Did Columbus take undue credit? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Every October, we celebrate Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. What history seems to have glossed over is some poor leadership on his part.

After weeks at sea and with growing unrest among his crew, Columbus turned to an old leadership practice of offering a year’s incentive pay to the first man who sighted land.

By some accounts, it was Juan Rodriguez Bermejo, a lookout on the Pinta, who first shouted “Tierra! Tierra!” (Land! Land!) on the morning of Oct. 12, 1492. Yet, Columbus refused to pay Bermejo, saying he himself had seen “light” from land several nights before.

The upshot: Columbus got the credit but destroyed whatever loyalty his crew had felt.

— Adapted from Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise, Kirkpatrick Sale, Tauris Parke Paperbacks.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: