Discuss the "vision of the vanquished" in describing the "encounter" between Europe and indigenous America.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Essentially, the vision of the vanquished refers to how the Age of Exploration was seen by those who were dominated.  For example, Columbus landing in America and settling it for Spain can be seen as a glorious triumph for Europe and being able to expand its borders into the New World.  Yet, in the paradigm of the vision of the vanquished, this process is seen in an entirely new light.  This vision is one where the reality is enslavement, control by a foreign power, the introduction and spread of new diseases for which the indigenous people lacked cures, and a valid attempt to wipe out a culture.  In the vision of the vanquished, one is forced to balance out the traditionalist and exceptionalist narrative of history with its underpinning, the narrative that was silenced with Columbus' arrival.  Essentially, the vision of the vanquished argued that there was an exchange taking place when Columbus landed on the shores of America.  The Europeans, though, benefited greatly from this exchange, and the vision of the vanquished speaks to this idea of exploring how they benefited and who was disadvantaged as a part of this process.

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