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Thursday, April 21. 2011
I find it intriguing that what should be one of the most easily-answerable questions in history:
Who first sailed around the world?
has an incorrect answer.
Ferdinand Magellan, right?
Not even close. All he did was go the equivalent distance. He sailed from Europe to the Philippines, then back again, then, later, out to the New World, around the southern tip and across to the Philippines... where he promptly hired himself and his band of cutthroats out as mercenaries to fight for a local warlord and got an arrow through his noggin as a reward.
So, while he went the equivalent of, he never actually sailed around the world.
So, who did?
The fact that almost nobody knows is what makes this such a great PR victory for Spain, who Magellan sailed for. When you cheat history, you're in the big time.
I suppose many people's first guess would be Sir Francis Drake, but if you'll recall from your history books, he was just the first Englishman to go around the globe. More of an 'honorary' title than anything else.
BZZT!! Like Magellan, all he did was traipse out to the Philippines, then back to Europe, then, later, across the Atlantic to the Americas. He never even made it across the Pacific. And for that he gets second place?
But this guy actually did it:
And he did it in this:
And he did it for England.
Announcing: new guest blogger, Bulldog
(Or "Ol' Slobber Jaws", as he's known around the farm) We're pleased to announce that we're adding a new guest blogger to the assorted collection of drunken reprobates and societal misfits already inhabiting this place. I've grilled him
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Aaaaaagh, indeed, matey! The history of the early English sea captains, like Drake and Commander Nelson, is just fascinating. I've honestly never had much interest in the history of land-based warfare (like the innumerable Civil War buffs out there), but naval warfare is a different breed of cat. When "upwind" becomes the primary battle factor, you know the rules have changed.
Recommended reading: 'Birds of Prey' by Wilbur Smith and his related novels.
Recommended viewing: "Master and Commander" did an exceptional job with sticking to the realism of the day.
"Master Mariner" by Nicholas Monsarat, if you can find it, is probably the best novel detailing this period of time.
I have a copy if you want to borrow it.
The reviews sound quite interesting. I like the spirit-through-the-ages concept.
I just ordered 'Running Proud' from Amazon. I... I wanted it in hardback, but I'm afraid I might have paid too much. I mean, there was shipping and everything!
T'anks for the tip, will let you know.
"Running Proud" is it - I just looked at my copy.
You will enjoy the heck out of it I know.
Yes, and a sharp job on your part in picking it out. Tom is actually the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Sir Francis, but he dropped the "Drake" part because he was afraid we'd nickname him "'Ducky".
Actually not Drake, but a direct descendant of Captain Joe Brodish - an actual, honest-to-pete New England Pirate on my Father's side.
"After returning to New England with booty gained from successfully attacking and capturing Spanish merchant ships, Captain Joe Brodish was recognized and thrown into a Boston jail. What wasn't known until after he had escaped twice, was the jail keeper was his uncle."
Thank God for nepotism. :)
"I suppose most people's first guess would be Sir Francis Drake. No, if you'll recall, he was just the first Englishman to go around the globe. More of an 'honorary' title than anything else.
But this guy actually did it:
Francis Drake (1540 - 1596) led the first English expedition to circumnavigate the world.
And he did it for England."
Sorry, it was a bit of misdirection on my part, because we still had to get to #2 before getting back to Drake, but perhaps the 'No' was a bit strong. I've changed it and it reads a bit better. Thanks for the feedback.
Interesting bit of trivia - Drake Passage between Cape Horn and the Shetland Islands was never crossed by Captain Drake.
There is evidence, pretty circumstantial but interesting, that the Chinese Admiral Zheng He may have actually made the first circumnavigation of the world in terms of distance entirely by accident sometime around 1420 or thereabouts.
There have been other rivals to the first circumnavigation status. Theoretically the Vikings did it, albeit by landing in New Foundland, moving down the coast to just North of Boston, crossing the continent to the Pacific by land (stopping temporarily in Minnesota for some odd reason) and then on to China and the Middle East ending back up in Denmark or Sweden - where ever Vikings are from. :>)
And let us not forget Ahmad ibn Mājid whose famous "Book of Useful Information on the Principles and Rules of Navigation" (Think of him as a 15th Century Nathaniel Bowditch) has some information in it that could have only come from doing a circumnavigation only going West to East instead of the other way around.
I could go on you know but I will spare you from that horror which is one of my avocations - navigation and the history thereof. :>)
That's all quite interesting. Ever read any Thor Heyerdahl? I'm a big fan of his theories. The two 'Sailing of the Ra' books made serious points, as did his book on Easter Island ("Aku-Aku") and a real eye-opener, "Fatu Hiva". So if we're looking at pre-Drakeonian world travelers, don't forget the Egyptians.
Yes - I've followed Heyerdahl's theories closely - for my money he's pretty much on the mark - except for the Easter Island thing - I still think it was Aliens from Omicron Persei VIII.
There is an awful lot of anecdotal/circumstantial evidence of earlier "circumnavigations" of the world. Every ethnic group seems to have some mythology relating to long voyages. I know a very serious marine biologist/historian/archaeologist who is convinced that the "Odyssey" is actually an account of a voyage around the world and can actually back it up with some fairly convincing evidence.
Truth be told, it is not fanciful in the least to believe that voyages of these kinds were made in much more primitive times. We like to think that our current GPS and modern navigation systems are highly sophisticated but they really pale in comparison to manual practices like Polynesian "Wayfinding" which is simply amazing. Think about this - the Antikythera Mechanism is a very complex and sophisticated astrolabe - basically a celestial computer - designed and built somewhere between 100 to 150 BC. A replica has been built of this machine and it is fully capable of displaying stars from the other side of the world. How about that? :>)
I saw a marine architectural study a few years ago that was very interesting - involved Viking shipbuilding and the relative seaworthiness of the Viking "longship". This is one hell of a boat and in it's full dress form (large "colonization" vessel) completely capable of a circumnavigation. And the Vikings had the navigational skills to match their vessels. A very sophisticated system of lode stones, tides/currents and a sort of primitive spectroscope called a "sunstone" - basically a crystal that polarized light so that even on cloudy days the Viking navigator could tell what the sun's position was by the color projected by the crystal.
Oh I think I'll stop now. :>)
That was all quite interesting, and I've obviously touched upon a pet subject.
It's too bad you're not a blogger on some really cool blog site where you could write a long article on the subject, darn your bad luck. :(
Weren't the Vikings limited to about 3 or 4 days worth of fresh water and another 3 days surviving on urine?
True, but you don't have to make an open ocean voyage - you can use the coastlines - Saint Brendan is a good example.
But the main feature of Viking prowess is alcohol - mead and beer. Alcohol can be made from almost anything, fermentation was a known science to the Vikings.
Its true - its all speculation, I can't argue that. But to think of these mariners as "primitive" does not do them justice. They were very sophisticated navigators and mariners with good strong boats and a willingness to explore. To just dismiss it out of hand via a technicality doesn't do them and their science justice.
If alcohol could be made from urine, wouldn't that be the ultimate perpetual motion machine, in a sense?
You're surely joking, right? The scientific evidence for a long time has been overwhelming that Heyerdahl's notions about the origins of the Polynesians were not just wildly wrong, but that he was a borderline crackpot.
I thought the Minnesota Vikings thing was proven to be a fake. Is the Chinese one also rather dubious. And in any case to what end did it serve. Only Columbus made it stick. I almost think the US going to the moon is like the Vikings, easily forgotten a few years later.
The Minnesota Vikings thing is very real - Brett Favre played there for the past couple of years.
Ok, ok - its one of those "myths" that has a ring of truth to it but honestly, it is probably just that - a myth. I prefer to believe if only because its not impossible for it to have happened - just highly unlikely.
With respect to the Chinese, Zheng He actually existed and was a very good navigator. Chinese navigation techniques were similarly sophisticated as other cultures. It is a known fact that Chinese traders and mariners reached as far as the Persian Gulf in/around 6th century and if you believe the circumstantial evidence, even further into the Med.
"I thought the Minnesota Nordic Vikings thing was proven to be a fake."
Pardom me while I fix that for you. :)
And you make a good point, basically the same one I made in the post: whoever writes the history books is the winner. Spain will go to its death bed claiming, "We went around the world first!", while England is relegated to the lowly 3rd place spot. In that case, Spain wins. And even it were suddenly proved conclusively that the Vikings discovered America first, Columbus would still hold the crown. Damn Spain wins again.
Like I said in the post, those guys have a great PR department!
Siberians discovered America first - and they settled here too.
Being illiterate, they wrote no histories. Still, the story of the Indian civilizations in Central, South - and even in North America, are darn interesting to me.
Another interesting factoid relating to marine navigation and the migrations of early peoples down the Pacific Coast.
The Chumash people of the southern California coast used a sewn-plank canoe, or tomol as it was called in their language.
The sewn-plank canoe is a Polynesian construction technique. Some think the Chumash Indians learned to build one because one washed up on shore, but it is much more likely that they actually met Polynesians - as did Chilean Indians actually did because that is actually in their oral tradition.
I love this stuff. :>)
"I love this stuff."
I can tell. Again, as someone noted up above, it's a shame you're not one of those "blogger" types we read so much about in Time Magazine. If only! Imagine the history and perspective and zeal and downright truthiness you could have added to the narrative. If only, if only, if only. :(
BTW, who's "Brett Farve"? Isn't he that quarterback that my Niners played in one of their (many) championship games back in the 80's? Is he still alive? It'd be a miracle if he was. Those football players take a horrific pounding, I'm sure you agree. Personally, I'm in favor of using grab-flags instead of tackling. And if you put a cute pink skirt on the quarterbacks, I'm positive they'll be given more respect by the manly -- but couterous -- linemen.
"To just dismiss it out of hand via a technicality doesn't do them and their science justice."
Nicely put. Gosh, if only you were one of those-, oh, let's not go there again. My thought was, two Heyerdahl experiences support your statement. Papyrus breaks down over time, and every imitation Egyptian boat they've tried building since the Old Days has gone to the bottom. Then Heyerdahl came along and built one that made it to goddamn South America.
But even more impressive was his solving the great balsa problem. Balsa wood in its native state isn't the highly floatable 'balsa wood' we see at the hobby store. But Heyerdahl figured it out and took that sucker all the way across the Pacific to goddamn Polynesia.
300 years of recorded science and observation. 300 years of speculation and theory. 300 years of naysaying even the implication that pre-Columbian man could have navigated the seven seas...
...and then one guy comes along and proves it in a single lifetime.
Some unsung hero, huh?
Kennewick Man probably beat the "Indians" to the Western Hemi, and he looks Polynesian.
Just in case you old salts might not have read it, let me recommend the book my husband gave me forty years ago as an engagement gift: Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. Slocum was a crusty old New Englander who built his own boat [27 feet I think it was] and took off to circumnavigate the globe. By himself. Which he did, successfully, and had many great adventures doing so. I don't remember clearly at the moment, but I know he had to 'round the Horn' at least three or four times because he kept getting blown back by contrary gales. Made it finally though.
When I read about modern youngsters with the latest in equipment who sail around the world, or try to, I think about Joshua Slocum. Now there was a man!.
Everybody who reads Maggie's has read Slocum. It's great fun.
I'll second that - and if they haven't they should.
My favorite solo circumnavigator is Dean Vincent who did it in 1977 with his boat "EOS" - a ferro cement hull w/ketch rig. "EOS" displaced 28,000 lbs at 39' LOW, 12' beam drawing 5 1/2 feet of water.
He said in a interview a couple of years later that when "EOS" got a head of steam, there wasn't much that could stop her from going anywhere.
Why am I not surprised?
Seems a suitable time to mention my old friend Dodge Morgan, who sailed on last autumn. His life of exploits included a solo-circumnavigation, completing the journey in 150 days, 1 hour, and 6 minutes in 1986. His life is worth reading about...
"Now there was a man!"
Oh, yez? Well, lemme ask you this, Toots:
How many cannons did he have aboard his boat?
As I'm sure you well know, right after "size of boobs" on the Real Man's Interest List is "number of armaments and how loud they are," so some guy wandering GPS-less around the ocean getting delirious on salt water and screaming "Wilson! Wilson!" doesn't sound like much of a challenge to the 2,000-gun warship featured in "Galaxy Pirates From Outer Space", my personal favorite seafaring book.
But I know you meant well.
BTW, have you ever read Wilbur Smith's three Egyptian novels? Start with "River God". The degree of his research is just stunning, and this is a master storyteller at his best.
"Real Man's Interest List is "number of armaments and how loud they are"
I said something similar to a friend the other day when we were discussing movies. After some argument, I stated that there wasn't a movie ever made that couldn't be made better if Michael Bay directed it with all that 'splodey goodness.
My friend thought for a minute, then said "Good point". :>)
Small correction Marianne. Slocum was a Nova Scotian. Born in Mount Hanley on the Bay of Fundy.
It depends, before the Magellan Expedition nothing is specific.
I'm surprised no one mentions Elcano. He is credited by Spain (and my elementary school books) with the first circumnavigation.
Magellan died en-route during a local war in the Phlippines. After considerable confusion Elcano was in command when one ship finally reached Spain.
Oddly enough he went on a second expedition to circle the earth in the other direction. And died en-route.
If this had actually been an article on the subject, I would have mentioned him, since he was the one wearing the captain's hat when they arrived back in España, but the crown can only be worn by one person. There were 17 others who also made it, but they're lost in the dustbin of history as well. For events such as this, it's gotta be one guy who does it from start to finish. If team efforts counted, we'd be awarding the honor to the ship. :)
I disagree. Your question was who. It wasn't who was in command from start to finish. It wasn't what ship. It wasn't what person first did it solo.
The question wasn't even who first both intended to do it and achieved it.
As to the dustbin of history. The 17 names aren't readily available. I have no doubt they can be found in Spanish records or on a monument. I would agree they tied Elcano because the certainly traveled with him.
My attitude is that we can't really know. We simply have reasons to trust some records or oral traditions more than others.
The first 18 men who circumnavigated the globe are not lost in the dustbin of history, and are readily available.
The exchange points out the limits of history and of words. And the difficulty - in this case - of even knowing exactly what Dr. Mercury would consider an answer.
I somehow overlooked that survivor list In Wikipedia and wasn't making a real effort to find names anyway. It was certain they were out there somewhere.
Hence my choice of words. Elcano and his seventeen fellows were the first to have circumnavigated. I have come to conclude that Dr. Mercury is correct, Drake is the first to sail around the world.
Note the active/passive voice distinction.
The captain gets the credit for going the distance.
Did Magellan's ships steer themselves fom the Philippines back to Portugal? It seems the last commander should have some credit for actually sailing around then world.
John - I'm not sure where the argument lies. From "Hannibal crossing the Alps" to "Sherman takes Atlanta", the guy who gets the credit has to start and finish it. Those are the rules, and I didn't make 'em. If team efforts counted, we'd be celebrating "Christopher Columbus & Crew Day".
Yes, Joshua Slocum - read him as a boy. Loved the story of the tacks spread on the deck to keep the natives from attacking in the middle of the night. Fiji? I forget. What a yarn. Allan Villiers also wrote many great books about the last of the square riggers, many of which were active until World War II. Also great stuff. He would write the occasional article in National Geographic.
Pablo Perez-Mallaina wrote Spain's Men of the Sea - Daily Life on the Indies Fleets in the Sixteenth Century. Another fascinating book. That was a tough life.
Magellan was first. He was not the first to circumnavigate fully in one direction or on one trip, but he was the first documented around the world.
If the first person to hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail did it from Harpers Ferry to Baxter S.P., and later Harpers Ferry to Georgia, they are still the first person to complete the trail. They weren't the first to do it end to end but they were the first to travel the entire trail.
You're arguing with rules that were in place long before we were born.
If you hear the question, "Who first sailed around the world?", or "Who first flew around the world?", do you see the words "in increments" implied anywhere?
Let's say some guy flies from New York to CA, hangs out for a few months, then flies to Hawaii, hangs out for a few months, then on to Asia, etc, etc, arriving back in New York a year later. Would you give him credit for "first person to fly around the world", or would you give it to the guy who jumped in his airplane and actually flew around the goddamn thing in one sitting? The "increment crowd" would give it to the first guy, but history would award it to the second.
Not sure I agree with this, either. While most people don't know that Alcock and Brown first crossed the Atlantic in a plane, they most certainly did and they DO get credit for it. (some call it non-stop, but they did stop in the Azores, so I'm not sure that really counts as non-stop).
However, everyone remembers Lindbergh. Why? Frankly, I think it's because he's American and we, as Americans, have a penchant for forgetting the first people who do things if they AREN'T American. Example - most people forget that Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. In fact, most forget that Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom went into space before John Glenn. To most Americans, Glenn was "the first man in space".
He most certainly wasn't even the 4th!!! But he was the first American to complete a full orbit of the earth. And that counts for "something", though it really isn't anything of substantial value except a marketing ploy.
Lindbergh gets credit for the first NONSTOP Atlantic flight (more to the point, he did it solo), which goes to your point about incremental versus just going....but if Lindbergh had done what Alcock and Brown did, it's likely he'd still be remembered as the "first to cross the Atlantic" only because he's American.
correction, they did not stop in the Azores. But they crossed from Newfoundland to Ireland. It was Albert Cushing Read who made the stops. Either way, he was English and by default forgotten.
Seems to me it would have been Juan Sebastian Elcano, Magellan's second in command, who finished the voyage.
Okay, let's turn the question around:
Name me one famous first-time event where the initial leader failed and the credit was given to his second in command.
Personally, when I first read Magellan didn't actually make it all the way around, my initial impulse, like you, was to give it to the guy who was in command when they wheeled back into Europe. That seems only fair, as long as the guy was with them from the onset.
But, as the above question implies, history just doesn't work that way. The guy or gal who gets the credit has to start and finish it. I can't think of any first-time event that breaks the rule.
Even events where it really does require a team effort tend to give the accolade to one guy. Neil Armstrong was "the first man to step foot on the moon", right? Okay, quick, what were the names of his two fellow astronauts?
The bottom line is that history doesn't remember also-rans, runners-up, or seconds-in-command. As I said, my initial impulse was to hand the award to Sr. Elcano, but history would argue against me.
Ah...just read this one....you can ignore #15 now.
I'd generally disagree with you on this bit of logic. While Magellan doesn't specifically get the credit, I view it the same way that Patton viewed his victory at el Gitar. While he didn't defeat Rommel, he defeated Rommel's plan. Is there a distinct difference? No, not really.
Magellan may not have completed the circumnavigation, but it was his plan and his crew which accomplished the feat. Therefore the credit is his. Engaging the debate as you did is a bit of unique sophistry. It works, it's plausible, but it's also really just being tricky.
Sure, Drake is the first captain to finish the job to completion, but that doesn't mean he was first.
Oh, and Michael Collins and Ed Aldrin. I was lucky to meet all 3 when I was a child. I got to meet Al Worden of Apollo 15 4 years ago, with my kids.
Most people remember Aldrin because it's hard to forget a name like "Buzz" - much cooler than Neil.
By the way, something occurred to me with regard to the Apollo missions, or any "first" requiring a team effort.
Humans are, generally, a very lazy creature when it comes to exercising the intellect. We prefer to make our understanding of events and history simplistic. Along those lines, we tend to pay attention to the "one guy" who "did" something, even if it was a team effort. Gene Kranz was as much a part of moon landings as any of the crewmembers. So was any other member of the ground team. That we don't remember all their names doesn't diminish their role, it's just that trying to remember all their names would require alot of effort.
Along those lines, trying to remember every single one of the members of Magellan's crew who finished would be quite taxing indeed. But we know that Magellan planned and financed the mission. So it's "his".
I am reminded of the story of Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger. Both won the Nobel Prize for their work on Quantum Electrodynamics, the Schwinger Model being quite substantive and elaborate. Feynman did the same thing - but vastly simplified it, opening up the knowledge base considerably. Feynman got much more credit and notoriety for his work than Schwinger, though Schwinger was first. Schwinger was always somewhat bitter about this, but Feynman always put him off with comments that there may be more than one way to get something done, and it doesn't make either one wrong - but the one which is easier to work with will be more popular.
From my POV, it's easier to say "Magellan circumnavigated the globe" than it is to day "Magellan's crew circumnavigated the globe."
It's easier to say "Armstrong went to the moon" than it is to say "Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin went to the moon thanks to the teamwork and effort of many people."
Am I taking this all too seriously? Probably. But it's a slow day for me and for some reason this really caught my attention.
Doc, while Magellan himself didn't circumnavigate, his crew did. When they crossed the Pacific and he was killed in the Philippines, the remainder of the crew continued on. In fact, they were shocked to return home to Spain and find out that they had been celebrating Mass on the WRONG DAY (because of the International Date Line, something completely unknown at the time). The only way they could have done this is to circumnavigate.
So, I'm curious as to the claim regarding Drake - are you making the claim for the captain himself, or for anyone in particular? Because if it's anyone in particular, then it is the crew of Magellan's ship.
"Frankly, I think it's because he's American and we, as Americans, have a penchant for forgetting the first people who do things if they AREN'T American."
I would hazard a guess that that's true with any country. The French maintain to this day that a Frenchman got off the ground before the Wright brothers, and the Germans likewise. I can very well imagine that that's what they teach in their textbooks.
As for the Magellan matter, I'm still waiting for your answer:
Name me one other famous 'first' where the leader fell halfway through, yet was still given credit, or it was given to a sidekick.
I spent ten minutes thinking about it last night, ranging from Egyptian times to the space shuttle, and couldn't think of a single one.
So, why does Magellan suddenly get a pass?
It is true of any country....but being the wealthiest and most highly promoted country, we get to push our guys to the top alot more often.
As for Magellan - your question was "Who first sailed around the world." OK, so it wasn't Magellan specifically, but it was his crew. And being his crew, he gets a level of credit. Drake was only the first captain to do it.
As for a first where someone fell halfway but still got credit - I cannot come up with one, either. Doesn't mean it didn't happen OR (more likely) Magellan is the only one it's happened to. Can you think of anyone who wasn't first, but got the credit because the other guy died and his sidekick finished?
There is one minor one I can think of - Burke and Wills. While many indigenous folk had likely crossed this region, they were the first to do it....and they died. But they still get credit.
And right now there is alot of question as to whether Edmund Hillary was the first to climb Everest given that Mallory's body was found 12 years ago, suggesting he may have reached the summit (we'll only know if we find his camera, of course, but the location of his body suggests he did accomplish the feat).
Even so, the likelyhood that someone completed a "first" and died usually means we'll NEVER know (as in Mallory's case) because the evidence is missing. In Magellan's case, the evidence is clear - his crew finished the job.
If a general dies in battle, but his army wins, generally he gets credit for the victory (or his replacement does). I'm not sure why this situation would be any different.
Magellan? I thought the first circumnavigator of the globe was the great Tom Tom Garmin
The overnight arguments are interesting. Speaking for myself I wish I had understood what Dr.. Mercury was asking.
My approach was to seek the simplest answer.
I thought the question asked was, and I quote:
"Who first sailed around the world?"
Three tests, who, first, sailed.
1) Who: "who" can refer to one or more than one.
2) First: no previous voyage is known. Certainly none is well documented.
3) Sailed: Elcano left with Magellan's fleet from Spain. He was on a ship so I felt he "sailed" from Spain.
Then one of the ships went around the world and arrived back in Spain with Elcano and some others. I have a difficult time contending that they had not "sailed" around the world.
But if more rules or tests apply the answer will change.
As I understand it some rules were implicit; the "who" was singular, only one person. That person had to be in command at every point in the voyage. And perhaps the venture had to deliberately undertake to sail around the world.
Certainly Elcano fails the sole command test. And he seems to have not wanted to sail around the world, he just wanted to get home after Magellan was killed.
And Magellan did not start with an intention of circumnavigation.
But maybe the question was who will receive the credit. Or most often receives the credit? Or should.
KTWO - Those were some interesting comments, and it's an interesting question, and it's been an interesting thread. But history's made her decision, so it's really just academic at this point. I just thought it would be fun to play "lonely voice in the night" and throw a shout-out to ol' Francis, the guy who actually did it.
I try to remember that words are a very imperfect way of communicating. They are not precise.
And it is better that that way. Thinking without inferring would be a type of slavery; LegoThink with every word snapping into place.
Don't think so. They either reached the top together, as Hillary recounted in his book, or Hillary was first. Hillary describes pausing before reaching the summit to wait for Tenzing. Hillary led the Hillary Step, the last difficult part before the summit. My memory says Hillary describes reaching the top together , arm in arm.
Armstrong was the first man on the moon. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to have climbed Everest. More cannot be said with any certainty.
Mr. Fleming, I was sort of just playing off some of the above commentary, not being totally serious.
But in reality, it could have been just as easily (or more?) called the "Norgay Expedition" rather than "Hillary Conquest."
It wasn't called either. It was the 1953 British Mt. Everest Expedition. Led by John Hunt. Edmund Hillary was selected because he had done two previous Himalayan expeditions, including one in 1951 exploring the area around Everest.
The 1953 expedition was a massive affair, financed by British patrons. They had gotten tired of Eric Shipton's lightweight expeditions (and lack of success), and decided to go big or go home. They hired Tenzing, because of his experience on five previous European-led Himalayan expeditions. Everybody knew that he was the prince of all the Sherpas.
The Queen knighted John Hunt and Edmund Hillary. Nehru of India (Tenzing lived in Darjeeling, India) refused to allow the Queen to knight Tenzing.
"LegoThink with every word snapping into place."
I just did a Google search for "legothink" and only came up with 11 hits, none in the same context, so I gather you coined it? Absolutely brilliant.
The bad news is, we just gotta get you a new handle.
The present one looks like a friggin' TV station. :)
I would call it a bit of a shame that you discredit the 18 brave European men (not one of them English) who, through three years of suffering, first made it round the Earth.
Certainly Magellan could not get the credit for actually finishing the task, because he was killed on a skirmish with some Philippinoes. But it was HIS research, planning, leadership and faith that made it possible for 18 sailors to finish the job, led by the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano. The other 17 were from modern Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Greece. And yes, their names, places of birth and jobs on board are known and can be found.
Another thing: Magellan, who under royal orders by Charles I had full powers to deal justice, had to face serious mutiny in Patagonia, understandable if you think about the situation (lost, cold, hungry) and did it as humanely as possible, with only one execution, that of a guilty of murdering one of the pilots. About 60 yers later, Drake, on the other hand, who knew perfectly well what was ahead of him, had one of the nobles on board -Thomas Doughty- executed under the accusation of 'witchery' -and that with fabricated 'evidence', promptly paid-, and with no authority for it from the Queen. And at exactly the same spot in Patagonia, Bahía de San Julián.
Now you tell me about the Spanish Inquisition and good old Sir Francis Drake.
I understand your complaint, but the point is that credit is only given to the official leader(s) of the expedition, whatever it is. Those are the rules. If Lewis and Clark had died on their expedition, no one would be calling it the "Jim Bartholamew Expedition" in the history books, or whoever was next in command and safely made it back. That's just not how the system works. If Edmund Hillary had died ten feet from the summit of Everest, his faithful sherpa wouldn't have gotten the credit. All you have to do is look at the history books, and every famous expedition was attributed to the person(s) leading it. If they died somewhere along the way, the whole thing's a wash. That's just the way history works.
As for Drake and the 'witchcraft', well, if you're going to blame someone from that era for believing in witchcraft, then you've pretty much condemned the entirety of humanity. A hundred years from now, they'll probably be saying the same thing about the global warming alarmists. Mankind, as an entity, can be pretty friggin' stupid.
"I understand your complaint, but the point is that credit is only given to the official leader(s) of the expedition, whatever it is."
This was not made clear in the original post, and I was bristling at it! First of all, If you consider the total travels of Magellan, it is actually possible that he factually traveled around the entire circumference of the Earth. It just wasn't in one single expedition. If you hold by the theory that he made if as far as the philippines going eastward, then he arrived back there about 10 years later on his around-the-world expedition, so in 10 or 11 years he in fact circumnavigated. Same goes for his slave Henrique, who started out in Malaysia. De Elcano and the 17 others on his ship finished the voyage and actually circumnavigated the globe. Who cares that they weren't officially in charge of it or the expedition wasn't named after them? They did it.
You obviously didn't read through many of the comments. We covered your two dire complaints more than once.
To sum up:
1. Name one famous expedition where the main guy died and the second-in-command got the credit. Go ahead. Just one will do.
2. By your logic, if Edmond Hillary had stopped halfway up Mt. Everest, a helicopter had brought him back to London where he rested up for a few years, then brought him back to the halfway point and he continued his climb to the top, he'd get complete credit for it.
I take it you're Spanish?