chapter  3
24 Pages

Suffering a Great Misery

These kinds of confessions became common in early descriptions of the Americas. Because the European discovery of indigenous societies challenged so many centuries of venerated texts and traditional assumptions, the West­ ern Hemisphere was difficult to comprehend and describe. Ancient texts and ideas were both useful tools and frustrating obstacles for explorers in the Americas. Beginning with Columbus, as Europeans tried to understand the Americas, they challenged and eventually displaced their traditional con­ ceptions of the earth. The discovery and colonization of the Americas be­ came the new model for understanding nature and human society.