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Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people.
Sanchez: [Columbus stops Sanchez after he leaves an audience with the Queen. Sanchez looks at him, disgusted] You're a dreamer. Columbus: [shooting a glance out of a window] Tell me, what do you see? Sanchez: [pausing to look] I see rooftops, I see palaces, I see towers, I see spires that reach... to the sky! I see civilisation! Columbus: All of them built by people like me. [Sanchez doesn't respond - shocked] Columbus: No matter how long you live, Sanchez, there is something that will never change between us. I did it. You didn't.
[first lines] Young Fernando Columbus: Of all the words my father wrote - and there were many - I remember these the most: "Nothing that results from human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. And those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to persue that light in spite of others."
Queen Isabella I.: [referring to Columbus' proposed expedition] The costs would be ruinous. Sanchez: No more than the costs of two state banquettes.
Columbus: Riches don't make a man rich, they only make him busier.
Columbus: [Voice-over] October 21st, 1492. I think we have returned to Eden. Surely this is how the world was in the beginning of time. If the natives are to be converted to our ways, then it will be by persuasion and not by force. I believe no man will ever see this land again as we do, for the fist time. We come in peace and with honor. They are not savages, neither will we be. Treat them as you would your own wives and children. Respect their beliefs. Pillage will be punished by the whip. Rape, by the sword.
Columbus: I believe the Indies are no more than 750 leagues west of the Canary Islands. Antonio de Marchena: How can you be so certain? Columbus: The calculations of Toscanelli, Marin de Tyr, Esdras... Antonio de Marchena: Esdras is a Jew... Columbus: So was Christ. Antonio de Marchena: Two minutes and you're already a dead man. Columbus: For telling the truth? Antonio de Marchena: Yes. They are burning people for less. The men you are about the confront have no emotions. You must learn to control your passion. Columbus: Passion is something one cannot control.
Queen Isabella I.: Rise. Come forward. I should not even be listening to you since my council has said "no". But Santangel tells me you are a man of honor and sincerity. And Sanchez that you are not completely mad. Columbus: No more than the woman who said she would take Granada from the Moors. Queen Isabella I.: They believe the ocean to be uncrossable, signor Columbus. Columbus: What did they say about Granada before today? Queen Isabella I.: That it was impregnable.
Columbus: Paradise and hell both can be earthly.
Arojaz: [During the celebration of Columbus' return] It won't be easy to get rid of your prophet now. Sanchez: On the contrary. It seems to me the man is preparing his own cross.
Columbus: We are trying to adapt to the Indian diet. Meat is only a memory for us.
Arojaz: [Looking at Columbus from a distance after the discovery of America is attributed to Amerigo Vespucci] What a tragedy. What a waste of a life. Sanchez: A waste? Well, if your name or mine is ever remembered it will only because of his.
Queen Isabella I.: [During her last audience with Columbus] I have looked for a reason why I should allow you to go back and although I've tried I couldn't find one. Help me find one. Columbus: All my life I have dreamt of reaching the continent. I thought my dreams grandiose. But reality was beyond my expectations. Far beyond. And now I want to explore that land before I die. Queen Isabella I.: I allow you to undertake another voyage. But without your brothers. Nor for you to return to Santo Domingo or any other colonies. The New World is a disaster. Columbus: And the old one an achievement? Queen Isabella I.: [after Columbus leaves] I know. I shouldn't tolerate his impertinence. Sanchez: Then why? Queen Isabella I.: Because he is not afraid of me.
Antonio de Marchena: [Reading from a letter] "And therefore nothing could justify the participation of your Majesties on a venture that relies on such feeble assumptions and which any man of knowledge would take to be impractical, if not impossible. Columbus: They didn't listen. They don't want to listen. Antonio de Marchena: You mustn't give way to despair. You must wait. Columbus: Wait? I've waited seven years already! How much longer do you want me to wait? Antonio de Marchena: If God intends you to go, you will go. Columbus: Damn God! Damn of all of you! You all sit at your desks concocting theories! Based on what? You never leave the protection of your gardens. Go out! Find out what the world is about and then tell me something I can accept.
Arojaz: If God intended our proximity to Asia, do you believe that He would have waited for you to show it to the world? Columbus: He chose a carpenter's son to reveal Himself to the world. Arojaz: [Shocked] So you consider yourself the chosen one?
Columbus: Why do you want to help me? Santangel: Faith, hope, charity. But greater than all these is banking.
Sanchez: The state has its reasons to be interested in this man's proposition, Your Eminence! Arojaz: With all due respect, the judgement is ours. Sanchez: Naturally. But what if he is right? Arojaz: I've always found that the independent mind is dangerous. If the man had wings, no doubt he would return from the skies to tell us the Heavens are empty. Sanchez: I would deplore the loss of such a potential opportunity for Spain, though. Especially over this point of geography. Arojaz: It is not the point of geography. It is the point of reality. This man is a mercenary. Sanchez: The state often uses mercenaries if it is for the benefit and the stability of Spain. Shouldn't it be as much of your concern as it is mine? Arojaz: Am I to understand that you would use your influence to assist this heretic? Sanchez: You know, Your Eminence, the fascinating thing about power is that what can be given so effortlessly can so easily be taken away.
Queen Isabella I.: I thought he was an idealist. Duenna: Idealism and ambition are not incompatible.
Brother Buyl: You treat Christians equally with heathen savages. What do you offer in return? Columbus: A New World, Buyl.
Columbus: I have waited too long. Fought too hard. And now you expect me to take all the risks while you take the profits? No. I am not a servant. Sanchez: Signor Columbus, you're in no position to bargain with me. Columbus: I'm not bargaining. Sanchez: Then you are too ambitious. Columbus: And were you never ambitious? Or is ambition only a virtue among nobles and a fault for the rest of us? Sanchez: If you won't accept this proposal we can simply find someone who will. Columbus: If you can do that, Excellency, I'll become a monk.
Alonso: [Talking to Columbus in front of all the ship's crew] God doesn't want us to cross this ocean. This voyage is cursed. We set sail for greed. God has abandoned us. The voyage is cursed. There are signs. Columbus: Juanito has the voice of an angel. What comes out of his mouth is blessed, Alonso. What comes out of yours is cursed. Listen to me. Every man is afraid when he does something for the first time. But those who overcome their fears will rightly earn their rewards. I don't know if it's God's will that we should cross this ocean but I am certain that it is you who puts fear into our hearts. We cannot be lost as long as we keep faith in God and in ourselves. In time they will talk about the courage of the first men who crossed this ocean and returned. And then you will be able to say to them: "I was on the Pinta, I was on the Nina and the Santa Maria."
Sanchez: You seem to have a special talent for making enemies. Columbus: Why? Do I have so many already? Sanchez: Don't you think to rise so high in so short of time is a dangerous occupation?
Columbus: Are we going to argue? Beatrix: I'd love to argue with you more often. But you're never here.
Antonio de Marchena: You are a passionate man, Sir. Columbus.