Although Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World opened up an age of exploration, he is sometimes considered a villain due to his treatment of the indigenous people he encountered. He enslaved natives, forced many of them to convert to Christianity and used violence against them.
During Columbus' first journey in 1492, after he landed in the Caribbean, he took six natives as slaves. Additionally, he sent over 1,000 natives from the island of Hispaniola back to Spain to be sold as slaves. As governor of the Indies, he brutally cracked down on rebellious efforts by the natives. To make his point, he had their dismembered bodies publicly paraded in the streets.