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Columbus Day Special: Colonialists And Conquerors (PHOTOS, POLL)

Huffington Post     First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 03:20 PM ET

Columbus Day may be celebrated as a patriotic holiday in the United States, but the man himself remains somewhat controversial. Some view Christopher Columbus less as a hero and more as someone who helped start a new era of imperialism and colonialism.

Does Columbus deserve this bad press? Look at the examples of colonialists and conquerors below to help us rate their legacies.

Have suggestions for great (or horrible) conquerors from history? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Christopher Columbus
 
Although not the first European to reach the New World, the Italian explorer's journey spurred a surge of interest in what lay across the Atlantic ocean, ushering in a new era of empires. A devout Catholic, Columbus had been working off inaccurate calculations in a belief that he would be able to travel around the world to reach Asia.



What he found instead prompted the Portuguese and Spanish to divide up the new continent between themselves, ultimately resulting in warfare involving France and Britain. Historian David Stannard has written that as many as 100 million indigenous people may have died, but this number has been disputed.

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