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: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/oct12.html "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 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======= TAMANEND 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.