Monday, December 31, 2007

It's turtles all the way down

There really is no bottom to this 'history' stuff.

Everybody knows that Bristol fishermen had discovered the cod of the Grand Bank well before Columbus "discovered" the New World - they were drying their catch ashore here for hundreds of years before European settlement.

In 1609, Henry Hudson wasn't even the first European to sail up his eponymous river; but, starting then, the Dutch returned every summer to trade for furs. After a few years, they set up a permanent trading post (1614) on Albany's "Castle Island".

And why was it called "Castle Island"?

Because "Castle Island" was the home of the extensive ruins of the French fort of 15-fucking-40.

(Which doesn't seem to have been built by Monsieur Cartier, who was poking around the St. Lawrence around then, but I can't seem to find any name at all attached to this expedition.)

(And just why were the Albany natives so happy to see the Dutch show up, and just why were they so eager to trade with them? Because the French had helped the Hurons rout the Albany locals (up on Lake Champlain) the previous summer,
about three months before Hudson showed up in the fall. They wanted guns.)

For all the Big Deal that Albany makes of the year "1609", you might think that somebody would have at least mentioned "1540".

Pretty soon I'll find out that Leif Eriksson actually built an early canal around the Cohoes Falls.

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