Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Happy Columbus Day–we think

Columbus Day has grow to be a bit additional contentious than only a mere holiday ought to (with the exception of Christmas, which the Religious Appropriate target each year). Was Columbus an individual of faith who came here to transform the native peoples, or was he a mercenary who brought disease, slavery and death with the native peoples?

Historians duke this out regularly, since it may possibly appear. The Religious News Service reports:

“People don’t usually look at Columbus in the religious context of his time, which was very powerful,” said Delaney.
Nigel Cliff, the author of a new book on Columbus’s Portuguese contemporary Vasco da Gama, agrees that seeing the explorers through a religious lens is “a change of emphasis.” Historians in the 19th century tended to regard Columbus as a heroic figure who embarked on a “disinterested intellectual adventure,” whereas those in the 20th century tended to “focus on economics, to the exclusion of much else,” he said.
Cliff said mere economic advantage wasn’t a medieval concept.
“Faith is the burning issue that impelled the great Portugal (exploration) campaign for 80 years,” said Cliff, a British writer and amateur historian.
Da Gama became the first person to reach India directly from Europe by sailing around Africa in 1498, six years after Columbus discovered the Americas for the king and queen of Spain.
Cliff’s book, “Holy War,” claims that da Gama’s arrival in the East marked a turning point from Muslim to Christian ascendancy in global trade against the backdrop of an ongoing “clash of civilizations.”
But other historians say the new books’ bold claims are backed by poor scholarship. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a historian at the University of Notre Dame who has written extensively on Columbus, harshly criticized the books in The Wall Street Journal.
In his view, Cliff and Delaney “assume the veracity and authenticity of sources of doubtful authorship and unreliable date” and make the mistake of taking Columbus at his word although he was notoriously disingenuous.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, a historian at UCLA who has written on da Gama, said religion for da Gama was “significant, but not the sole motive.” The explorer was more interested in “personal advancement,” as well as ensuring that trade routes would be controlled by the Portuguese nobility rather than the crown.
Fernandez-Armesto called Cliff’s theory of a “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam “a figment of contemporary imaginations”; Subrahmanyam said it is “sensationalizing history by linking it with contemporary events.”

Then there seemed to be a snarky remark created by among the scholars about not having the works peer-reviewed, but published under commercial publishing presses.

Columbus did bring with him much from the vegetables and fruits could right now, similar to the tomato, cucumber, and peas.
Here's a concise good reputation for Columbus Day, presented by the History Channel:

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