans, on the contrary, would have doubtlessly considered him a villain. He and his men exploited the natives and treated them harshly, and the Europeans who later colonized the New World obliterated the indigenous Americans and their cultures.

Thus, the answer to your question is that Columbus exhibited both heroic and villainous characteristics. He was pious and courageous--willing to explore uncharted waters and lands--but he could also be quite cruel.

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