Historical Context



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It was an age of exploration, an age of conquest, and an age of destruction. The European powers were all on the verge of colonizing the new found land, no matter the obstacles standing in their way. It all began with the finding of the New World by Christopher Columbus. His own enslavement and genocide of the local inhabitants, the Arawaks, was just a precursor to all the death and destruction that will later occur due to the arrival of Europeans on the two Americas. With their minds set on wealth and riches, the many super powers sailed across the Atlantic, with their course set for the Americas.

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As children, we were taught about the glorious side of the European colonization, we always heard the good about the first contact with the Indians. We all were taught about how Columbus discovered the New World, the new vast continent in which we all live on today. But we were never taught the dark history, and the truth of these events. The context of all that we were taught, our textbooks, and all that we learned were written in such a way that we only saw the good in these European explorers. They focused on the events such as teh founding, the colonizing, Thanksgiving, but they never talked about the bloody battles, the epidemics of disease, and the complete genocide of the natives. Now, as young adults, we are learning the truth. We read literary works, which show us the true history of this land we live on. We learn about the people who were here before us, the ones whose land we stole. These literary works write in the view points of the victims of these explorations, the native people. The context of these works gives us an insight into the lives of the Indians, and helps us to better understand the many works of the native people which we have today. The first chapter of A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, discusses the first arrival of Europeans in the New World, and continues on to discuss the colonization attempts of the Europeans, and the relations between the natives and the Europeans. The treatment of the locals by the Europeans showed the true depths of human cruelty.



Historical Events


Historical Figures


Significant World Events

These events are just a few of the events that took place in this time period, for a more complete picture, and a view at other events that occured, please refer to the following, basic timeline or the more in-depth timeline.




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Historical Context Citations




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