Modern Age, the age of Discovery, starts with Columbus and his exploits. Kirkpatrick Sale states that in Columbus's exploits as well as in his character we are given the patterns that shaped that age. This statement is not understandable without explaining what is Modern Age. Why does it start with Columbus, and what are the patterns that shaped it? Also, Columbus's character shows that main reason for his voyages was wealth and power. All of this gives us the insight into the world of Modern Age, the world as we know it today.
First of all, talking about the Modern Age refers to Western Hemisphere. It is the age of European domination in the world. Columbus's actions were historically significant, causing widespread change, and effectively doubling the size of the known world. By Loewen, discovering America and its wealth helped European domination. He states, "Gold and silver from America replaced land as the basis for wealth and status, increasing the power of the new merchant class that would soon dominate the world" (Lies My Teacher Told Me, 69). Loewen, also, gives examples of European advancement in military technology that helped Europe in exploitation of rest of the world. .
The other characteristic of Modern Age is racism and slavery. Loewen, in Lies My Teacher Told Me, states, "there were no white people in Europe before 1492. With the transatlantic slave trade, first Indian, than African, Europeans increasingly saw white as a race and race as an important human characteristic" (67). As Columbus "discovered" America, the white man "discovered" his color, and racism was born. Even tough slavery existed before Columbus's encounter with the New World, it flourished with racism. Columbus was the first one to send slaves across the Atlantic. .
Beside exploits, the human factor played a big roll in shaping the Modern Age. The main reason for Columbus voyage was money and the power.