National Geographic : 1986 Nov
NATIONAL Christopher Columbus was definitely not a candidate for membership in GEOGRAPH IC the Flat Earth Society. Like other APTIC European intellectuals of his time, he accepted that the earth was round. NOVEMBER 1986 The Greek mathematician Pythagoras declared the earth round in the sixth century B.C. Aristotle reported rumors of lands to the west of Europe, and Eratosthenes computed the circumference of OLUU the world amazingly accurately centuries before Christ. The Greek geographer Strabo about S7 B.C. wrote of attempts to circumnavigate dUd the the earth; in the first century A.D. Pliny the Elder wrote that oceans surround the whole 11_earth and that the distance from east to west Sor is that from India to Spain. Romans had ports in India and probably explored the South China Sea. By the tenth century The Island of Landfall 566 Venice was trading in the spices of the By JOSEPH JUDGE Indies. Marco Polo returned to Europe in and JAMES L. STANFIELD 1295 with vivid descriptions of the wealth Tracking Columbus and sophistication of India, China, and Across the Atlantic 572 Japan (Cipangu). By TLIJT MARDEN By Columbus's time rough maps of Asia The perfect Christmasgift- only $18 National Geographic Society membership To give Society membership this is sure to please everyone on your gift list Christmas, complete the attached form ... relatives, friends, and professional and mail with dues in the envelope associates. Inexpensive and easy to give, provided. Upon request, a gift card will be it's also a gift your recipients will open with sent to each person you list. If the form is pleasure each month of the year. . . when missing, write to: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC brings the world and all its wonders into their homes. National Geographic Society 15th-Century Manuscript Yields First Look at Nina 601 By EUGENE LYON ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Tokyo-A Profile of Success 606 By WILLIAM GRAVES and DAVID ALAN HARVEY A Little Humanity: the International Committee of the Red Cross 647 By PETER T. WHITE and STEVE RAYMER Luring Deep-sea Life 681 By EUGENIE CLARK, EMORY KRISTOF, and DOUGLAS LEE Missing in Action, 1972 U. S. Plane Found in Laos 692 By PETER T. WHITE and SENY NORASINGH COVER: Woodcut illustratesa rare FlorentineeditionofColumbus's letter of discovery. Courtesy British Library. existed. In 1462 the king of Portugal is said to have offered a reward for discovery of rumored islands to the west. Columbus reportedly sent a "sphere" with his ideas of "sailing west to reach the east" to Florentine scholar Paolo Toscanelli, who responded in 1474 with a letter and a chart, which showed that by sailing 3,000 miles west from the Canary Islands one would reach the East with no obstacles to block the way. On Columbus's travels south to Africa and north to Ireland and perhaps Iceland, he certainly heard the rumors of lands to the west. Cipangu is the most noble and richest islandin the east, full of spices and precious stones.... has a King and language of its own. JAPANON 1492 BEHAIM GLOBE Explorer Thor Heyerdahl claims Columbus had more than rumors, that he knew where he would find the lands to the west because of letters to the Vatican from Norse priests in Greenland settlements four Washington, D. C. 20036 *For rates outside the U. S ., see attached order form.