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Biltmore Mound, Asheville, North Carolina

During the 1980s American scholars suddenly became interested in Spain’s efforts to colonize the North America. For 200 years American history books had generally ignored the Spanish and French presence in North America prior to the English colonies winning their independence. Generations of students here were under the impression that no white man had set foot on the continent until brave Englishmen founded a short-lived colony on Roanoke Island, NC in 1585. Well, while all the history books were being printed in Boston, probably most students had the impression that the first colony was founded by the Pilgrims in 1621 on Massachusetts Bay! The earlier colonies at Roanoke Island and Jamestown, VA were painted as a typically inept effort by lazy Southern aristocrats, who would later start a Civil War. First, the victorious British, and then, the propagandists of the new American republic wanted erase all memories of non-English speaking peoples ever having a legitimate claim to the lands they conquered. The Natives, of course, were barbaric savages thinly scattered across the landscape, who selfishly wanted to keep their lands for themselves. The Spanish and French were painted as lazy aristocrats, who briefly passed through the countryside, treated the Indians with extreme cruelty, and then were too incompetent to found permanent settlements. The facts were something very different. The first attempt to found a colony in North America was by the Spanish at Sapelo Island, GA in 1526. By the end of that century, there were twice as many Spanish missions and mission Indians on the 90 mile long coast of Georgia, as there ever were on the 800...

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