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1492: Conquest of Paradise is an epic 1992 European adventure/drama film. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Roselyne Bosch, the film was released for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage.

The story tells of Christopher Columbus' (Gérard Depardieu) discovery of the New World and its effect on the indigenous people, starting with his solicitation of Queen Isabella (Sigourney Weaver) to gain the necessary funding.

Was Columbus the barbaric sadist his detractors claim? Or was he a great explorer and discoverer?

Columbus lived an impoverished, unspectacular childhood. He spent his youth studying geography and developing his love for sailing. In manhood Columbus was relentless in peddling his belief in a spherical earth and westward sailing route to reach India. His audiences with the Spanish royalty are legendary.

However, the concept of a round world didn't originate with Columbus. Neither was a westward trade route to India his idea. His desires to prove these theories weren't rooted in scientific advancement. Columbus sought personal fame and fortune, expressing an entrepreneurial, capitalist attitude, which could partially explain why the modern Left hates him so.

Ultimately, Christopher Columbus never amassed the fortune he sought and died in poverty just 15 years after a discovery he never realized. He secured fame, but not in his time. Columbus never sailed west to India. Actually, he believed the New World was India. According to modern standards he would be an ignorant failure. But Columbus didn't live by modern standards.

Columbus was an excellent navigator, a courageous explorer and an able captain. He discovered a land unknown in his world and returned home across a trackless ocean. He commanded sailors who believed the Atlantic Ocean was full of sea serpents intent on devouring the wayward seaman. They thought the Atlantic an infinite sea that boiled at the equator. Christopher Columbus' accomplishments were remarkable considering the obstacles he faced.

Each person must render an individual judgment on history. Make what you will of Columbus and his successors. But remember that many civilizations originated in other places and expanded their holdings and influence through force. Mankind has explored, fought, conquered, settled and lost throughout world history. That reality isn't going to change just to suit the unrealistic notions of Utopian fantasists.

Christopher Columbus is neither as pure nor as despicable as he is portrayed. He was human, a walking paradox whose life was filled with flaw and virtue, success and failure. He accomplished more than he knew while never quite realizing his dreams. Why not celebrate Christopher Columbus' courage and contributions while learning from his faults and failures?

American Thinker: Christopher Columbus: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly