Conflicting Essays in scholarship which have been the most engaging research job I have ever done. I have also added, over the years, queries about our "dated" geology with their "computerized" confirmations together with climate changes denied since 1963. The Ten-O'clock News have been telling us to change our clocks for DSL and back again BUT no one as noticed it has been changed, more than a few years ago, from March 31 and October 31, to a week or so earlier or even a week or so later.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Galapagos: Guardian of the Americas

Goode's Atlas of the World (1957, 100)
       Old Names     New Names  [1957]   Newer Names [2003]
San Cristóbal                                      Chatham *
Genovesa                                           Tower      *                                           
Española                                             Hood     *
Rábida                                                Jervis     *
Marchena                                            Bindloe  *
Chavez                                                Isla Santa Cruz / Indefatigable / 
                                                       / Chavez = Isla Sta. Cruz = Indefatigable
San Salvador                                       James       *      San Salvador = Gone
Santa Maria                                         Charles     *      Sta. Maria   = Gone
Santa Fe                                              Barrington*
Fernandina                                          Narborough *
Isabela                                                 Albemarle*
Pinta                                                     Abingdon *
Isla Santiago                                        James        *
Pinzon                                                  Duncan     *
Baltra                                                    South Seymour   Isla Baltra = No name
Floreana                                               Santa Maria, Charles-Floreana = Charles
Point Espinoza                                      ———    *
Puerto Velasco Ibarra                           ———            Pto  V. Ibarra = Gone
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno                     ———            Pto. B. Moreno = Gone
Wenman / Culpepper                            ———     Wenman/Culpepper = Gone
Cerro Azul                                        ———      *
Puerto Villamil                                       ——— *
Puerto Ayora                                         ———  *  [All marked * remains same]

On the tourist map of 2003, the Volcanoes  are: Volcán Cerro Azul;  V. Wolf;  V. Darwin, V. Dragon, V. Santo Tomás and V. La Cumbre.  The main island is called Isla Mariela, while  Isla Bartolomé is new.

      For years the story of Columbus and his "discovery of America has been hidden from the world. No one ever knew the real story of the meeting with King Ferdinand and his Queen Isabel. Only the actors were identified. Yet, the actors in the story were locked away on a group of islands no one ever wanted to visit. The name of those islands is the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador. The story itself is either non-existent, or hidden away. 

      Years ago, in 1954-1955, I was in Ecuador with my husband and my daughter Maria del Carmen. It was a bit difficult until the America soldiers came by on Thanksgiving to visit.  They offered us a new world, in the Galápagos Islands, but not being an Islander on any island North America, or anywhere else for that matter, my husband and I decided against such a proposition. If we had gone, probably I would still be there and by now, we would have been hosting the many tourists that visited the island group today. 

      Not only would the Islands be famous, I would never have learned why the islands were so important to the cartographers who named them. In a very round-about lifetime, I attended the University of Texas at Austin and I attended a basic geography class. The professor was giving away the outdated Goode's Atlas's. I still have the copy that was given to me. I carried it, as part of my library, for years. When I was in Germany It was joined by another old atlas of the world, but in German. It also became part of my traveling library. Other atlases joined the party. And one book, in particular that I had absolutely no interest in.

     That book was a book about Africa, and about various European explorers of that continent. I read it and commented to whoever would listen that I did not like the book. René, one of my apartment managers, said he would buy it from me. Although  I said I would think about it, the exchange never happened. I finally moved into a small house and set up an office in the living room.  By that time I had acquired a computer and that went into the other room with my "library, out of sight. That room was used for "desk-top-publishing" that during those early computer days was a lucrative business venture.

     I was still attending classes at UT even though I had graduated in 1979, with a BA in Humanities.  One day I decided to try geography one more time. In my first class in that subject, I had gotten interested in the Idrisi map and was convinced that the map was being presented upside-down. By that time, I had begun to collect many xerox copies of ancient maps, and a smattering vocabulary of various languages. 

      Speaking with a professor, one day, I tried to give him an idea of what I was planning on writing. There was something wrong with the first voyage of Columbus. His first question was "Did Columbus know anything about Ptolemy? That question started me on a search for Ptolemy, but I was too lazy to go to the school library. I decided to start first with my own collection. The collection of maps turned up very little information about the astronomer-cartographer, so I went to other books where I had seen maps. 
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** 
        One of the last books I had looked at was the African book. It had a Ptolemy map. An excellent map that was part of a complete renaissance "coffee-table" atlas done maybe in 1460 or so. The map of Arabia Felix was 100% wrong. There is no such land configuration in the Middle East. It seemed to be of the same genre that the Columbus abattoirs list of the Galápagos Islands.

        Nevertheless, the old names remained in the Goode Atlas until the 1978 or so.  In 2003 there were some slight changes, but not many. Even so, most of the Columbus entourage disappeared from the world atlas. It acquired new, more modern names.

       However, when I checked the expert's book on cartography I discovered that the Ptolemy had primitive equipment and for that reason the piece of land could never be found. Again, it was just as the Islands were never considered important enough to be taught in schools because. . . . who would ever want to visit such an isolated place or, for that matter, look for a badly drawn map of nowhere?

         So there are two mysteries, that have no answers:  Columbus circle of financial friends, and a map done by Ptolemy?  Such mysteries can be solved, but it would take many more years than I have left.  The name changes of the Galápagos Islands, are now extinct.  Most of the new names have the word Isla or Is. attached to them.

        Both maps have [or had] valid information for future readers. However, the no readers were interested in that kind of history, after all. EVERYONE knows what Christopher Columbus did in 1455, Oops, wasn't the discovery in 1492?  Then why did Portugal use the year 1455 the same year that Columbus used the year 1493 on his return journey to Spain?  H.m.m.m.m!