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Happy Discovery Day -- Real Geographic Discoveries of the Modern Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2014 04:42pm | Post a Comment
Portrait of Columbus

I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others. 



Salvadoran-Americans - Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 16, 2010 11:00am | Post a Comment
Salvadorans
Salvadorans on the march

In the US, what the word "Latino" connotes varies regionally. Often, regardless of accuracy, in the southwest it means "Mexican;" in the northeast it means "Puerto Rican;" and in Florida, "Cuban." Indeed, those are the three largest populations of Latino-Americanos in the country, although obviously not the only ones. Each have their own distinct culture, history, and place in America. This entry is about the fourth largest Latino population, Salvadorans.

Flag of El Salvador
The flag of El Salvador

The indigenous people of what's now El Salvador are the Pipil. Today, 90% of Salvadorans identify as mestizos, in this case usually meaning of Spanish and Pipil backgrounds. Although only 1% of Salvadorans self-identify solely as Pipil, in reality the percentage is likely higher, but, due to prejudice, many Salvadorans are reluctant to embrace their Native side. 

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