Primary Source – Topic # 3 – Food and the Columbian Exchange: Choose One of the Authors

538       PART V The Early Modem World
Food and the
Columbian Exchange
Textbook’s Introduction to the Topic (Background only): When Columbus set foot on the island of Hispaniola in October 1492, he began a complex process of interaction between the Old
World and the New known as the “Columbian Exchange.” This process had a profound impact – both positive and negative – on both civilizations. 

Among the many aspects of European and Amerindian life that each encountered was food. The Spanish introduced such vegetation as wheat, bananas, oranges and lemons, grapes, and sugar cane to the Westem Hemisphere. The early European visi-
tors also brought goats, sheep, horses, pigs, chickens, and cattle to the New World, with adverse ecological results, for as these animals roamed the ranges they destroyed the roots of plants and ate the leaves. On the other hand, as we have seen, the diet of much of the rest of the world was dramatically changed as vegetables and plants indigenous to the Americas were introduced to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The earliest Europeans in the Western Hemisphere reveled at the foods the Amerindians grew, manufactured, and ate but noted the absence of familiar items. From Columbus to Cortes, they recorded their findings in great detail.

Who are the authors?

The authors below include Columbus, Hernan Cortes (a conquistador), Bernal Diaz del Castillo (likewise) and Roger Barlow. Barlow’s is the most difficult to read because it is written in 16th Century English. The others have been translated into English from 16th Century Spanish.

FIR S T ENCOUNTER
During this time I walked among the trees, which the most beautiful I have ever seen. I saw as much greenery, in such density, as I would have seen in Andalusia in May. And all of the trees are as differ from ours as day is from night, and so are the fruits, herbage, the rocks, and everything. . . . 

This morning I took the small boat and went the river until I reached fresh water, which might be about six miles. I beached the boat and went ashore climbing a slight elevation in order to learn something about this country, but I could not see any because of the thick forest, which was very fresh and fragrant. I have no doubt that there are many aromatic herbs here. Everything is so beautiful that my eyes never weary of seeing such a sight, nor could ever tire of the songs of the birds, both large and small. …

There are trees . . . that give a fruit like apricot, which is full of small seeds like the seeds fig, red as scarlet which the inhabitants eat, but to it is none too good. . . . There are also some like
the artichoke plant but four times as tall, which gives a fruit in the shape of a pine cone, twice as big, which fruit is excellent, and it can be cut with a knife like turnip and it seems to be very wholesome ….

All the land around the village is cultivated, and a river flows through the middle of the valley. It is very large and wide and could irrigate all the I around. All the trees are green and full of fruit, the plants are in flower and very tall. The roads wide and good, and the breezes are like those in Castile in the month of April. The nightingales other small birds sing as they do in Spain in the month, and it is the greatest pleasure in the world Small birds sing sweetly during the night, and one can hear many crickets and frogs. The fish are the same as in Spain. There are many mastic trees and aloes and cotton trees.

Primary Source # 1:

The Log of Christopher Columbus, trans. Robert H. Fuson International
Marine Publishers, Copyright © Reprinted with permission,1992.

MANIOC: A NEW WORLD STAPLE

Several weeks after arriving in the Bahamas , Columbus tasted a local bread made from manioc (known to the Spanish as yuca and to the
Eng
lish as cassava). Manioc had been under cultivation in the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years and to this day remains a staple for millions of people in the tropics. A fast-growing shrub, the manioc plant produces large tubular roots that provide starch energy on a subsistence level. It is generally made into a paste or a porridge eaten with a sauce or made into a flour. Columbus discusses manioc in his journal .

They [the Amerindians] brought the bread of niamas [rnanioc], which are tubers and look like large radishes. These are planted in all their fields and are their staff of life. They make bread from them and boil and roast them, and they taste like chestnuts. . . .

These fields are planted mostly with ajes.

The Indians sow little shoots from which small roots grow that look like carrots. They serve this bread by grating and kneading it, then baking
it in the fire. They plant a small shoot from the iaIlle root again in another place, and once more it produces four or five of these roots. They
are very palatable and taste exactly like chestnuts. The ones grown here are the largest and best I have seen anywhere. I have also seen them in Guinea, but those that grow there are thick as your leg.

The Log of Christopher Columbus, trans. Robert H. Fuson International Publishers, Copyright © Reprinted with permission, 1992.

From Poison to Food

Some forms of manioc, however, are poisonous and must be processed to be safe to consume. Roger Barlow, a 16th-century English writer, described the process in his A Brief Summe of Geographie.

[The Amerindians rub the manioc root] on a stone and so it turneth to curdes, which thei take and put in a long, narowe bagge made of ryndes
of trees, and so press out the liquor and gather it in a vessell, and when the iuce is out ther resteth in the bagge the floure as fyne and white as the snowe, wherof thei make cakys and bake them upon the fier in a panne, and after this be bakyn it is a very good brede, holsome and        medecinable, and will endure a yere without corruptyng. And likewise thei take the licour and seethe it over the fyre and after that it is a good drynke and of grete sustenaunce and strength, but and if one shuld drinke of it before it were boiled over the fire, and litle quantite as wold into a nuttys shelle, thei suld die inconrvnent.

From Alfred W. Crosby, Jr.. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and
C
ultural Consequences of 1492, Greenwood Press, Copyright © 1971.

Please note: Crosby is the editor of the book, not the author of the text. The author is Roger Barlow, above.

A FOOD OF THE AMERINDIANS

As the Spanish conquistadors ravaged Mexican and South American cultures, they were generally forced to live off the land and to become accustomed to eating local foods.

Hernan Cortes

The food they [the inhabitants of islands off the Yucatan] eat is maize and some chili peppers, as on the other islands, and patata yuca, just the same as is eaten in Cuba, and they eat it roast, for they do not make bread of it; and they both hunt and fish and breed many chickens [probably turkeys] such as those found on Tierra Firme,
which are as big as peacocks.

From Hernan Cortes. Letters from Mexico, trans. and ed. A. R. Pagden Yale University Press, Copyright © 1971.

540        PART V The Early Modem World
Bernal Diaz del Castillo  

When we got on shore we found three Caciques, one of them the governor appointed by Montezuma, who had many of the Indians of his household with him. They brought many of the fowls of the country and maize bread such as they always eat, and fruits such as pineapples and zapotes, which in other parts are called mameies, and they were seated under the shade of the trees, and had spread mats on the ground, and they invited us to be seated, all by signs, for [ulianillo the man from Cape Catoche, did not
understand their language, which is Mexican. Then they brought pottery braziers with live coals, and fumigated us with a sort of resin.

From Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, 1517 – 1521, ed. Genaro Garcia and trans. A. P. Maudslay Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Copyright © 1956.
ON WINE AND OTHER SPIRITS
The Spanish enjoyed wine made from grapes, which Europeans had produced since ancient times. As early as his second voyage in 1493, Columbus brought with him seeds and cuttings from numerous plants, including vines, but Europeans soon discovered that the climate was right only in Peru, Chile, and what is now Argentina. By 1614, one vineyard in Chile produced some 200,000 jugs of wine. The conquistadors found that the Amerindians had their own version of wine made from the maguey plant, a member of the aloe family. When drunk fresh from the plant, the sap is known as aguamiel, or honey water.” When fermented, however, the resulting syrupy liquor becomes
pulque, a beverage still consumed in the region today. When the Europeans distilled pulque, they pro duced a higher-proof alcohol liquor known today as Tequila.
This city has many squares where trading is done and markets are held continuously. There is also one square twice as big as that of
Salamanca, with arcades all around, where more than sixty thousand people come each day to buy and sell, and where every kind of merchandise produced in these lands is found; provision!
as well as ornaments of gold and silver, lead, brass, copper, tin, stones, shells, bones, and feathers. They also sell lime, hewn and unhewn stone, adobe bricks, tiles, and cut and uncut woods of various kinds. There is a street where they sell game and birds of every species found in this land: chickens, partridges and quails,
wild ducks, ‘fly-catchers, widgeons, turtledoves, pigeons, cane birds, parrots, eagles and eagle owls, falcons, sparrow hawks and kestrels, and they sell the skins of some of these birds of prey
with their feathers, heads and claws. They sell rabbits and hares, and stags and small gelded dogs which they breed for eating. 

There are streets of herbalists where all medicinal herbs and roots found in the land are sold. There are shops like apothecaries’, where they sell ready-made medicines as well as liquid
ointments and plasters. There are shops like barbers’ where they have their hair washed and shaved, and shops where they sell food and drink. There are also men like porters to carry
loads. There is much firewood and charcoal, earthenware braziers and mats of various kinds like mattresses for beds, and other, finer ones,’seats and for covering rooms and hallways. There is every sort of vegetable, especially onions, leeks, garlic, common cress and watercress, borage, sorrel, teasels and artichokes;
there are many sorts of fruit, among which are cherries and plums like those in Spain.

They sell honey, wax, and a syrup made from maize canes, which is as sweet and syrup that is made from the sugar cane. They
make syrup from a plant which in the islands are

called maguey, which is much better than most ~TUp , and from this plant they also make sugar and wine, which they likewise sell. There are many sorts of spun cotton, in hanks of every color, and it seems like the silk market atGranada, except here there is a much greater quantity. They sell as many colors for painters as may be found in Spain and all of excellent hues. They sell deerskins, with and without the hair, and some are dyed white or in various colors, They sell much earthenware, which for the most part is very good; there are both large and small pitchers, jugs, pots, tiles, and many other sorts of vessel, all of good clay and most of them glazed and painted. They sell maize both as a grain and as bread and it is better both in appearance and in taste than any found in the island or on the mainland. They sell chicken and fish pies, and much fresh and salted fish, as well a raw and cooked fish. They sell hens and eggs, and egg of all the other birds I have mentioned, in great number, and they sell tor nuas made from eggs.

Hernan Cortes, Letters from Mexico, trans, and ed. A. R. Pagden
Yale University Press, Copyright © 1971.
FOOD AT THE ROYAL PALACE
The Amerindians ate a number of foods that the Europeans found strange and sometimes disquieting, including dogs and worms from the maguey plant. Columbus records that on first landing in  the Americas he encountered “a serpent” about six
‘cedong, no doubt an iguana, which his men killed-  

The people here eat them and the meat is white and
tender like chicken.Diaz del Castillo tells that when
met the Caciques, “they wished to kill us
andd eat our flesh, and had already prepared the pots with salt and peppers and tomatoes,Cortes wrote briefly of the kind of foods eaten in Montezumas home.

When they brought food to Montezuma they also provided for all those chiefs to each according to his rank; and their servants and followers were also given to eat. The pantry and the wine stores were left opeAn each day for those who wished to eat and drink. Three or four hundred boys came bringing the dishes, which were without number, for each time he lunched or dined, he was brought every kind of food: meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
From Hernan Cortes, Letters from Mexico, trans. and ed. A. R. Pagden
Yale University Press, Copyright © 1971.
Montezuma’s Banquet  

Diaz del Castillo give a detailed description of a
g
reat banquet.

For each meal, over thirtv-different dishes were prepared by his cooks according to their ways and usage, and they placed small pottery braziers beneath the dishes so that they should not get cold. They prepared more than three hundred plates of the food that Montezuma was going to eat, and more than a thousand for the guard. When he was going to eat, Montezuma would sometimes go out with his chiefs and stewards, and they would point out to him which dish was best, and of what birds and other things it was composed, and as they advised him, so he would eat, but it was not often that he would go out to see the food, and then merely as a pastime. 

I have heard it said that they were wont to cook for him the flesh of young boys, but as he had such a variety of dishes, made of so many things, we could not succeed in seeing if they were of human flesh or of other things, for they daily cooked fowls, turkeys, pheasants, native partridges, quail, tame and wild ducks, venison, wild boar, reed birds, pigeons, hares and rabbits, and many sorts of birds and other things which are bred in this country, and they are so numerous that I cannot finish naming them in a hurry; so we had no insight into it, but I know for cer-
tan that after our Captain censured the sacrifice

From Bernal Dlaz del Castillo. The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico. 1517 -1521. ed. Genaro Garcia and trans. A. P. Maudslay Farrar, Straand Giroux. Copyright © 1956.
The Aztecs had a highly sophisticated system trade and barter, much of which was conducted in the central markets of large towns. Bernal Diaz del Castillo was much impressed by the market  

in Mexico at the Tlaltelolco square.

Montezuma was fond of pleasure and song, and to these he ordered to be given what was left the food and the jugs of cacao. . . . 

As soon as the Great Montezuma had dined all the men of the Guard had their meal and as many more of the other house servants, and it seems to me that they brought out over a thousand dishes of the food of which I have spoken, and then over two thousand jugs of cacao all frothed up, as they make it in Mexico, and a limitless quantity of fruit, so that with his women and female servants and break makers and cacao makers his expenses must have been very great. ..

[W]hile Montezuma was at table eating, as I have described, there were waiting on him two other graceful women to bring him tortillas, kneaded with eggs and other sustaining ingredients, and these tortillas were very white, and they were brought on plates covered with clean napkins, and they also brought him another kinds of bread, like long balls kneaded with other kinds of sustaining food, and pan pachol, for so they call it in this country, which is a sort of wafer. There were also placed on the table three tubes much painted and gilded, which held liquidambar mixed
with certain herbs which they call tabaco, and when he had finished eating, after they had danced before him and sung and the table was finally moved, he inhaled the smoke from one of those tubes, but he took very little of it and with that I fell asleep.

542        PART V The Early Modem World

Let us cease speaking of this and return to the way things were served to him at meal times. It was in this way: if it was cold they made up a large fire of live coals of a firewood made from the bark of trees which did not give off any smoke, and the scent of the bark from which the fire was made was very fragrant, and so that it should not give off more heat than he required, they placed in front of it a sort of screen adorned with figures of idols worked in gold. He was seated on a low stool, soft and richly worked, and the table, which was also low, was made in the
same style as the seats, and on it they placed the table cloths of white cloth and some rather long napkins of the same material. Four very beautiful cleanly women brought water for his hands in a
sort of deep basin which they call xicales [gourds], and they held others like plates below to catch the water, and they brought him towels. And
two other women brought him tortilla bread, and as soon as he began to eat they placed before him a sort of wooden screen painted over with
gold, so that no one should watch him eating. Then the four women stood aside, and four great chieftains who were old men came and stood beside them, and with these Montezuma now and then conversed, and asked them questions, and as a great favor he would give to each of these elders a dish of what to him tasted best. . . .

They brought him fruit of all the different kinds that the land produced, but he ate very little of it. From time to time they brought him,
in cup-shaped vessels of pure gold, a certain drink made from cacao, and the women served this drink to him with great reverence.

Sometimes at meal-times there were present some very ugly humpbacks, very small of stature and their bodies almost broken in half, who are their jesters, and other Indians, who must have been buffoons, who told him witty sayings, and others who sang and danced, for him.

AZTEC MARKETS

When we arrived at the great market place, called Tlaltelolco, we were astounded at the number of people and the quantity of merchandise that it contained, and at the good order and control that was maintained, for we had never seen such a thing before. The chieftains who accompanied us acted as guides. Each kind of merchandise was kept by itself and had its fixed place marked out. Let us begin with the dealers in gold, silver, and precious stones, feathers, mantles, and embroidered goods. Then there were other wares consisting of Indian slaves loth men and women; and I say that they bring as many of them to that great market for sale as
me Portuguese bring negroes from Guinea; and they brought them along tied to long poles, with collars round their necks so that they could not
escape, and others they left free. Next there were other traders who sold great pieces of cloth and cotton, and articles of twisted thread, and
mere were cacahuateros who sold cacao. In this way one could see every sort of merchandise that is to be found in the whole of New Spain.
There were those who sold cloths of henequen and ropes and the sandals with which they are shod, which are made from the same plant, and
sweet cooked roots, and other tubers which they get from this plant, all were kept in one part of the market in the place assigned to them. In
another part there were skins of tigers and lions, of otters and jackals, deer and other animals and badgers and mountain cats, some stunned and others untanned, and other classes of merchandise.

Let us go on and speak of those who sold lems and sage and other vegetables and herbs in another part, and to those who sold fowls,
cocks with wattles, rabbits, hares, deer, mallards, young dogs and other things of that sort In their part of the market, and let us also men-
lion the fruiterers, and the women who sold cooked food, dough and tripe in their own part of the market; then every sort of pottery made
in a thousand different forms from great water jars to little jugs, these also had a place to themselves; then those who sold honey and honey paste and other dainties like nut paste, and those who sold lumber, boards, cradles, beams, blocks and benches, each article by itself, and the vendors of ocote 1 firewood, and other things of a similar nature. But why do I waste so many words in recounting what they sell in that great market? – for I shall never finish if I tell it all in detail. Paper, which inthis country is called amal, and reeds scented with liquidambar, and full of tobacco, and yellow ointments and things of that sort are sold by themselves, and much cochineal is sold under the arcades which are in that great market place, and there are many vendors of herbs and
other sorts of trades. There are also buildings where three magistrates sit in judgment, and there are executive officers like Alguacils who
inspect the merchandise. I am forgetting those who sell salt, and those who make the stone knives, and how they split them off the stone itself; and the fisherwomen and others who sell some small cakes made from a sort of ooze which they get out of the great lake, which curdles, and from this they make a bread having a flavor something like cheese. There are for sale axes of brass and copper and tin, and gourds and gaily painted jars made of wood. I could wish that I had finished telling of all the
things which are sold there, but they are so numerous and of such different quality and the great market place with its surrounding arcades was so crowded with people, that one would not have been able to see and inquire about it all in two days.

From Bernal Diaz del Castillo. The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico,
7577-7527, ed. Genaro Garcia and trans. A. P. Maudslay Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, Copyright © 1956.

 

 

14 Responses to Primary Source – Topic # 3 – Food and the Columbian Exchange: Choose One of the Authors

  1. nuck fuggets says:

    nuck fuggets. this actually really helped me in a school project…so thanks anyway..

  2. wikihkv says:

    Hiding in a given time, miss some time with the palm; hiding in a given location, also stand to miss a standing antecedents path, and I worried about people ..

  3. Lilit Ohanyan says:

    Who is Christopher Columbus and what did he do in society?

    Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451, and passed away in 1506. He was an explorer, as well as a colonizer and a navigator, who was looking for the sea-route to India in order to trade for spices, gold, and pearls. This great explorer effectuated four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1492; he made the very important discovery of America that he then called the New World. This awareness of the Western Hemisphere then led to the Columbian exchange, which was the “complex process of interaction between the Old World and the New [World].” The exchange included different foods (corn, beans, and potatoes) animals, and precious metals. This trade also resulted in the unwanted exchange of diseases such as smallpox, influenza, typhus, and measles that the Natives ended up getting once the Columbian exchange began. Therefore, we can say that Columbus made an impact on the world that extended far beyond his discoveries of the New World, for the exchange that he initiated had a large impact on the different fates of the nations involved. To understand Columbus, we can also observe the various changes in the political, economic, and religious levels that his exploration brought to Western Europe. For example, challenging feudal society which had flourished between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. In short, Columbus played a very important role in society because it is thanks to this great sea man that Europe became aware of the existence of a potential exchange partner. His discovery led to a large number of trades, creating a communication between the New World to the Old World.

  4. Anthony Parasuco says:

    4. Who was the intended audience?

    The intended audience of Columbus’ primary source “Manioc: A New World Staple” were the King and Queen of Spain. As a matter of fact, the Columbian Exchange took place in a time when most European empires planned long expeditions into the new world in hopes of gaining ground on one and other. To do so, they set out to find various goods, such as gold or spices. Also, this represented a period when there were many exchanges of these same goods between Europeans explorers and Amerindians. To add to that, in this primary source, Columbus speaks mostly of his encounter with the natives of the Western World that he has come across. In the process, he gathers a log where he not only describes his experiences, but he also seems to study their ways of life as well as their eating habits. In fact, he refers to this newfound populations as “They”, or “The Indians”, which would lead many to believe he was recording their lifestyle in a diary which he would then report to the king and queen, as well as the rest of Spain.

  5. Meghan McCoubrey says:

    6. What technology, if any, is discussed in the document? What was the technology used for and how has that technology been replaced in today’s world?

    One important technology, or rather technique, discussed in the primary source “From Poison to Food” by Roger Barlow is the Amerindians’ ability to transform a lethal root vegetable into a medicinal substance. The processing of harmful vegetation to make it safe for human consumption is a relatively simple task in the modern world because of our advanced knowledge about chemical composition, however it is astonishing to think that people in the 16th century living in the New World had already discovered a simple process to achieve the same effect. The manioc root, which contains a lethal poison, was a staple in the Amerindian diet. They would rub the root against a stone, like a modern day mortar and pestle, until it fell into pieces. Following that, they would “put [the pieces] in a long, narowe bagge made of ryndes of trees, and so press out the liquor and gather it in a vessell.” The root was then safe to consume and was made into flour which would be baked into a medicinal bread with a shelf life of over a year. The Amerindians even had the knowledge to boil the poisonous liquid, which would make the poison evaporate and made the juice of the manioc safe and even beneficial to one’s health.

  6. Zackari Bourgeois says:

    8. Where was the document written and where (and how) was it published or disseminated?

    Manioc: A New World Staple, is a primary source written by Christopher Columbus. It was written while Columbus was in the Bahamas, sometime after he first hit the Caribbean in 1492. It is written in the form of a log, one detailing his everyday life on his voyage. In this specific source, he talks of Manioc, a local tuber that the Amerindians eat. He says, “They [the Amerindians] brought the bread of niamas [rnanioc], which are tubers and look like large radishes.” The events he details were soon published in his native country, and around Europe, most likely in the same journal form that he wrote it in, as to provide information to European people. But his main reasons for it in the first place were probably to keep track for himself, and to be able to report back to the King in Castile.

  7. Richard Nashman says:

    3. What form is it written in? ( Is it an article? A speech? A poem?)

    The document titled First Encounter is in the form of a letter, written by Columbus. This letter can be a letter to his lover back home or it could be to a family member, perhaps his mom. Perhaps someone back home wanted to know how he was doing so, maybe he wrote them a daily message. Columbus was an explorer and he saw a lot of things, exploration is the reoccurring theme in this document. He writes this message in first person and in the past tense. Almost like he is telling someone a story. He uses detailed description to explain exactly what he is seeing almost like he wants the person he’s writing to, to see what he sees. A great example of this is this quote: “The nightingales other small birds sing as they do in Spain in the month, and it is the greatest pleasure in the world Small birds sing sweetly during the night, and one can hear many crickets and frogs.” The only thing that is leading me not to think that it is not a letter is that he did not sign it.

  8. Richard Nashman says:

    First Encounter

    The document titled First Encounter is in the form of a letter, written by Columbus. This letter can be a letter to his lover back home or it could be to a family member, perhaps his mom. Perhaps someone back home wanted to know how he was doing so, maybe he wrote them a daily message. Columbus was an explorer and he saw a lot of things, exploration is the reoccurring theme in this document. He writes this message in first person and in the past tense. Almost like he is telling someone a story. He uses detailed description to explain exactly what he is seeing almost like he wants the person he’s writing to, to see what he sees. A great example of this is this quote: “The nightingales other small birds sing as they do in Spain in the month, and it is the greatest pleasure in the world Small birds sing sweetly during the night, and one can hear many crickets and frogs.” The only thing that is leading me not to think that it is not a letter is that he did not sign it.

  9. Stephanie Giannuzzo says:

    2.When was it written and what are the historic circumstances of its composition?

    The primary source, Food at The Royal Palace, was written by Hernando Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, between 1519-1521. Cortés, accompanied by six hundred men and seventeen horses, was sent to conquer Latin America, the New World, by Charles V. They were mainly sent there to search for gold but ended up discovering more than they bargained for. Cortés and his fellow conquistadors witnessed a peculiar tradition practice by the Aztec’s: human sacrifices. In one of his letters to Mexico, Cortés misinterpret this peculiar tradition of theirs as cannibalism and claimed that the Aztec “wished to kill us and eat our flesh”. The source also discusses the circumstances in which The Columbian Exchange allowed the trade of new products between both civilizations. With this trade, Spain was introduced to products such as tomatoes and potatoes, Latin America was introduced to horses, among many other things which grandly helped their transportation system. In this primary source, Cortés describes the harmony that was present in the Aztec Empire stating that “the pantry and wine stores were open each day for those who wished to eat and drink” and that Montezuma “servants and followers were also given to eat.” This orderly and harmonious lifestyle was surprising for the Spanish conquistadors, who before the Columbian Exchange believed that the Aztecs were savages.

  10. Demitra Gouvoussis says:

    What purpose did the author have in writing this document?

    The log of Christopher Columbus was written to describe what he saw after his arrival in this new land. He wrote a memoir that described the landscape around him and the new fruits and fish he discovered. In his log, Columbus claims “there are also some like the artichoke plant but four times as tall, which gives a fruit in the shape of a pine cone, twice as big, which fruit is excellent, and it can be cut with a knife like turnip and it seems to be very wholesome”. Writing a log also allowed him to remember specific details about his new discovery and educate other people about the rest of the world. He also writes about how beautiful it is and how it reminds him of Spain. Columbus says “other small birds sing as they do in Spain […]. The fish are the same as in Spain” .

  11. Cassidy Levine says:

    9. How does evidence from this document fit into or alter your understanding of the period?

    The period of the Columbian Exchange was a time of early interaction between the Europeans and the Amerindians, where many traditions and resources were exchanged. I understand that the Europeans were introduced to many new staples in their voyages to the New World, and this is confirmed by many of the primary sources. In the source, Manioc: A New World Staple, Columbus describes his discovery of a local bread that is made from a plant called Manioc, which is a foreign staple to the Europeans: “They [the Amerindians] brought the bread of niamas [manioc], which are tubers and look like large radishes.” Columbus recorded many of his findings in his journal, which included several other staples, such as “trees . . . that give a fruit like apricot” and “some like the artichoke plant but four times as tall”, that can be seen in the source called First Encounter. These texts add to my overall understanding of the period, as I was unaware that food was such a major factor in the influence that the two nations had on one another.

  12. David Ashley says:

    Question 8) Where was the document written and where (and how) was it published or disseminated?

    The document was written by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, in Guatemala. It was written when he was of old age, years after the events actually occurred. At first, Diaz’s book was not published. Around 50 years later, however, a manuscript was found in Madrid and was then published. This manuscript retells the events from what seems to be the perspective of a soldier, which may be Diaz’s.

  13. Jocelyn Parr says:

    This assignment is worth 5% of your overall grade for the course.

    Posts will be marked following the in-class discussion. Up until that point, feel free to edit them as you wish. Marks will be awarded as follows:

    5/5 – The paragraph is well-written and makes a clear argument. It answers the question and does not stray off topic. Quotations from the document may be used where appropriate. The argument is original and thoughtful, and, where appropriate, takes into account the secondary source material.

    4/5 -This paragraph makes a clear argument and contains adequate evidence to back it up, yet the position taken is unoriginal or unthoughtful. The writing is clear and grammatically correct.

    3/5 – An argument is made, but the evidence provided is insufficient. The writing is sloppy and unedited. Spelling errors abound.

  14. Jocelyn Parr says:

    Format for the Blog Entry is as follows:

    Title (This will indicate which question you are answering)

    Paragraph (in which you answer the question)

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