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Why are native Americans called Indians?

In my opinion, the reason for this is similar to the reason for America being called America (and not Colombia).

Columbus' first landings in the New World were on various Caribbean islands. Many believe that Columbus mistakenly believed he was in the Indies, Islands in Southeast Asia. Hence he believed the inhabitants were people of the Indies, Indians.

Personally, I take a slightly different slant on this, believing that he knew he was not in Asia. See "why is America called America" for further explanation. I believe he used the term Indians as part of the clever and brilliantly executed continuation of the deception he was carrying out on the Spanish King and Queen. He knew how far Asia was on a westerly heading, as he and others at that time knew quite accurately the circumference of the world. To calculate the distance of Asia to the west, he had only to deduct the distance to Asia in an easterly direction from the known circumference.

If Columbus had told Isabella and Ferdinand of the true length of his proposed voyage, they would not

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have sponsored it. He knew he could break his journey at its mid point by landing on the land-mass marked on his Viking map. He thought he could then continue to Asia, but his plan failed as he considerably underestimated the southern extent of America.

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© Peter Smith 2008

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the articles...

wealth and business
home business

sex and sexuality
When sex cost a penny

words and language
Why is America called America?
Why are Native Americans
called Indians?

Did you know Britain invaded Iceland in WW2?

Terminal velocity (or what happens to a cat after it falls ten stories?)

myth and superstition
What was Odin's pig called?

What were the names of Jesus' brothers?