Now, I have gathered the information, I have to find a unique and creative angle for my final project. For the Spanish Rule period, I have decided to do a collection diary entry for the major explorer of the time—Christopher Columbus. I am going to create some (mock) diary/journal entries for him that chronicle his adventures and discoveries. I hope that I will be able to shed a “new light” on a very over-popularized historical character. For instance, Columbus did not just sail up to Puerto Rico and say “Hello, Indians. I’m here to claim this land for Spain, so if you and your tribal folk would be so kind as to vacate the area immediately, I’d be much obliged. Oh, and before you leave, don’t mind if we steal your food, sleep with your wives, and spread terrible European diseases like smallpox and Syphilis to you all.” Obviously, that is a poor dramatization, but it demonstrates my point well. My point being, when Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico, he did not just sweet talk his way into controlling the land. There was fighting and bloodshed, and discord for both sides. I heard a quote recently that stated: “History has a tendency to paint murderers as heroes.” It really made me stop and think, and I’ve concluded with the impression that sometimes, this is true. Now, I’m not calling Columbus a murderer—at least not at the moment—but there is evidence to suggest that he was not nearly as saint-like as people regard him as being. I hope that when I am writing my final project, I am able to include my thoughts and opinions without it sounding too much like an editorial. I, myself, am not a fan of projects that are simply facts and data, with no creative thinking. There is no point in doing something—whether it is a poster, a research paper, or a slideshow—if it does not include some semblance of the author/creator’s personal thoughts or opinions on the subject.
I have also decided to create a children’s book based on the adventure and journey of Juan Ponce de Leon and his notorious quest for the Fountain of Youth. I am particularly excited about this part, because it incorporates my lifelong passion for mythology. I still haven’t decided if I am going to center the book around Ponce de Leon, himself, and include elements of the Fountain of Youth—or if I will make the story about the legend of the Fountain of Youth, and have Ponce de Leon as a character.
For the Pre-Colonization portion of my project, I have a few ideas for final projects, but I haven’t reached a conclusion as of yet. I have decided to base this period on the two main Native-American tribes of Puerto Rico (the Arawak tribe and the Carib tribe). What I really want to put across in my project is a familiarization, of sorts, that these were people—and not savages—and they existed, functioned and succeeded as a society long before we (the Europeans) interfered, and tried to “improve” (via converting) their lifestyle so that they were “civilized” like us. They had a quality of life that suited them just fine; just because they were not as technologically advanced as us, that does not diminish their respectability, as people.