Forsooth! Verily it must be assured, for certain, that no man is more sorely named than I.
Yes, I used olde English. Or at leas the modern conception of ye olde English. But that's because I don't know Dutch. Neither ye olde nor modern.
It's a failing, I know. Everyone should know Dutch. And also Esperanto. And Swahili.
Those are the three languages that will become dominant within the next 20 to 30 years. That's an official 'Otter Prediction', and you can put money one it!
I should note that to date, none of the 17,283,407 other 'Otter Predictions' has come true. But there has to be a first! There's always a first! And you never know, this might be it. I doubt it. But you never know.
Today is Monday. That is, Made Up Monday! I'm going to spin you a tale, and you're going to tell me if I made it up or not.
First, let me begin by telling you about that debonaire man up there. He's Dutch, hence the reference to not knowing Dutch. And he's one of historys most mis-named men.
His name? Abel Janszoon Tasman. (admit it...you now what to name your next child Janszoon...). Abel was an employee of the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch East India Company should not be confused with the East India Company, which was a venture began and operated by the English at about the same time.
Abel began his career doing such menial tasks as sailing to Seram Island to help punish the natives for having the audacity to sell spices to merchants that weren't Dutch. In 1633, spices were big business. About the biggest business there was. Expeditions that made spice runs to India with a fleet of 12 ships and 2,000 men could return home with one ship and 150 men, having lost the rest to storms and natives. And even after calculating for the loss of cargo, ships and paying compensation for all the lost men, that one ships cargo would still make the investors extremely wealthy. Spices were a HUGE business.
And that's why governments got involved in their trade.
Abel was well liked by his superiors, so he rose amongst the ranks fairly quickly. By 1638 he was second in command to the expedition that took over authority of Dutch Formosa. (Taiwan)
And finally, in 1642, Abel got his big break. There was land in an area known as 'The Beach'. None other than Marco Polo had described it. No one knew exactly where it was, other than it was 'somewhere off in that direction'. And Abel is the one they picked to go find it.
And off Abel went. He spent the next two years sailing around and 'discovering' the lands now known as Fiji, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Now comes the fun part; I'm about to tell you something, and you get to tell me if I made it up, or if it's true.
You may have noticed one minor exclusion from the lands that Abel found. And that would be Australia. You see, this is why I say Abel is the most mis-named explorer in history. He completely missed Australia. I don't mean he just didn't spend the time to explore any of it, but he missed it completely. Never saw it. He found Fiji and Tasmania. Two small land masses. And New Zealand, a small land mass when compared to it's neighbor. But he completely failed to notice an island so large we don't call it an island, we call it a continent.
Abel wasn't so abel now, was he?
So friends, true or false? Did Abel Janszoon Tasman sail right on by Australia and fail to make note of it?
I'll be back tomorrow to let you know!