Monday, August 22, 2005


One of the great myths of the United States and the overall story of European dominance over our land is the myth that suggests the Americas were a lightly populated wilderness before Europeans arrived.

Although the truth has been known for a long time, historian Charles C. Mann has collected much of the evidence in a new book entitled 1491.

Here's NPR audio about the book:

NPR : '1491' Explores the Americas Before Columbus

Go here to read an excerpt from the book:

1491 book excerpt


  1. What evidence? After listening to the NPR re-broadcast and reading through the exerpt from the book, I have recieved no evidence of a larger group of Native Americans were living before Columbus's arrival then we learned about in grade school. How many people? Where is this archeological evidence. Show me the cities. Show me the bones. Just because a scientist says it is so, doesn't make it so. Be skeptical.
    Also troubling here is the discription of a large influx of European immigrants as being a disaster to the American Indians. Could you imagine if the author described the large influx of Mexicans flooding US shores today as a disaster for the American People. Or how about the large number of Muslims flooding Europe. Is this a disaster? Maybe. But, how about, people move. They like to go to greener pastures. And were the Native Americans not native at all, but just carpetbaggers from Asia. And don't we all claim our decent to Africa just some 2,000 generations ago? I think a scientist told me that.

  2. Oh, and what is up with the author's description of Europeans? Short, smelly, pallid and not good at doing simple tasks? Could you imagine if he described Native Americans like this? You would flip.

  3. It is not surprising to find this sort of refuse on the internet. The real shame is that my students will read and possibly believe it. The influx of Europeans completely destroyed Native American society (granted that communicating diseases, except when doing it on purpose, wasn't something we could control). What happened afterwards (ignored treaties, Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson using Native American skin as decorative dress) was a crime against humanity that has no resemblance to our problem of needed migrant work for the economy we created to continue working to our advantage. The author describes actually exactly what a sailor would look like compared to a Native American in that time period.