A People's History of the United States Questions and Answers
by Howard Zinn

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In A People's History of the United States, what are the five most important things Zinn says about Columbus?

Five important things Zinn says about Columbus in A People's History of the United States are that Columbus didn't really know what he was doing, that he was not on a humanitarian mission, that he was hostile towards the Indigenous people, that he used religion to justify his brutal treatment of them, and that "progress" has been used to justify his brutal actions.

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There are many important points in Howard Zinn's first chapter on Christopher Columbus, and here are five of them.

Asia

Zinn writes that Columbus did not set out to discover the lands that would become known as the Americas. He wanted to sail to Asia. It just so happened that he stumbled upon the America lands. Zinn's point suggests that Columbus might not have been such an "expert sailor." If he had such a talent for navigation, he probably should have been able to complete his original mission: finding gold in Asia.

Gold

The above leads to the second point: Columbus's motivation for the expeditions. His aims were not philanthropic. They were materialistic. He wanted gold, honor, and fame.

Columbus was the hostile one

According to Zinn, Columbus wrote that the Indigenous people

are so naïve and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone.

You...

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 * Columbus would never have made it to Asia, which was thousands of miles farther away than he had planned, imagining a smaller world.
  * The information that Columbus wanted most was gold.
  * On Hispaniola, Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas).
  * Zinn said not that he must, in telling history, blame, judge, convict Columbus in absentia. And it’s too late for that.
  * Columbus and his successors were not coming into an empty desert, but into a place which was as densely populated as Europe, where the culture was complex, and not simple.

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