Student Question

How did Eurocentrism frame early views of history?

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Eurocentrism, the belief that Europe is (or should be considered) the center of the world, framed most early history told by Europeans and their descendants. Africa, the Americas, and Asia were rarely mentioned in world histories. Non-Western accounts were dismissed as unreliable. One of the most striking examples of this is the Battle of Little Bighorn. Because Custer's troops were wiped out, Western historians argued there were no surviving accounts of the battle. Of course, there were thousands of accounts: the 2,000 Native Americans he attacked who were at the battle and defeated him.

Many still hold or are taught Eurocentric views today. For example, some still call the Americas "the New World," which is only true from a European perspective. Many textbooks still teach students the Bering Strait Theory of American population, even though many Native history accounts disagree and say that the Americas were populated by multiple migrations by boats much farther back in time.

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