A while ago, when I was doing research about Incas to write something for a textbook, I decided to look at a 1969 Compton's Encyclopedia I have. Of course, I had to use newer sources to do the project, but I was curious to find out what they said about Incas more than 30 years ago to see how they described history back then. I read some good information, and then came upon this:

By the time the Spaniards arrived, however, the empire had been weakened by civil war. Its fall to Pizarro and his handful of men is one of the tragedies of history.

"How awful," I thought, so I read on:

After a few disastrous rebellions, the spirit of the people was broken, and they declined into the submissive apathy which marks the Peruvian Indians of today.

I re-read it to make sure that it really said that: "declined into the submissive apathy which marks the Peruvian Indians of today." Yes, it said it. And that's just one example of how political correctness was absent from encyclopedias back then. I can only imagine how many people would be absolutely livid to read that today. There's other stuff I've found in those old encyclopedias which I'd like to post here sometime as well.

Unfortunately, I can't provide a link to that Inca text, but I swear it's really in there. If you have one of those old Compton's, see for yourself.


Jon Konrath said...

I had a 1973 encyclopedia, and I loved finding stuff like this. Probably one of the best examples was the still-going-on Vietnam war, which was written before the "first war we lost" and "disgruntled veteran" cliches started to kick in. The encyclopedia made it sound like things were shaky, but would all be figured out in another couple years.

Anonymous said...

Now I want to check out my own edition to see what they say about Vietnam.