Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Most Important Fact in My Country's History - United States

Two men are thought to be responsible for being the first European explorers to set foot in what is now the United States of America. John Cabot who first came to see North American mainland and Juan Ponce De Leon who first set foot in what is now the state Florida.

Later on Christopher Columbus sailed to various spots like Haiti and the West Indies (hence the term Indian) and did not find much gold as his sponsors, Spain, had hoped but saw a big market for slavery. This began a long history of slavery in the United States of America.

Eventually England would colonize the east coast of North America with the hopes of raising money via taxation and export of goods to colonists. Many people saw a future for them in America and left England to either seek their fortune, escape political or religious ( isn't that still kind of the same thing??) persecution.

Most famous of all colonist were the Pilgrims. puritans made the long journey on the Mayflower from England to America in the early 1600's. They first landed in Provincetown MA
which I am proud to say is now primarily a gay resort area and just a lovely place to visit full of art galleries, fabulous food, friendly people and my in-laws. Finding no fresh water available nearby during their 3 week stay they ventured further up the coast to Plymouth MA.

Escaping the wicked and loose ways of the Church of England the puritans sought to form a large boring group of religious zealots where they could do nothing but worship and live in a solitary pure existence.
The Pilgrims worked the land, built homes and occasionally had sex to keep warm during brutal New England winters while growing more wary of the Savages who lived in the woods near by. The Pilgrims struggled to feed themselves and to keep warm and many died of disease the first winter while the so called savages, or Native Americans, lived peacefully, happily and with great skill over the land. The Native Americans wore different clothing and did not speak English so the Pilgrims had little use for them and looked down on them. Eventually killing most every single native person in North America. Thousands and thousands of Native Americans died from diseases the settlers brought and from the misuse of land and water around their villages. The settlers, Pilgrims, took land and built houses, created towns, roads and eventually entire States without the permission of the Native Americans. Many Native American cultures did not have the concept of ownership in the same way as the English did therefore the English simply took the land the native peoples had been living in harmony with for centuries displacing thousands of men, women and children.

The most important aspect of the beginning of our history of the United States of America is the we "discovered" a land already inhabited by thousands of people. I suppose we discovered them too.


Blogger Tonje Brustuen said...

Not to be a nitpicker (well, that’s not true. I AM a nitpicker. Sorry about that.) but actually, Icelandic/Norwegian Leif Eirikson reached Newfoundland 500 years before Cabot. October 9 is even declared Leif Eirikson Day in the US, but I guess it doesn’t compare to Christmas in popularity.

Jared Diamond, in his book on failed civilizations, writes that had it not been for the hordes of hostile natives, the Vikings might have spread, and you would today be speaking an old norse-based language. Wonder what else would be different?

3:02 AM  
Blogger cole edwards said...

YES, I know but that does not have much to do with my countries history....more yours. I was ALMOST going to include that but it I did not think it was relevant to the history of America..the North American continent, for SURE! but not to the USA.

I was trying to point out that Europeans in general believed that the world revolved around them and their "discoveries" including Eirikson, and there were already lots of other people living there, thankyouverymuch, and that North America and its orginal people is a waste land of genocide and stolen land.

I like nit-picky, no worries.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Jock said...

I didn´t know that, Tonje.

Cole, Brazil was a different colony - Portugal used Brazil to extract all resources, while USA was used to populate...

2:34 PM  
Blogger dalia said...

why does this remind me of history class?!...duh! bcuz it does! ;)...been thru this 100 was born & raised in sunny cali ;) i know A LOT about american history...& a lot of it ain't too pretty either!...especially current history :(...may we all be saved from bush!

12:52 AM  

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