Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blogs With "Content"

Before I ever heard of WOW, I had people ask me, what do you mean by a blog with “content”? So I thought I’d dig up one from last year.
First off – you’d think I’d have more important things to worry about – but you see, I’ve always thought it odd that kids in schools are taught that Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan, as well as the Hudson River. But he didn’t. Hudson wasn’t first…



There has recently been quite a to-do, not to mention a brouhaha – in other words, a fuss – over the fact that it’s an anniversary: it was four hundred years ago that Hank Hudson – a replica of his ship is shown above – sailed up the river of the same name.
From a local paper: “A fleet of 18 Dutch boats sailed into the New York harbor on Tuesday to begin month-long celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of New York by Captain Henry Hudson.”



So the claim is often made that it was Henry Hudson who was the first European to discover New York; that seems to be what is taught in schools.
But it’s wrong.
The score card should read like this: Hudson second; French first.
It’s simply a fact that not many people are aware that long before Hank H. showed up in New York in 1609, the French Navy had much earlier been there, done that.



It was in 1524 that the French arrived in what is now NYC, anchoring right there between what is now Staten Island and Brooklyn. Think of it – that’s 85 years before Hudson.



And when they showed up, Manhattan didn’t look much like this.



It looked like this.



With the warship La Dauphine leading the fleet, the French, who had been sent by the French King Frances I, arrived in New York harbor, where the Verrazano Bridge is today…



And the commander of the fleet, Verrazano, gave what is now New York City the name New Angouleme (in honor of the French King, who came from there). It was New Angouleme long, very long, before it was New Amsterdam.



Kids learn almost nothing about this in schools. Most New Yorkers have no idea that New York was once New Angouleme. But that’s okay; I’ve been to Angouleme and asked around. Most people there don’t seem to be aware of it either.
So here’s a toast of cognac (from the Angouleme region) to Henry Hudson and his trip, 400 years ago, up the river that bears his name. But as far as what the local paper recently wrote – that he discovered New York – that is simply not true.
As I said, you’d think I’d have something better to rant about, but for some reason I find this bit of history interesting.

29 comments:

willow said...

I'm glad New Angouleme didn't stick. It just doesn't work with songs and musicals. I can't see Gene Kelly dancing to it.

Everyday Goddess said...

So it wouldn't have been the Big Apple, but the Big Pomme?

And Shea Stadium would be the Petanque capitol of the world?

R. Burnett Baker said...

Kids don't seem to learn much about anything anymore.

Then, again, I didn't learn these little tidbits about NY either, and I've lived in the state for 25 years! So much for learning....

Another WOW post! congrats on your blogging recognition!

Rick

French Fancy said...

Those dastardly French getting there first!

savannah said...

History is written by victors, the revisionists or interestingly, like here in the USA, Texans. You've just touched the tip of the iceberg, so to speak! xox

Berowne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Berowne said...

French Fancy: "Those dastardly French getting there first!"

With a name like French Fancy, I'd think you might be a little more tolerant. :-)

Berowne said...

savannah: "History is written by victors, the revisionists or interestingly, like here in the USA, Texans."

Very clever -- and trenchant -- remark. :-)

Berowne said...

R. Burnett: "Then, again, I didn't learn these little tidbits about NY either."

99.5 percent, my official estimate, of New Yorkers don't know about this little tidbit either. :-)

Berowne said...

willow: "I'm glad New Angouleme didn't stick. It just doesn't work with songs and musicals."

I'll put Sondheim to work on it. :-)

Berowne said...

Everyday Goddess: "And Shea Stadium would be the Petanque capitol of the world?"

If so, the petanque team would have a much better season than the Mets did last year. :-)

Eleonora said...

Bellissimo. I love learning history this way. You write beautifully, my friend.

Ciao

Berowne said...

Eleonora: "You write beautifully, my friend."

And you write beautiful comments, Eleonora. :-)

Ronda Laveen said...

Hoisting a glass of cognac in your honor, Berowne. Cheers to this wonderful bit of history.

Sandy said...

These comments are just too sophistocated for me....just pass the cognac.

Berowne said...

Ronda: "Hoisting a glass of cognac in your honor."
Sandy: "....just pass the cognac."

Cognac all around, bartender! :-)

ds said...

So that's who Verrazano really was! La Grande Pomme doesn't sound so terrible...

Berowne said...

Enjoyed your comment, ds; thanks.

lakeviewer said...

Ah! A twisted tale of beautiful island seen from afar, years and miles. Well done! Excellent content.

Berowne said...

lkeviewer: "Well done! Excellent content."

Always good to hear from my friend lv; thanks.

French Fancy said...

I have a love/hate relationship with the people of this country in which I have chosen to live. On good days I love them - on days when the bureacracy has got to me (like today) I am ready to go home

Berowne said...

I know the feeling. :-)

joanny said...

Berowne

From an Ex-NYer -- love the Hudson I actually think the dinosaurs were really the first-- giant footprints were discovered by a father & son along the Palisades overlooking the Hudson. So what would you call it then Tyrannosaurus? Or Rex? Or T.Rex?
also loved sitting on the old canons on Staten Island from the Revolutionary War looking up the Hudson from Staten Island a beautiful sight and watched the Tall ships come in the Harbor
Oh What the heck pass the cognac. Cheers all.
Joanny

Everyday Kathy said...

Poorly educated NY Public school gal here... thanks for updating my education!

Berowne said...

My thanks to joanny and Eeryday Kathy.

croneandbearit said...

I always find it interesting looking at school history books - when I was a literacy tutor, one of the children I was helping brought his in to me and I was just amazed at the misinformation being promoted as fact. I watched a news report recemt;u about a man on the review board for textbooks and I was struck in the head by the power these people have. Revisionist indeed - heaven help us if we don't teach our children the truth. Tall tales make for more interesting reading, I guess. Nice posting. Thanks for the history lesson!

Cheryl said...

Loved this lesson especially the part about the residents in Angouleme not knowing this either.

Jenny said...

OK, I might need to de-frag my brain a bit to keep up with you guys on this blog.

I'm Jane said...

HA - I did know this! My 5th grade daughter just learned this tidbit courtesy of the California school system. She liked saying "Verrazano" and kept repeating it over and over.

It's good to know that - on some days - I'm as smart as a 5th grader!

 
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