Christopher Columbus, Myth or Hero?

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 23 September 2016 > Webpicks

Columbus Day in October is a good time for class work exploring this controversial figure, and how his legacy is perceived in the U.S.A. and in Spanish-speaking countries.

Christopher Columbus is honoured with a national holiday in the U.S.A., on the second Monday in October. For collège, this is a relatively simple description of Columbus Day, usable from A2+.

But the Italian explorer who "discovered" the Americas on 12 October 1492 is a controversial figure. He's an ideal subject for a mythes et héros theme.

See our article for some reasons why Columbus became revered in the U.S.A.

This site is a tribune by an American cartoonist explaining the case for considering Columbus is not worthy of having a day of commemoration, and suggesting celebrating Bartolomé de las Casa instead, because, unlike Columbus, he saw the error of his ways and tried to repair some of the damage he caused to indigenous populations. Usable from B1 with help.

Columbus in English and Spanish
Columbus and Columbus Day lend themselves well to cross-curricular work with Spanish and History teachers, as 12 October is celebrated in different ways, as the Dia de la Hispanidad in Spain, and the Día de la Raza in much of Latin America.

Columbus and Native Americans
This video features a number of Native Americans reacting to the words Christopher Columbus. It would be useful as part of a Mythes et héros theme in lycée. Depending on which parts you use, it can be used from B1, or easily from B2.

WARNING: There is some use of the F-word in the middle. It would be easy to avoid by using either the beginning (to 1:10) or from 1:20 on.


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