How America was discovered

Christopher ColumbusIn the fifteenth century people knew only three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. They knew nothing about such a big continent as America.

The man who discovered America was born in 1451 in Italy. His name was Christopher Columbus. He became sailor at an early age. Knowing that the earth was round, he decided to reach India sailing to the west. He tried to arrange an expedition but did not have money, and nobody wanted to help him.

At last the king of Spain gave him money for the expedition. He sat a sail in 1492. The voyage was very dangerous and difficult. On the 12th of October his ship reached the land.

Amerigo VespucciWhen they landed, they saw strange trees and flowers. Men and women with olive-coloured skins gathered around the sailors and looked at them with great surprise. Columbus was sure that he had discovered a new way to India.

Some time later another sailor reached that land. His name was Amerigo Vespucci. He understood that it was a new continent. Thus, the continent was named after him.

***

Christopher Columbus (above) – Portrait by Alejo Fernández, painted between 1505 and 1536.

Portrait of Amerigo Vespucci (below) – author unknown.

You can read more about Columbus here.

More on Vespucci – here.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Auriol Purdie said,

    Perhaps this article is a little too misleading to children? By stating categorically at the start of the article that prior to the 15th Century, people only knew Africa, Asia and Europe, the article completely ignores the Native American Indians and other indigenous tribes who lived in the Americas for thousands of years prior to 1451. They would (and do) disagree that Christopher Columbus discovered their lands. Perhaps it may be prudent to re-word this article to reflect the existence of these other facts. There is a large body of research that follows the Native American pre-historic Asian forebears who possibly migrated across ice-bridges via the Bering Straits. There are also Scandinavian records detailing expeditions to a land which is now thought to be the Americas, these voyages took place long before Christopher Columbus. Also there is considerable controversy regarding the name America being attributed to Amerigo Vespucci and in fact it is possible that the name came from a much earlier source.

  2. 2

    Dear Auriol,
    I completely agree with you. Though the beginning of the story is given from the perspective of the world’s so to speak “official” history – there was no such a continent as A,merica on the maps. But I also believe that it is very important not to mislead kids saying that nothing existed on that continent. I hope parents will be prudent enough and when telling their children this story will vividly describe the people and the situation which haв existed on the continent until it was discovered by Europeans.

  3. 3

    John Noyce said,

    whilst this story could indeed be used as a starting point for explaining alternative world views to older children, it is nevertheless disturbing to see the story in its present form on a Sahaja site.

  4. 4

    This story is given not to state that those were Europeans who discovered the continent and that the native people are not taken into consideration.

    The only purpose of the story is to give an idea why the continent now has such a name. When I, being a teenager, learnt where the name “America” comes from, I was quite interested. And in no way it anyhow influenced my understanding of who were the natives of that land, who opened their hearts to the Europeans and who behaved very wrongly.


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