RTVE teaching history – or why the Spanish don’t know much about it

My attention was drawn to TVE Clan the other day when I heard my son singing this rather catchy little number. Good song, but really, the historical inaccuracies made me twitch.

And I’m not even going to get going on the symbolism of celebrating how Columbus is shown leaping onto the American continent with a big banner saying “mine”…. and then returning to general applause with lots of gold and a rather manky Mr Potato Head. And why is Fernando el católico wearing a funky pair of headphones? He is not a man who went down in history as being down with the gang.

Also note the rather sexist age difference between the two as depicted in the video. In real life, he was a year younger than she was. He looks about 30 years older than her in the video.

Interestingly enough, if you look at the shape Columbus is making at 1:30 with his hands, that’s the shape he actually thought the world was – rather than round or flat, he thought it was a heart shape. His argument was actually that the world was much smaller than most people thought – common wisdom wasn’t that it was flat, but that it would be impossible to carry enough food and water on board a ship to cross the Atlantic westwards.

Still, catchy song. I found myself singing it in the shower this morning…. I look forwards to the BBC version, where we see Lord Salisbury marching into India to enslave an entire subcontinent to ensure an adequate supply of tea.

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