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Did Polynesians discover Antarctica over a millennia before Europeans?

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  • Did Polynesians discover Antarctica over a millennia before Europeans?

    A recent study has concluded that Polynesians likely discovered Antarctica roughly 1100 years before it was officially discovered early in the 18th cent. This really should come as no surprise as they are rightfully regarded as superb seamen and lived in the region and responsible for what is regarded as the final wave of human migration across the South Pacific starting around 2000 years ago and ending some 600 to 700 years ago.

    The conclusion isn't based upon anything physical, such as finding Polynesian artifacts or the remains of a settlement, but rather on searching through old oral traditions and stories. That of course makes their conclusion much more tentative. Such things can morph over the centuries.

    Source: Antarctica was likely discovered 1,100 years before Westerners 'found' it


    Polynesians may have discovered Antarctica in the early 600s.

    The first humans to discover Antarctica weren't seafaring Westerners but rather Polynesians, who found the coldest continent 1,300 years ago, a new study suggests.

    Researchers in New Zealand assessed oral histories about a Polynesian explorer spying an icy, mountainous continent untouched by the sun. To find the evidence, they sifted through "gray literature," or historical reports that weren't published in peer-reviewed journals, and integrated them with Indigenous oral histories and artwork. This deep dive into Indigenous history revealed that Polynesians likely discovered the southernmost continent more than a millennium before Westerners first spotted it in 1820, according to most historic reports.

    "Māori (and Polynesian) connection to Antarctica and its waters have been part of the Antarctic story since circa [the] seventh century," the researchers wrote in the study. After Westerners first reached Antarctica in the 19th century, a handful of Māori joined their voyages as crewmembers and even medical professionals, although prejudice against Indigenous people at that time was prevalent, the researchers said.

    Antarctica has eluded humans since ancient times. The ancient Greeks theorized that Antarctica existed, as a lower continent would likely be needed to balance out the Arctic in the Northern Hemisphere, they reasoned, according to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The Greeks named this hypothetical continent "Antarktikos," or the land "opposite of Arktos," the bear-shaped constellations (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor) in the north.

    Ocean explorers, especially during the Age of Exploration during the 1400s to 1600s, tried to find Antarctica, including Captain James Cook in the 1700s. But none succeeded. According to most history books, Antarctica was first spotted in 1820, although it's unclear who saw it first; it could have been an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy, an officer in the U.K's Royal Navy or an American sealing captain, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

    However, according to the new study, published online June 6 in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, these Westerners were latecomers.

    According to previously dated 1,300-year-old oral histories from different Māori groups, the Polynesian explorer Hui Te Rangiora (also known as Ūi Te Rangiora) and his crew voyaged into Antarctic waters aboard the vessel Te Ivi o Atea, study first author Priscilla Wehi, a conservation biologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues wrote in the study.



    Source

    © Copyright Original Source




    The paper, A short scan of Māori journeys to Antarctica, is available at the hyperlink provided. Here is the abstract from it

    Abstract:

    The narratives of under-represented groups and their connection to Antarctica remain poorly documented and acknowledged in the research literature. This paper begins to fill this gap. Our exploration of Māori connections to Antarctica details first voyagers through to involvement in recent science projects, as well as representations of mātauranga in carving and weaving. This exploration begins to construct a richer and more inclusive picture of Antarctica’s relationship with humanity. By detailing these historical and contemporary connections, we build a platform on which much wider conversations about New Zealand relationships with Antarctica can be furthered. More than this, however, we create space for other under-represented groups and peoples to articulate their narratives of connection to the southern land- and sea-scapes. In so doing, we provide significant first steps for uncovering the rich and varied ways in which Antarctica features in the lives and futures of indigenous and other under-represented communities.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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  • #2
    Good start. Oral histories have proved out before, like with that group who said a particular area of islands, wasn't it, had been settled by their ancestors thousands of years ago? That was, I think , in Western Canada. There were articles about that recently.
    Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
      Good start. Oral histories have proved out before, like with that group who said a particular area of islands, wasn't it, had been settled by their ancestors thousands of years ago? That was, I think , in Western Canada. There were articles about that recently.
      But some times they don't. The story of St. Brendan sailing west and discovering America has never panned out. In fact, if it is anything more than myth it might have been the Azores or Canary Islands he came across.

      The biggest issue is contamination. Could the discovery of Antarctica in the early 18th century shaped the stories? I recall reading about how difficult it is to determine what early northern Germans and Scandinavians actually believed as their myths became heavily corrupted with Christian imagery. For instance, the whole Odin nailed to a tree story may owe itself to the Crucifixion account, or at the least it heavily influenced the account that was passed down.

      But as I said, they were formidable seafarers. It might even be more surprising if they never ran across it.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

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      • #4
        Antarctica was discovered early in the 19th century -- Captain Nitpick

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          But some times they don't. The story of St. Brendan sailing west and discovering America has never panned out. In fact, if it is anything more than myth it might have been the Azores or Canary Islands he came across.

          The biggest issue is contamination. Could the discovery of Antarctica in the early 18th century shaped the stories? I recall reading about how difficult it is to determine what early northern Germans and Scandinavians actually believed as their myths became heavily corrupted with Christian imagery. For instance, the whole Odin nailed to a tree story may owe itself to the Crucifixion account, or at the least it heavily influenced the account that was passed down.

          But as I said, they were formidable seafarers. It might even be more surprising if they never ran across it.
          Oh agreed about the reliability. As the article pointed out, this is a start. It was amazing just how far the ancient Polynesians went...and so far no physical evidence. If any, would they have been well preserved?
          Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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          • #6
            I can't even imagine how they dealt with the sea weather!
            Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post

              Oh agreed about the reliability. As the article pointed out, this is a start. It was amazing just how far the ancient Polynesians went...and so far no physical evidence. If any, would they have been well preserved?
              A cold environment helps... And given we found a figurative ton of evidence for the Vikings in North America over a thousand years old at L'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland -- and it is thought to have been a short lasting settlement.

              Interestingly, the couple that discovered the site based it on how they interpreted "Vinland" (not as a land of grapes but of meadows), contained in the Icelandic Sagas. So in that case it can be said that the stories and legends were accurate at least in this regard.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
                I can't even imagine how they dealt with the sea weather!
                Someone once said something to the effect of that crossing an ocean for them was like crossing a lake for everyone else.

                I can only imagine that they must have lived pretty far inland.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

                Comment

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