Unformatted text preview: Western Hemisphere's First Inhabitants In telling the history of the United States and also of the nations of the Western Hemisphere in general, historians have wrestled with the problem of what to call the hemisphere's first inhabitants. Under the mistaken impression he had reached the “Indies,” explorer Christopher Columbus called the people he met “Indians.” This was an error in identification that has persisted for more than five hundred years, for the inhabitants of North and South America had no collective name by which they called themselves. Historians, anthropologists, and political activists have offered various names, none fully satisfactory. Anthropologists have used “aborigine,” but the term suggests a primitive level of existence inconsistent with the cultural level of many tribes. Another term, “Amerindian,” which combines Columbus's error with the name of another Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci (whose name was the...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 11/19/2011 for the course HIST 1310 taught by Professor Marshall during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08