Columbus’ Leadership: Smart Or Silly? Essay

737 words - 3 pages

In Columbus’ Log of his first voyage it is clearly seen that he ran a tight ship, in order to make sure his voyage was completed without hassle. Columbus’ future and power were at stake when he decided to make the trip across the ocean to search for India. As he put his position on the line he faced the possibility of mutiny, starvation, and death during his long and hard voyage. According to French and Poska in Women and Gender in the Western Past, “Early modern Europeans expanded their wealth and power through overseas exploration and conquest” (French and Poska, p.246), this power and wealth is what led Christopher Columbus to take a daring conquest into uncharted territories risking, not only his life, but his future as an explorer. I am going to argue that because of the way Columbus controlled and even lied to his crew members and fleet, he was able to make his was successfully to the new world.
A main concern on this voyage was the possibility of mutiny, and throughout his log Columbus admits to lying to his crew members, “For it was always feigned to them that the distances were less, so the voyage might not appear so long” (Columbus, p. 102). In order to prevent this mutiny Columbus had to convince his crew that the voyage was going just as it had been planned. Since all he knew was that the world was only about a third of what it really was, Columbus had assumed that the voyage would be a short distance but it turned out to be longer than anticipated. In addition to lying about the distances in his logs, Columbus also was continuously pointing out signs that there were islands close and soon his crew would reach land. He constantly referred to seeing boobies, he wrote that this was, “A sign of the proximity of the land” (Columbus, p. 99). By showing these signs of supposed close land, he kept up his crews moral which allowed them to continue with their voyage blind to the fact that Columbus didn’t know how long it would be before they reach land. Columbus didn’t have much of an idea as to how close or how far he...

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