Lies My Teacher Told Me

Identify the elements of Columbus's discovery narratives that are being challenged by historians and scholars. What are the actual facts of Christopher columbus's first voyage?


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Certainly Columbus and everything about him was portrayed in history textbooks as positive. This is far from the truth as James Loewen points out,

"Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous peoples, leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass." (60)

Columbus was not respectful or even tolerant of the natives. Upon seeing two or three villages of indigenous Arawaks Columbus wrote a

"description of them with these menacing words: "I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased." (60)