Columbus’s Controversial Origins and the Diary of his Voyages

Please Note: There is a chance that this in-person course may need to be moved online.

Christopher Columbus has never been more of a controversial figure than he is today. Although he was acclaimed for centuries as the discoverer of the New World, his name now connotes the abuses and destruction suffered by the indigenous populations of the New World.

Columbus was somewhat of a mystery in his own day. The diary of his voyages reveals not only his reaction to the events that were unfolding before him, but some aspects of his personality that contradict what historians have written about him during the last five centuries.

Over four weeks, this seminar will attempt to revisit the question of why Columbus continues to intrigue us. Members will be assigned some chapters of The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, published by Penguin Classics.


Group Leader: FRANCESCA PIANA
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 4/20/2022
Sessions: 4
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: 1- 2 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Francesca Piana received a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of San Francisco. She also received an M.A. in Spanish literature at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. She taught history, international relations, and Spanish literature at the University of San Francisco, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Phillips Academy in Andover before retiring. She was director of summer programs for Phillips Exeter and Phillips Academy in Salamanca, Spain and director of School Year Abroad in Barcelona, Spain.