St. Ignatius

Columbus Court Case


Before you do anything...

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2. If you would like to go straight to the source list, scroll to the bottom.



Are you trying to make a case against, or for, Christopher Columbus, or any of the players in this trial?  Why not use their own words? Use primary sources. Here are a few to get you started:  

  1. This is the letter that Chris C.  wrote to the royal treasurer, Luis de Santángel, in 1493 after his first landing.  According to some, Luis provided the money for the trip and helped sway Izzie and Ferdinand...sounds like a big player to me.

  2. This is a helpful explanation of another letter that Columbus wrote, this one to Izzie and Ferdinand.  In this letter, Chris “provides observations of the native people’s culture and lack of weapons, noting that ‘they are destitute of arms, which are entirely unknown to them, and for which they are not adapted; not on account of any bodily deformity, for they are well made, but because they are timid and full of terror.’”  Weighty stuff. Here is the actual letter.


Wait, back you need more of an overview of the whole situation? Look no further. 

  1. The Library of Congress (or the Notorious LOC, as some call it)  has an online exhibition called 1492: An Ongoing Voyage. The exhibit is chock-full of useful info like: Who lived in the Americas before 1492? Who followed in the wake of Columbus? What was the effect of 1492 for Americans throughout the Western Hemisphere? And examines the myths and facts surrounding the figure of Columbus, and the differences and similarities between European and American world views at the time of contact.”  

  2. Who were the Taino?*

  3. Where are the Taino now? 


What does the library have, you ask? A lot! 

  1. We have access to something called Issues & Controversies in American History*.  This website (a subscription database, actually) has a whole section called Columbus's Voyages to the Americas: How Should His Legacy Be Assessed?* That sounds like it might come in handy.  The Columbus section actually has a tab called “A Case for” and “A Case against”.  

  2. We also have several other databases that would be very helpful for this project like: 

  • JSTOR* Very deep, very academic database. 
  • U.S. History In Context*  Articles from magazines, academic journals, primary sources, and more with a slant towards U.S. History. 
  • World History In Context* Articles from magazines, academic journals, primary sources, and more with a slant towards World History.


By the way, DON'T FORGET THE BOOKS!  We’ve got plenty in the library, and they really can be much easier to use than jumping down the research rabbit hole that is the Internet. Here are a few of the 100s of books that  we have on the subject.  Stop by the library and we will help you find what you’re looking for.


Source List:





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