HIST DISC 1.docx - Compare and contrast the societies of...

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Compare and contrast the societies of West Africa, Europe, and the Americas at the time when Christopher Columbus made his first voyage to America in 1492. How were they different? How were they similar? Why was there conflict when these cultures interacted? What can we in the 21st century learn about cross-cultural interaction from the experiences of these societies over 500 years ago? When I look at all the different cultures and practices between these three continents, it really blows my mind at how similar they were but yet so very different. Growing up in history books they always portray other races as savage, barbarian, or even inferior to Europeans when in reality, they are all equally wonderful. Yes, some of these cultures were simple like the Paleo-Indians but that doesn’t mean that they were uncivilized. They all had an organized system that worked for their needs. Both West Africans and Native Americans integrated religion into their civilizations. I think that they European and West African society were similar in that they both were a bit more complex than some of the smaller Native tribes. All of these destinations were and still are very beautiful and they all have such rich history (both good and bad). West Africa, Europe, and America were different not only in the complexity of their civilizations but also in how they viewed themselves. Native Americans sort of had a “Web of Life” outlook on life, where everything was connected. They believed that every action affected something else. This is a great outlook to have even today, I think it would help a lot of people think a bit harder before they make serious decision. Europeans, on the other hand, saw themselves as “saviours” to the rest of the world. They believed that they were helping the people they came in contact with by sharking the Christian faith with them. The West Africans are kind of the middle ground between the Natives and Europeans in that they believed in “The Creator”, like the Europeans, but also in the different gods (gods or rain, sunshine, harvest, etc) just like the Native Americans. I believe that when any 2 groups of people come together, there will always be some kind of conflict. Because we are all taught to defend what we hold dear to us, whatever it

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