More Pertinent Questions-Learning about History

Today, when we talked about the time line of humanity’s history (Indira and her class are learning about in their French curriculum) from Prehistoire to L’Antiquite, Moyenne Age, Renaissance, Monarchie Absolue and L’Epoque Contemporain we discussed the idea that events are referred to as B.C and A.D and why (and the French terms for the same) and the fact that the starting point of our present day calendar is the time of Christ’s birth.

And she said “but why not from prehistoire? we know that people have been living on earth since then so why do we not include that time? ”

I though that a good question and it reminded me of an ad campaign in the year 2000 , it was I think.

When most of the world was celebrating the second millenium, the Egyptian Tourism Board ran a commercial which said, “welcome to 5000 years of civilization” or words to that effect.

It’s all relative 🙂

And while googling about the Gregorian calendar just now, I found a great site called http://friendlyatheist.com/ with an amusing discussion along the lines of the question Indira asked – http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/09/15/who-would-get-the-honor-in-a-new-year-zero/

She also wanted to know why it was the Europeans who discovered America (in 1492, I think her lecon says) who decided that the land they had found would be called America.

Did the people who lived there already not mind? What did they call the place? How could someone else decide what the place was to be known as?

I started to tell her that yes there was a native population but that might have become a whole new conversation (What happened to them?) so I stopped.

I guess children eventually learn too that history is written by the victors, but in the meanwhile this sensibility and instinct for what is logical and fair/ just/right is very nice to see.

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