European Exploration of America

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Why is there controversy about who truly discovered America?

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Christopher Columbus is often considered the "discoverer" of North America, even though his voyages brought him to the Caribbean. However, Columbus was not the first European to visit North America, as there is evidence of early Viking settlements there. One can go even farther back to find evidence of the first humans of North America as they arrived from Asia and Polynesia. These people should be considered the true discoverers of North America, as they arrived and developed major civilizations and trade routes independent of any Europeans.

One reason that history has presented the Columbus narrative is that Columbus was a staunch Catholic, and history writers have presented the Western European–centric narrative of history as an inarguable fact for a long time. The Vikings were Western Europeans as well, but they were not Christians at the time of contact with North America. It has been only recently that Native American history has been seriously studied by anthropologists and historians, and Native Americans' cultural contributions have finally begun to be appreciated by scholars and mainstream readers. Charles C. Mann's book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus is a good example of modern scholarship on North America before Columbus.

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