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