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Posts Tagged ‘Polynesia

“We have always been taught that navigation is the result of civilization, but modern archeology has demonstrated very clearly that this is not so”*…

 

CanoeKane

 

The islands of Polynesia stretch over thousands of miles of ocean, presenting a daunting barrier to ancient people before the invention of magnetic compasses and modern navigation equipment.

Yet early Europeans exploring the Pacific found island after island full of people who shared similar customs and beliefs despite their far-flung distribution. They told tales of epic voyages of discovery and colonization, undertaken in ocean-going canoes, robust enough to make the trip but fragile enough to make some Western scholars doubt they could have made the crossing, preferring instead a narrative of accident and drift.

Who the Polynesians were, where they came from, and how they navigated such formidable seas has puzzled explorers, missionaries, anthropologists, and archaeologists for centuries…

A conversation with Harvard Review editor Christina Thompson, author of Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia, in which she examines what’s known about what might be humanity’s most epic migration, and what questions remain: “The history and mystery of Polynesian navigation.”

[Image above: source]

* Thor Heyerdahl (who had a hand in unraveling [some of] the secrets of ancient Polynesian navigation)

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As we find our way, we might recall that it was on this date in 1606 that James I of England established the Virginia Company of London by royal charter with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.  Several months later, on Dec 20, the Company loaded three ships with settlers, who set sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.  As this was the UK’s first colony, that day can be considered the birthday of the British Empire.

A rendering of the initial settlement/fort at Jamestown, c. 1607

source

 

Man up!…

It’s a tricky thing, in these post-gendered times, to project an unmitigatedly masculine image.  Even if one successfully dresses in denim and leather, drives a muscle machine, and dominates the playground hoops, ones locution can undermine the butch effect for which one strives.

The Art of Manliness has ridden to the rescue. Their “The Art of Manliness Dictionary of Manly 19th Century Vernacular” is a well-worn saddle bag full of phrases one can use to stir testosterone into the any conversation.  Consider, for example, these bony mots:

Earth Bath – A grave.

Gullyfluff – The waste—coagulated dust, crumbs, and hair—which accumulates imperceptibly in the pockets of schoolboys.

Half-mourning – To have a black eye from a blow. As distinguished from “whole-mourning,” two black eyes.

Hogmagundy – The process by which the population is increased.

Ladder – “Can’t see a hole in a Ladder,” said of any one who is intoxicated. It was once said that a man was never properly drunk until he could not lie down without holding, could not see a hole through a Ladder, or went to the pump to light his pipe.

Scandal-water – Tea; from old maids’ tea-parties being generally a focus for scandal.

More masculine ammunition at “The Art of Manliness Dictionary of Manly 19th Century Vernacular.”

As we twirl our moustaches, we might recall that it was on this date in 1947 that Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the balsa raft Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.

Kon-Tiki


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