Oct 12, 2016

Columbus Day. 1492: discovery or conquest?

Christophorus Columbus Loving San Francisco     The so-called ‘discovery’ of the New World by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492 opened the gates to European colonialism of other nations.
     Through the media and history books we are sometimes presented with the point of view of the ‘brave’ European adventurer who fearlessly sets off for new ‘virgin’ territories, the Americas.
On the other hand, the ‘natives’ are depicted, especially by many literary texts of the past, as savage and primitive, like Shakespeare’s Caliban or Defoe’s Friday.
columbus day discovery Loving San Francisco     But if we reverse the point of view and take up the perspective of the not at all ‘primitive’ cultures who inhabited this continent, history turns out to be far less romantic. Uruguayan writer and historian Eduardo Galeano has used a very powerful image to describe the process of the conquest – which implied a genocide as well as the destruction of the existing cultural, political and economic systems: when Europeans arrived in the new Continent, the veins of the Americas were fatally opened.

     Source: Thomson – Maglioni, Literary Links. Literature in time and space, Cideb, an old Italian book 2000. 
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