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Re: native American personas (fwd)

Poster: Tom Rettie <tom@his.com>

>> Ah, but I shall. The Northmen never lingered as the Spaniard and
>> the Portuguese would in later years, and cultural exchange of the
>> level that we have to thank for Indian corn in Europe and tobacco
>> in Turkey only developed at the very tail end of our period. I
>The only trade goods brought back to the Old World seem to have been wood,
such as maple.

Good gentles:

I might point out that it is now fairly well accepted (at least by some)
that Europeans were fishing the Grand Banks for many years before the "Age
of Exploration."  The technique then was to go out to the fishing grounds in
the spring after the North Atlantic winter storms subsided, catch as much as
you could carry, salt it down and bring it home "wet."  This technique was
used for some time before they started drying the fish on shore before
salting it, allowing them to bring home a lot more (dry fish is lighter and
keeps longer).  It was a tough and dangerous trip to be sure, but the reward
was lots of honking big cod, very much prized by Europeans.

Unfortunately, it's not a well documented activity; there's a basic rule
among fisherfolk that when you find a really good fishing spot, you don't go
announcing it to the rest of the world.  How long Europeans were fishing the
North American coast is a matter of conjecture,  There is some evidence that
it significantly predated Columbus, but barring new discoveries it's
probably unproveable.  (By the way, my sources on this are A Coastal History
of Maine and several other volumes on North Atlantic trade and medieval
ships.  I'll look up titles if someone wants.)

I offer this only to point out that medieval mariners weren't as fearful of
oceanic voyages as some of us were brought up to believe.  Yes, the vast
majority of shipping was coastal fishing and trade -- no reason to go
wandering off for no reason.  But when there was a reason, dangerous voyages
were undertaken.  What's this got to do with Indian personnas?  Not much,
just thought it might be interesting.

Your servant,


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