The History of the Americans

The History of the Americans


Sidebar: Considering Columbus Counterfactuals!

October 12, 2021

This is our special Columbus Day episode, dropped on "old school" Columbus Day, instead of the "Canadian Thanksgiving" Columbus Day long-weekend holiday. This episode is not actually about the Columbus Day social war, except in passing. Instead, we consider the larger consequences of Columbus's "Great Enterprise," and various counterfactuals -- "what if" moments that might have made it all go quite differently. Along the way we say some challenging things that will irritate almost everybody, but we know you are only listening because of your resolutely open minds!

Selected references for this episode

Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus

Alfred W. Crosby, Jr., The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, 30th Anniversary Edition

Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian, “The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas”

Charles C. Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Noble David Cook, Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492-1650