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    Continetal names, was: Round-the-globe almanac
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2004 Apr 2, 09:01 +0000

    Moving rather too far away from navigation, George wrote:
    >>Wasn't America named after Amerigo Vespuci?
    > Yes.
    While I see little merit in the Bristol claim that "America" derives
    from the name of the customs collector who paid Cabot his pension, one
    Richard Ameryk (sometimes spelt "Americ"), I'm not so sure that Doug
    Royer's question should be answered in the affirmative quite so
    George continued:
    > He didn't touch the North American continent, and neither
    > did Columbus. For that, you have to choose between John Cabot, 1497 and
    > 1498, or else much-earlier Scandinavian voyagers. Perhaps the North
    > American continent should really have been named "Cabotia".
    Cabot made only the one known landing in the New World (in 1497),
    disappearing without trace on his 1498 voyage. More to the point, there
    is really no evidence that he ever sighted the continent, his most
    likely track coasting only the island of Newfoundland. (Even the
    Cabotian school only placed him on the shore of Cape Breton -- another
    island until the causeway was completed in the mid-1950s.)
    (For what it is worth, the Greenland Norse do seem to have touched the
    continent. The only known archaeological site is in insular Newfoundland
    but it contained plant material that most likely came from Northern New
    Brunswick, while the sagas speak of lands further north, which would
    have to be Labrador.)
    Turning back a bit towards navigation, George wrote:
    >>And during the time of the Spanish/Portugese naval and discovery period of
    >>Europian history wasn't Cadiz the prime meridian used?
    > Well, that's what the Spanish used. The Portuguese would have used Lisbon.
    > A mariner would start to reckon his departure (Westing) from the port he
    > set off from.
    I would suggest that those two ideas are not mutually consistent and
    that the latter is closer to being correct. Geographers may have used a
    prime meridian but did navigators? I understood that the Iberian pilots
    on New World voyages, in the discovery period, reckoned their westing
    from the westernmost point of the Azores.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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