History Is Written By The Victors
So history is one of our biggest interest here at GACFA. This is because history has such an effect on how we see the world. Often times we perceive the modern world based on our understanding of the past. We can justify an attack on a nation or group of people based on our perceived history with that nation or group of people.
There is a lot of value in controlling the history books for that very reason, you can make people believe things that may advance a current agenda. It was common practice by many to destroy the history books of a nation after winning a war. History has been rewritten thousands of times and it would be difficult to give an absolute detailed history of humanities past because it has been rewritten so man times.
As children here in the United States we were told a specific history that has worked towards shaping our perspective of the world, and even our own identities. Because of histories power, we here at GACFA are passionate about discerning the past and developing a clear and more accurate depiction of our history. In order to better understand how the world became what it is, and to better understand where we are going.
Because traditional schooling leaves out most of the details, we here at GACFA have conducted our own research over the years and we recommend that you do the same. Teaching yourself is so liberating, and so personally satisfying. Below we will detail one of our favorite historical characters, Christopher Columbus, and discuss one of his explorations before he supposedly discovered America.
Traditionally in class you learn about the discovery of the Americas, the trade with the Indians, and the defeat of the British in the Revolutionary war. But nothing in between and nothing pertaining to the rest of the world, at least that was what I was taught. So now that I am being introduced to the rest of the puzzle pieces, which make up our historical puzzle, it all begins to make a bit more sense. It also seems that it was not exactly the fairy tale I had imagined it to be.
I guess I will do this is some sort of chronological order starting around the 1400’s. Around these times agriculture was key to having a successful and healthy family, as well as a successful society. Those countries that had efficient agriculture worried less about starvation and had an advantage when it came to trade. Though I found it to be unfortunate that the cities would demand so much food and payment from the farming peasants, almost defeating the purpose of them working so hard. Though the cities did serve a useful purpose when it came to protection of the peasants. These times were much more dangerous than our modern society is today. Peasants had to fear many things, starting with animals. During the 1400’s there was no zoo’s to go observe animals, but rather you were in a zoo at all times. Peasants constantly faced animals destroying their crops, or even in cases threatening their lives. Many parts of the world were dangerous and patrolled by wolves’ bears, and tigers. And if animals were not a big enough danger, peasants also had to face the dangers of nomads. Nomads at those times were known to be vicious, usually going town-to-town raping and pillaging. So it was wise of peasants to pay a city to govern them from all the dangers that existed during those times.
As cities grew and populations increased, many nations looked to expand their territory. Many of the nations warred with each other to seize wanted areas. Many nations also sent out naval fleets to find unclaimed land. Though most of the time someone or something inhabited the land they presumed to be vacant. This is where modern history becomes vague and sounds more like a fairytale then fact.
Columbus was one of these naval captains that sailed the seas in search of new land and resources. One of his adventures that was discussed in class was when he found Cuba. While Columbus was sailing near the coast of Cuba his boat hit ground and was damaged. Luckily the locals of the island came to help Columbus and remove all valuables from the ship, and were very hospitable to Columbus and his men while they were on the island. The Europeans stated that the natives were a very peaceful and happy culture, constantly laughing and smiling. As Columbus and his men began their journey home, the native chief gave Columbus a parting gift, which was a gold crown. The chief meant it as a sign of friendship and good fortune, though Columbus had taken the gesture much differently. Columbus took it as a sign of surrender by the native people, and presumed the land and people to now be his.
So Columbus returned to Cuba shortly after his discovery to take what he believed to now be his. With him he brought many men and many weapons, to seize his new territory. He made the people that had treated him so kindly slaves, and the island, which he had described to be so beautiful and peaceful, a living Hell. He forced the natives to mine for gold and silver day in and day out. By the end of his stay he had destroyed the native culture, killed many of the inhabitants, and ruined their beautiful island.
This story was one that I will probably never forget because how sad it is. It definitely gives me insight into how barbaric people were at that time. People seemed to just want money and power, but I guess not a lot has changed in that aspect. But it was interesting to me that Columbus and his men would actually capture the natives and use them as slaves to mine for resources on their own island. This seemed extremely evil, but I assume that most Europeans didn’t see other races of men to be equal to them. This was probably due to a language barrier, and the sheer fact that Europeans had advancements in technology that no other races had, which made them feel superior.
Slavery at this time was a huge issue. It was how societies flourished, and one of the most sought after commodities. Many nations had trade posts on the coast of Africa, at which they would trade slaves for weapons with some of the locals. The locals would go in land and steal people from their homes then drag them to the coast where they would be shipped out all over the world.
This struck me as terrifying that people would be taken from their families, put at the bottom of a boat with hundreds of others. Having little food for the voyage, and sleeping on everyone’s urine. Many did not make the journey and died on board, but this was expected. Though if you did survive the ride you were now in a foreign land and at the mercy of your new owner. This sounds to me like a nightmare, but part of me sees excitement in it. These people who didn’t even know white folk existed were being abducted by them, and brought to their sophisticated cities on a part of the world they didn’t know about. On these lands were foreign climates, foreign plants and animals, and overall just a different world, which could have been fascinating to some of the slaves on board.
As the world developed and technologies furthered certain nations pulled away from the pact and had much more stable economies. These nations being China, India and Europe, which each held about 23 percent of the worlds GDP. Combined they held roughly 70 percent of the worlds GDP, making the three an elite power in the world at that time. Though as history has shown us before, power and wealth do shift with time. India and China held a little over half the wealth in the 1800, though by the 1900 the two nations had become the poorest and least industrialized. From their most of us no which direction the world goes, with the rise of the young America and all the controversy in between.
As the world Ages we conquer, we journey, and we learn. We learn what works, and we learn what needs change. History can be told in many languages, on many nations, in many forms, and it is our job as interpreters to piece it together and learn from the actions of our forefathers on what to do, and what not to do, so we are not doomed to repeat ourselves.