1. Education

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

Responses: 21

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"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? Share your opinion

Who was he, anyway?

Christopher Columbus, of all people, should not be treated as an evil person. He was not in his right mind, so he did some evil things. But his gout, arthritis, and lust to be rich and famous influenced his acts. Perhaps if he had ever had his portrait done we could judge him better...
—Guest Me

truth on history

We teach our children not to lie, so why should we only pick out parts of history to teach Columbus was good and bad they should be taught the trth
—Guest leelee

Stop

First of all, he landed in what is now Cuba, and named it Hispaniola, NOT San Salvador. HE also enslaved thousands of Natives because he couldn't find the gold that he had promised the Spainish crown. He enslaved and set off a chain of events that lead to a mass genocide. To me, he is both a hero and a villain. He changed the world possibly for the better, but he did so in an insane way.
—Guest Dsmoot

My opinion

There are many great historians in the world that did things just as great as Columbus but kids will never know or even hear their name in their lifetime. In my opinion i think kids should even be taught about Chrisopher Columbus at a young age just let them go over his lifetime when they get into high school and have to do a small project on him or something. I'm not saying that Christopher Columbus shouldn't be taught at some point in time but i just think that younger kids shouldn't be taught about him in a way that makes him look like a hero that discovered the world when he really didn't. I believe that he shouldn't be so relevant in a childs life when there are so many more people that did better things then he did but aren't even heard of in their lifes.
—Guest Bre

Judge not...

Christopher Columbus did nothing to the indigenous people that they did not do to each other except introduce Christianity. No man that ever lived was perfect. How you judge Columbus will reflect upon yourself because his exploits made you what you are today. Now throw your stones. Also "discovered" does not necessarily mean the first.
—Giogian

cc

i think chritopher columbus was a great a explore because i found what is know call america and we live here a a free contry thanks to him who founmd it for us!!!!!!!!!!
—Guest unomimo

Learn about him

Kids should know about christopher columbus so they could feel free to explore the world and to be free
—Guest Gaven

Both Faces of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus should thought of as a man with two faces. In Spain, Columbus may have been nice to the queen and everyone else, but when he first landed in Guanahani (NOT AMERICA), he renamed the land to San Salvador. Then, over a few of his other voyages, he took for granted the islanders' skills and abilities to survive in such a desolate part of the world. Also, he wrote in his journal that he once even raped a Caribbean girl who resisted carnal knowledge with him. But of course, when he got back to Spain after his last voyage, he heard that Queen Isabella was dying and felt sad (his other face).
—Guest Maikal

Defining Truth

It is imperative that we teach children not to glorify and honor those undeserving of such honor...Columbus is revered for having found a new world, but how does one claim something that is already occupied, unless by deceit, pillaging, plundering, duplicity and murder among other things. We must give children the credit that they deserve, by pointing out just how erroneous we have all been in manufacturing, beleiving and spreading these untruths. Teach them that Columbus is not the only blood thirsty, attention seeking, sordid individual in our history, whom we have and continue to allow to be coined a hero by default so that others in fact, may control another group of individuals. Provide facts and timelines, unlike those that litter our history books with half truths or no truths or those things that reek of cover ups....allow the under developed mind to be enlightened with the truth of a matter, whereby they may make their own summation
—Guest Dmgales

Depending on age

It is both necaesary and unfair that children are taght at a young age that Columbus was a perfect man. It is innapropriate to talk to them about rape and murder at that age, but it is also wrong to only tell them about him being a "hero", when he isn't.
—Guest Keniesha

Modern myths

Many of the responses here recite a variety of modern myths, such as the myth of the flat earth; the myth of christian missionary of oppression of the noble savages; the myth of the christian fueled rape of the environment. Interested readers should get "6 Modern Myths" by Philip Sampson. For the Columbus myth in particular read "Inventing the Flat Earth" by Stanford historian Jeffrey Russell. He points out that no significant number of people believed in a flat earth either in Columbus' day or any other. The circumference of the spherical earth was thought to be close to 25,000mi based on Eratosthenes and the major objection to Columbus proposal was based on the extreme length of the journey rather than the flatness of the earth. Columbus "cooked" his calculations and although he didn't persuade the scholars of the day was able to get funding from the Spanish crown. His trips across the Atlantic were quite courageous for his day and opened up a new world to Europe.
—D8Ivy

The Truth Untold

Many people have been taught that Christopher Columbus was the greatest navigator of his time, he discovered America, and that he is a hero to his people. My honest opinion, that is a lie. Christopher Columbus Had another man from his crew to navigate and because Columbus was the captain of the ship, he took credit. Also, America had already been discovered, in fact, there were people already living there. They're called Native Americans and not Indians. The only reason people refer to them as Indians is because, when Columbus came to America he thought he had made it to India. So he called the Native Americans Indians. The Native Americans taught Columbus and the Europeans who came with him, how to grow crops and many other things as well. When he finally had gotten what he needed from them he killed them and took their land. At lest half of them died from the diseases that the Europeans were carrying. The only thing Christopher Columbus Brought to America was disease and chaos.
—Guest truth

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.
—rulas49

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.
—hieglkd

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What should kids be taught about Christopher Columbus?

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