I was thinking about this in relation to America but this also applies to Australia. In terms of the UK, it applies but at the same time it doesn’t. It depends which country you’re talking about (Scotland, Ireland, Norther Ireland, England and Wales make the UK) but either way the Anglo Saxons are not the original inhabitants of England and there’s a whole history behind it that I won’t get into.
The UK is a weird place, especially England. It has such a melting pot of history that even the English language is confused.
Again, I won’t get into it because then this will just become a thesis paper and that’s not what I’m trying to do here.
So America and Australia, people from Europe went to those lands and ‘discovered’ those lands and claimed them for themselves.
For America they used the excuse of manifest destiny, that God wanted them to take the land and that it was theirs, which is bullshit. I’m Christian and I still say it’s bullshit, it was just an excuse to take land and push the people already living there off it without feeling guilty.
Then for Australia the British originally sent prisoners there because there was no room for them in England… which is interesting.
I did a semester abroad in Sydney Australia and I did courses to do with media and yet I still learned a lot about Australia and how they treated the aboriginal people. It comes up in everything because they were so atrocious across the board.
Did you know that before the Europeans invaded Australia was completely occupied? In the sense that there were so many tribes and they had their own borders and if you look at a map from that time it’s amazing. They occupied the whole land and not just the edges.
I say that like it’s amazing because Australia right now, the middle is basically unoccupied because apparently it’s unliveable (I was told) and yet the native people of Australia were able to live there before in harmony with nature.
They did so many awful things to them.
There’s the stolen generation (a good movie to watch that touches on that is Rabbit Proof Fence) and there’s Tasmania. Did you know the original people of Tasmania were completely wiped out, as in genocide? No one survived.
I know this because when I was there I found out that Tasmania is a part of Australia even though it’s a separate island and so I wanted to visit because it seemed cool. So I was casually researching the island and one website alluded to it’s dark past. I looked it up and found that out and was horrified! I did not want to go anymore.
Also, not enough people talk about Canada and how awful they were to the First Nation people, and to the Inuit and Metis. It’s truly awful.
I already had an idea but then I was watching Anne with an E and the ending that Ka’Kwet got was so heart breaking. How is it that all the other characters got happy endings despite the time they lived in and she did not? (I have beef with season three). I then, again, looked up what actually happened to children sent to such schools and well, again I was horrified.
The things people do in the name of religion.
So whenever I hear people talking about how Columbus discovered America my first thoughts are, “No he didn’t” and my second thought is “Even if the Native Americans didn’t live there already the Vikings got there before him”.
Also Columbus was genocidal maniac. I said, what I said. Even the Spanish (Columbus was Spanish) who had the whole Spanish inquisition going on thought he went too far… let that sink in.
Just the audacity of it all. You arrive at a land and find civilised people living in harmony with nature, with amazing diverse cultures and tribes, and you move to destroy that. You look these people in the eye and give them diseased blankets all whilst saying you’re Christian.
You call them names I refuse to repeat when you’re the one going back on treaties, killing them and being generally awful people.
It makes me sick.
And Polynesians, they were sailors and voyageurs! It took Moana, the movie, for me to discover that. Why don’t we talk about that more? Why don’t we talk about their amazing culture and accomplishments?
It’s unfair honestly.
But at least we’re learning now. With the internet our words have a wider reach and we can teach each other and keep history alive so that it is never forgotten.
I am a history nerd and honestly the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve seen that history truly is important. I am so thankful that in my school I learned about British history (you’d be surprised by the amount of English people who don’t know their own history… like really basic things. When I say English I mean white people because immigrants and those who are black even if they’re born in England cannot call themselves English, they’ll always be British… make of that what you will).
I am also thankful that my history teacher taught me about the American West before colonisation. He taught us about Native American tribes, their cultures (as best as he could) and what happened to them when the Europeans invaded.
I honestly thought it was common knowledge because in my head if we were learning about it all the way in England then surely Americans were learning about it too but in more depth because they’d have more resources and actual Native Americans who can tell their own history.
However I have now learnt that that is not the case and that even Black history is not taught.
Anyway, I don’t know how to wrap up but they, Europeans, did not discover America because it was already inhabited. The same goes for Australia and many other nations.
6 thoughts on “Discovering Land?”
I love that you will always be a history nerd! I’ve learnt so much from you due to this. And the reason why we don’t know much or still discovering is because history is written by the “victors.”
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This is very true
ATLA called it
Also, thanks 😀 I’m glad you appreciate my history nerdness
Great post. Over the past few years, I’ve been realizing how much history I didn’t even learn. Mentioning the UK as an example, Cheddar Man, the oldest skeleton in England was actually a Black man which they found out through DNA research. That really throws the question of “English-ness” and “British-ness” out of loop. In America, there’s this big outrage against teaching about critical race theory since it mentions VERY uncomfortable truths about horrific examples of racism in America. Cases in point: Black Wall Street, The Devil’s Punchbowl, and the East St. Louis Massacre which I didn’t know about until a few weeks ago with that example! The fact that Black people have never been compensated to this day with those events much less slavery is infuriating. I’ve been really researching more about colonization and it was way more horrifying that I thought. I’m glad you’ve been calling this stuff out.
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It is so horrifying learning about those cases in America. They know how much power actually learning the history of America would give the oppressed people so they’re fighting it. I hope critical race theory gets taught in all schools.
Oh yeah! I totally forgot about Cheddar Man… that does question the whole English ness thing… hmm
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Very much so and you have a good point. I didn’t learn about those events in school and there are still more that I’m learning about. That’s not even counting tragedies from outside America like the Tasmanian genocide like you said, the Congolese genocide or the Namibian genocide to name a few. I do hope it gets taught because I don’t want to see that kind of history to repeat itself.
Yeah. I heard of the Cheddar Man a few years ago, but I didn’t see the recreation until earlier this year. It really makes you wonder. Even the terms “English” or “British” can be dog whistles for “white” like how the word “American” is used in certain contexts over here even if someone who isn’t white was born and raised in either place. I even joked with a friend that Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor might be closer to the original Brits than most of the UK’s population.
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