Why did Columbus’ status change from hero to criminal by the end of the third voyage?
On the third voyage of Christopher Columbus, which began in 1498, Columbus was met with political disaster. While Columbus and his crew were the first to set foot on South American soil during this voyage, Columbus was met with great personal and political disaster. After becoming ill, Columbus and his crew set sail for Santo Domingo. Upon arrival, the admiral was met with extreme discontent by the colonists living on the island of Hispaniola. The settlers were unhappy with the economic conditions that existed and were disillusioned by the lack of gold in the new lands. As a result, Columbus, as governor of Hispaniola, was forced to put down an insurrection and executed many of the perpetrators.
Because of the social unrest that existed, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sent a commissioner to investigate problems in the colony. The commissioner, Francisco de Bobadilla, felt Columbus had done an inadequate job as governor and had him arrested. Bobadilla took certain liberties that were not intended by the royal family. Columbus, as well as his two brothers who had assisted him, were sent back to Spain as prisoners in October of 1500. While the monarchy acquitted Columbus and were shocked by Bobadilla's treatment of the explorer, they were not at liberty to re-install him as the governor of Santo Domingo.