When it comes to the birth of America, the majority of us are working from a stew of basic school history lessons, Westerns and vague Thanksgiving mythology. And while it’s not surprising those sources may biff a few information, what’s shocking is how much less interesting that the version we learned was.
It turns out our educators, Hollywood and whoever we got our Thanksgiving mythology from (Big Turkey?) All made America’s origin story far more boring than it actually was for some very disturbing reasons.
The Native Americans Weren’t Defeated by White Settlers
Add in some warfare, throw in some smallpox… Not much is said about how the Indians were wiped out. Native American civilization’s fall is usually explained away using its inability to compete with all the White Man’s technological prowess.
In the Years between Columbus’ discovery of America and the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock, the most devastating plague in human history raced up the East Coast of America. Just two years before the pilgrims arrived, the plague wiped out about 96 percent of the Indians in Massachusetts. In the years before the plague, a sailor named Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed up the East Coast and described it as “densely populated” and so “smoky with Indian bonfires” you could smell them burning hundreds of miles out at sea.
Historians estimate that prior to the plague, America’s population was anywhere between 20 and 100 million (Europe’s at the time was 70 million). The plague would ruin 90 percent of the native population. The Black Plague was far more merciful, having only killed off between 30 and 60 percent of Europe’s population.
2. Native Culture Wasn’t Backwards
American Indians lived in balance with mother earth, and were were leaving behind a small carbon footprint because they were hippies who smoke weed everyday.
The Indians were so good at destroying forests that a team of Stanford environmental scientists think they caused a mini ice age in Europe. When most of those Indians died in the plague, a lot of trees grew back it had a reverse global warming effect.
More carbon dioxide was sucked from the atmosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere held on to less heat.Cahokia is a large Native American community located in modern day East St. Louis.While the town was left by the time White folks got to it, the evidence they left behind indicates a intricate market with trade routes from the Great Lakes all of the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.
In 1250, it was larger than London, and featured a complex society with an urban centre, satellite villages and thatched-roof houses lining the central plazas. Cahokia’s pyramid dwarfs some of Egypt’s, both in size and in degree of difficulty. The mound contains over 2.16 billion lbs of dirt, some of which had to be carried from hundreds of kilometers away, to make certain the town’s giant monument was vividly colored. No trucks, only human labor moved a literal mountain of earth.
3. Columbus Didn’t Discover America….. The Vikings did.
America was discovered in 1492 because Europeans were starting to become interested in the outside world thanks to the Renaissance and Enlightenment and Europeans of the time only generally being the first smart individuals ever.
Here is what we know. It was Vikings who set up a prosperous colony in Greenland that lasted for 518 decades (982-1500). To put that into perspective, the European settlement now known as the United States will need to wait until the year 2125 to match that longevity. The Vikings sent several expeditions down south to try to settle what they predicted Vineland — which historians now think was that the East Coast of North America.
After spending a couple decades sneaking ashore to raid “Vineland” of its wood pulp, the Vikings tried to repay North America in 1005. They set up the first powerful European colony, for the grand total of 2 years. They were soon expelled, their leader struck at the heart with an Native American arrow.
4. The Columbus Lie
Columbus found America, his crew was going to throw him overboard, when land was spotted at the nick of time. Until the pilgrims showed up and successfully settled the nation for the very first time, there was no reason for Europeans to head over there…. . With almost 150 years in between these two events where absolutely nothing occurred.
To start with, Columbus was not the first to discover America. Nor were the Vikings, since technically the Native Americans had crossed over to this land from Africa many millennia ago. His voyage wasn’t even particularly difficult; they enjoyed smooth sailing and his life was never in real danger. Columbus expired wealthy, and knew precisely what he had discovered; he wrote in his journal, “I have come to believe that this is a mighty continent which was hitherto unknown.”
When he couldn’t find enough gold to make his voyage profitable enough, he focused on enslaving Native Americans. Columbus found America and devised American slavery in the same 15-year period.
5. White Settlers Did Not Struggle To Create America From Jungle
Even the pilgrims were the first in a parade of courageous settlers who pushed culture westward across the frontier, enduring harshest of conditions, to tame the property as it stands now.
In written records from early colonial times, you constantly encounter “settlers” being shocked in how convenient the American wilderness made matters for them. The oriental woods, generally portrayed by great American writers as a “thick, unbroken snarl of trees” no longer existed by the time that the white European settlers actually showed up. The pilgrims couldn’t believe their luck when they discovered that American woods just naturally comprised “garden plots, blackberry rambles, pine barrens and spacious groves of chestnut, hickory and oak.”
Frontiersmen who settled what is today Ohio found that the woods there naturally grew in a way that “resembled English parks.” The pilgrims specifically picked Plymouth specifically because it was a recently abandoned city. We are told that the pilgrims were aided by an Indian named Squanto who spoke English.
How did that occur? Squanto was from the town that would become Plymouth, but between being born there and the pilgrims’ arrival, he had undergone captivity, was sent to Europe and had to escape his own masters prior to boarding a ship back home. And what he discovered was really tragic.
Click to WATCH: Lies Your School Taught You About Native Americans