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Readers Respond: What should kids be taught about Christopher Columbus?

Responses: 13


"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." That much everyone agrees on. But what was Columbus? Was he a brave hero who defied his small-minded contemporaries and intrepidly set off to his date with destiny, as some believe? Was he a monstrous slave trader who brought disease and death to the pristine New World? Or was he some combination of the two? Schoolkids have traditionally been taught that he was a hero, but that's starting to change. What do you think? What should our kids be taught about Christopher Columbus?

Complete Truth

1) Columbus didn't discover America. He actually landed on the Caribbean islands which would become the Bahamas and Hispaniola ( Hati and the Dominican Republic) John Cabot actually discovered this new land if you don't count the Vikings and native Americans, etc. 2) Columbus did not discover the earth's roundness. Pythagoras came up with the concept. Aristotle gave evidence, and Eratosthenes estimated the Earth's circumference. This knowledge was still being taught during Columbus' time. What Columbus thought, was that he could reach to Asia quickly because he thought the Earth was a lot smaller. It was his calculations that were wrong. 3) Columbus, not really a hero. He enslaved and massacred the native Americans. I mean children should know the truth, but you should wait a while before you tell them that Columbus was a rapist, and a slaughterer.
—Guest Kyle

Depends on the kids age.

I think kid should know the truth that he could be a hero but, he is a murder who had people kill, rape, and torturer the Natives. I say once the kids all old enough to know what hat all means then they should know the real truth about Columbus. Yes the kids should learn the good things about him but, they should also learn about all the bad thing that he did and how he wiped out a population as it's whole.
—Guest Tori

the truth

I agree that that kids should now the truth about Columbus.
—Guest cleophas chimbetete


Christopher Columbus parents were from Scotland, they moved to Portugal then onto Italy where their children were born. Source:University of Edinburgh.
—Guest Fiona

the truth about christopher columbus..

he was told by the queen of england that he would either be hung or have to sail the ocean (which they thought was flat and he would eventually fall off the end of it) because he was a criminal. he chose to sail the ocean instead of being hung.. and then WAS FOUND... this is what the school used to teach. THE TRUTH
—Guest jenn

Both sides of the coin

History is attractive and stimulating because it is an excercise to explore and opine. History is dynamic by lending itself to interpretation, but it is also marred by attempts to manipulation and unsubstatantiated subjective stands. We must hear and promote all points of view when treating or discussing such controversial subjects as Columbus.

Christopher Columbus

Dear Readers, As a 4th grade teacher, I feel compelled to express my concern for celebrating a man like Christopher Columbus. Historically, we have taught our students that Columbus was a hero and the man who 'discovered' America. Both of these things are false. He was a murderer, a slave trader, and a thief. If anyone who stands in front of a classroom and professes that this man is a hero, then they should have their teaching license revoked. PLEASE teach the truth about Columbus. He is not a person to be celebrated. Thank you for tuning in.

It should

I believe that children should be taught, that the atrocities of Columbus weren't the basis of the founding of this nation. They should be taught that " just because one commits atrocities, doesn't mean that what something is all about.
—Guest Mile

Columbus the man for all seasons.

A Black man's education consists of falsehoods and a chip on the shoulder attitude that everything European hence Western is evil and counter productive to human progress. Columbus was a man who lived in an age of deep crisis whereby the fortunes of the Christian world were threatened by economic crisis and impending conquest by Islam in the newly resurgent Ottoman Empire whose dream it was to replace the Christian cross with the Crescent of Islam, something they accomplished shortly two years after the birth of Columbus when they conquered Constantinple the capital of what was once Byzantium. In the meantime Moslems in Alexandria began to place the squeeze on Venetian traders by upping the price of vitaly needed spices in the European econ omy and hopefully draining away much needed species away and into Islamic coffers. It was to resolve this immediate crisis that entered men like Columbus and others with imaginary alternatives.
—Guest John Marin


In response to a statement made here about Columbus having conducted slaving operations in behalf of Henry the Navigator it should be pointed out that Henry the Navigator died in 1460. Columbus on the other hand was born in 1451 a Christian and not a Jew. In 1460 he would have been a nine year old child, hardly an age to become a slave hunter.

The truth of the truth

This man, who was a jew from Genoa, was involved in the first kidnapping of Africans from the coast of what we now call Mauritania under the authority of Henry the Navigator...who never navigated a thing. He and his cohorts stole 10 Africans and sold them to Pope Martin V. He was in no way shape or form a person of dignity or compassion. He was in fact the very FIRST South American Dictator. He intentionally took the kindness and humanity of the Taino, Arowack, and the Lucayan/Caribs and used it to subdue and exterminate them. I am personally offended that someone, by todays standards, would be considered a terrorist and a Nazi-like racist has a holiday in the nation I consider my home and honorable people like Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, whom were not responsible for the deaths of any number of people but only for the uplifting of their depressed and oppressed people DO NOT HAVE A HOLIDAY. If ever a man that walked this Earth could be called a devil...IT WAS HIM! The Kids Must Know!!
—Guest KB

With Discovery Comes Destruction

Human beings for the most part are not responsible enough to discover.
—Guest legolas3616

The truth

Children should be taught the truth. He did not discover America (it very much existed already when he got there), so that story needs serious revision to start with. He did disobey the monarchy and sailed against their wishes (which he later paid for) and even though it was not entirely his plan, he did eradicate a lot of the indigenous population with the diseases he and his shipmates brought ashore. Children need to be educated with the facts, and they can handle the truth.
—Guest WiseMona

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