So this past week in history, we have been learning about Christopher Columbus and his journey to this ‘new world’. As I began to read through my history book, I noticed that everything I used to think about him was pretty much a lie. I thought he was some amazing heroic person that discovered this new place and everyone loved him. Well I soon learned that, that wasn’t the case.
You see what we know about history is based on how we were taught. What I knew about Columbus was based on what I had been taught in one of my history books, so what I thought about him was based on what the writer of that history book thought of him. Most people either remember the good or the bad about people in history, and nowhere in between. We either take the good and leave out the bad, or take the bad and leave out the good.
The fact is that we need to take ALL of history and not just what we want to remember. What I knew about Columbus, or what I thought I knew, was that Columbus was some heroic man that sailed the Atlantic ocean without running into any issues, found a new world, and he lived in peace with all the Indians and lived happily ever after, but that is not true. Though, that is the way that we are taught history, either the person is all good and did all these amazing things, or the person was all bad and did nothing right. Neither of those ways are right, we need to take history as a whole and remember people for who they really were.
So now that you know what I used to think, let me tell you what I have learned. In the year 1492 Christopher Columbus got on one of three boats and started sailing to what he thought was going to be the West Indies. He kept two logs, one that was real and kept to himself, and one that was not true and showed the crew, he did this so the crew would not get discouraged. After a few months the crew found out what he was doing and gave Columbus a dead line that if they did not find land soon they would turn back. On the morning of that dead line they found land. Columbus was kind to the native Americans at first hoping they would become Christians, but soon he and his men became cruel to the natives, they abused the women, and some were taken back to Spain as slaves.
It is important to study history so that it does not repeat itself, but let’s make sure that we are studying the truth and not what we want the truth to be.