European Exploration of America

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What did Christopher Columbus discover in the New World?

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After the first voyage of "discovery", Christopher Columbus finds a previously unknown group of people known as the Arawak or Taino people.  Columbus describes the group of native people in the Caribbean as docile, friendly, and generous.  This is described in Columbus' log as follows:

They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... 

Columbus and the Spanish would have really liked to find gold in the New World.  That was their great hope.  They did not find the amounts of gold and silver that they hoped for, but they would use the native people that they found as slaves in a desire to make the voyages and colonies profitable. Columbus was excited about using the native populations as slaves to enrich Spain and himself.  Columbus would exaggerate the riches of the new land to secure funds for future voyages.  These voyages and the colonization of the new lands thrust Spain as a world imperial power in the 16th Century.  

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