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America's Middle Ages

Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, thus ending the Middle Ages and beginning the Modern Age. America, therefore, was not part of the European Middle Ages, but America did have a type of Middle Age. First, this happened in the Latin American countries. Spain and Portugal conquered and colonized South and Central America, up to the Rio Grande and even beyond into New Mexico, California and Texas. This vast area went through all the ages of the Old World relatively rapidly; what had taken millenia in Europe required only centuries in Latin America. First, the native inhabitants were reduced to slavery, and thus the society resembled ancient times when millions of slaves had toiled in Greece, Rome and the rest of the civilized world. Then, the peoples gained their freedom, but did not enjoy the benefits of democracy, civil rights and a capitalistic free market. This period, after slavery but before freedom, is comparable to the Middle Ages. Now, within my own life-time, democracy and capitalism have taken hold of Latin America and so they are now in the Modern Age. As technology pushes it forward, Latin America will soon be in the Post-Modern Age with North America, Europe and parts of Asia. A future article might elaborate on all this.

This article's focus is the United States. Did the United States have a Middle Age? Most of the United States did not, but some of the states did. The Northern United States was Modern from its beginnings until recently when it entered the PostModern Age, but the antebellum South was premodern in everything but its religion. Premodern could mean Ancient, or it could mean Medieval.

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