Columbus

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  1. #1
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    Columbus

    hello everybody, i found this in the book "Dear Christoper" and i thought i
    would share it with you because i really do think you will like it, and for
    those that need to do a report about him this will be perfect for you!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -


    DEAR CHRISTOPHER, PAGE 38-45.

    COLUMBUS- THE MYTH AND THE MAN,


    500 years after the arrival of christopher columbus in the new world. the
    indians are everywhere in america the porrest of the poor and the least of
    the power of all the groups. future generations however may look back at the
    20th century as the turning point in the struggle for indiaan autonomy and
    powers in the americas.

    perhaps no figure in the history in the world been surrounded by more
    carefully cultivated myths than christopher columbus. the following is
    intended as a handy guide for debunking key elements of this mythology among
    students grades 1-12. unfortunately it may be equally applicable for
    educational use at the college level. in offices inhabited by the staff of
    national endowment foy the humanities and other "intellectually mature"
    circles.



    fiction- columbus was from the city of genoa, and was therefore italian.

    fact- there is no conclusive evidence of this.

    fiction- columbus was actually spanish.

    fact- a group of 20th century spanish "scholars" forged supposedly "proving"
    columbus' spanish origins. the hoax has been exposed.

    fiction- columbus was secretly a jew who had converted to christianity.

    fact- there is no solid proof of this either. in reality, no one knows who
    columbus was. hence, no nation or ethnicity can advance a bona fide "claim"
    to him.

    fiction- columbus died a wealthy hero of spain.

    fact- columbus died a discredited pauper who was considered a criminal by
    his former employer, the crown of spain.

    fiction- columbus "discovered" america in 1492.

    fact- america has been continuously occupied for at least 40,000 years.
    there were as many as 120 million people already living in this hemisphere
    when he arrived. it is impossible to discover a place with is already
    inhabited.

    fiction- columbus was, as samuel eliot morrison put it, "one of historys
    greatest navigators"

    fact- when he landed in espanola, columbus believed he had reached the
    islands of the asian subcontinent, halfway around the world. one cant be
    more lost then that!

    fiction- as a consequence of his navigational error, columbus "mistakenly"
    described new world natives as indians

    fact- columbus was looking for a new route to what was then called
    hindustan. hindustan was not renamed "india"--by the british, not the
    spanish--for another century and a half. the term "indian", as columbus
    applied it to the new world population, is from the italian "indios",
    meaning "people of god". the description was no mistake.

    fiction- columbus was concerned with the spice trade and was therefore
    seeking a short route to asia in order to make imports of nutmeg, cinnamon
    and tea more efficient and profitable.

    fact- columbus was a slave trader along the west coast of africa prior to
    his 1492 voyage. the first "resource" he brought back from espanola was a
    group of indians to be sold as slaves in spain.

    fiction- columbus didn't really participate in the vast atrocities which
    followed his landing on espanola.

    fact- columbus returned to the island as it's governor in 1492-3, a position
    he held for nearly a decade. by the time of his departure, he had
    implemented policies of slavery and extermination which led to reduction of
    the indigenous taino people from as many as 8 million in 1492 to about
    24,000 in 1524. his regime thus served as a model for all the horrors
    perpetrated by the spanish in the centuries ahead.

    fiction- whatever his motivations and defects, columbus introduced
    civilization to the new world.

    fact- civilzation means "to live in citys". the great citys of the aztecs,
    mayas, and incas equalled, and in some ways surpassed, anything created by
    the europeans of columbus day. in north america, the single city of cahokia
    has long since attained a population of about 40,000. the european
    immigrants are also credited with carving out "civilition", as roads and
    town sites, from a "wilderness", when the fact of the matter is that these
    "boat people" built on top of already existing indigenous road ways, some of
    them grand highways, and villages or pueblos, even city-state empires. as in
    illustration, the sight of washington dc is often cited as a pioneer
    example, as the nations capitol, when it was actually built on an indian
    village after the native people had been massacred by the colonists.

    fiction- columbus brought concepts of enlightened government to the new
    world.

    fact- at the point of the columbian "discovery" new world peoples such as
    the iroquois and creel confederacies were practicing highly sophisticated
    forms of democracy. europe by the contrast was governed--and would continue
    to be for two centuries and more--by a system of feudal monarchy. american
    indians enlightened european concepts of governance. not the other way
    around.

    fiction- if not governance, then the columbian forays ushered in notions of
    enlightedned jurisprudence.

    fact- native american exhibited no appreciable criminal behaviour such as
    theft, assault, rape or murder during per-columbian times. on the rare
    occasions when such behaviour was manifested, it was handled without
    recourse to institutionalized courts or jails and prisons. europefor it's
    part, relied upon such refined "juridical methods" such as the "trial by
    fire" (a suspect was deliberately burned. if he or she blistered as a
    result, he or she was pronounced guilty and executed by such delicate
    methods as beheading or burning at the stake)

    fiction- when columbus first encountered them, the indigenous in habitants
    on the new world were in a state of savagery marked by primitive
    superstition and cannibalism.

    fact- although columbus wrote in his journal of hearing that peoples such as
    the caribs were cannibals, neither he nor anyone else seems ever to have
    found proof of this. indeed, there is no hard evidence that Any native
    american people Ever practiced cannibalism. columbus' own christian
    tradition, on the other hand, practiced (and still does) ritual cannibalism
    as a matter of course. this occurs during what is called "communion" when
    participants eat little wafers symbolizing christ's flesh and drink wine
    symbolizing christ's blood.

    fiction- columbus' expedition brought agriculture to the "hunter-gatherer"
    peoples of the new world.

    fact- abouut two-thrids of all the vegetal foodstuffs commonly consumed by
    the people around the world today were under cultivation in america--and
    nowhere else--at the point of columbus' arrival. this included corn,
    potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, most beans, squash. The Europeans of Columbus
    Day were much more dependent for survival upon gathering fish from the sea,
    etc., than were American Indians. Put another way, the peoples of the New
    World were far more advanced agriculturally than were the hunter-gatherers
    of 15th century Spain. France and England.

    fiction- There were no real concepts of science or mathematics in America
    before Columbus came.

    fact- actually, the mesoamerican civilizations had a knowledge of astronomy
    far more refined than did europeans. the Aztec calendar was projected five
    centuries into the future with seven decimal points greater degree of
    accuracy than europes julian calendar. the mayas invented the concept of
    zero, and were manipulating nine digit numbers by 1400. european mathematics
    did not begin to equal indigenous american systems for nearly four centuries
    after columbus, and in some ways has yet to catch up.

    fiction- columbus at least brought along advanced concepts of medicine which
    were of benefit to american indians.

    fact- native people in america had perfected the worlds most sophisticated
    system of pharmacology long before columbus arrived. the incas, among
    others, were practicing succesful brain and eye surgery, and had invented
    syringes and other surgical tools for such purposes. by comparing, european
    doctors were still involved with applying leeches to patients in order to
    draw of the "bad blood" imagined to cause their illnesses.

    fiction- columbus and his men introduced concepts of hygeine and sanitation
    to the "dirty" indians.

    fact- unlike their american indian counterparts across the atlantic,
    denizens of european cities habitually dumped their sewage and other refuse
    into the streets. the "black death" and other epidemic diseases which
    reduced europes population by millions in the decades prior to columbus'
    voyages were brought on primarily by the filth and squaler sin which most
    europeans lived. in most european societies of columbus' day--and for a long
    time thereafter--the simple act of bathing was considered a criminal offense
    (queen elizabeth #1 of england, for example is reputed never to have
    bathed). one native superstition european explorers found most offensive was
    a tendency to bathe daily.

    fiction- columbus, or his society, introduced beneficial ideas and processes
    like the wheel and metallurgy to indians,

    fact- the wheel had been known in the new world for centuries before
    columbus, as is evidenced by and abundance of wheeled toys among the incas,
    mayas, aztecs and others. the spaniards learned high altitude metallurgical
    procedures from the incas.

    fiction- whatever else may be said, columbus and his friends did introduce
    some things to the new world which yielded a significant impact.

    fact- this is actualy true. the "things" in question include diseases like
    measles, mumps, the common cold, influenza, diptheria, typhoid, whooping
    cough, the plague, typhus, and various veneral diseases, as well as
    substances like distilled spirits and concepts such as "the divine right of
    kings" and wars of annihalation.

    fiction- it is, as historian william axtell claims, "unfair and misleading"
    to compare columbus and the columbian legacy to nazis and nazism.

    fact- this is probably also true. after all, nazism was rather short-lived,
    while the enterprise launched by columbus has lasted centuries and is
    ongoing. again, the nazis were able to exterminate about 75% of all jews and
    gypsies within their reach (as well as a few million slaves, poles and other
    "undesireables") while the columbian legacy yielded an approximate 98%
    liquidation of native americans by 1890. the nazis may ultimately have been
    responsible for the deaths of 40 million people. columbus and his heirs have
    tallied several hundred million over the years and are still counting. thus,
    bad as nazism was (and it was absolutely, unequivocally horrible) the
    process associated with columbus name has been--documentably and
    quantifiably--far, far worse.





    ultimately, there is much to be gained in realizing, as the historian jack
    weatherford already has, the simple truth that, "the indian civilizations
    crumbled in the face of the old world not because of any intellectual or
    cultural inferiority. they simply succumbed in the face of disease and brute
    strength. while the american indians had spent a millenia becoming the
    worlds greatest farmers and pharmacologists, the people of the old world
    spent a similar period amassing the worlds greatest arsenal of weapons. the
    strongest, but not necessarily the most creative or the intelligent, won the
    day." the brief recasting of data which appears above - offered not in a
    spirit of achieving "political correctitude" (whatever that is), but in
    recognition of our mutual and elemental need for accuracy in understanding
    our collective past - should provide an informational basis from which
    anyone can begin the necessary process of rethinking the meaning of columbus
    and the resulting nature of the society in which we now live.

    sincerely,

    M. Annete Jaimes
    (Juaneno/Yaqui)

  2. #2
    It has been said that history is often written by the winner...
    "Now the sneaking serpent walks
    In mild humility,
    And the just man rages in the wilds
    Where lions roam."

    -Wiliam Blake


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  3. #3
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    Yep, I still know Korean people that bitch about what Japanese history books say about the occupation.

  4. #4
    happy sumo
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    Excellent read.

    I wonder what the world would be like today, if Columbus had never "found" America.
    P-side Inc.

    "the post-workout high is more profound than any drug-induced rush imaginable." -Dante B.

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