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These Are All the Places That Europeans Actually Discovered

Of all the places you think were discovered by Europeans, how many were actually discovered by Europeans?

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Discoveries by European explorers that didn’t involve claiming land where people were already living. Click to zoom. Photo: Bill Rankin via Slate

The Vikings “discovered”  Canada in the same way that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America and the British “discovered” Australia—that is, not at all. Depending, of course, on your point of view. Much of the history you probably know is crafted from a strictly European point of view, so from that perspective, all of these wild lands were conquered by valiant European explorers and sailors. But from a less Euro-centric version of history, one that treats all humans equally and doesn’t totally ignore the existence of a wide range of advanced cultures, Europeans actually didn’t do all that much discovering.

This map by Bill Rankin, a Yale historian and cartographer, shows all the places that Europeans actually discovered. That is, the places they found where people weren’t already living. Mostly, it’s a bunch of tiny islands. The map sure paints a different picture of the age of exploration, doesn’t it?

H/T Slate

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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