Daily Archives: September 19th, 2011

Myth of the Empty Continent

For many Americans, the traditional imagery of pre-Columbian North America is one of small or medium sized native tribes living in vast, primeval forests or on rolling plains largely unaltered by human hands. The first part of this evocative description is relatively accurate, since settlers moving West often traveled through large swaths of unoccupied land, […]

No, It Wasn’t Columbus

“In the Year of Fourteen Ninety-Two…” begins the bit of doggerel that nearly every American schoolchild learns. That’s when “Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue” and, some people still believe, discovered America. To this day I know people who entertain a vision of old Chris sloshing ashore (probably in Virginia) with a priest and Portuguese flag, […]