What did Columbus mean when he said the people were "very deficient in everything"?

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jgrodsky | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who sailed across the Atlantic and landed in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America on four different voyages and claimed to have 'discovered' these lands. On one of these voyages, in 1492 Columbus encountered the Taino, the native people of the island, and wrote a journal entry about his impressions of them. In his journal entry he stated "that the people were very deficient in everything" which ultimately could be translated to the fact that the native people had a very different culture and way of life than Columbus was accustomed to.  He further noted that the natives "did not bear arms and did not know of them", they did not know of iron as their weapons were not swords, and they were also not Christians. These are the things that Columbus valued and respected so he believed that this made the natives 'deficient'.      

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