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Jeffrey Sprung 8/30 Blog Post Assignment

In A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn attempts to emphasize many historical events from the standpoints of the minority groups involved in attempt to provide a more well-rounded version of historical events. The first chapter within the novel titled “Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress” focuses on mistreatment of Indians in Hispainola perpetuated Christopher Columbus. The ideas in this chapter directly connect with our class discussion as many people in the United States still view Columbus’ legacy as heroic and the colonization of the Americas does not emphasize the lives and legacy of the Indians as much. After reading about the Columbus’ brutal treatment and mass murder that he inflicted on the Indians, I was shocked that Columbus is still heroicized within the United States.

 

I was really intrigued by Zinn’s description of the values in the Indians culture within the chapter. It was very interesting to me that the Indian’s culture was so much more accepting than the European culture. If Columbus didn’t catalyze the mass genocide of Indians in the Americas, and ruin their identity and culture, I wonder if the Indians values of equality between sexes, sharing of possesions, kindness, and peace would have been more prominent at earlier stages of the United States history. On a separate note, I was also surprised by cruelty of Columbus that was documented by Bartolomé de las Casas as I did not realize the magnitude of Columbus’ destruction on Indians upon his colonization until I read this chapter.

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3 Comments

  1. Mia Slaunwhite Mia Slaunwhite

    I have to agree with you on the fact that I had no idea of the cruelty of Columbus. We learn completely different lies of him. I had no idea that we were even lied to about his name. The entirety of Columbus and reading the chapter is brand new information to the majority of us. I really liked how you brought upon the idea that maybe the relationships of the Indians could have been completely different.

  2. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    I too was surprised by the brutality of Columbus. On the note of the Indian’s values, the comparison between them and the Europeans in terms of inferiority or superiority raises an important point. The Europeans have always been viewed as superior in this conquest, mainly because of their strength, weapons, and money. However, the natives had complete equality among tribe members and an unselfish culture, that in my mind is potentially more impressive than the aspects of European culture. As you mentioned, its interesting to think about how in 1492 Columbus essentially destroyed so many native customs, that even today we are fighting to gain such as complete equality.

  3. Henry Groves Henry Groves

    I learned about Columbus’ brutality before, but I never knew that he was selfish to his own people as well. This just drives to the fact that the story about his being a hero is totally fake. Columbus took money from his crew member who apparently saw land first by saying that it was actually him that saw this land. I was also intrigued by how this chapter using many different examples comparing and contrasting to the situation with Columbus to really get the reader to create a new perspective on him.

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