Historians differ on what they think about the net result of the European arrival in the New World. Considering that the Columbian Exchange, which refers to “exchange of plants, animals, people, disease, and culture between Afro-Eurasia and the Americas after Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492,” led to possibly tens of millions of deaths on the side of the American Indians, but also enabled agricultural and technological trade (Henretta et al. 42), I cannot help but reflect on whether the effects should be addressed as a historical or a moral question. The impact that European contact had on the indigenous populations of North America should be understood as a moral question because first, treating it as a historical question is difficult due to lack of reliable historical evidence; second, the meaning of compelling historical claims is contestable as the academic historian perspective tends to view the American Indian oral history as invalid; and finally, what happened to the native Indians is morally repulsive and must be discussed as such.
Although many history classes have taught us that Native American societies were primitive, Charles Mann along with other historians argued that Native Americans did possessed a complexed history prior to Columbus, closer examination shows that they had large rich societies in, architecture, and agriculture. Mann believes the “Indian” population was larger, and their societies more accomplished, than was earlier believed. He estimates 40-60 million, but the count keeps rising. Another false belief was that the Indians lived on the land without touching it. In fact, they used "slash and burn" to clear and create grasslands for cultivation. In the north, Indians also used this method to pushed back the hordes of bison, deer and passenger
The source, Christopher Columbus’s Journal, is a personal written account by Columbus of his time sailing to the New World and exploring it. Columbus's original Journals were lost. The original copies were sent to the King and Queen, however the parts that are left are from Bartoleme de Las Cases, one of the first men to come to the New World. He did not agree with Christopher Columbus’s way of treating the Indians, so it is certainly possible that the remaining parts may be tweaked to make Columbus look bad in the eyes of the people. (The Expansion of Europe and Rise of the Atlantic World, Enter Christopher Columbus) However, it is accepted that the remaining experts are more or less accurate.
Two scholars, Erikson and William Balée believe that almost all aspects of Native American life have been perceived wrong. Although some refuse to believe this, it has been proven to be the truth. Throughout Charles C. Mann’s article from The Atlantic, “1491”, he discusses three main points: how many things that are viewed as facts about the natives are actually not true, the dispute between the high and low counters, and the importance of the role disease played in the history of the Americas. When the term “Native American” is heard, the average person tends to often relate that to a savage hunter who tries to minimize their impact on their surrounding environment. For the most part, this is not the case. In reality,
In the 16th Century, Spain became one of the European forces to reckon with. To expand even further globally, Spanish conquistadors were sent abroad to discover lands, riches, and North America and its civilizations. When the Spanish and Native American groups met one another, they judged each other, as they were both unfamiliar with the people that stood before them. The Native American and Spanish views and opinions of one another are more similar than different because when meeting and getting to know each other, neither the Spaniards nor the Native Americans saw the other group of people as human. Both groups of people thought of one another as barbaric monsters and were confused and amazed by each other’s cultures. But, even though both
The Iroquois creation story is a renowned Native American myth written by a Tuscarora historian, David Cusick. He is also the author of David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations, which is known to be the first Indian-written history printed in the English language (Radus). The Iroquois creation myth exists in twenty-five other versions. It describes how the world was created from the Native American perspective. It begins with a sky woman who falls down into the dark world. She is pregnant with twins. Sky woman lands on a turtles back, which ends up growing and becomes a part of island with time. The sky woman gives birth to twin boys, the good mind, and the bad mind. She dies when the bad mind decides to come out of her
The first chapter of both APeople’s History of the United States (Zinn, 1980) andA Patriot’s History of the United States(Schweikart and Allen, 2004) tells the story of the discovery of the New World. Beginning with the landing of Columbus in the Bahamas, these accounts are told from two separate perspectives. Zinn often refers to the telling of history as a tale between victims and executioners, saying that in the “inevitable taking of sides which comes from selection and emphasis in History” he prefers to stand on the side of the victim, whereas Schweikart and Allen tend to stand behind the executioner. Much of APatriot’s Historyis spent arguing the accuracy of the number of natives murdered by invading European entities, attempting to minimize the blame reflected on these executioners. However, Schweikart and Allen have access to more modern technology and theory seeing as APatriot’s Historywas
As the goal of the writer was to educate, the book achieved success in both ways as the reader is left much more informed about early America than when they began reading the novel. The book covers the its main topics in three sections, Discovery, Conquest and Settlement. Each section includes information from various geographical regions in America with information pertaining to one of the specific sections above. Each section gave a comprehensive look at the main topic in a way that was easy to understand as well as
Loewen argues, “The authors of history textbooks have taken us on a trip of their own, away from the facts of history, into the realm of myth.” As historical events regress further into the past, writers may misinterpret facts that they may have studied. A story of discovery and friendship or a tale of conquest, murder, and greed, which of these are Christopher Columbus’ true stories? I believe the best method to teach American high school students about Christopher Columbus’ story is through historiography because historiography teaches students to compare and distinguish different outlooks from different writers’ point of views instead of just remembering misinterpreted facts. Historiography would guide and force students to study and learn history through a diverse set of historians who focused on the same subject and come to different conclusions. Historiography sets a better stage for an understanding of a subject and opens up a boarder class discussion dialog.
“Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress”, chapter one of “A People’s History of the United States”, written by professor and historian Howard Zinn, concentrates on a different perspective of major events in American history. It begins with the native Bahamian tribe of Arawaks welcoming the Spanish to their shores with gifts and kindness, only then for the reader to be disturbed by a log from Columbus himself – “They willingly traded everything they owned… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” (Zinn pg.1) In the work, Zinn continues explaining the unnecessary evils Columbus and his men committed unto the unsuspecting natives. The argument that seems to be made (how Columbus
Historians who practice historiography agree that the writings from the beginning of what is now known as the United States of America can be translated various ways. In James H. Merrell’s “The Indians’ New World,” the initial encounters and relationships between various Native American tribes and Europeans and their African American slaves are explained; based on Merrell’s argument that after the arrival of Europeans to North America in 1492, not only would the Europeans’ lives drastically change, but a new world would be created for the Native Americans’ as their communities and lifestyles slowly intertwined for better or worse. Examples of these changes include: “deadly bacteria, material riches, and [invading] alien people.” (Merrell 53)
As I read further they discussed the coming of Columbus to the American continent and the views of the Europeans about America. Some of their views include the belief that America, “had never been settled, much less civilized” and it was “inhabited only by wandering tribes who had np thought of profiting by the natural riches of the soil”. Not long after, these views would be proven as misconceptions. In reality the New World was filled with people, several million more than Europe. “More than 1,000 tribes still inhabited the northern forests, prairies, and mesa when whites arrived”. The Native Americans, even though seen as savages by the whites, were very civilized in aspects
n Lies My Teacher Told, James W. Loewen discusses how American students who enter college are less knowledgeable about their own history than any other subject. He claims that American history is the least liked and worst remembered subject in the American curriculum. High school students hate history and see it as “boring and irrelevant” (Loewen 2). Loewen argues that the uninteresting, Eurocentric treatment of history bores most elementary and high school students, who also find it irrelevant to their lives. To make learning more compelling, Loewen suggests that authors, publishers, and teachers should make history appealing and be engaging to the students. By presenting students with different viewpoints and stressing that history is
Part I: In these two sessions, Dr. Jendian introduced the term heroification and gave the definition from the book Lies My Teacher Told Me. The author of the book mentioned, James W. Loewen (11) explains that, “Through this process, our educational media turn flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest.” Dr. Jendian explained that heroification presents history characters as superhuman heroes. Therefore, students can infer that not all people can be “superhuman heroes.” For example, students of color might not believe that they can accomplish or be recognized for doing something incredible as a “white” student or an European person.
Before the Spanish ship that changed it all, which arrived in the “New World” in 1492, thriving organized communities of native people had centuries of history on the land. That ship, skippered by Christopher Columbus, altered the course of both Native American and European history. 1492 sparked the fire of cultural diffusion in the New World which profoundly impacted the Native American peoples and the European settlers.