Columbus, Dutch Disney, etc.

Dwight Decker deckerd at
Tue Aug 30 18:02:55 CEST 1994

Just a little side-note to some of the discussion about Columbus,
Leif Ericsson, et al. For the last couple of hundred years, it
has been customary to say that Columbus "discovered" America. 
At least he was the one who made it stick. The Viking colony
in presentday Canada died out and was forgotten by the time
Columbus sailed. There have been interesting theories proposed
that others may have reached America before Columbus (not
implausible, since the Americas are a little hard to miss if
you sail west from Europe far enough, so historically unrecorded
voyages could have ended up here every once in a while for
centuries), but so far as I know there isn't any firm proof. I've
also seen an argument that America could not have been discovered
much before Columbus due to limitations on sailing ship technology
and navigational techniques, at least taking the southerly route
he did that required a great amount of time out of sight of land.
The Vikings had lousier weather to contend with, but had islands
along the way for pit stops. On the other hand, I think I read 
that the Portuguese discovered Brazil almost by accident not long
after Columbus, so once European ships reached a certain level and
were ranging further and further than before, discovery of the New
World by somebody, if not Columbus, was just about inevitable.
	Unfortunately, there's been a sudden flurry of controversy
lately about the word "discover." Certain political and social
reformers have decided that the word "discover" is Politically
Incorrect (reasoning that the Native Americans were already here,
and to say Columbus discovered them is to be guilty of Europe-
centered bias). I'm not sure what the proper term is supposed to
be, but I have seen "encounter." Columbus encountered America
	Being a hide-bound traditionalist myself, I'm not exactly
anxious to adopt the new terminology.
	This is getting far away from Disney stuf', so I'll close with
a note to Harry Fluks. Gee, you're good! You guessed exactly which
Dutch Donald Duck story I recently translated for Gladstone on the
basis of just a scant few clues. Amazing.

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