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Old March 30th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #1

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Why did Christopher Columbus, the genius, fail?


After considering Columbus skills in observation, political persuasion, and managing people we can clearly call the man who managed to convince Queen Isabella to invest in such a risky, unfound venture, and then reach the Americas in one piece while surrounded by criminals a genius. But, despite all this, why did he fail so bitterly in Hispaniola? Why was his return to Europe so depressing, and why did his final voyage result in shipwreck, part mutiny and near death? To blame tyranny on his part would not suffice, since the times commonly witnessed iron fist rule. So, why such failure from such genius?

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Old March 30th, 2011, 06:07 PM   #2

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Genius? He was a brave and clever man, but I don't think there's any evidence he was a genius.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #3

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Genius? He was a brave and clever man, but I don't think there's any evidence he was a genius.
I guess that comes down to the way you define genius. You have to admit that he was able to picture what others could not and found ways to pursue it. The way he was able to manipulate cultures he came across without knowing anything about them was, not very ethical, but cunning to say the least. For instance, using a forecast of an eclipse to persuade the natives that the gods would be angry unless they gave him food was quite a trick.

But, getting back to the original question, why the failures?
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Old March 30th, 2011, 06:34 PM   #4

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He proved he was human with all the frailties and faults humans have?
A great deed once isn't an automatic stamp of approval with the other decisions to follow.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 12:41 AM   #5

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For starters he was an outsider in Castille and he kind of got a lucky shot when Isabelle decided to support his voyage. But oh oh oh oh... oh boy... it was more then an ephemeral sojourn: he discovered land! This is when the political intrigues of the day start to work. You can imagine that back at the court of Castille a number of nobles of pure Castillian blood weren't exactly to keen on having outsiders like Columbus take all the credit in whatever that newly discovered land had to hold.

Nothing Columbus could do against it, he was an outsider and would always remain so. Just an adventurer that became the victim of his own succes.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 02:29 AM   #6

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i don't think columbus "failed" but he was a greedy man and this caused many of his problems...
kind of strange here in the US that he was credited for "discovering" when he never stepped a foot in our country...
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Old March 31st, 2011, 02:56 AM   #7

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i don't think columbus "failed" but he was a greedy man and this caused many of his problems...
kind of strange here in the US that he was credited for "discovering" when he never stepped a foot in our country...
The man ended up in jail after being governor of Hispanola. His title was taken away, and it was supposed to have been for his children and grandchildren. He lost his revenue, but, and this is why I say he was intelligent, he somehow obtained funding for another expedition to China. Of course, the expedition was doomed from the start, but it was failure after failure, not just in finding China, but also in converting the natives to Christianity, exploring for gold, and even in keeping his men in line. His ships sunk, leaving him stranded on Jamaica. He made it back to Europe, but only to live an existence of shame. Id say he failed.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 02:59 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by gaius valerius View Post
For starters he was an outsider in Castille and he kind of got a lucky shot when Isabelle decided to support his voyage. But oh oh oh oh... oh boy... it was more then an ephemeral sojourn: he discovered land! This is when the political intrigues of the day start to work. You can imagine that back at the court of Castille a number of nobles of pure Castillian blood weren't exactly to keen on having outsiders like Columbus take all the credit in whatever that newly discovered land had to hold.

Nothing Columbus could do against it, he was an outsider and would always remain so. Just an adventurer that became the victim of his own succes.
So it was envy/discrimination. Makes sense. Too bad his own people didn't appreciate him.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 04:48 AM   #9

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Quote:
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i don't think columbus "failed" but he was a greedy man and this caused many of his problems...
kind of strange here in the US that he was credited for "discovering" when he never stepped a foot in our country...
Depends... If you are apparently aware of something we don't know which says that the Carribean is not part of America...

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So it was envy/discrimination. Makes sense. Too bad his own people didn't appreciate him.
But Jake10, that's the point: he was not Castillian, they weren't his own people, far from it. He wasn't even a noble. He was a foreigner, and even so, had he been Castillian he would've ended up the same since he didn't belong to the inner upper circle.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 05:00 AM   #10

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I wouldn't say Columbus was a genius,to be honest.
Very talented yes.
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