Standard accounts of U.S. history present a chronology of events that begins in the East and moves west. An alternative approach traces Spanish exploration and settlement in what is now the American Southwest..
Approaching the encounter between Europe and the Americas as an intellectual rather than a physical discovery enables students to go beyond memorization to gain an understanding of Medieval and Renaissance ways of acquiring knowledge.
Learning about the 1960s exodus of Cuban children to the United States can engage K-12 students in the study of immigration and U.S.-Cuba issues. A sidebar by Mario Minichino offers mapping activities, guided imagery, and other teaching suggestions.
Two key maps that show the known world from the European perspective before Christopher Columbus's voyages illustrate the knowledge of intellectuals of that period and reveal tales of exploration, conflict, and change.