The Best Streaming Videos on the Age of Exploration

As I’ve written before, it’s harder to find good historical content for young children than science content. And sure enough, age-appropriate videos on Columbus (or the Age of Discovery writ large) are slim pickings. In fact, we’ve expanded our universe beyond Netflix and Amazon in order to bring in some other worthy selections.

Needless to say, Columbus is a controversial historical figure. Watch these videos with your children—and be prepared to explain the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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    Vikings: Journey to the New World

    They came from the North and soon the legend would say that they didn’t know fear. For hundreds of years, they were another name for “terror.” They were warriors, slavers, traders, and explorers but also farmers, settlers, poets, loyal family members, and skilled craftsmen. Vikings tells their story.

    Length: 41 minutes

    Rating: NR

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    Christopher Columbus

    Explorer Christopher Columbus discovers the new world in this 1949 British production featuring a score performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. After convincing Queen Isabella to finance his excursion, Columbus and his crew set out on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Mutiny and exhaustion threaten to bring an end to his quest, but the adventurers finally land in the new world, and Columbus returns to Spain a hero.

    Length: 95 minutes

    Rating: NR

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    The Real Story of Columbus

    When Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean, he believed it to be Asia—his intended destination. This video is one of a series of mini-films on Christopher Columbus available on this website—great for short attention spans.

    Length: 4 minutes

    Rating: TV-PG

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    Roanoke: The Lost Colony

    Realistic reenactments, both in Elizabethan England and America and at the beginning of the European settlement in the New World.

    Length: 28 minutes

    Rating: NR