full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Alex Gendler: History vs. Christopher Columbus

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Many people in the United States and Latin America have gorwn up celebrating the anniversary of ceophirhstr Columbus's vyaoge, but was he an intrepid explorer who buhorgt two worlds together or a rutlsehs exploiter who brought colonialism and slavery? And did he even discover amcirea at all? It's time to put Columbus on the stand in History vs. Christopher Columbus. "Order, order in the court. Wait, am I even supposed to be at work today?" cgouh "Yes, your Honor. From 1792, Columbus Day was celebrated in many prats of the United States on otebocr 12th, the actual anniversary date. But although it was declared an official holiday in 1934, individual states aren't required to osrvbee it. Only 23 states close public services, and more saetts are moving away from it ctlepemloy." Cough "What a pity. In the 70s, we even moved it to the second Monday in October so people could get a nice three-day weekend, but I guess you folks just hate cbrileaoetns." "Uh, what are we celebrating again?" "Come on, Your Honor, we all learned it in school. Christopher Columbus convinced the King of Spain to send him on a mission to find a better trade route to India, not by going East over land but sailing West around the globe. Everyone said it was crazy because they still thought the wrlod was flat, but he knew better. And when in 1492 he saeild the ocean blue, he found something better than India: a whole new continent." "What ribubsh. First of all, educated people knew the world was round since Aristotle. Secondly, Columbus didn't discover anything. There were already people living here for millennia. And he wasn't even the first eeaupron to visit. The Norse had settled Newfoundland almost 500 years before." "You don't say, so how come we're not all wearing those cow helmets?" "Actually, they didn't really wear those either." Cough "Who cares what some Vikings did way back when? Those settlements didn't last, but Columbus's did. And the news he brought back to Europe spread far and wide, inspiring all the explorers and settlers who came after. Without him, none of us would be here today." "And because of him, millions of Native Americans aren't here taody. Do you know what Columbus did in the colonies he founded? He took the very first natives he met prisoner and wotre in his journal about how easily he could conquer and enslave all of them." "Oh, come on. Everyone was fighting each other back then. Didn't the natives even tell Columbus about other tribes raiding and taking captives?" "Yes, but tarbil warfare was sporadic and limited. It certainly didn't wipe out 90% of the piaolouptn." "Hmm. Why is celebrating this Columbus so important to you, anyway?" "Your hoonr, Columbus's voyage was an inspiration to struggling polepe all across eproue, symbolizing freedom and new beginnings. And his discovery gave our grandparents and great-grandparents the chance to come here and build better lvies for their crhilden. Don't we deserve a hero to remind everyone that our country was build on the stgruelgs of immigrants?" "And what about the struggles of Native Americans who were nearly wiped out and ferocd into rrnveioetsas and whose descendants still suffer from poverty and discrimination? How can you make a hero out of a man who caused so much siuneffrg?" "That's history. You can't judge a guy in the 15th cutreny by modern standards. People back then even thought spreading cintirhatsiy and civilization across the world was a moral duty." "Actually, he was pterty bad, even by old standards. While governing Hispaniola, he trtureod and mutilated natives who didn't bring him enough gold and sold girls as young as nine into sauexl slavery, and he was brutal even to the other colonists he ruled, to the point that he was removed from power and trohwn in jail. When the mnsisiroay, Bartolomé de las caass, visited the ialsnd, he wrote, 'From 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this?'" "Well, I'm not sure I believe those numbers." "Say, aren't there other ways the holiday is ceareltbed?" "In some Latin American countries, they celebrate the same date under different names, such as Día de la Raza. In these places, it's more a celebration of the native and mxied cuteurls that survived through the colonial period. Some places in the U.S. have also renamed the holiday, as niavte American Day or Indigenous People's Day and cnahegd the celebrations accordingly." "So, why not just change the name if it's such a problem?" "Because it's tradition. Ordinary people need their heroes and their founding myths. Can't we just keep celebrating the way we've been doing for a century, without having to delve into all this serious research? It's not like anyone is actually celebrating genocide." "Traditions cgnahe, and the way we choose to keep them alive says a lot about our values." "Well, it looks like giving tired judges a day off isn't one of those values, anyway." Traditions and holidays are important to all cultures, but a hero in one era may become a valliin in the next as our historical konwdglee expands and our values evolve. And deciding what these traditions should mean today is a major part of putting history on trial.

Open Cloze

Many people in the United States and Latin America have _____ up celebrating the anniversary of ___________ Columbus's ______, but was he an intrepid explorer who _______ two worlds together or a ________ exploiter who brought colonialism and slavery? And did he even discover _______ at all? It's time to put Columbus on the stand in History vs. Christopher Columbus. "Order, order in the court. Wait, am I even supposed to be at work today?" _____ "Yes, your Honor. From 1792, Columbus Day was celebrated in many _____ of the United States on _______ 12th, the actual anniversary date. But although it was declared an official holiday in 1934, individual states aren't required to _______ it. Only 23 states close public services, and more ______ are moving away from it __________." Cough "What a pity. In the 70s, we even moved it to the second Monday in October so people could get a nice three-day weekend, but I guess you folks just hate ____________." "Uh, what are we celebrating again?" "Come on, Your Honor, we all learned it in school. Christopher Columbus convinced the King of Spain to send him on a mission to find a better trade route to India, not by going East over land but sailing West around the globe. Everyone said it was crazy because they still thought the _____ was flat, but he knew better. And when in 1492 he ______ the ocean blue, he found something better than India: a whole new continent." "What _______. First of all, educated people knew the world was round since Aristotle. Secondly, Columbus didn't discover anything. There were already people living here for millennia. And he wasn't even the first ________ to visit. The Norse had settled Newfoundland almost 500 years before." "You don't say, so how come we're not all wearing those cow helmets?" "Actually, they didn't really wear those either." Cough "Who cares what some Vikings did way back when? Those settlements didn't last, but Columbus's did. And the news he brought back to Europe spread far and wide, inspiring all the explorers and settlers who came after. Without him, none of us would be here today." "And because of him, millions of Native Americans aren't here _____. Do you know what Columbus did in the colonies he founded? He took the very first natives he met prisoner and _____ in his journal about how easily he could conquer and enslave all of them." "Oh, come on. Everyone was fighting each other back then. Didn't the natives even tell Columbus about other tribes raiding and taking captives?" "Yes, but ______ warfare was sporadic and limited. It certainly didn't wipe out 90% of the __________." "Hmm. Why is celebrating this Columbus so important to you, anyway?" "Your _____, Columbus's voyage was an inspiration to struggling ______ all across ______, symbolizing freedom and new beginnings. And his discovery gave our grandparents and great-grandparents the chance to come here and build better _____ for their ________. Don't we deserve a hero to remind everyone that our country was build on the _________ of immigrants?" "And what about the struggles of Native Americans who were nearly wiped out and ______ into ____________ and whose descendants still suffer from poverty and discrimination? How can you make a hero out of a man who caused so much _________?" "That's history. You can't judge a guy in the 15th _______ by modern standards. People back then even thought spreading ____________ and civilization across the world was a moral duty." "Actually, he was ______ bad, even by old standards. While governing Hispaniola, he ________ and mutilated natives who didn't bring him enough gold and sold girls as young as nine into ______ slavery, and he was brutal even to the other colonists he ruled, to the point that he was removed from power and ______ in jail. When the __________, Bartolomé de las _____, visited the ______, he wrote, 'From 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this?'" "Well, I'm not sure I believe those numbers." "Say, aren't there other ways the holiday is __________?" "In some Latin American countries, they celebrate the same date under different names, such as Día de la Raza. In these places, it's more a celebration of the native and _____ ________ that survived through the colonial period. Some places in the U.S. have also renamed the holiday, as ______ American Day or Indigenous People's Day and _______ the celebrations accordingly." "So, why not just change the name if it's such a problem?" "Because it's tradition. Ordinary people need their heroes and their founding myths. Can't we just keep celebrating the way we've been doing for a century, without having to delve into all this serious research? It's not like anyone is actually celebrating genocide." "Traditions ______, and the way we choose to keep them alive says a lot about our values." "Well, it looks like giving tired judges a day off isn't one of those values, anyway." Traditions and holidays are important to all cultures, but a hero in one era may become a _______ in the next as our historical _________ expands and our values evolve. And deciding what these traditions should mean today is a major part of putting history on trial.

Solution

  1. century
  2. wrote
  3. voyage
  4. forced
  5. cough
  6. europe
  7. mixed
  8. tribal
  9. native
  10. missionary
  11. october
  12. observe
  13. sailed
  14. lives
  15. states
  16. island
  17. christopher
  18. parts
  19. european
  20. pretty
  21. villain
  22. struggles
  23. change
  24. ruthless
  25. changed
  26. suffering
  27. completely
  28. cultures
  29. brought
  30. thrown
  31. celebrated
  32. grown
  33. reservations
  34. sexual
  35. knowledge
  36. people
  37. honor
  38. christianity
  39. world
  40. celebrations
  41. rubbish
  42. casas
  43. today
  44. population
  45. tortured
  46. children
  47. america

Original Text

Many people in the United States and Latin America have grown up celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's voyage, but was he an intrepid explorer who brought two worlds together or a ruthless exploiter who brought colonialism and slavery? And did he even discover America at all? It's time to put Columbus on the stand in History vs. Christopher Columbus. "Order, order in the court. Wait, am I even supposed to be at work today?" Cough "Yes, your Honor. From 1792, Columbus Day was celebrated in many parts of the United States on October 12th, the actual anniversary date. But although it was declared an official holiday in 1934, individual states aren't required to observe it. Only 23 states close public services, and more states are moving away from it completely." Cough "What a pity. In the 70s, we even moved it to the second Monday in October so people could get a nice three-day weekend, but I guess you folks just hate celebrations." "Uh, what are we celebrating again?" "Come on, Your Honor, we all learned it in school. Christopher Columbus convinced the King of Spain to send him on a mission to find a better trade route to India, not by going East over land but sailing West around the globe. Everyone said it was crazy because they still thought the world was flat, but he knew better. And when in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue, he found something better than India: a whole new continent." "What rubbish. First of all, educated people knew the world was round since Aristotle. Secondly, Columbus didn't discover anything. There were already people living here for millennia. And he wasn't even the first European to visit. The Norse had settled Newfoundland almost 500 years before." "You don't say, so how come we're not all wearing those cow helmets?" "Actually, they didn't really wear those either." Cough "Who cares what some Vikings did way back when? Those settlements didn't last, but Columbus's did. And the news he brought back to Europe spread far and wide, inspiring all the explorers and settlers who came after. Without him, none of us would be here today." "And because of him, millions of Native Americans aren't here today. Do you know what Columbus did in the colonies he founded? He took the very first natives he met prisoner and wrote in his journal about how easily he could conquer and enslave all of them." "Oh, come on. Everyone was fighting each other back then. Didn't the natives even tell Columbus about other tribes raiding and taking captives?" "Yes, but tribal warfare was sporadic and limited. It certainly didn't wipe out 90% of the population." "Hmm. Why is celebrating this Columbus so important to you, anyway?" "Your Honor, Columbus's voyage was an inspiration to struggling people all across Europe, symbolizing freedom and new beginnings. And his discovery gave our grandparents and great-grandparents the chance to come here and build better lives for their children. Don't we deserve a hero to remind everyone that our country was build on the struggles of immigrants?" "And what about the struggles of Native Americans who were nearly wiped out and forced into reservations and whose descendants still suffer from poverty and discrimination? How can you make a hero out of a man who caused so much suffering?" "That's history. You can't judge a guy in the 15th century by modern standards. People back then even thought spreading Christianity and civilization across the world was a moral duty." "Actually, he was pretty bad, even by old standards. While governing Hispaniola, he tortured and mutilated natives who didn't bring him enough gold and sold girls as young as nine into sexual slavery, and he was brutal even to the other colonists he ruled, to the point that he was removed from power and thrown in jail. When the missionary, Bartolomé de las Casas, visited the island, he wrote, 'From 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this?'" "Well, I'm not sure I believe those numbers." "Say, aren't there other ways the holiday is celebrated?" "In some Latin American countries, they celebrate the same date under different names, such as Día de la Raza. In these places, it's more a celebration of the native and mixed cultures that survived through the colonial period. Some places in the U.S. have also renamed the holiday, as Native American Day or Indigenous People's Day and changed the celebrations accordingly." "So, why not just change the name if it's such a problem?" "Because it's tradition. Ordinary people need their heroes and their founding myths. Can't we just keep celebrating the way we've been doing for a century, without having to delve into all this serious research? It's not like anyone is actually celebrating genocide." "Traditions change, and the way we choose to keep them alive says a lot about our values." "Well, it looks like giving tired judges a day off isn't one of those values, anyway." Traditions and holidays are important to all cultures, but a hero in one era may become a villain in the next as our historical knowledge expands and our values evolve. And deciding what these traditions should mean today is a major part of putting history on trial.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
united states 2
christopher columbus 2
native americans 2

Important Words

  1. actual
  2. alive
  3. america
  4. american
  5. americans
  6. anniversary
  7. aristotle
  8. bad
  9. bartolomé
  10. beginnings
  11. blue
  12. bring
  13. brought
  14. brutal
  15. build
  16. captives
  17. cares
  18. casas
  19. caused
  20. celebrate
  21. celebrated
  22. celebrating
  23. celebration
  24. celebrations
  25. century
  26. chance
  27. change
  28. changed
  29. children
  30. choose
  31. christianity
  32. christopher
  33. civilization
  34. close
  35. colonial
  36. colonialism
  37. colonies
  38. colonists
  39. columbus
  40. completely
  41. conquer
  42. continent
  43. convinced
  44. cough
  45. countries
  46. country
  47. court
  48. cow
  49. crazy
  50. cultures
  51. date
  52. day
  53. de
  54. deciding
  55. declared
  56. delve
  57. descendants
  58. deserve
  59. discover
  60. discovery
  61. discrimination
  62. duty
  63. día
  64. easily
  65. east
  66. educated
  67. enslave
  68. era
  69. europe
  70. european
  71. evolve
  72. expands
  73. exploiter
  74. explorer
  75. explorers
  76. fighting
  77. find
  78. flat
  79. folks
  80. forced
  81. founded
  82. founding
  83. freedom
  84. future
  85. gave
  86. generations
  87. genocide
  88. girls
  89. giving
  90. globe
  91. gold
  92. governing
  93. grandparents
  94. grown
  95. guess
  96. guy
  97. hate
  98. helmets
  99. hero
  100. heroes
  101. hispaniola
  102. historical
  103. history
  104. holiday
  105. holidays
  106. honor
  107. immigrants
  108. important
  109. india
  110. indigenous
  111. individual
  112. inspiration
  113. inspiring
  114. intrepid
  115. island
  116. jail
  117. journal
  118. judge
  119. judges
  120. king
  121. knew
  122. knowledge
  123. la
  124. land
  125. las
  126. latin
  127. learned
  128. limited
  129. lives
  130. living
  131. lot
  132. major
  133. man
  134. met
  135. millennia
  136. millions
  137. mines
  138. mission
  139. missionary
  140. mixed
  141. modern
  142. monday
  143. moral
  144. moved
  145. moving
  146. mutilated
  147. myths
  148. names
  149. native
  150. natives
  151. newfoundland
  152. news
  153. nice
  154. norse
  155. numbers
  156. observe
  157. ocean
  158. october
  159. official
  160. order
  161. ordinary
  162. part
  163. parts
  164. people
  165. period
  166. perished
  167. pity
  168. places
  169. point
  170. population
  171. poverty
  172. power
  173. pretty
  174. prisoner
  175. problem
  176. public
  177. put
  178. putting
  179. raiding
  180. raza
  181. remind
  182. removed
  183. renamed
  184. required
  185. research
  186. reservations
  187. route
  188. rubbish
  189. ruled
  190. ruthless
  191. sailed
  192. sailing
  193. school
  194. send
  195. services
  196. settled
  197. settlements
  198. settlers
  199. sexual
  200. slavery
  201. sold
  202. spain
  203. sporadic
  204. spread
  205. spreading
  206. stand
  207. standards
  208. states
  209. struggles
  210. struggling
  211. suffer
  212. suffering
  213. supposed
  214. survived
  215. symbolizing
  216. thought
  217. thrown
  218. time
  219. tired
  220. today
  221. tortured
  222. trade
  223. tradition
  224. traditions
  225. trial
  226. tribal
  227. tribes
  228. united
  229. values
  230. vikings
  231. villain
  232. visit
  233. visited
  234. voyage
  235. wait
  236. war
  237. warfare
  238. ways
  239. wear
  240. wearing
  241. weekend
  242. west
  243. wide
  244. wipe
  245. wiped
  246. work
  247. world
  248. worlds
  249. wrote
  250. years
  251. young