Subject: Re: how did the chicken cross the ocean from Asia? From: "Larry J. Elmore"Click here to go one level up in the directory.
Date: 1997/05/15 Message-ID: <01bc6130$5525db00$846700cf@default> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,sci.bio.misc,sci.agriculture ... The Spanish were inclined to believe what the natives told them about navigation as they had encountered Peruvian/Ecuadorian balsas far out at sea carrying cargo, or on deep-sea fishing expeditions that might stay out for weeks if necessary. By all contemporary accounts of the balsas, they caould carry as much cargo as a Spanish caravel and could sail and maneuver at least as well. In Sarmiento's and others opinions, native mariners with their balsas were able to venture just as far and as capably into the unknown as any European vessel. Father Joseph de Acosta recorded that the Indians at Ica and also those of Arica 750 miles further south, told the Spaniards that they used to sail far out into the South Pacific where they visited some inhabited islands. Arica and Ilo, the two main ports below Tiahuanaco, were also specified as favorable starting points for the inhabited Pacific island described in Captain de Cadres' recorded interrogation of a wise old Indian named Chepo, said to be 115-120 years old. After two months journey somewhat south of westward they would first reach an uninhabited island called Coatu, in which there were three m ountains and many birds. Keeping this island to their left, they would then reach the inhabited island of Quen, that had a chief named Quenteque. Ten days farther west was another and larger populated island, Acabana. To reach Easter Island, one would follow the course given, and would first encounter the barren bird-island of Sala-y-Gomez, which has three peaks. Keeping that on your left (passing north of it) Easter Island is not far beyond. Chepo's reference to the chief of Quen being Quenteque is quite interesting when considering that the Easter Island name for "chief" was teque-teque by the first Spaniards who arrived in 1770. Sarmiento figured out what course to steer when sailing from Callao, and figured the distance as about 600 leagues according to the information he had been able to gather. Easter Island is in fact about 2,000 miles, or not much more than 600 leagues. In 1567, two caravels and 150 men set out to "discover" these islands under the command of Mendana. There was a dispute about how far out to go on that course, and after much apparent quarreling, they changed course to due west and passed north of Easter Island. Then there was more quarreling and the pilot changed course to northwest, so they ended up sailing between the Marquesas and Tuamoto groups, and ended up eventually "discovering" the Solomons in Melanesia after 80 days at sea. A good overview of the whole episode is in Thor Heyerdahl's "Early Man and the Ocean", which is somewhat dated in some ways since it's 22 years old, but has a lot of good information. -- ----------------------------------------------------- Larry J. Elmore Bozeman, Montana