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Before Columbus



Before Columbus
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cover-up, historical, discover, monk, theory, fiction, supposedly, legend, aboard, traveled, history, record, early, nearly, explorer, route
     content words:    Discover America, Native Americans, South American, Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus, South America, New World, New England, North America, Prince Madoc


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Before Columbus
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     "Discover America." That's what the vacation ads say. Anyone can take a trip in an RV and discover America. History books say that Christopher Columbus discovered America. But Native Americans were here long before Columbus came aboard the Santa Maria. Who really did discover America?
 
2     Were Native Americans always here, or did they travel here from another continent, too? Some people think that, a very long time ago, early people traveled across land from Russia to America, arriving in what is now Alaska. From there, these early people spread across both the North and South American continents and developed into many different native tribes. If you look at a world map, you will see that Russia and Alaska are not nearly as far apart as you might think. They were likely connected at one time long ago.
 
3     Native Americans had been here for thousands of years, but people on the other continents of the world didn't even know that North and South America existed. Who was the first person to discover, or re-discover, America?
 
4     We do know that in 1492, Columbus came to America. At that time, people in Europe, where he had come from, didn't even know that America existed. He wasn't even looking for America, remember? He was looking for a shorter route to the Indies.
 
5     But was he the first explorer from another land? Or did someone else make a voyage of discovery to the New World before Columbus? There are some facts and some legends that suggest that other explorers arrived here before Columbus. Some people believe one set of these legends. Some people believe another. Some people think that a particular legend is a real record of ancient history, and other people think that the same legend is fiction. These events happened before good historical records were being kept. The truth is that no one knows for sure who the first explorer to discover America really was, but people have lots of ideas about who it might have been.

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