On last Monday night I watched this 1 1/2 hour special movie on PBS, This is one I'd put in my "Must Watch" category. It starts with exploring the civilizations of the New World which in many ways were as large as and as complex and numerous than those of the Old World. It begins with an exploration of what happened to both worlds as a result of Columbus's return to Ferdinand and Isabella with news of the New World. And it continues the change and development, concluding with the narrator, a Mexican American father living in Los Angeles wondering what the future holds for his twin daughters.
I thought I knew a good deal about this subject After all I live in the SW and am aware that the Spaniards colonized substantial parts of what became the US well before the Pilgrims landed, or the Jamestown settlers. This is a part of US history that is "an inconvenient truth" which we don't teach our children and which has become especially important in the US with the debate about illegals, immigration policy, etc. Not only is there an excellent Video, but there are essays and small collected parts which make clear just how much the old world owes to the new (besides gold) in the way of foods, for example. Imagine Italy without tomatoes, or Ireland without potatoes.
This film, paired with Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs & Steel
will give you a real understanding of the significance and strength of the Native American cultures (both South and North) as well as pointing out that the exploitation of the Native Americans did not begin with the newly formed US. If you have kids (or even if you don't) I heartily recommend this movie. It is available in Europe at this link, and Tony thought it quite marvellous also.
For an educational, enlightening and fascinating movie, watch WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE