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Robbed By Parrots

Robbed By Parrots image
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A flight of birds, coupled with a sailor's snperstitiou, robbed Columbps of tbe honor of discovering the continent. It is a curioua but historie fact. When Columbus sailed westward over the unknown Atlantic, he expected to reach Zipangu, Japan. After several days' sail from Gomera, one of the Canary islands, he became tineasy at not discovering Zipangu, which, according to bis reckoning, should have been 216 nautical miles more to tho east. After a long disenssion he yielded to the opinión of Martin Alonzo Pinzón, the commanrlerof the Pinta, andsteered to the southwest. Pinzón was guided in hia opinión solely by a fligbt of parrots, which took sviiig in that direction. It was good luck to follow in the wake of a flight of birds when engaged upon a voyago of discovery - a widespreacl superstition among Spanish seameli of that day - and this chuuge in tbe great navigator's conrse curiously exemplifles tbe influencfi of small and apparently trivial eventii in the world's historj-. If Columbus had held to bis course. he wonld have enterod the gulf stream, have reachod Florida and then probably have been carried to Cape Hatteras and Virginia. The resnlt would probably havo given the present United States a Roman Catholic Spanish populatiou instead of a Protestant English one, a cirenmstance of immeasurable importauce. "Never, " wrote Humboldt, "had the flight of birds more important ! quences. "-


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News