The People vs. Columbus, et al.

Zinn Education Project

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A trial role play asks students to determine who is responsible for the death of millions of Taínos on the island of Hispaniola in the late 15th century.

The teaching activity begins with the premise that a monstrous crime was committed in the years after 1492, when perhaps as many as three million or more Taínos on the island of Hispaniola lost their lives. (Most scholars estimate the number of people on Hispaniola in 1492 at between one and three million; some estimates are lower and some much higher. By 1550, very few Taínos remained alive.)

Who — and/or what — was responsible for this slaughter? This is the question students confront here.

Lesson tags: 
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Available in Spanish