“How did the faith and courage of Christopher Columbus give to mankind a new world?”
By Christina Rasmusson
Christopher Columbus did so much more than just discover a new world in the literal sense—he showed us that with a hunger for discovery and an effort, no matter how impossible our dreams may be, we can achieve anything. Stepping onto the beach of the Americas, he not only looked up to gaze upon the threshold of a new land, but also of a new idea. His landing was the conception of a mindset that not even he could have been aware of—his landing was pure coincidence, but it pushed the western world into an entirely new direction just when it needed it the most. Columbus taught people that wholly following our ambitions will lead to success, to happiness, and to new beginnings. Whether he meant for it to or not, his example of high faith and indomitable courage gave humankind the start of something that can never be forgotten.
Christopher Columbus dedicated his entire life to the journey he made to the Americas. It’s true that he did not end up where he had originally intended to go, but his discovery was profound to his own life, the lives of the Spanish kingdom, and eventually all Europeans and their descendants. This awe-inspiring result could not have been achieved without Columbus’ faith in himself. For Columbus, it was a destiny given straight from God that beckoned him to the sea, and because of his amazing navigational skills and instincts on the sea, it is no surprise he thought so. In every step of the way, he believed in his abilities wholeheartedly, and without question. Even when faced with the terrifying mystery of the Atlantic, he was unaffected by the myths of the sea monsters, the fear of the sailors, and the unfortunate truth of the deaths caused from sailing the huge, rough ocean. Columbus never doubted that he would use his incomparable talents to sail his three ships to land. His faith in himself was so strong that it radiated from him, an exuberant confidence that captured the support of the Spanish monarchs—even against the warnings of their own best scholars, who warned them that Columbus’ math was wrong, and would not get him to Asia. To gain an audience such as the Spanish king and queen is a feat in and of itself, and he was so dedicated to what he believed in that his faith was infectious to them. They trusted his faith more than they trusted their own knowledge of the world. Even after his failed journeys, when Columbus was alone and on his death bed, he never lost faith. He wanted to die a martyr for his journey. Columbus’ faith had no limit; to him it was truth, and that is why the term “faith”, by itself, is not fit for him. He had a high faith, a faith unbreakable, a faith incomparable.
Columbus’ high faith was an asset to him, but it was not his only asset. His trek across the Atlantic needed something else: courage. Like his faith, his courage showed through more strongly than other people’s courage, and it was an active force in his life. It’s not an easy task to leave a familiar place for a new one, and this is something he did several times in his life. Before him, hardly anyone had dared to sail the Atlantic. Most who attempted died, and in fact, Columbus knew of no one who successfully traveled there and back. Columbus asked the monarchs of a foreign country to fund his voyage, and had the audacity to ask for even more: ten percent of the profits, noble status, and governorship. When this was granted, he set off into the Atlantic with his three ships, refusing to turn back, even when his crew had lost all hope. Upon seeing land, Columbus did not hesitate to claim the land for Spain and start communicating with the natives. As an adventurer, his courage shaped the course of his journey, helping him dominate the powerful ocean and anyone who had doubts about him. His courage to begin on these journeys surpasses even some of the most inspiring figures in history.
From the moment he decided to find a path to Asia through the Atlantic, Columbus gave Europe something amazing. His discovery of the New World helped expand Europe, both in physical space and in the spirit of its people. The previously very controlled, crowded European society seem unfavorable for people. Receiving opportunities to start anew in a newly-discovered place was like a dream come true for many. Despite not receiving anything near the amount of riches promised to them by Columbus, people could not be disappointed with the independent, free life that The Americas showed. With the idea that with new scenery comes new opportunities, immigrants voyaged to the Americas, just as Columbus did, in what may have been the start of the American Dream.
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“Christopher Columbus.” History.com A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.history.com/topics/christopher-columbus>