10 things from history I’m still pissed off no one told me earlier


(…In no particular order)

1. China had a “renaissance” of its own, complete with the invention of banking and the assembly line, during the Song dynasty. It ended, but still, this seems important.

2. Alexander Dumas, author of the Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask, was black. I should probably read those books at some point.

3. The scientific method originated in the Arab world. So did a bunch of economic theory later cribbed by Adam Smith. They call it the “Golden Age of Islam” for a reason, I guess.

4. Northwest Coast people were not, in fact, nomadic hunter-gatherers with “no concept of ownership.” They were sedentary aquaculturists with complex intellectual property and land rights law.

5. Gunpowder was not, in fact, “only used for fireworks” after its invention in China. It was also used for cannons, guns, grenades, and rockets. Actual rockets. Come on.

6. Christopher Columbus wasn’t just kind of mean and represents (in an abstract sense) the start of colonialism, he literally invented the trans-Atlantic slave trade and murdered thousands of people for personal gain.

7. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa had been in the “iron age” for a thousand years before European explorers got there. Not that vague historical categories like that matter a whole lot, but if you’re gonna use them, don’t leave out whole continents.

8. African Americans didn’t just gain some rights after the Civil War and then gain more rights in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement was about taking BACK the rights that had been systematically clawed away from them by white voters and politicians from the 1870s on.

9. At Confederation in 1867, when Canada gained self-rule, there were women who could vote. Not many, but if you were a widowed (white) land-owner, you could, while many (non-land-owning) men could not. Those women lost the right to vote when the law changed so all (non-Native, non-Asian) men in Canada could vote.

10. Basically the entire history of residential schools in Canada, the US, and Australia. Look it up, it’s bad.

Maybe you learned about all these things in school, in books, or on the internet in a timely fashion. I’ve learned about them now, but let me tell you, I ought to have known about all of these WAY sooner, and I’m still kind of pissed about it.

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