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October 12 to recall discoveries, and who was Saint Tammany?

  1. Sep 26, 2005 #1


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    Evo reminded me that last year some PF folk observed
    October 12 by recalling the role of discoveries in history

    As it happens 12 October comes around the time Nobel prizes are announced. this year I think the physics prize is to be announced 4 October.

    For some of us, to recall the sighting of land on 12 October 1492 is a way of recognizing the profound effect on Europeans of the discovery of what turned out to be a whole continent previously unknown to them----opening their eyes to new possibilities and igniting an age of discovery. This age of European invention and discovery now belongs (for better or worse) to all mankind.

    If a Chinese captain had sailed to California and back in 1292 (as could have happened), it might have set off an age of Chinese discovery resulting in the internal combustion engine and airplanes and the periodic table of elements, but that didn't happen. It happened to the Europeans and, through them, to everybody.

    Basically they realized that if you could discover a whole other continent that you didnt know was there, then maybe knowledge was not only something learned from books. Maybe you could discover other things too, like electricity and chemistry and how to fly and that orbits are oval-shape instead of round, and so on. Aristotle was fine but maybe there were things he didnt know that you could find out by looking and trying stuff.

    So when Columbus returned to Europe and TOLD people about his discovery it energized the minds and spirits of several centuries of people, and you got things like the steam engine and the transistor-----for better or worse----maybe it is even regretable, who knows, but it happened---and we OUGHT TO THINK ABOUT THIS SOMETIMES.

    here is a US Library of Congress web page about October 12:

    "A sailor on board the Pinta sighted land early in the morning of October 12, 1492, and a new era of European exploration and expansion began. The next day, the 90 crew members of Christopher Columbus's three-ship fleet ventured onto the Bahamian island of Guanahaní, ending a voyage begun nearly ten weeks earlier in Palos, Spain."

    "The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. Organized by The Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order, it commemorated the 300th anniversary of Columbus's landing.
    The 400th anniversary of the event, however, inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States."

    OK SO WHO WAS SAINT TAMMANY? He was a saint who was celebrated BY RINGING BELLS ON MAY FIRST. He was declared a saint by the people (not by pope or other clerical authority) around the time the Colonies were struggling for independence from England. As it happens, Tammany or Tamanend, was a native American Indian leader who dealt amicably with William Penn, a Quaker who started the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1680s. Tamanend made a favorable impression on the Colonists and was still remembered and honored 100 years later----on May 1 as it happens---that was "Saint Tamanend's Day".

    If you click on this link you will see what I think is a bad civic statue of a man standing on a turtle:

    http://www.phila.gov/property/vp_art_indian.html [Broken]

    The statue has a bronze plaque about Tammany or Tamanend, and a closeup shot of the plaque, and a "history" link that gives the text:
    =======As it reads on the plaque=======


    In honor of the contributions of Native American Indians – the ancestors, the elders, this generation, and the generations to come – this sculpture commemorates Tamanend, a Sakima, of the Lenni-Lenape nation who resided in the Delaware Valley when Philadelphia, or “Coaquannock” was established.

    Tamanend stands on a turtle, which represents mother earth. The eagle, a revered messenger of Great Spirit has a wampum belt in its grasp. This belt recognizes the friendship treaty under the Sackamaxon Elm between William Penn (“Mikwon”), Tamanend (“the Affable One”), and other leaders of the Lenni-Lenape nation. It reads – ‘to live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure.’

    Penn dealt with the Lenni-Lenape people when he came to the land given him by the King of England. He bought the land from the Lenni-Lenape through a number of treaties. Tamanend was one of the Sakimas who played a prominent role as a welcoming delegate on Penn’s arrival in 1682, and in the early treaties of 1683 and 1692.

    Tamanend was considered the patron saint of America by the colonists prior to American Independence. Tamanend day was celebrated annually on May 1st in Philadelphia and bells were rung in his honor.

    ===========end quote==============

    Artist: Raymond Sandoval
    Dedicated: 1995
    Location: Front St & Market St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

    WHAT THIS SAYS TO ME IS THAT our contemporary observance of "INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY" IS ON THE WRONG DAY. It should be 1 May.
    That is the Day of Saint Tammany, an indigenous person whom the colonists chose to make the patron saint of America (in opposition to Saint George of England) when they needed a saint. He and William Penn weren't so bad as political leaders go---they got along amicably enough. Pennsylvania was a fairly decent-run colony as such things went.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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  3. Sep 26, 2005 #2


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    Thanks for sharing. :smile: Do you think the moon landing was anything like the discovery of America? Was any other event in history comparable to the discovery of America? (Eh, or was is the Americas? :redface: )
  4. Sep 27, 2005 #3


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    Thank YOU for sharing your ideas with us too, rosewater!

    I see that you have quite a different perspective on history from mine. It makes me curious as to what other people might come up with as analogs of discovery by Europeans of a continent they hadnt realized was there. personally your suggestion of moon landing does not ring a bell with me, but people are different and it may seem analogous to you!

    In terms of science or intellectual history or creating a culture of discovery and invention, I guess I would compare the Apollo mission to the Lindbergh flight across the Atlantic, or some of the earlier expeditions to the poles. I believe Charles Lindbergh flight was a technical triumph that caused a lot of popular enthusiasm and involved great bravery and determination.

    It would not occur to me to compare the Apollo mission, in its effect on what we perceive as possible, with Columbus.

    Now if the Apollo people, thinking they were merely going to set foot on the moon, had found on their arrival the tracks of a three-legged animal or the guidebook of an ancient traveler.

    Rosewater, IMO Columbus was lucky because he discovered something which he and his contemporaries didnt expect, or even recognize at first. Something that opened up seemingly endless possibilities. I think this made a deep impression on the Europeans which lasted, it seems to me, for centuries.

    For a long time after that they trusted that if you just looked for things hard enough and tried out things carefully and long enough you would discover new stuff. And that chances are it wouldn't bite. now, I would say, people aren't so sure----you can look and look and try and try and either not find anything or, if you do find something, it might be a "faustian bargain" like nuclear weapons and powerplants.

    So you tried thinking of something analogous to Columbus discovery of new world (which he didnt foresee or recognize at first) and you offer APOLLO MISSION. I see that people can have radically different views on this! And you ask me what do I think might be analogous.

    OK I will try to think of something and tell you. the first thing that comes to mind is maybe not such a good analogy: it is kepler trying hard to fit a circle to mars orbit and eventually having OVALS dawn on him and then, on 15 May 1618, his finally seeing that the period squared matches the distance cubed
  5. Sep 27, 2005 #4


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    Yeah, I guess they already knew the moon was there. :rofl: :rofl: I must have been sleepwalking when I wrote that. I'll read the rest when I stop laughing.

    I think my first thoughts were of future space exploration. But I wanted to stick with history, so I just chose the moon landing as a compromise. Who knows what I was really thinking though.
    I guess I mainly see Columbus' discovery as that of a whole new world. Perhaps discovering the microscopic or prehistoric worlds compares.

    I don't quite understand the connection to Kepler. Is it the manner of their discoveries that you think is similar?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  6. Sep 27, 2005 #5


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    very smart comparisons
    I like it
    (no need to worry about Kepler----it was sort of the first glimpse of an algebraic form of a natural law, the square cube thing---or the first in over a thousand years, showed the greeks didnt know everything, but I like the microscope)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  7. Sep 27, 2005 #6


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    I think the really revolutionary thing from the Apollo program was the photograph of Earth - the "big blue marble" - taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts and widely publicized. Just as Columbus's discovery emphasized for common people what the learned already knew, that the world is round, so the photograph opened the eyes of everyone to the fact that astronomers already knew, that the Earth is a lonely globe in a big, big universe.
  8. Oct 30, 2006 #7
    Just to comment on the first post, Columbus didn't really "discover" America.
    The Welsh were theorised to have landed in America in the 800s.
    Leif Erikson definitely got there by AD1001 (and before him Bjarni Hergelfson who didn't land).
    Admiral Zheng He is alleged to have arrived in 1421.
    (at least the Greeks knew the Earth was round.)
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