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Old 09-05-2012, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Toronto
3 posts, read 4,235 times
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Whenever I read some user comments in the commentary sections of many British online news sites and forums I constantly read that some people claim that countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, etc. lack both history & culture because they've only existed for a few hundred years, disregarding the history of the pre-existing indigenous people who had little-to-no say in how their lands were managed during colonisation.

What are your opinions on this claim?

Is it true that countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, United States lack both history and culture because they've only been in existence for a few hundred years?
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
14,480 posts, read 11,276,052 times
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Speaking as an American who if from a city that will be celebrating its 400th birthday in a few years (Boston) I'd say we have quite a bit of history. In fact the little stretch of coastline on which I live has more history in that 400 years than many areas of similar size in many of those old nations.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:25 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,037,872 times
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It's not just how long, but how much has happened in that time.

Australia has little history compared to other nations, but it still does have a legacy. We have our bush poets, um, Ned Kelly, a few other criminals that are celebrated (lol)...of course what we can boast is one of the oldest continuous cultures in the WORLD. When you hear aboriginal music, you're hearing music that is TENS OF MILLENIA old!
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:07 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,195 posts, read 107,823,938 times
Reputation: 116097
It depends on how you define history. If you define it as something belonging to European-derived cultures, then you can see why people say those countries have short histories. This would be a narrow definition of "Canada", "The U.S.", etc. But as you pointed out, OP, before the declaration of the nation-state, those countries and continents (Australia and N. America are continents) had very ancient histories pertaining to their Native nations.

You could apply your question to Latin America, as well. I've always found it curious that anything that existed prior to European contact was considered "pre-historic", when in fact, the Mayans had a written history. All "pre-historic" means in that case is that the Europeans who arrived were illiterate in the language the local histories were written in.
To say nothing of the oral histories that existed all over the Americas and Africa.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:53 PM
 
Location: State Fire and Ice
3,102 posts, read 5,616,101 times
Reputation: 862
Quote:
Originally Posted by mireille90 View Post
Whenever I read some user comments in the commentary sections of many British online news sites and forums I constantly read that some people claim that countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, etc. lack both history & culture because they've only existed for a few hundred years, disregarding the history of the pre-existing indigenous people who had little-to-no say in how their lands were managed during colonisation.

What are your opinions on this claim?

Is it true that countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, United States lack both history and culture because they've only been in existence for a few hundred years?
Yes there is an opinion and not only in the British sites but also in the rest of the world including Russia, but this does not mean that it is not there at all. Every day lived a minute of this story. Of course the United States of America have their own history, although and small. And so is the culture which has been transformed under the influence of different peoples. As well as the history of Canada and many other countries.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:24 AM
 
1,725 posts, read 2,066,714 times
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Lack of history is hard to define or measure.

As for the culture - the older and more distinct it is, the more it is generally valued by people. Just like antiques.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:49 AM
 
43,641 posts, read 44,361,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
It depends on how you define history. If you define it as something belonging to European-derived cultures, then you can see why people say those countries have short histories. This would be a narrow definition of "Canada", "The U.S.", etc. But as you pointed out, OP, before the declaration of the nation-state, those countries and continents (Australia and N. America are continents) had very ancient histories pertaining to their Native nations.

You could apply your question to Latin America, as well. I've always found it curious that anything that existed prior to European contact was considered "pre-historic", when in fact, the Mayans had a written history. All "pre-historic" means in that case is that the Europeans who arrived were illiterate in the language the local histories were written in.
To say nothing of the oral histories that existed all over the Americas and Africa.
I agree with the above. It depends on how one defines history and culture and if that definition is dependent on the length of the time a people has existed as a nation or not.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
67,650 posts, read 60,875,858 times
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I guess by "country" you mean borders and a name from a conqueror/invader perspective.

Last time I checked, every corner of the world had been in existence for the exact same amount of time. People have been living all over the world, making their own history and culture, for thousands - some would say millions - of years.

Just because some groups of people didn't know about other groups of people till later doesn't negate the value of those cultures. Just because some Europeans or Asians (or whoever) didn't take over and slap a name on a region till recently doesn't negate the culture and history of that region prior to colonization or invasion.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Østenfor sol og vestenfor måne
17,916 posts, read 24,342,524 times
Reputation: 39037
History is a human concept. Humans have history regardless of borders or natural geography.

Say you take a Frenchman. He sits in France and thinks about all the things that happened in history around him that made him the Frenchman that sits there today.

Now, if said Frenchman moves to Brazil, does our thoughtful Frenchman no longer have a history? Does he not tell his Brazilian born children of anything that happened to his ancestors in France or the vents which shaped his life before moving to Brazil? Of course he does.

Americans and Australians have history (and culture) within their borders, and they have a shared history in Britain where the institutions that form their nations today were born. And every American and Australian has a personal history that extends through their ancestors wherever they may have come from.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
22,112 posts, read 29,574,917 times
Reputation: 8819
No, it just means that the cultures of these nations are less valued or are not as highly regarded as they are in Europe.
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