Study Questions for Colliding Worlds (1491-1600)

(From our textbook authors, resource editors, and your professor)

Azurara, Hortrop, and Mercado (From the National Humanities Center, our textbook authors, and your professor)

  1. How do the authors interpret the slave trade as a human, political, or economic institution? And more simply, how did these Europeans seem to feel about slavery ? What accounts for any similarities, and differences, among their interpretations and feelings?
  2. What is "right" or "wrong" in their estimation about the capture and sale of Africans? How have perceptions of slavery and colonization changed since these men were alive and writing?
  3. Compare the vehicles for these descriptions - an official chronicle, a scholarly essay, a personal memoir. Does the purpose of the piece change the narrative? If so, how?
  4. Compare the European-African encounters with the European-Indian encounters. How are they different? The same?

Bartoleme de Las Casas

  1. How does Las Casas feel about the "discovery" of the West Indies?
  2. How does he seem to view the native people that early explorers and colonists met when they arrived? How does he view the European newcomers?
  3. For what does he blame the newcomers? Do you agree?

Columbus, Vespucci, and Cabot (From our textbook authors and your professor)

  1. Compare and contrast the contents of these accounts. On what facts/ideas do the authors concentrate? Why, do you think?
  2. What were the purposes of these voyages? Who financed them? What did they hope to gain? Were they successful?
  3. What purpose did religion seem to play? Trade?
  4. Do these accounts seem accurate? Which parts do you think are, or are not, accurate? Why?
  5. How do you think North America might be different today without exploration and colonization? Without the transatlantic slave trade?