Dear Holiday Explorers:
In the second century BCE, Greek Philosopher Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth at 24,860 miles (when converted from the ancient measure of stadia). More modern calculations place the earth’s circumference at 24,901 miles, placing Eratosthenes’ calculation within an error of 1%. Yet when Christopher Columbus was seeking funding for his proposed voyage nearly 1,500 years later, he argued the earth’s circumference at 13,637 miles, making the riches of the Far East just a short sail of about 2,400 miles due west. Of course, he was wrong. But that did not prevent him from spending the rest of his career claiming he was just a few more rounds of funding shy of China and Japan. Columbus’ claim that he had made it to the Indies is the reason the indigenous peoples of the Americas are referred to as Indians to this day.
I’m of course musing over today’s celebration of October 12, 1492