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Christopher Columbus: Wikipedia Revisions

The last couple of decades has been exceptionally productive in terms of the people’s involvement in the social life of the US. Moreover, the issues that are often being discussed are related to new historical findings and the understanding of certain factors that have not been accurately covered before. One of the main things that have changed is the opinion towards the colonization of America and the actions that have been implemented against the native population. A significant figure that correlates with this topic is Christopher Columbus, previously known as a talented navigator and the one who built the foundation for the United States of America. Now, the general population’s opinion has changed due to the public’s understanding of the horrendous crimes and the subsequent genocide that is directly linked to Columbus and his actions.

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Factual Revision

To examine the change in opinions, the Wikipedia page which describes Columbus and his life will be analyzed. There is a clear difference between the original text and the current information. A change in 2004, when the general population was not as knowledgeable about Columbus, highlights the beginning of a new popular opinion. The original text had a paragraph contrasting the alleged crimes that Native Americans mention and the general overview of Columbus as one of the most influential people in the world. The revision highlighted that the crimes are not “alleged” and that Native Americans are not the only ones with negative overviews of the explorer (Wikipedia). Such critical editing of the text suggests how initially, the majority of the population did not consider Columbus a criminal but only focused on the voyager, explorer, and discoverer part. Nonetheless, historians began analyzing his actions towards the colonization of America and the conquest of natives. It is vital to refer to the more recent findings of scholars. A more recent revision included an additional paragraph about Columbus as the father of slavery. Based on the new information which was added to Wikipedia, the explorer shipped more than 500 slaves to Europe (Wikipedia). This was information discovered relatively recently and is evidence for the accuracy of the newer data included in the text.

Language Revision

There is also a significant emphasis on using appropriate language based on the recent additions. One example is the 2021 revision which changed the world “alleged brutality” to “brutality” (Wikipedia). It is evident that colonization is one of the topics that modern-day social movements are willing to address. It is especially important for Native Americans who live with the consequences of all the actions of the colonizers. Thus, as sensitivity to language is becoming a prevalent idea, slight but significant changes are made on Columbus’ Wikipedia page.

Contrast Between Old and New Editing

The common thing highlighted by the changes is a shift in opinions in regards to past events based on more relevant and current historical information and social activity. There is a clear distinction between the initial revision, which critically altered the initial text, and more recent editing, which is more focused on potentially offensive language. New interpretations are being offered due to the scholars examining the topic and finding new aspects of Columbus’ actions, life, and overall personality. Thus, in terms of factual edits, people add new information because it is just now being discovered and published. The material that is being removed is either outdated, untruthful, or offensive.

Historical and Social Relevance

Currently, it is certain that there is no factual counterargument in favor of the original version of the text and the older scholarly information. Thus, this is the only historical version that is being advanced by the majority of scholars who have access to documentation and factual data about Columbus, the discovery of America, and the subsequent colonization. Moreover, the changes in the text are relevant from both subjective and objective societal viewpoints. On the one hand, it is certain that the edits are based on truthful facts and unbiased information. On the other hand, there is a clear advancement in terms of activism and organizations aimed towards helping minorities within the previously marginalized groups, including Native Americans. Since there was no coverage of the actual events that happened during the colonization, it was crucial to create a transparent informational environment where people could learn about the events and people who committed crimes towards entire nations.

Conclusion

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sources that people use to learn new information. As new data appears, new facts are added, and outdated ones are being removed. The page that covers Columbus’ journeys and life is an example of a complete change in societal opinion. As more people become aware of the crimes that correlate with this figure, the page is being edited and updated. There is a clear distinction between the initial and the current page, which suggests that as historians and scholars find new information, a seemingly one-sided topic can receive an entirely new connotation. An individual with no prior knowledge of the subject would read the first version and have a clear image of Columbus as a remarkable individual. In contrast, the current information provides truthful facts about the crimes committed by the explorer. Thus, the available information is an essential factor in how a person forms or changes an opinion.

Works Cited

“Christopher Columbus: Difference between Revisions.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2021, Web.

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“Christopher Columbus: Difference between Revisions.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2021, Web.

“Christopher Columbus: Difference between Revisions.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2003, Web.

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