The New Found Land  12298


  • 00:00 Canyons shots “For hundreds of centuries, and long after men had settled in the land masses of Europe, Asia and Africa, this continent was unknown to any human being”. Also rivers.
  • Alligators, snakes, strange birds of prey
  • 03:00 15,000BC humans drifted from Asian and Aleutians; these civilisations now lost, ancient relic in cavern in Northern Arizona.
  • Tribes that worshipped Bison, matriarch or corn they grew. Tribes ruled by warriors, or woman farmers. Or by sacred elders. Tribes that had never heard of war, and tribes debauched by centuries of fighting.
  • 04:22 Dances and singing of Apache sacred ceremony round fire: supernatural figures celebrate passage of women from childhood to puberty.
  • 05:17 But past 400 years is what we think of as history of the USA
  • 05:51 Flat in New York City, with his library; his shelves arranged in a map of the United States (see map entry)
  • “Well, we all lay great stress on our favourite states, and places, and people; don’t be upset if some of yours get squeezed out. I have a man I’m mad about, over there, Benjamin Franklin, and I’m not sure if even he will make it.”
  • 07:00 Who was first white man to discover America?
  • Named after Amerigo, Florentine businessman/promoter who never took part in the early voyages.
  • Vikings? Pheonicians? Jews?
  • One early voyage is well-documented … into his kitchen. Need: water, too many people in small country, timber … Spices. Turks conquering Constantinople and shutting off spice trade from Maluca islands between Borneo and Phillipines (Spice islands) [map]. Portugese master-mariner, spent much time with astronomers and mathematicians who believed workd was round [maps of flat worlds and round worlds]. Cristoforo Colombo; on 10% deal. 15 year trek to find sponsors: King and Queen of Spain; needed spice and hated Turks (for Gospel and for Gold). Santa Maria. Sturdy enough for storms, and shallow enough to take shelter in imagined Atlantic islands. Other two ships smaller still. 6ft tall, enormous for time. Been in chart business with brother for years. Red wine – standard laxative. 2.5 litres per man per day. Surgeon. King’s Controller of Accounts. Converted Jew who spoke Arabic, which they assumed was similar to Chinese. Italians. Spaniards.
  • Columbus had miscalculated by about 80% the width of the sea, and faked log entries so the others didn’t insist on going back.
  • Cuba was Japan. Baffled by absence of cities, but spices and cotton and copper citizens, who insisted gold was to be found inland, always inland … took display samples back, including some gold.
  • 15:00 Next fleet of 17 ships, including priests to sanctify slaves
  • Did find gold next time, beginning most hostile gold rush.
  • Natives terrified by cannons, and the living monsters called horses.
  • Many brave priests were sickened by the behaviour. Native king burned at stake refused baptism because he might go to heaven and meet there only Christians.
  • Pope: 100 leagues West of Azores belong to Spain or Portugal: France; “we fail to find this clause in Adam’s will”.
  • Breton fisherman worked cod banks off Nova Scotia, and went West to trap and skin. French in North.
  • Cortez in south; 7 cities of gold. Coronado started to investigate, wheeling into Kansas. Myths from Spanish literature of North America with volcanoes and mermaids, and where Judas took his winter vacation from the fires of hell. Golden objects in south were said to hang from trees in north. But found nothing except lunar landscape [canyons].
  • They normally managed to conquer natives, but …
  • 19:24 Acoma; Coronado surveyed from afar and gave it a miss. Cooke unable to film inside the Acoma’s sacred places, still closed to white man. No power lines laid, no artificial heat of any kind. Acoma rock is sacred and may not be broken or defiled. Man building extension to himself with ancient techniques. Young look American and talk American; learn their heritage is one of betrayal, and may “be the last generation to walk the old uncomplaining ways”.
  • Remained unconquered for 59 years after Coronoda saw it. Then Spaniards took it, leading to Spanish epic poem. 600 prisoners, 600 killed. Leading 70 warriors tossed off cliff. 500 bound to servitude (women and children), others had foot cut off to dissuade from further trouble. Non-converters thrown to dogs or flogged into Christianity.
  • 30 years later, mild Franciscan friar converted them, and they built a church. For over 40 years, earth brought up from plains to bury their dead on top of the hill.
  • 24:30 El Morro: Indian guides led Coronado to it when they were thirsting. Has pool of water. Their names remain inscribed in the rock, despite the elements and the American tendency to tear new things down. One of the inscriptions had got as far as coast of California: Governor of Santa Fe. Built 10 years before Pilgrim Fathers landed. New Spain (Texas, Arizona, California) had thriving economy through area half size of Europe.
  • Introduced horse and cow. Spanish left behind in embossing signs and saddles all the heraldry of rodeos etc; a rodeo (round-up) is not a display, but a timeless chore or ranching.
  • Spanish language / cowboys / major domo still remaining.
  • Emblems / markings registered with governor of each province. Rodeo once a year to mark. [scenes of painful animal branding]
  • Word “cinch” comes from ranching
  • Spaniards introduced oats, wheats, barley, oranges, and made American maize / corn a staple.
  • 30:00 Trackers’ descendants in La Canada leading very different life. Furs, especially beaver, in demand in Europe. “No four-legged thing is safe from a Frenchman”. [Moose-hunting].
  • 32:50 River travel, with traditional French song. Only they and the Scots would knot a lifeline across lilypad of islands / tundra.
  • 33:20 De la Salle: journey across Lake Ontario, seeking way across continent by water. Niagara Falls. Launched on Lake Eyrie. St Clare. Lake Huron. Lake Michigan. Illinois River. Boat problems. Indians. WInter – dragged supplies overland. Then open water on Illinois, then down Mississippi. Took posession of “Louisiana” in name of Louis. Built New Orleans, but never domesticated La Salle’s hinterland. [French map of the time, very accurate]. But also very vague about south and west, as Spaniards were of their North and west. Just put in names of tribes. Settled way stations on the rivers but did not settle colonies. But made towns where minerals or salt were. At St Genevieve, one of those. One of last towns to retain French characteristics.
  • 36:53. Lead in St Genevieve. Brought in French miners and slaves. Was a “little Paris for the Mississippi valley” and parents sent their kids their to grow up to be good Catholics. Grace and self-denial. French influence generally instructive and benign.
  • 39:15 Rarely so in Spanish south-west. Conquistadors. Church of St-Javier de Bac. Indians practise most sophisticated rituals of Europe. Papagos singing European choral music.
  • Spanish gradually settled into balanced and useful and benevolent life.
  • 43:00 Spanish never built proper capital, as French did in New Orleans. New Orleans could have been capital of USA if Napoleon had not sold hinterland.
  • New Orleans captures French tradiiton “practically an obligation to adjure the hot-dog for the snail”.
  • Holidaymakers tramp through curio shops once homes of diplomats and opera singers
  • Little sign of the original pioneers of Mississippi valley; We hardly know that Arkansas and Chicago are pronounced that way because that’s how the French said it. We look to Canada as the French influence. Canadian history little taught in America: Pontiac, Cadillac and La Salle known only as names of cars.
  • 45:20 Only Frenchman very well known is Marquis de Lafayette. Précis of his American involvement. Returned to France to fight in what he believed was similar cause, but too liberal for Royalists and too moderate for Republicans, and thrown into dungeon for five years, with his wife who asked to join him.
  • No country has been luckier than France in having in the person of one man such a permanent investment of American goodwill. General Pershing 1917: “Lafayette, nous voici”.
  • “Since we know which of the big three, the Spanish, the French the British, won this continent, it seemed to me only sporting to pay an introductory tribute to the losers who left such a large and indelible mark on this country. And it may be some consolation to those who believe that the meek or the crafty inherit the earth, to reflect that this continent was ultimately won not by a race of military conquerors like the Spanish, nor even by a nation of hunters, explorers, missionaries like the French, but by a small handful of people from a small island in the north Atlantic who first sailed in three ships into Jamestown, Virginia, to find a home from home.”



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