The man who wrote this article explains how to tell the story of
to a child after
they've been given misinformation at school.
"He failed to get funding for a long time because his calculations of the earth were on the small side, he thought that dry land covered more of the sphere than it does, and he believed
was some 1500 miles off the coast of Japan ."
In other words, most people knew roughly the distance between the west coast of
China Europe and the east coast of Asia
but believed it was filled with a vast ocean in which
would surely die. Columbus
The indigenous peoples of the
however, were used to hosting strange arrivals from all over the
in their towns, according to Howe. Their settlements were decades or even
centuries old, built in part on transcontinental trade, and Americas
did not seem so outlandish. These were settled lands with rich societies, not,
as often depicted, simple or primitive. Columbus
That's one of the real tragedies of the story of
and probably the hardest part to explain to children. The complex indigenous
societies of the Columbus
were decimated by exposure to Americas Old World diseases,
crumbling under the weight of epidemic. By the time later waves of settlers
arrived in North America, they often found wilderness. It
was a new wilderness, born of drastic population decline.
Despite all this, it's not correct to simply demonize
He was a brave man, launching his ships into an uncertain fate, driven by
greed, faith and hope. Like many brave men, he believed very strongly that he
knew what he was doing -- even though he was wrong about so many details -- and
it's OK to be impressed by his bravery. Columbus
Moreover, his voyages had an undeniable historical impact, sparking the great age of Atlantic exploration, trade and eventually colonization by Europeans. In a very real way, this era reshaped the world, the languages we speak, the religions we follow, the foods we eat and the diseases we catch. I don't know if that's a reason to have a school holiday, exactly, but it's definitely worth remembering.
So if your child comes home in the lead up to Columbus Day, like the man's in this article did, full of praise for the explorer's bravery and vision, that's a fine place to start, even if he didn't really "discover" the
figure out that the Earth was round. He was, indeed, brave. Americas
But then explain that brave people can do bad things, and worse things can happen without any planning. That's one of the lessons of history. Below is the source I used for this blog.http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/opinion/perry-columbus-day-what-to-tell-your-kid/index.html
Have a great week, and I'll see you again next Sunday.
Sandra K. Marshall, Author@ Eirelander Publishing