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Exploration of America: Role of Christopher Columbus and John Smith in American History

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Christopher Columbus and John Smith are very important in the United States’ history. They are both always remembered as successful explorers and also the ego in their leadership. Christopher Columbus found the “New World”, America. He took every opportunity and considered to be a leader never gave up, and even return to influence after a major misfortune. On the other hand, John Smith is seen as a hero, who was a devoted man to his country, England. He wanted nothing more than to declare America in the name of the king. However, it is clear that they both believed in their skills and abilities. Their letters were full of imaginations and fiction in order to convince their sponsors that they can deliver.

Christopher Columbus was one of the most famous explorers of the 15th century. He was an Italian explorer who has interest in exploring the West Indies. He made a daring trip when he set sail for the Indies since he knew he was headed to some tough conditions: rough water, bad weather, and maybe even a dangerous crowded group of people. He is credited with inspiring the Spanish settlement and colonization in America. Before his expeditions, the Europeans believed it was impossible that the ship could cross the Atlantic Ocean to the west to support his crew with water and food. His work is a contribution in devising ways of crossing the ocean to the west to establish new trade ties. Thus, the Columbus’ voyage was a great success. He won the Spanish empire's trust from the king to the public during this voyage.

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In 1493, he wrote a letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The letter presents the theme of the society at the time. From the letters Columbus wrote to Spain after his voyage, his description of the nature of the new islands seems to be more imagination than reality. He used imagination to write about the newly discovered islands. His letter about the inhabitants, the productivity, fertility, and diversity of the islands was very optimistic and inspiring. Therefore, these letters were intended to show his loyalty to the Queen and King of Spain and the Spanish Empire. He wrote in his letter:” To the first island which I found I gave the name San Salvador, in remembrance of the Divine Majesty, Who has marvelously bestowed all this; the Indians call it “Guanahani.” To the second I gave the name Isla de Santa Maria de Concepcion; to the third, Fernandina; to the fourth, Isabella; to the fifth Isla Juana, and so to each one I gave a new name.” When he discovered the islands, although he knew these islands already had names by the Indians, he did not hesitate to name it in honor of the Spanish King and for religious reasons.

John Smith was a soldier, or as known as a hero who has remained in the History books for his role in establishing a British colony in America. He ruled the British colony of Virginia, based in Jamestown for a year from late 1608 to late 1609. During his reign, he used his experience as a soldier and an explorer to lead. Early exploration of the great rivers around the colony. Smith first became involved in the plan to establish a British colony in North America in 1606 for personal gain with a company in London that had been chartered by the King of England. By the end of the year, Smith led an expedition team with three small ships heading toward Virginia. During the voyage, Smith became a troublemaker and the captain planned to execute him when the ship arrived. However, he was spared because the king appointed him to be one of the colonial council members. He was later captured during his discovery expedition and he was taken to Chief Powhatans, who planned to execute him. However, he was rescued by the chief's daughter the day he was executed and he was released. His expeditions were foraging because the colony faced collapse due to adverse weather, lack of food and water.

During the time of leadership, more and more settlers from England settled in their colonies. In order to satisfy his ego, he conquered and proudly took hostages and killed the leaders of neighboring communities. He used his authority to force communities to surrender to their food reserves. However, his administration encountered resistance from the indigenous people who fought against the colonists. During the fight, he was seriously injured. When he returned to England for treatment in late 1609, he never returned to Virginia. Although the author's credibility has been widely criticized, the work of his experiences in the New World is inspired by the need to promote European colonies in North America. He was criticized for describing how he was saved by the chief's daughter Pocahontas. However, he did not exaggerate the truth about Americans and warned his readers about the dangers that might occur as a result of the establishment of colonies in the United States. Although he is considered a liar and a coward by some historians, some consider him a hero not only in discovery and leadership but also in literature. His story of Pocahontas has stood the test of time and he is considered the father of American history classics. The time gap between when the letter was written and when it was received increased some speculation about whether what was recorded was actually happening. It is thought that smith created the story himself. By the time the letter was analyzed, all witnesses of the ratio may have died and thus the details could not be verified. Some historians claim that Smith invented the ratio to add quality to his fictional work and thus is considered the father of literary models.

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Exploration of America: Role of Christopher Columbus and John Smith in American History. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Exploration of America: Role of Christopher Columbus and John Smith in American History.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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