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(The Oatmeal)   "(Christopher Columbus) discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs"   (theoatmeal.com ) divider line
    More: Misc, dinosaurs, Meteorite, Howard Zinn, primary sources, Christopher Columbus  
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4205 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Oct 2013 at 11:12 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-10 01:28:18 PM  

IkilledLauraPalmer: Exactly. The spread of disease wasn't a malicious genocide, just like catching the flu from a coworker doesn't mean he is intentionally assaulting you.


Bullshiat, Sandy knew what she was doing when she sneezed on my muffin, and you won't convince me otherwise.
 
2013-10-10 01:33:08 PM  

nmrsnr: He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective. As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis? Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute? Did he not start using them as sex slaves? Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade? Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?


If he was just writing a cute little comic and making a joke about his opinion on Columbus I would give him a pass.  But he isn't.  His stated goal is to clear up misconceptions about the dude and he is basing it on controversial source material.  And considering how wrong he was about Edison - I have every right to criticize and doubt any word he puts into his little rant.

/I'm not defending Columbus - he was an incompetent tool and we shouldn't have a holiday to celebrate him
 
2013-10-10 01:34:04 PM  

gingerjet: nmrsnr: He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective. As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis? Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute? Did he not start using them as sex slaves? Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade? Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?

If he was just writing a cute little comic and making a joke about his opinion on Columbus I would give him a pass.  But he isn't.  His stated goal is to clear up misconceptions about the dude and he is basing it on controversial source material.  And considering how wrong he was about Edison - I have every right to criticize and doubt any word he puts into his little rant.

/I'm not defending Columbus - he was an incompetent tool and we shouldn't have a holiday to celebrate him


Fark you.  Do not try to take away my paid days off.
 
2013-10-10 01:35:47 PM  

LL316: gingerjet: nmrsnr: He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective. As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis? Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute? Did he not start using them as sex slaves? Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade? Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?

If he was just writing a cute little comic and making a joke about his opinion on Columbus I would give him a pass.  But he isn't.  His stated goal is to clear up misconceptions about the dude and he is basing it on controversial source material.  And considering how wrong he was about Edison - I have every right to criticize and doubt any word he puts into his little rant.

/I'm not defending Columbus - he was an incompetent tool and we shouldn't have a holiday to celebrate him

Fark you.  Do not try to take away my paid days off.



Take away his holiday and let's use that for a US national holiday for federal elections.  Win-win.
 
2013-10-10 01:37:30 PM  
It's so much easier to take a document seriously using a Comic Sans font.
Really?  You couldn't CHOOSE A DIFFERENT FONT?

/rant
 
2013-10-10 01:38:13 PM  

EngineerAU: I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.


May recognize some things that are harder to cover up as BS later on, but there's lots of other BS people continue to believe. If they were to just tell the truth about everything people wouldn't believe any of the BS, and oh boy, there's a lot of BS.
 
2013-10-10 01:46:39 PM  
www.sfsite.com
 
2013-10-10 01:51:51 PM  
The Oatmeal paraphrased the first part of A Peoples' History of the United States, HOW EXCITING
 
2013-10-10 01:52:09 PM  

clambam: give me doughnuts: clambam: Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' GenghisChales Martel.


The Mongols never got past Poland.

The Mongols destroyed the Arab Caliphate and permanently ended the triumphant expansion of Islam as the preeminent literary and scientific civilization west of China. The Arabs never really recovered. The ravages of the Golden Horde created a power vacuum for 150 years that enabled the Europeans to recover from worst of the Middle Ages and defend themselves--barely--against the Turkish expansion when it came. Even so it was touch and go and a powerful, wealthy and undefeated Arab Empire would eventually have conquered the West. Certainly all of southern Europe would be Muslim today.



None of which has anything to do with the Caliphate of Cordoba.
 
2013-10-10 01:55:39 PM  

BafflerMeal: LL316: gingerjet: nmrsnr:


Take away his holiday and let's use that for a US national holiday for federal elections.  Win-win.


So celebrate the lie of Democracy instead the lie of Columbus?
 
2013-10-10 01:59:00 PM  

give me doughnuts: Columbus didn't do anything that others weren't thinking of doing. He just did it a little sooner.


Point being?

The US and USSR were both wanting to go to space. The USSR got there first, specifically it was Gagarin... do we discount that because others were working on it too? How about the moon? The USSR was working on it, it was Armstrong and Aldrin who first put boot to lunar dust; a huge feat accomplished by the Apollo program and all those who worked on it. But fark it, others thought about it, so maybe not that big a deal.

Doing it first still matters. Yes, others would have made it eventually. Maybe some other nation, maybe a few decades later, we don't know. Had it been, who knows how history would have panned out? What if it had been the Dutch or English? The face of today's world could be completely different if it hadn't been the Spanish who did most of the early colonization.

The fact is, in 1492 it was Columbus who pulled it off. However a big an asshole he may have been, this is one thing in his corner.
 
2013-10-10 02:00:00 PM  

gingerjet: give me doughnuts: What is there to be objective about? Edison was a complete douche-bag.

So what? He was also brilliant and achieved a hell of a lot more in his lifetime than Oatmeals personal lord and saviour Tesla (who, btw, was also a douche-bag).

/wish he just keep to writing comics about his dogs poop habits



Edison was a patent thief whose main talent was self-promotion. His contributions to human advancement are paltry when compared to Tesla.
As far as douche-baginess goes, how do you rate electrocuting a bunch of animals including a old circus elephant?
 
2013-10-10 02:01:31 PM  

clambam: give me doughnuts: clambam: Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' GenghisChales Martel.


The Mongols never got past Poland.

The Mongols destroyed the Arab Caliphate and permanently ended the triumphant expansion of Islam as the preeminent literary and scientific civilization west of China. The Arabs never really recovered. The ravages of the Golden Horde created a power vacuum for 150 years that enabled the Europeans to recover from worst of the Middle Ages and defend themselves--barely--against the Turkish expansion when it came. Even so it was touch and go and a powerful, wealthy and undefeated Arab Empire would eventually have conquered the West. Certainly all of southern Europe would be Muslim today.


Uh no

Arab expansion stop because they could never take Constantinople, lost in France cause they were bunch of greedy f*cks who chased after gold rather than winning a war and then started killing each other off.
 
2013-10-10 02:01:31 PM  

akula: give me doughnuts: Columbus didn't do anything that others weren't thinking of doing. He just did it a little sooner.

Point being?

The US and USSR were both wanting to go to space. The USSR got there first, specifically it was Gagarin... do we discount that because others were working on it too? How about the moon? The USSR was working on it, it was Armstrong and Aldrin who first put boot to lunar dust; a huge feat accomplished by the Apollo program and all those who worked on it. But fark it, others thought about it, so maybe not that big a deal.

Doing it first still matters. Yes, others would have made it eventually. Maybe some other nation, maybe a few decades later, we don't know. Had it been, who knows how history would have panned out? What if it had been the Dutch or English? The face of today's world could be completely different if it hadn't been the Spanish who did most of the early colonization.

The fact is, in 1492 it was Columbus who pulled it off. However a big an asshole he may have been, this is one thing in his corner.



Point being exactly what I said: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.
 
2013-10-10 02:02:29 PM  

Tax Boy: Almost no drawings, very little text. Most of which is in Comic Sans.

Best. Internet. Cartoonist. EVAR


Well, if it's in Comic Sans it has to be true.
 
2013-10-10 02:04:25 PM  

ShadowKamui: clambam: give me doughnuts: clambam: Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' GenghisChales Martel.


The Mongols never got past Poland.

The Mongols destroyed the Arab Caliphate and permanently ended the triumphant expansion of Islam as the preeminent literary and scientific civilization west of China. The Arabs never really recovered. The ravages of the Golden Horde created a power vacuum for 150 years that enabled the Europeans to recover from worst of the Middle Ages and defend themselves--barely--against the Turkish expansion when it came. Even so it was touch and go and a powerful, wealthy and undefeated Arab Empire would eventually have conquered the West. Certainly all of southern Europe would be Muslim today.

Uh no

Arab expansion stop because they could never take Constantinople, lost in France cause they were bunch of greedy f*cks who chased after gold rather than winning a war and then started killing each other off.


Uh, yeah. Battle of Poitiers in 732. Muslim expansion into Western Europe was halted.
 
2013-10-10 02:08:01 PM  

MadMattressMack: Tax Boy: Almost no drawings, very little text. Most of which is in Comic Sans.

Best. Internet. Cartoonist. EVAR

Well, if it's in Comic Sans it has to be true.


No dude, white Impact with a black outline. Anything in that is God's honest truth.
 
2013-10-10 02:09:10 PM  

nekom: Is any of this new to anyone?  I thought at least by the end of high school everyone basically knew that the whole Columbus legend was total bunk.


Italians insist all of it is true.  Without Columbus they have no excuse to have their ethnic celebration that they claim is not an ethnic celebration aka Columbus Day.
 
2013-10-10 02:13:07 PM  

nekom: Is any of this new to anyone?  I thought at least by the end of high school everyone basically knew that the whole Columbus legend was total bunk.


I knew Columbus was a fool and an asshole, and treated the indigenous peoples like dirt, but I honestly didn't know that he was involved in the Transatlantic slave trade or underage sex slavery. And I had no idea who Bartolomé was until I read that.  So yeah, some of it was new to me.

Tax Boy: Almost no drawings, very little text. Most of which is in Comic Sans.

Best. Internet. Cartoonist. EVAR


Nice shooting the messenger.

BTW, it's not Comic Sans.
 
2013-10-10 02:18:25 PM  

akula: Doing it first still matters.


He wasn't the first, though. He was just the only one twisted enough to exploit and wage war on the indigenous population.

He should be celebrated in the same way we'd celebrate someone who breaks into and robs a house many people have visited before.
 
2013-10-10 02:19:05 PM  

standardeviation: Ah, Dominican Republic.  I apologize for the ad hominim attack.  However, your arguments are based on excusing his behavior rather than examining it for what it was; inexcusable.  While all people are humans, if you lead a decent life and act according to some moral compass rather than expressly trying to get rich no matter what the cost.  Then history tends to be kinder to you and what you did.  History is not kind to Columbus precisely because of what he did.  Others have tried to argue away his sins, but in the end he is responsible for creating a culture of colonialism and conquest that has marred the western hemisphere since his arrival.

I mean, come on.  The guy sold children as sex slaves.


It's okay. The bias toward thinking any random comment comes from an American isn't surprising. I rarely take offense at Internet banter anyway (only if it overlaps with my real life heh).

Yes, Dominican Republic. As you can tell by now, I was at ground zero for Columbus actions, so I'm not talking from an armchair Internet historian point of view. I've studied the guy and not just during school, where Spanish colonialism was a big part of the curriculum, for obvious reasons.

I may have phrased it wrong, but I'm not saying Columbus is an innocent. I'm saying that he's being used as a scapegoat to whitewash what Spanish rule did here and in the rest of Latin America. By focusing on Columbus, they've tried to take away some of the spotlight from them. Columbus was just a stepping stone in the whole thing. He was only a brick of the pyramid.

What happened in the Americas is a tragedy and a blessing at the same time. It was genocide (both intentionally violent as well as inadvertently biological) on a continental level that wiped off the map like 80% of the native population or more. At the same time, it allowed the creation of the modern State-Nation as an entity not tied to a specific ethnicity, which proves to be very beneficial in an interconnected peaceful world.
 
2013-10-10 02:26:35 PM  

rocky_howard: What happened in the Americas is a tragedy and a blessing at the same time. It was genocide (both intentionally violent as well as inadvertently biological) on a continental level that wiped off the map like 80% of the native population or more. At the same time, it allowed the creation of the modern State-Nation as an entity not tied to a specific ethnicity, which proves to be very beneficial in an interconnected peaceful world.


Can i visit this interconnected peaceful world sometime?

Every bad thing has some good come from it, but that doesn't mean we should stop caring about bad things. Nor does any good justify the bad.
 
2013-10-10 02:27:48 PM  

HeartBurnKid: I knew Columbus was a fool and an asshole, and treated the indigenous peoples like dirt, but I honestly didn't know that he was involved in the Transatlantic slave trade or underage sex slavery. And I had no idea who Bartolomé was until I read that.  So yeah, some of it was new to me.


He wasn't... That's probably why it was new to you. It's a lie, or at best, a misguided inference. And the underage sex slavery is just assassination of character. Looking back at history with modern time goggles is a bad idea.  Back in the day people had sex at a younger age. Sure, it's wrong by our standards, but you better focus on actual current 9 and 10 year old girls getting married to older men in Muslim countries than raging at Columbus partaking in the pleasures of his day.
 
2013-10-10 02:29:21 PM  
Why hasn't the US government gotten rid of this awful day yet? Congress shall allegedly make no law respecting an establishment of religion, but it sure seems like the Catholic Church is the established religion, as their Masons knock-off, the Knights of Columbus established Columbus Day and "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance.
 
2013-10-10 02:29:41 PM  
J. Frank Parnell: Can i visit this interconnected peaceful world sometime?

If we ever want to have one, it's a very good step to take.

Every bad thing has some good come from it, but that doesn't mean we should stop caring about bad things. Nor does any good justify the bad.

Who said otherwise? Spain should pay for what they did and to this they they haven't and instead keep exploiting South America... Thanks, Capitalism.
 
2013-10-10 02:30:13 PM  

J. Frank Parnell: He wasn't the first, though.


He was the first to connect it to culture in Europe. Unfortunately, that culture was indeed into theft, murder, and rape (of the people and the land).

give me doughnuts: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.


I disagree that history would be virtually identical. Had the Americas been first colonized by the English there's be no such thing as "Latin America." There's just no way of knowing if things would have panned out the same way. Love him, respect him, or detest him, Columbus basically blundered into helping form the world into the way it is. Maybe it would have been pretty similar had it been somebody else, maybe it would have been slightly different, maybe it would be extremely different.
 
2013-10-10 02:32:30 PM  

rocky_howard: He wasn't... That's probably why it was new to you. It's a lie, or at best, a misguided inference.


So he didn't force hundreds of natives to travel across the Atlantic on his ship to be used and sold as slaves?
 
2013-10-10 02:33:55 PM  
The conquistadors were a real case of screwing up. They focused on gold and treasures and broke the spanish economy. Everyone else went seeking trade goods, which they brought back to trade in an economy that didn't reflect as much inflation as spain.
 
2013-10-10 02:36:11 PM  

akula: J. Frank Parnell: He wasn't the first, though.

He was the first to connect it to culture in Europe. Unfortunately, that culture was indeed into theft, murder, and rape (of the people and the land).

give me doughnuts: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.

I disagree that history would be virtually identical. Had the Americas been first colonized by the English there's be no such thing as "Latin America." There's just no way of knowing if things would have panned out the same way. Love him, respect him, or detest him, Columbus basically blundered into helping form the world into the way it is. Maybe it would have been pretty similar had it been somebody else, maybe it would have been slightly different, maybe it would be extremely different.


Okay. It would be different. The capital of Ohio would be called Vespucci or Balboa.

Happy now?
 
2013-10-10 02:38:49 PM  
I don't think some of you read the entire thing, particularly where they go into detail about the things he personally did to the natives.
 
2013-10-10 02:50:17 PM  

wyltoknow: rocky_howard: He wasn't... That's probably why it was new to you. It's a lie, or at best, a misguided inference.

So he didn't force hundreds of natives to travel across the Atlantic on his ship to be used and sold as slaves?


Doutbful. The Catholic Monarchs were in a mission to evangelize. (obviously once they found gold they said, screw it, bring me gold and silver.) and slavery wasn't a thing in Spain (as in, they didn't use slaves there).

The "500 Lucayan natives" is bunk for reasons explained before. That's factually wrong and shows Oatmeal doesn't know what he's talking about but wanted to play his favorite part: Internet "Hero". Columbus did take some prisoners back to Spain, but they were already been captured by the Caribs as slaves.

Slavery was already widely practiced by Europeans in Africa, especially the Portuguese, who were the ones who taught Columbus how to sail in the ocean among other things.

After Columbus got the slaves back to Spain, he was told by the Ferdinand and Isabella that they won't partake in slavery and dumped his ass. Most of the surviving slaves were freed and sent back to America by the Monarchs, although some remained to serve them as royal staff.

When Columbus returned to Hispaniola what he decided to do was force the Taino to pay a tribute...with violent consequences if they didn't. BTW, the gold tribute wasn't unlike what the Aztecs were already practicing with other native ethnicities, so it's not like it's something exclusive to Columbus. People have been forcing tribute on others since thousands of years ago.
 
2013-10-10 02:54:26 PM  

I_C_Weener: Columbus was the beginning of widespread knowledge of the New World, and the beginning of expansion into it.

The Vikings just fished nearby.  And the Native Americans just killed each other less efficiently than Europeans.  And the Chinese did not discover America.

I'm celebrating Columbus Day with pasta.  He brought tomatoes to Italy.  He is responsible for The Olive Garden.


and  he is responsible for every NY vs Chicago pizza thread on FARK and should be burned in effigy.
 
2013-10-10 03:04:25 PM  

onzmadi: I_C_Weener: Columbus was the beginning of widespread knowledge of the New World, and the beginning of expansion into it.

The Vikings just fished nearby.  And the Native Americans just killed each other less efficiently than Europeans.  And the Chinese did not discover America.

I'm celebrating Columbus Day with pasta.  He brought tomatoes to Italy.  He is responsible for The Olive Garden.

and  he is responsible for every NY vs Chicago pizza thread on FARK and should be burned in effigy.


Yeah, 'cause neither city knows how to make a decent pizza: Catsup on a cracker, or a tomato and cheese casserole on a loaf of bread.
 
2013-10-10 03:04:34 PM  

wildcardjack: The conquistadors were a real case of screwing up. They focused on gold and treasures and broke the spanish economy. Everyone else went seeking trade goods, which they brought back to trade in an economy that didn't reflect as much inflation as spain.


And they never reverse engineered that kickass golden falcon Esteban flew around the New World in.
 
2013-10-10 03:07:59 PM  

Foxxinnia: Columbus Day is still a holiday? Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than we celebrate Columbus Day. Can we just replace it? BS holidays are really wack.


Rather than making an "Explorers Day" I think we should leave Columbus day as is...gank its Federal Holiday status and instead move it to the first Tuesday in November and make the damn Federal Election day a Federal holiday so more people would get out and frickin vote.
 
2013-10-10 03:14:15 PM  

xria: nmrsnr: I've always hated the Columbus myth, specifically because everybody (except school teachers, apparently) know it's complete bunk. Making Columbus into a monster is not entirely fair, either, he was just as ignorant as any other entitled noble of the time, but I'm now interested in the Bartolome guy, who I've never heard of before.

What? He is a key founding father, when you get him all of your Indian converts switch to normal colonists, which is a major boost if you do it at the right time i.e. once you have lots of schools/colleges/universities to turn them into specialists relatively quickly to offset the lost bonus production you get for converts working land squares.


Him, Peter Stuyve.. Sturyvy... The Customs House guy, De Soto, and Thomas Jefferson are the BEST founding fathers, by far.  Minuit is pretty good too.  I like getting land for free.
/great game
 
2013-10-10 03:29:43 PM  

nekom: Is any of this new to anyone?  I thought at least by the end of high school everyone basically knew that the whole Columbus legend was total bunk.


Yeah, well, this should be true of creationism as well, but Ken Ham still makes a fortune off peddling lies...
 
2013-10-10 03:33:31 PM  

Fano: Blaming Columbus for the deaths of people in North and South America is unfair on the level of Europeans holding their nose and pretending the Holocaust was solely perpetrated by Hitler.


Well, if Columbus gets the sole praise for discovering the New World, then he gets the sole condemnation for the consequences of his discovering the New World.
 
2013-10-10 03:33:35 PM  

give me doughnuts: akula: J. Frank Parnell: He wasn't the first, though.

He was the first to connect it to culture in Europe. Unfortunately, that culture was indeed into theft, murder, and rape (of the people and the land).

give me doughnuts: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.

I disagree that history would be virtually identical. Had the Americas been first colonized by the English there's be no such thing as "Latin America." There's just no way of knowing if things would have panned out the same way. Love him, respect him, or detest him, Columbus basically blundered into helping form the world into the way it is. Maybe it would have been pretty similar had it been somebody else, maybe it would have been slightly different, maybe it would be extremely different.

Okay. It would be different. The capital of Ohio would be called Vespucci or Balboa.

Happy now?


Vespucci doesn't need a city named after himself.  He's got two continents due to being the cartographer who thought Columbus was on to something.
 
2013-10-10 03:37:34 PM  
I'm still waiting for The Oatmeal to discover the principles of depth and structure when drawing the human form.

media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com
 
2013-10-10 03:38:37 PM  
Poor Chris has sure taken a beating since I learned about him in school.
 
2013-10-10 03:45:03 PM  

bentley57: Poor Chris has sure taken a beating since I learned about him in school.


And Custer died for your sins.
 
2013-10-10 04:08:42 PM  

Fano: bentley57: Poor Chris has sure taken a beating since I learned about him in school.

And Custer died for your sins.


He almost got his ass handed to him in his tank campaign through Kentucky and into Tennessee.
By the time he got blown up in Canada he was just a figurehead.
 
2013-10-10 04:21:17 PM  

give me doughnuts: Fano: bentley57: Poor Chris has sure taken a beating since I learned about him in school.

And Custer died for your sins.

He almost got his ass handed to him in his tank campaign through Kentucky and into Tennessee.
By the time he nearly got blown up in Canada he was just a figurehead.


He managed to live to retirement.
 
2013-10-10 04:28:57 PM  
The Western Hemisphere should have been declared off-limits to settlement by people not of East Siberian descent.  Cultures should have the right to exclude people they don't want from their land.
 
2013-10-10 06:09:00 PM  

akula: J. Frank Parnell: He wasn't the first, though.

He was the first to connect it to culture in Europe. Unfortunately, that culture was indeed into theft, murder, and rape (of the people and the land).

give me doughnuts: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.

I disagree that history would be virtually identical. Had the Americas been first colonized by the English there's be no such thing as "Latin America." There's just no way of knowing if things would have panned out the same way. Love him, respect him, or detest him, Columbus basically blundered into helping form the world into the way it is. Maybe it would have been pretty similar had it been somebody else, maybe it would have been slightly different, maybe it would be extremely different.


Speaking of "what if" scenarios, there's some (admittedly circumstantial) evidence that Zheng He's fleet made it to the west coast of North America.  If China hadn't given up on the treasure fleet and had instead established some sort of permanent relations with the natives of the Pacific Northwest (as well as the various states along the shores of the Indian ocean), modern history would be extremely different.
 
2013-10-10 06:24:19 PM  

nekom: EngineerAU: I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.

How do you put "Essentially, it was a genocide" into something that children are capable of taking in?  I don't recall learning about the horrors of the holocaust in grade school either.


We also didn't give Hitler a holiday either, even though he brought about the unification of a peaceful Europe and the UN.
 
2013-10-10 06:27:49 PM  

HeartBurnKid: nekom: Is any of this new to anyone? I thought at least by the end of high school everyone basically knew that the whole Columbus legend was total bunk.

I knew Columbus was a fool and an asshole, and treated the indigenous peoples like dirt, but I honestly didn't know that he was involved in the Transatlantic slave trade or underage sex slavery. And I had no idea who Bartolomé was until I read that. So yeah, some of it was new to me.

Tax Boy: Almost no drawings, very little text. Most of which is in Comic Sans.

Best. Internet. Cartoonist. EVAR

Nice shooting the messenger.

BTW, it's not Comic Sans.


Here's a link that actually works.
(Pro-tip: don't paste links that come directly from a search, as those often need cookies in your own specific browser to tell it what you were actually searching for.)


akula: J. Frank Parnell: He wasn't the first, though.

He was the first to connect it to culture in Europe. Unfortunately, that culture was indeed into theft, murder, and rape (of the people and the land).

give me doughnuts: If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been someone just like him and history would be virtually identical.

I disagree that history would be virtually identical. Had the Americas been first colonized by the English there's be no such thing as "Latin America." There's just no way of knowing if things would have panned out the same way. Love him, respect him, or detest him, Columbus basically blundered into helping form the world into the way it is. Maybe it would have been pretty similar had it been somebody else, maybe it would have been slightly different, maybe it would be extremely different.


Was there anyone like Columbus at that time or within the near future? He wasn't just some random guy. He had enormous charisma and willpower capable of swaying monarchs to his thinking even though it was diametrically opposed to their scholars (on a matter that he was wrong about and they were right ― namely, the size [not shape!] of the Earth), and also despite not being even nobility (he was born the son of a Genovese weaver). He was absolutely convinced that he was right despite all evidence to the contrary (the first Teabagger?).

Remember, nobody at the time knew that there were additional continents in the Great World Ocean, splitting it into what we today call the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They thought that the Eurasian and African landmasses were all the continental land there was, other than a few islands here and there a short ways out into the ocean. The scholars of that day weren't much in the way of innovators, but rather knew that they were inferior to the great scholars of antiquity, and rightly trusted Eratosthenes. Ptolemy, etc. when it came to such matters as the size of the Earth. Given that and the journeys of Marco Polo, they calculated the Eurasian landmass at about 180° around the Earth, with the remaining 180° being open ocean. No land masses that they knew of.

Columbus (or, rather, Cristoforo Colombo to call him by his actual name) initially sailed to find a Western route to Cipangu (Japan) and Cathay (China). That was what he sold to Queen Isabella. But their ships could not make such a journey if the ancient scholars and thus the contemporary ones who trusted their word were right (and they were), if there were nothing but ocean (as they had absolutely no reason to even consider might not be the case). They couldn't carry enough potable water and food for such a long journey. It'd run out and/or spoil (no refrigeration, remember?).

So, who would even attempt such a journey other than a man who either knew that there was land where nobody thought there was, or who honestly believed despite all evidence to the contrary that the Earth was much smaller than it is, such that Eurasia covered at least 240° (preferably more like 270° or even 300°) of the Earth's circumference? And of those, who could persuade a monarch to sponsor it against the wisdom and advice of her own scholars?

Yes, sooner or later, Europeans would still come. But not in the way Columbus did. Not with his drive and determination. And, there is some evidence that things were happening in Meso-America that, had the Europeans' coming been delayed by even a few decades, may have made all the difference. The Mexica (often miscalled "Aztec") empire was already in decadance and decay, but a relatively young and vigorous, forward-thinking empire, the Tlaxcalans (whom the Mexica were never able to conquer despite the entire Tlaxcalan territory being completely surrounded by Mexica territory and only a few dozen miles from their capital city). The Tlaxcalans in real history allied with Cortéz against the Mexica. They were planning to conquer Tenochtitlán anyway, and would almost certainly have succeeded, taking over the entire Mexica empire and revitalizing it. There were other surrounding tribes experimenting with primitive metalworking and canoe building, and a Tlaxcalan empire would be forward-thinking enough to bring them aboard, and there would likely be a synergistic effect of spread of knowledge.

Of course, they would still be nowhere near a technological match for the Europeans when they finally came, but perhaps they would've been advanced enough to think, "Hey, these guys have great weapons and awesome huge canoes, and even a whole new kind of metal kinda like our bronze but way better! Let's sacrifice everyone except those who know how to make such things, and have them teach our guys how!" instead of, "Oh, woe, these are gods with mighty powers that we cannot fathom and have no defense against! The end has come!"
 
2013-10-10 06:49:24 PM  

clambam: If it hadn't been Columbus it would have been some other European. The days of blissful isolation for the Native Americans were numbered in any case once the Portuguese invented deep ocean navigation. The Native American genocide was not deliberate; European diseases spread far in advance of actual European arrival and there are many European accounts of arriving at empty Indian settlements already bereft of life. Heck, Squanto attached himself to the Pilgrims because his native village had been wiped out by smallpox prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. As for enslavement, expulsion and forced conversion, those have been par for the course in every civilization that ever came into contact with its technological inferiors. The only difference is that we feel guilty about it.


And the irony is, if not for the decimation of the native population, whether by disease, war, or environmental catastrophe, the colonization of the New World probably would not have gotten off the ground.  And there wouldn't be an America to celebrate Columbus Day.
 
2013-10-10 07:02:51 PM  
Disease and war caused death for sure.  It was the mindset that, "Look how God kills these savages for us, he wants us to continue" that ensured genocide.
 
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