Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For The Land's Sake

Above all, try something.

Franklin Roosevelt
Every time I type the word "America" I'm aware that the word has two general meanings. One is the Untied States and the other is the Western Hemisphere. That duality poses an interesting fact for any thinking person to dwell on.

Many US citizens have a limited knowledge and point of view about who they are and where they came from. For one thing, the first immigrants to the western world did not come from Europe, but from Asia. No one is quite sure when that happened but the theories range from 10,000 BCE to 40,000 BCE. They probably crossed the Bering Sea into what is now Alaska, moving east and south. Some may have come on boats from the western coasts of the Pacific Ocean.

Around 1,000 BCE the Vikings came over into Greenland and Vinland but didn't stay. European migration to the new continent began in the 15th Century CE. They were relative newcomers.

The New World was supposedly first called America by a German cartographer named Martin Waldseemuller after Americus Vespucius, an explorer from Florence, Italy and the first man to see the New World. Amerigo Vespucci, to use his Italian name, probably never knew that the new continent was named for him. The name of the New World would be "Americus" but that Waldseemuller noted both Europe and Asia were feminine names, thus "America" it became.

Each new wave of immigrants brought their culture and traditions with them. Then they adapted, altered, improved, innovated, survived. They also brought their languages. All the world's languages are spoken in America, some are only spoken here, Spanish is the most important langusge, followed by English and Portuguese.

Everywhere and every time the immigrants came they explored and developed. That history has not always been a good one. The immigrants also brought diseases the local people were not capable of rejecting. They killed many. More were done in by war and enslavement. But that's history for you.

Exploration and development is still happening on various levels. There are probably parts of Canada that haven't been completely discovered. Every now and then a remote tribe is discovered in the Brazilian jungle, people who've never heard of cameras, cars or computers. There may even be places in the United States not seen yet and upon which no human has yet set foot.

So here are two continents and surrounding islands, still growing, still adapting, still innovating, still trying to survive.

Last week a small piece of America was almost completely destroyed. Thousands died, many more are lying in pain, the destruction of the nation was rampant, a finger of the great body known as America was almost amputated. Every American should rush to save it. America owns Haiti.



Big Mark 243 said...

Great post!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I think that things are starting to get a bit better in Haiti, thank goodness.