As for discovering the Americas, many people have pointed out over the years that for something to be discovered it must first be “lost,” and the millions of people already living in the New World certainly didn’t need to be “discovered.” But more than that, Columbus stubbornly stuck to his guns for the rest of his life.
He always believed that the lands he found were the easternmost fringe of Asia and that the rich markets of Japan and India were just a little farther away.
The Europeans, with ships, guns, fancy clothes, and shiny trinkets, made quite an impression on the tribes of the Caribbean, whose technology was far behind that of Europe. For example, he made friends with a local chieftain on the Island of Hispaniola named Guacanagari because he needed to leave some of his men behind.
But Columbus also captured other natives for use as slaves.
The practice of slavery was common and legal in Europe at the time, and the slave trade was very lucrative.
Columbus never forgot that his voyage was not one of exploration, but of economics.
He had not found Asia, he said, because of the bulging part of the pear near the stalk. Isabella and her husband Ferdinand, fresh from the conquest of Moorish kingdoms in the south of Spain, had more than enough money to send someone like Columbus sailing off to the west in three second-rate ships.
He had tried to get financing from other kingdoms like England and Portugal, with no success.
His discovery opened the doors to the conquistadors who looted the mighty Aztec and Inca Empires and slaughtered natives by the thousands, but this, too, would likely have happened when someone else inevitably discovered the New World.
If one must hate Columbus, it is far more reasonable to do so for other reasons.