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Monday, October 8. 2012
The history we learn in school is, understandably, Central Eurocentric, and the contributions from the Northern Europeans, aka 'Scandinavians', has decidedly been given short shrift over the years.
But in the past decade or so, more attention has been paid to the role the Norsemen played, and it's becoming fairly apparent that not only did Eric The Red or his son discover and colonize Greenland, but made it all the way to Newfoundland, a country he dubbed Vinland.
'Vinland' in Norse means Wineland — and how could an ice block like Newfoundland be warm enough to grow grapes?
Of course, you're probably already ahead of me here. When the Vikings made their voyages, the earth was so warm that not only could Greenland be colonized and sustain crops (and be named Greenland in the process), but Newfoundland was warm enough to grow grapes.
And not an SUV in sight. Imagine that.
Okay, so how did they discover Iceland, Greenland, and later Newfoundland, without any instruments aboard?
The same way Noah discovered land after the Great Flood.
First off, my thanks to Cap'n Tom for steering me toward the superb novel, The Master Mariner, from which I gleaned these fascinating bits of info.
After the rain stopped falling and the floodwaters began to recede, Noah released a dove. A dove is what is referred to as a "shore-seeking" bird. It returned a while later and the ark bravely plundered on.
A week later, Noah released another dove, and this time it returned with an olive branch in its beak. This indicated that there were treetops showing. Then a third was released, and never returned. It had found land, and that was the direction they headed.
The Vikings used ravens.
The earth was so warm at the time that Iceland and Greenland were the birds' summer breeding grounds.
And not an SUV in sight. Imagine that.
But an honorary title is better than nothing.
These are what I consider my better pieces: "Do these genes make me look fat?" — As these things go, this is probably the most official 'exposé' on the site. It's amazing how we're being lied to. Beautiful Camp Elmwood — I just l
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LOL. You and I will continue to disagree on Magellan, but in this case I agree. One of the basic "facts" of discovery is the establishment of use. The Vikings may have discovered the land, but they didn't expand on their early settlements in a fashion that was meaningful. So while it's probable and likely they were here, they didn't do much with the knowledge.
That, to me, is the important part of discovery.
"... establishment of use..."
- agreed. Perhaps Dr. M's initial conflation should read "... wasn't the first European to land upon the shores of the Americas...".
Then present and future readers can agree that whatever the Vikings found was not discovered, for it was "covered" thereafter and lost to common knowledge, thus leaving it to be discovered by Colombus.
And the same goes for notions about the Chinese earlier discoveries, or whatever passes for programming nowadays on the history channel.
There is evidence that early immigrants, 13,500 years ago, came from Europe. The Clovis point can be traced to early man in France about the same period but to no where else. Since the early immigrants/tribes often fought and destroyed each other it is likely that early immigrants from Europe were killed off.
Rick - Let me rephrase: you and I will continue to have semantical differences regarding Magellan. :)
BTW, as long as I got you, you'll want to read this enlightening article. Just to, you know, clear up any confusion.
Re: the Vikings, you make a good point. I imagine the Vikes didn't really view it in a historical context (probably too busy trying to survive), whereas Columbus & crew were certainly aware of their role in history. The Vikes might not have brought a thing back from the New World, whereas C & Company probably brought back everything they could lay their hands on. "Hey, look everybody! Free slave girls!"
Not sure how that clears up anything...
My point was twofold:
1. She called John Quincy Adams a "founding father" (he most certainly was not) and then wouldn't admit she was wrong. (she claims she "misspoke"?)
2. Her claim that the Founding Fathers were trying to abolish slavery was, in truth, closer to a "punt" on their part rather than an active and entrenched attempt to remove it. On Adams (JOHN, not John Q) and several others' part - yes. But on the part of MOST the answer is no....which is why it wasn't removed. In FACT, remember, Jefferson and Washington, while they may have opposed slavery, they also kept slaves. So, in the end, they did not try to abolish slavery, despite their rhetoric. I said they "punted" on the issue, which they indeed did. Their hope (which is somewhat clear in some of the quotes in the link you provided) was that it would solve itself naturally, over time.
By the way, in the same newspaper, you'll find THIS article:
An attempt to defend Bachmann, but also pointing out how she handled the situation in a ham-handed manner. What's truly interesting is how little time they've spent on her own tax problems. I'm sure her supporters will come up with some defense - which all true believers do for their heroes.
Thankfully, I do not hold many politicians in hero status. I consider virtually all of them frauds.
And I consider Bachmann to be utterly devoid of value or sanity.
Her defense of the John Wayne gaffe was that his parents briefly lived in Waterloo? REALLY? REALLY? I am to believe it had NOTHING to do with and NO RELATION to the John Wayne Gacy situation? MHM. Well....OK. But that's just a bit too much of a stretch for me.
I'm sure her supporters will come up with some defense - which all true believers do for their heroes.
One wonders if you're able to see the corollary...
They were basically a people who viewed life as a zero-sum game. Plunder was a means of improving their life. Funny how they never thought how the lives they left in ruins managed to rebuild (oddly proving that life can be win-win, something they missed).
They definitely didn't realize their place in history.
GWTW - And since either North or South America would count when it comes to "discovering the Americas", let's not discount the possibility that the ancient Egyptians sailed to South America, as Thor Heyerdahl's sailing of Ra II proved was possible.
L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland is a good starting point.
Ka-nuckles - Very interesting articles. The hitch is this:
"Munn believed that the most likely site..."
Bottom line is that the Valkyrie wannabes weren't much into building stone monuments, and those pesky Skraelings took care of the rest.
By the way, do you have any Skraeling blood in you? Now and then I think so, but I might just be projecting what I know about Canadians in general.
You, of course, realize that "skraeling" is a genetic Norse term: " Where they are unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as skraeling".
Skræling (Old Norse and Icelandic: skrælingi, plural skrælingjar) is the name the Norse Greenlanders used for the indigenous peoples they encountered in North America and Greenland. In surviving sources it is first applied to the Thule people, the Eskimo group with whom the Norse coexisted in Greenland after about the 13th century. In the sagas it is also used for the peoples of the region known as Vinland (probably Newfoundland) whom the Norse encountered during their expeditions there in the early 11th century.
BTW, your "skrealingism" is showing, again.
The Vikings had a sort of crude astrolabe which was called a "sun wheel" or "half wheel" which described an arc of roughly roughly sixteen minutes. Special mariners were trained in the use of this tool and often went on long voyages (if anticipated) plus Viking skippers were familiar with its use.
Vikings also had several other tools to aid in navigation - some understood better than others. They used a type of feldspar crystal called a "sun stone" with which they could determine relative positioning (lat and long although they didn't know those terms) - the stone acted as a prism and as the angle of the sun changed relative to the stone, the colors changed. Now you might think that pretty useless until you remember that the Vikings sailed at high latitudes - longer sun shine in particular in summer. Dead reckoning by this method was roughly accurate - and I do mean roughly.
Some of the Norse sagas mention an "horizon board" which was used with the "sun stone", but while experiments have yielded some ideas, exactly how they were used together is still somewhat of a mystery.
Lastly, and certainly not the leastly, Vikings had a similar tradition to Polynesians with master navigators who combined wind, tide, currents, knowledge of the sun, moon and stars which was very effective method of navigation.
There is some speculation, and this is strictly speculation, that the Vikings had actual astrolabes made in Arabia and knew how to use them. There is also some evidence of them using magnetic iron needles used in conjunction with the sun to find North.
In any case, the Vikings weren't crude navigators as some would think.
With respect to circumnavigation of the world and who did it first - who cares? :>)
Very interesting stuff, Cap'n.
"the Vikings weren't crude navigators as some would think."
They also get credit for sheer balls. Or stupidity, depending. Those open craft (elongated skiffs, really) like in the above pic were what they used. How nobody invents the "cabin", or maybe "the deck", is anybody's guess. And you know how the pictures show them lining the side of the ship with their shields? (you can see it in the above pic if you look closely) That was to ward off waves. Some tough sum'bitches, no doubt about it.
"With respect to circumnavigation of the world and who did it first - who cares?"
Presumably the same people who would care who discovered the Americas first?
At least, that would be my first guess.
Well, there is a misconception about longships. There were several types of "longship" and while all were very seaworthy (the basic design, as you say, is a sound one), the type that you reference is called a Snekkja or Skei - that is your basic raiding/war long ship. Long and narrow, they usually had a basic compliment of 20 upwards of 32 rowing benches.
The type of longship we're talking about here with exploration would more likely be a Busse which had lengths up to 130+ feet and 32 to 50 rowing benches depending. These were the heavy haulers for cargo, passengers and long distance voyages.
You also have to remember that open water sailing was rare with the Vikings - they very seldom left a visible shoreline staying in relatively shallow waters. It's not like they didn't venture out into open water, they certainly did, but it usually because they were familiar with the waters and knew where they were going.
I've seen the Gokstad burial vessel on one of Mrs. Shortwave's European Trips to Hell (I hate traveling to Europe, I hate the food and in general don't like the accomodations - the people are ok though), stood right near it - it's quite a ship. You have to see it to really appreciate it.
Now hold on a second there, fella. Are you saying I'm Skraelophobic? Why, some of my best friends are Skraelandars! I've seen many family photos back in Skraelandia where their kin still live, and it always breaks my heart to see what pleasant, simple lives they lead. It always makes me want to blow up the local power plant in order to inspire others to go back to those simpler times.
Can igloos be described as 'bucolic'?
No. This time of year, a better description is...above ground pools.
The Beothuk Indians play an early role in the province's history and inhabited the land for many years.
All in all, we know Columbus didn't discover the North American Continent which was the topic to begin with. I think I have a summer history project.
"we know Columbus didn't discover..."
You...know? You have proof? Some big stone monument that says "On this day...", signed "Eric The Red" in Norsewegan?
Time capsule buried in a thermos bottle?
Note from God?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Yes - Columbus did not discover America. He discovered Hispanola (known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
TF - You're completely correct. Columbus did not discover America, since we don't own Haiti and the DR. If we did, then that claim could be made, as well.
We have, of course, been talking about "the Americas", of which the outlying islands are certainly a part.
I'm sure glad we got that settled.
If you don't think the Caribbean islands are part of the Americas, I think your own reality is where you belong. :)
No "real" proof, Merc, as you might suggest. But, then there are a lot of things, believed, that aren't based on proof.
Just my 'skraeling' genes showing through and a gut sense. It appears to be more likely than not, IMO.
Meh. Everyone knows Bugs Bunny discovered America.
Raiding Doc's video stores, eh? I always wondered what Merc relied on for proof.
The bunny is out of the bag !
Where else but Maggie's Farm could one start out reading tales of exploration and discovery, and end up watching Bugs Bunny?!
Where else but on Maggie's would it turn out the name of the blogger's co-host when he ran a video Usenet newsgroup years ago would be... Bugs Bunny?
Bugs, if you're out there, those were great years, bud.
Example of an average day in the life of a video god here.
Agreed. Merc does get a lively thread going. Stirs up the silt, he do.
Keep it up and before long, he'll get the honorary moniker of "Skipper" (a Newfie title).
And the qualifications to be called "Skipper" you ask? Mostly age and a splash of apparent wisdom and knowledge.
Are you aware I own and live aboard this?
Yes, you mentioned, before, you lived on the water. In Nfld, "Skipper" is a term of respect applied to older gentleman. No time on the water is required.
A fun thread, as always, when you're aboard.
We follow the same general rule down here. It's usually the older guy (our landlord in this case) who gets the 'Skipper' honor, then us young bucks either get a "Cap'n" or "Hey, you! The schlub holding the dock line!" to garner our attention.
Have you read how many fireworks are being banned this weekend in the southern US because of the ultra-dry conditions? Should be fun tonight here, though. Marinas are real big on fireworks. For some strange reason, grass fires simply aren't a big worry.
Enjoy the 4th and the fireworks. Here, in my 'hinterland', the tradition is to watch the Boston Pops "Pop Goes the 4th". It's quite a display.
"Ol' Glory" will fly to the right of the Maple Leaf, in front of my home and we'll 'pak' ourselves in front of the tube.
Happy Birthday to my neighbours "So' of the 49th" !
"So' of the 49th" !
You make a good point, old friend. Using something as arbitrary as a mere line of latitude to separate countries almost borders on the absurd. We should do what most countries do and use some natural line of demarcation, such as a river or mountain range.
I propose we draw a line between the Mackenzie Mountains and the Tomgat Mountains and you guys can have everything north of it. That seems both natural and fair to me, as I'm sure it does to you.
"That seems both natural and fair to me, as I'm sure it does to you."
Nah, I'll pass on that. I believe you've dead reckoned your "Minnow" aground on "Merc's Isle" with that suggestion.
Steady as she runs Skipper. And if you stand with your back to the wind, the Low Pressure System is to your left.
Like some others here I was in the minority in the discussion about Magellan/El Cano/Drake and circumnavigation.
I thought it was absolutely agreed that Vikings reached Newfoundland and had a settlement there, at least for a short time.
Navigation at those latitudes is not difficult if you just want to go generally East or West. Being precise is difficult but others have mentioned several methods and devices available even then.
The open water distances are less than one might imagine. Look at a map. The crossings did not take months.
Wine was not necessarily grape wine. They may have referrred to berrys or fruits.
I had a very interesting discussion with a doctoral candidate about the whole navigation question. I maintained that dead reckoning your position in unknown circumstances didn't require exact precision - you only needed to know the cardinal points - N/S/E/W - eventually you'd run into land given the naure of tides and currents.
This is not a popular view among scholars who study these things- mostly anthropologists.
I meant to ask you earlier -- ever read any of Heyerdahl's books? Take them in order, starting with Fatu Hiva. If you want to jump right in, read Kon Tiki, then The Ra Expeditions. He went 'backward', starting in Polynesia, back to South America, then back to Eurasia. Pretty cool stuff. You like people who do things, rather than just ponder away in their lofty tower? Here's a guy who did.
We discussed this once before - yeah- I've read them. Very interesting guy.
In the early 1960's, my HS History teacher spent a couple of days on the Viking's in Newfoundland and pointed out that this was several hundred years prior to 1492. Not all were taught that Columbus "discovered" America.
In the year fourteen hundred and ninety three
Columbus sailed the ocean green.
and it's becoming fairly apparent that not only did Eric The Red discover and colonize Greenland, but made it all the way to Newfoundland, a country he dubbed Vinland.
A small but important point: Eric the Red never set foot on North America. Greenland is the farthest west that he ever got. It was his friend Bjarni Herjulfsson who first sighted the American coast, and his son Leif (Leif Ericsson, Leif the Lucky) was the first Norseman to land on North America.
I first read a fictionalized account of the Vikings' discovery of Greenland and North America sometime in the late 1970s. So it's been a bit longer than 'the last decade or so' since the Viking voyages first came to scholars' notice.
"Then a third was released (by Noah), and never returned. It had found land, and that was the direction they headed."
For accuracy sake, Noah did not head in any direction. The ark was a large lifeboat with no means of propulsion. Plus when Noah released the birds, the ark was grounded on Mt. Ararat. The birds were a test to see if there was a place for all the people and creatures to live when released from the ark.
Jax - Thanks for the elaboration. The last time I heard the story was 50 years ago in Sunday School. Well, apart from what I learned in 'Evan Almighty', of course.
Speaking of which, the mock-up they did for the movie was true to scale, and man, that sucker was big. There's a clip at the top of this page, and another on the 'Special Effects' page. My 40-footer would barely qualify as a 'dinghy' for that behemoth.
Reney, they are a Series: http://www.amazon.com/Master-Mariner-Running-Proud-Bk/dp/0304296090/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2
Yes, people where in America before Columbus. The ndians, the Vikings, and let's not forget the Protugese fisherman who were probably fishing the Grand Banks and landing in Canada for replenishment before Columbus
Yes they were here first. But it took a bunch of Italians how to figure out how to make the place turn a profit.
The Cod allowed fishermen to sail to the Grand Banks and beyond, and stay away for months. A great read!
"the ark bravely plundered on..."
Well - it didn't have a choice as to whether it continued on, so it wasn't "brave".
And it certainly didn't "plunder", though it may have "blundered". But that implies that it could be steered.
Well, it could be argued both ways. They could have given up. They could have quit. But they didn't. They kept at it in what must have been something of a panic situation. Ergo, 'bravely' isn't unwarranted.
As for 'plundering' implying steerage, well, they knew which direction they were going. They were going forward into a brave and unknown future. This same 'Forward!' has been used many times since then by forward-thinking leaders as they bravely chart our way into a perilous future.
Thanks for listening. :)