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Author Topic: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?  (Read 1539 times)

RandallS

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How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« on: October 11, 2015, 06:47:41 pm »
"A century ago, Christopher Columbus was considered the most glorious explorer in American history. Today, major cities are voting to eliminate the national holiday in his name. What happened?"

Read the Article
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Castus

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2015, 11:10:26 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;180926
"A century ago, Christopher Columbus was considered the most glorious explorer in American history. Today, major cities are voting to eliminate the national holiday in his name. What happened?"

Read the Article

 
The narrative of the brave, Christianity-bearing explorer whose exploits led to civilising two continents has -- dare I say it -- not aged particularly well.
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Yei

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 09:41:34 am »
Quote from: RandallS;180926
"A century ago, Christopher Columbus was considered the most glorious explorer in American history. Today, major cities are voting to eliminate the national holiday in his name. What happened?"

Read the Article

 
It might have something to do with the cynicism with which he became famous in the first place. It is worth remembering that, much like Thanksgiving, Columbus Day and Columbus as a figure, was created as a means of strengthening the US sense of exceptionalism and as an appeal for unity. It has very little to do with Columbus himself.

It is also worth noting that Columbus, in his own time, was not really thought of much at all. The Spanish considered him to be an incompetent bungler who got luck at best, or an attempted fraud at worst. Remember he was supposed to find a route to the East Indies, and he did not even get close.

RandallS

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 11:17:12 am »
Quote from: Castus;180933
The narrative of the brave, Christianity-bearing explorer whose exploits led to civilising two continents has -- dare I say it -- not aged particularly well.


Not to mention that Columbus was a controversial person in his own day. He was removed as governor by the Spanish because his tyranny and mismanagement of Hispaniola.
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MadZealot

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2015, 02:12:57 pm »
Quote from: Yei;180938
It might have something to do with the cynicism with which he became famous in the first place. It is worth remembering that, much like Thanksgiving, Columbus Day and Columbus as a figure, was created as a means of strengthening the US sense of exceptionalism and as an appeal for unity. It has very little to do with Columbus himself.

It is also worth noting that Columbus, in his own time, was not really thought of much at all. The Spanish considered him to be an incompetent bungler who got luck at best, or an attempted fraud at worst. Remember he was supposed to find a route to the East Indies, and he did not even get close.

 
All this, plus the inconvenient truth that Columbus really discovered two things: jack and shit.  

For one thing, he was not the first European to bump into the Americas.  For another the closest he got to the mainland was Cuba.  

And how exactly does one "discover" a land where people are already living anyway?  

That'd me like me driving down to your street and telling you "Hey, I found your house!"  While you're standing in your own front yard.
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Seax_Blade

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2015, 03:22:51 pm »
I've generally thought that Amerigo Vespucci would be a more sensible option, if nothing else because of his name and its relationship with America. I believe he also refuted Columbus' claims that the West Indies were the borders of Asia. I don't know too much about him--yet. I don't want to ride this train too much before I know more about it.

On the word "discover," I've thought about it for several minutes here. I think that if you take it in an absolute way, then maybe the word "discover" can never ever be used rightly because whatever you've "discovered" has probably already existed...?

Jainarayan

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2015, 04:04:14 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;180956

For one thing, he was not the first European to bump into the Americas.


We recognized that last Friday, Oct. 9, Leifr Eirikssonsdagr... Leif Erikson's Day. ;)

MadZealot

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 08:21:03 pm »
Quote from: Thorbjorn;180960
We recognized that last Friday, Oct. 9, Leifr Eirikssonsdagr... Leif Erikson's Day. ;)

 
That's cool.  I don't know much about him, actually.  Did he kill a bunch of people when he landed?
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Seax_Blade

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Re: How did Christopher Columbus become so controversial?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2015, 09:22:24 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;180966
That's cool.  I don't know much about him, actually.  Did he kill a bunch of people when he landed?

I don't know much about him either. So far I've looked at a few different sites, and all pretty much said the same thing; according to one saga he knew about the place, in another saga he was blown off course. Never colonized, goes back home.

This makes some reference to any encounter with natives, at the end: http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h435.html

There's also this excerpt from a History channel article:

Quote from: The History Channel
After Leif Eriksson returned to Greenland, his brother Thorvald led another Viking expedition to Vinland, but all future efforts to settle in the region failed due to bitter clashes between the Norsemen and the local Native American population. Thorvald himself died in a skirmish somewhere north of the Viking base.

http://www.history.com/topics/exploration/leif-eriksson

Also for humor, "good guy Vikings" lol:

« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 09:24:21 pm by Seax_Blade »

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