Her reaction to your questioning was very unprofessional. Another teachable moment down the drain... She's dead wrong about Columbus knowing that he was headed to the new world, he was looking for a western passage to India. He beloved that this rout would be shorter than contemporary trade route that went around Africa. This mistaken belief that he found such a passage lead to the name of "west Indies" (as in "West India") forthe Caribbean islands. It wasn't until Amerigo Vespucci (sp?) that Europeans began to realize that this was a new continent rather than the western tip of Asia. (That's why its North/South America not North/South Columbia)
There's probably not much you can do about the sub, other than grin and bear it until your real teacher returns...
The smallpox bit (among other diseases) has some validity. None in the new world had any immunity, leading to nasty epidemics among the natives. Jared Diamond has an interesting (and eye opening) discussion about this in his "Guns, Germs, & Steel" book.
This post has been edited by Chem Daddy: 26 August 2010 - 02:21 PM