Who discovered America?
By: Deanne Mastrocola
Why is it that American culture today attributes its geographic discovery to a man named Christopher Columbus? Could it be that he was the first European to claim this land as part of an Imperialistic expansion or is it merely out of convenience for the history books? It is known that the American continent was populated by 1000 AD which is long before settlements by Viking fisherman and even longer before the arrival of Columbus. In spite of this fact every October, we as a culture celebrate a holiday in honor of the man who is believed to be "the discoverer" of America. Like so many other aspects of enculturation past down through American families, generation after generation, the discovery of this continent is a myth full of unrealistic half truths. Today Christopher Columbus is viewed as an explorer whom bravely faced the unknown to ultimately better the world. This is such a story similar to those told of our founding fathers and the cruelty of the British rule before the American Revolution. Yet a more goal analysis of these events, brings to light the truth that our one sided History books conveniently leave out. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, discovery is to obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time (Webster, 2006). Christopher Columbus did not discover America, Christopher Columbus did not even sail to the Americas; he sailed to the islands now known as the West Indies. To gain knowledge of or insight to something for the first time is based on the idea that what was being discovered had not been known before. A Viking of the name Leif Erickson was the leader of the voyage to the Americas around the year 1000 AD. He sailed to the Americas and obtained sight of the Americas long before Christopher Columbus. There is also historical evidence proving that Leif Erickson discovered America long before Columbus. Columbus is known in many people's eyes as a kind generous man...
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