Since today is what used to be called Columbus Day, a couple of rehashes from 2014 or so…
Hundred Flowers Toxic Sludge Factory #125, sometimes known for mysterious reasons as “Seattle”, has decided to get rid of Columbus Day and replace it with “Firstses Nationseses Indigenouseses Peopleseseses Days.” (Yous gots to haves lotses ofs excessesese pluralseses for Authenticity.)
One forlorn representative of Italians tried to make a point: “Would you get rid of Martin Luther King Day? No, you wouldn’t.”
That’s right. And the reason is perfectly obvious. Blacks have more power than Italians now. Back in 1937 when Columbus Day was made official, the balance of power was opposite.
Seriously, even thinking within a purely White European perspective and a specifically Northern perspective, there’s no reason to defend Columbus. He never touched North America. He found some Caribbean islands and thought they were part of Indonesia.
Since 1937, history has verified the vastly earlier and deeper Euro connection made by the Norsemen, which is wildly unsurprising.
If you look at the world from the North Pole, you can see that America, Asia, Europe and Greenland have always been linked by ice and linked by the Northern tribes. No need for epic journeys of exploration. The longest land-to-land jump is Faeroes to Iceland, about 200 miles. Many of the jumps are a short walk on ice or an easy day of rowing. Eskimos to Yakuts to Lapps, all pretty much the same people, and they’ve been migrating and trading forever.
The Danes settled Greenland by 1000 AD, and from the west side of Greenland it’s overland to either side of Hudson’s Bay. River crossings, not ocean crossings. Here, for instance, is Ellesmere Island as seen from Greenland.
Plain fact: There wasn’t any discovery of this hemisphere. It’s a null concept. As long as people have been wandering the world, they’ve been circling through both sides of the globe.
So a recognition of the Northern tribes is perfectly appropriate, but it would be nice to have a little credit to the Scandinavian tribe as well.
= = = = =
Via Science Digest, a recently discovered Italian manuscript from 1340 describes the Viking settlement on the American mainland.
The authors speculate that Columbus probably knew about these stories. NOT surprising. Historians have been aware for a long time that the Norsemen and Italians were in frequent contact. Both were traders and sailors, and there was plenty of two-way commerce. Columbus and his cohorts almost certainly knew that Greenland was close to a larger mainland.
What’s surprising is that this particular manuscript was unknown until 2013! We tend to think that all old documents have already been found.
This leads to a question: Did Columbus really believe that he reached Indonesia? Or was he engaging in protective branding? Manufacturers often disguise or rebrand a new product during open testing, hoping to confuse competitors. Modern automakers just use zebra paint, which doesn’t conceal the identity but makes it hard to derive contours and shapes from random photos.
Best assumption: Columbus knew the northern path to the mainland, and he was trying to find a southern path without passing through Norse-controlled areas.