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    Columbus and all that...
    From: Ron Roizen
    Date: 2003 Sep 4, 11:41 -0700

    Hi Folks...
    I signed on to your list because I saw the movie 1492 and then followed up
    by doing a little reading on Columbus and his great journeys.  I'm thinking
    about putting together a little article on this topic for the upcoming Oct.
    12th holiday, and I thought -- if it gets to the draft stage -- somebody on
    this list might look it over for mistakes.
    What's struck me as so remarkable about the great man is how wrong he was
    on so many things, and yet how little that aspect of his story actually
    matters to history.  For instance, the commission that rejected Columbus's
    argument for a trip distance that was short enough to justify his 1st trip
    was right -- right that Columbus had grossly underestimated the distance to
    Japan and the Indies.  Yet who remembers the name of one of those
    commission members today?
    Columbus was also woefully wrong about where he thought he was on his 1st,
    2nd, 3rd, and 4th voyages.  He never gave up the notion that he was
    investigating islands that formed an outer barrier to the Japan and the
    Asian continent.  Like Joseph Priestley in the 18th c., who never quite
    grasped that he had isolated oxygen, Columbus, despite public opinion's
    drift in that direction, never quite accepted that he had discovered an
    entirely new continent -- or, as it was put, a "New World."
    These are staggering mistakes.  And yet Columbus is no less an historical
    giant for them; indeed, he is perhaps all the more to be honored and
    marveled at.
    Anyhow, let's see how my draft goes!
    Happy to be here!
    Ron Roizen
    in landlocked Wallace, Idaho

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