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Student Question

Secondary V • 8mo.

Why school teaches us that it was Christopher Columbus who discovered America first. Whereas a Viking explorer named Leif Erickson would have discovered it long before him?

History
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Explanations (1)

  • Explanation from Alloprof

    Explanation from Alloprof

    This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

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    Team Alloprof • 8mo.

    Hello, 

    Thank you for using the services of the Helpzone.

    Christopher Columbus enabled European colonization in America by having economic, religious and political objectives. But you are right to question yourself. The Vikings had set foot on the land many years ago. However, several reasons may explain why this is not yet formally taught:

    • There was no physical evidence other than Leif Erickson's travel diaries.
    • The discovery of L'anse aux Meadows (a Viking encampment) was only discovered in 1960 by a Norwegian archaeologist.

    The narrative of the story takes a long time to change.

    Also, these questions are interesting since they bring us back to the definition of history and the cultural biases (Eurocentrism) that we have. Can we really speak of the discovery of America? Since we know that the indigenous peoples inhabited the territory.

    Hope that answers your question.