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Christopher Columbus - Questions for Writing Class

October 9 2006

Answer the following on a separate sheet of paper:

  • What did Columbus hope to discover on his first voyage? Did he succeed? Was he successful? (What is success?) Why or why not .

  • Why did Columbus have so much trouble finding someone who would help pay for his voyage? How did most people react to his plans? Why do you think Isabella and Ferdinand finally agreed to sponsor him?

  • During Columbus' day, many people still believed that the earth was flat. Some sailors thought that if they sailed too far from shore they would literally sail off the edge of the world. Yet Columbus found 120 men willing to make that first voyage with him. Why do you think these men were willing to take such a risk? Why do you think Columbus wanted to sail into the unknown?

  • If you had lived during Columbus' day, would you have wanted to make that first voyage with him? Why or why not?

  • Columbus and his men spent more than a month traveling unknown seas before they finally reached land. What thoughts might have gone through their minds during the journey? What fears might they have encountered? How do you think they felt when they finally saw land?

  • Columbus has been credited with the discovery of the New World. How might history have differed if he hadn't made this discovery? (Would history have been any different? Do you think it was just a matter of time until some discovered America, or could the continent have gone undiscovered for centuries longer?)

  • Do you think the discovery and eventual settlement of North and South America were primarily good or primarily bad? Why?

  • Columbus dreamed of sailing west to reach the east. What dreams do you have?

  • Columbus spent years trying to achieve his dreams? What are you doing to help you achieve your dreams? What else could you be doing?

  • Today some people refuse to celebrate Columbus Day because of the injustices European settlers inflicted on indigenous peoples. Do you think the holiday should be celebrated? Why or why not?