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The Euro Jump-Start

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  • Category: Europe

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The best recipes often consist of extremely contrasting ingredients. For example, who ever heard of having fruit salad with mayonnaise in it? The Waldorf salad’s key ingredient is 1 cup of mayonnaise. With all of the other sweets in this mixture, you can’t even taste the mayonnaise, but without this ingredient, you would have a different salad completely. If you think about it, America’s birth is based on many contrasting ingredients: Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Caucasians and so on. This “melting pot” we live in is what makes America…well…America. European Colonialism began in the 15th century, when the Europeans set out to “extend their nations sovereignty over territory beyond its borders” (Wikipedia, p.1). During the “take over”, the colonizers set out to enforce their cultural and religious beliefs on the subjugated people. The Portuguese and Spanish began the Age of Discovery (Healy, p.1) when they set out to explore the coastal regions of the Middle East, India, East Asia and Africa. Though the focus included spices and other riches (Healy, p.1), the Europeans discovered much more than they ventured out for.

Of the many discoveries made, the most important was found in Africa. The discovery of the African slave trade forever changed history, as the Europeans used this new found tool to the fullest extent. Although the African slave trade was already in use by the African nation, the Europeans dominated this trade by increasing the number of slaves in existence. Millions of slaves were transported from Africa to nations far and wide (Wikipedia, p. 2). Their most notorious assignment was in the newly established Americas, where they were “owned” and traded off as if they were mere objects. The European’s introduction of the African slave trade provided relief to much of the Native American slave trade (Sobin, p. 1). Although the Natives’ were replaced, their battle continued, creating much controversy.

Before the Europeans “discovered” America, the Native Americans were living happily, cultivating their land, and living in peace among each other. With the arrival of the European culture came the debate over who actually owned the land. Many battles ensued between the two cultures, and finally, history reveals that the victor was the Caucasian (Sobin, p.1).

Beliefs that the Caucasian was superior to all other ethnicities greatly affected the ethnic divide (Healy, p.1). The Africans had no choice but to do as they were told. The Native Americans lost the land they had lived on all their lives. In other countries, genocide became a problem, as the Nazi Holocaust wiped out the Jews of Europe during War World II (Wikipedia, p.3).

Today we have overcome much of the plight encountered with the early colonization of our cultures. With the exception of a few hate crimes here and there, not to be dismissed, we different cultures live side by side in peace. Freedom rings loudly here in our nation, and although the start was rough, it was necessary to place us where we are today.

Works Cited

  1. Early European Contact. 2001. Harper College. Mary Healy. January 2007. harpercollege.edu/mhealy/g101lilec/ssa/afh/afcol/afcolfr.htm
  1. Similar Patterns in Ethnic Politics. 2002. Providence.edu. Jonathan Sobin. January 2007. providence.edu.polisci/students/genocide/thepoliticsofgenocide.htm.
  1. Definition for Colonialism and Genocide. 2001, Rev. 2005. WikiMedia. Wikipedia Staff. January 2007. wikipedia.org.

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