History Court: Taino v. Columbus
Trial Assignments

Link to official assignment as presented in class.

There are three grades associated with this project:

1) Preparation homework assignment in which you are to research characters and write questions. (See official assignment.)

2) Cooperation with group and group work as assigned in class.

3) Meaningful, accurate, and insightful participation in trial and its outcome.

Cast List & Cast Tips & Research Links

 • Judges: Head judge and judges. (Be sure to know who everyone is who might come up to the stand. Familiarize yourself with court process.)


Plaintiffs & Defendants:

 • Native Americans of the Caribbean: Taino chief, Taino woman, Arawak farmer turned gold miner (Plaintiffs) (Complaints include genocide, slavery,etc. Get inspiration by looking up the writings of Las Casas or this page from Puerto Rico.)

Columbus Expedition: Christopher Columbus & the Pinzon brothers (Defendants) (More on the Pinzons from a family member or from a critic. Lots of Columbus pages are linked here but be wary..)


Witness Groups:

Aztecs: Montezuma II, Aztec priest, Aztec worker (More on the Aztecs & Montezuma. Another interesting page on the confrontation with Cortes.)

Liberation Theologists: Bartolome de las Casas, two Jesuits. (Look at this link for Las Casas, who recommended African slavery. This one is on the Jesuits of France. The order was founded in Spain by Loyola.)

Royalty: Ferdinand V, Isabella I, Tomas de Torquemada (Who was Torquemada? Find out here. Good page here on the royal family and religion.)

Papacy: Pope Alexander VI, Pope Innocent VIII, Cardinal Giulano della Rovere (Remember to push indulgences. Alexander VI has a page here. Innocent VIII was pope earlier. More here. Rovere is a model cardinal. More here.

Africans: Slaves working on early sugarcane plantations. (A good page on Caribbean slavery. Don’t forget the Middle Passage.)

Conquistadores: Conquerors and colonizers of Spain: Juan Ponce de Leon, Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizarro. (Page on conquistadores including page on Cortes and Pizarro. Profile of Ponce de Leon.)