Subject: Re: Polynesian Sailors (was: Moorish sailors discovered the New W orld?) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 1997/08/01 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Newsgroups: rec.org.mensa,soc.culture.african.american,alt.archaeology, sci.archaeology,soc.history,alt.folklore.science Greetings, all, I have written here previously about comparisons between the traditional Polynesian ocean craft, and what Columbus had, and that Columbus' ships could not sail easily into the wind, while the Polynesians could do this easily. Here are some passages from MAN ACROSS THE SEA, Carrol L. Riley, et al, eds, U of Texas Press, 1971 that are quite relevant. Stephen C. Jett writes the following in his article in this volume: "... it is true that the ability of Western ships, particularly larger ones, to make headway against the wind was quite limited. Speaking of ships like Columbus' SANTA MARIA, Culver (and Grant, 1935: 78) writes, '...they went to windward slowly or not at all'". (p. 9, cited from Culver, H. B., and Grant, G., THE BOOK OF OLD SHIPS AND SOMETHING OF THEIR EVOLUTION AND ROMANCE. Garden City, N. Y., 1935) Further, Jett writes: "Southern and eastern Asia -- particularly the Malaysian region -- and Oceania seem from ancient times to have possessed, in addition to large ships, much more highly developed sailing rigs and techniques than existed in the Western world, allowing craft to beat readily to windward (Bowen, 1953, 1959; Borden, 1967; Needham, 1970) ... Geographer Clinton Edwards (1969), a watercraft expert, writes: "The eastern shores of Asia probably have the greatest variety of watercraft to be found anywhere in the world. This is especially true of southern China, Indochina, and the Bay of Bengal, suggesting the theory that this region was one of the great 'hearths' of original invention and elaboration of many features of watercraft technology." (p. 10) And further: "According to Borden (1967), Micronesian sailing canoes, which are largely derivative from east Asian craft, were, for speed on the sea, by far the best in the world and were able to sail closer to the wind than any other sailing craft. ... There's one record from the Spanish period of a flying proa running the seventeen hundred miles from Guam to Manila in six days." (p. 10) And I should also note that plenty of new articles and books appeared in the last few years on the subject of the great achievements of ancient (and modern) Polynesian sailors. I've seen the references posted in these groups already. So we no longer need to rely on the works from the 1960s to give us these facts... This subject has been obscured for years by the obvious Eurocentrism in our scholarship -- by the arrogant assumption, exhibited here recently by certain posters, that nobody could be as "sophisticated" as the "legendary European explorer". But the truth, which is of course otherwise, is finally beginning to emerge now, as old facile and uninformed Eurocentric assumptions about ancient tribal cultures are being challenged, and are falling one by one. [This article is certainly relevant in the African History newsgroup, as many of the ancient sailors in the Pacific were Black Melanesians. It is quite likely that some of them arrived to America long before the Europeans. That some of the ancient giant Olmec heads in Mexico look Black, in spite of the tremendous efforts by certain parties to obscure and obfuscate this fact, may be accounted for by this possibility.] Best regards, Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.io.org/~yuku It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith _________________________________________________________________Click here to go one level up in the directory.