Thinking about Columbus in Bethlehem (3)

Latest in a series of posts on the Columbus monument

What right had the first discoverers of America to land, and take possession
of a country, without asking the consent of its inhabitants, or
yielding them an adequate compensation for their territory?”
Washington Irving’s “gigantic question”

Let’s step away from Columbus himself.

Let’s think about how his “discovery” was promoted in Europe.

Columbus wrote 4 letters, one after each of his voyages to the “New World.”

When those letters were published and distributed shortly after their completion, they were accompanied by images.

What do these images tell us about the way Columbus’s New World achievement — the nature and value of “discovery” — was perceived and anticipated in the Old World.

People wanted to know what it all meant. And pictures are sometimes a better vehicle for conveying that meaning.

Let’s look at a New World gallery. First images of the New World that accompanied Columbus’s words for fervently curious Europeans.

What are the people like?


What will the big picture look like?


Show us a town

In composite, what story do such images tell?

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