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tv   [untitled]    May 31, 2012 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT

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ashmolian collections that have. so we just have to be -- hopefully, we'll be really good stewards now and train up the next generation of stewards to take care of this stuff. >> they could fit several down into a case together. so side by side these bottles would go into a case. and that's where their name comes from. and they are the type of drinking bottles used in early 17th century up until about 1650. but then when you get into the 19th century you're going to find a machine produced quite different from the handmade. if you have a bigger piece you can tell what the shape of the wine bottle was. and you can tie it down to a better 10 or 20-year time period.
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this is probably a case -- >> that piece is in there. a complete piece was extracted. >> this program is part of a multipart look at archaeology on jamestown island, virginia. check the american history tv website,, for schedule information. >> american artifacts airs every sunday on c-span 3 at 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. eastern time. this week's program is about james madison's home, montpelier, where archaeologists are trying to learn more about the slaves who lived and worked on the 460-acre virginia estate. learn more about the american artifacts series at the american history tv website, sunday on "q & a." >> i think the problem with walter cronkite, people only see
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him as the avuncular friendly man. which he was to everybody. but there is another side of him that wanted to be the best. he was obsessed with ratings, with beating huntley brinkley report every night. he is probably the fiercest competitor i've ever written about. and i've written about presidents and generals. cronkite's desire to be the best was very pronounced. >> best-selling author douglas brinkley on his new biography of long-time cbs news anchor walter cronkite. sunday at 8:00 eastern and pacific. on c-span. writing is a transactional process. writing assumes reading. it goes back to that question about, you know, a tree falling in the forest if there's no one there to hear it. if you've were not a wonderful novel, then one of the parts of the process is you that want readers to be enlarged and enriched by it. and you have to pull on
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everything at your disposal to do that. >> author and pulitzer prize-winning columnist anna quindlen will talk about her perspectives on writing and life plus her social policy and the politics that make it happen. sunday in depth. her latest rumination on life is lots of candles, plenty of cake. and sheebl ready for your calls and e-mails starting at noon eastern on booktv's "in depth" on c-span 2. next on american history tv, historian william fowler gives a talk on early atlantic exploration, christopher columbus, and the discovery of the new world. from northeastern university, this is just over an hour.
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>> -- atlantic. but they ventured south. they didn't venture west. keep in mind, too, as someone mentioned in the last class, about the world being flat, europeans did not believe that. 13th, 14th century europeans knew that the world was round. this is map, which is not meant for navigation, shows you that this is a 13th century european map of the world. and you might not be able to make out the continents and the countries here certainly, but you can see that indeed they saw the world as round. the question was not the shape of the earth. the question was whether or not you could actually make it around the earth. so they knew theoretically that if you sailed west you'd come to the east. but how far that would be, what dangers they would encounter, none of that was known to them. none of that was known to them. while the portuguese were working their way down the southern coast toward the tip of africa, there were another group
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of people who were pushing off in a different direction onto the atlantic. and these of course were the norse. the vikings, as they're sometimes called. in the common image, of course, the vikings are seen as ferocious warriors, conquerors, looters. there was a prayer that monks used to offer in medieval europe, dear lord, protect us from the wrath of the northmen. well, some of that's true certainly. but for the most part these norse, scandinavians, were farmers, sea traders, fishermen. for reasons that are not entirely clear, beginning about the year 800, these norse began to push into the atlantic. now, it could have been that there was climate change in scandinavia that was harming the harvests. it could have been overpopulation. not quite sure. but for whatever reason the norse began to leave scandinavia and venture out onto the
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atlantic. now, they weren't venturing out as explorers. they weren't looking for new continents. they certainly weren't looking for the route to asia or china. but they were looking for other places to settle. and so they began to sort of island hop. they'd come from scandinavia over to the shetland islands, to the faeroe islands, over to the hebardes and you can see from the arrows they'd come down to the coast of england and ireland, france, and eventually some would get into mediterranean. so they were wide rein noting. very wide-ranging. >> you said they went to north america as well? >> yeah. >> did they have anything documenting this or were she just going around? >> great question. where do we get the information about these vikings? mostly from what are called the icelandic sagas. and these are oral traditions that the vikings, the norsemen kept, and were written down around the 13th century.
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so we don't have actual eyewitness firsthand accounts of the norse setting out here on the atlantic. but we do have the oral traditions from the sagas then written down. so they begin to push out. and again, think of these people as kind of island hopping. indeed, the voyages that they're making here in the vessels that they had are probably not more than two or three days. so they're not going vast out into the atlantic. and here are the kinds of vessels that they used. remember, we talked about the egyptian vessel and the greek, the roman warship, and how the vessels, galleys, were not really suited for long-distance travel or travel on a ferocious ocean. and you can see the viking longship here is sort of the same way. not much free board. we talked about free board, the distance between the top here and the water line. so rough water would be rough water for this vessel. relatively small. it's probably about 60 or 70 feet long. and we can see from this, this
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is an archaeological excavation, by the way. this is a real viking longship, longboat. and we can see too the remnants of a mast here. so these are the kinds of vessels that these vikings used to sail out onto the atlantic. now, where did they go? well, we saw on the previous map they went down the coast of europe. they went to the faeroe islands, the shetland islands, ireland, scotland. well, they also ventured a little bit further as well. they ventured over here first to iceland. and again, the journey from the north of scotland to the heberdes islands or the shetland islands, the faeroe islands, toward iceland is not all that far. 300, 400 miles maybe. the vikings began to notice. you might ask why did they sail west at all? because as they saw in the water, they saw debris coming from the west, they also saw birds. so they understood that there had to be something out here. these birds are coming from somewhere. and the debris in the water has
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to be coming from somewhere. so that's why they sailed west. about the year 800, evidence is we have arklogical eviden larch but no one really pinpointed. but about the year 800 the vikings arrived in iceland. and they settled iceland. they settled there. not many of them. one of the things these people encounter, of course, is that the lands here are pretty fragile. i don't know if any of you have ever seen iceland. but it's not a country that can support a large population. particularly in days of agriculture. so they couldn't support a large viking population. about the year 900 one of these vikings, a man named erik the red, ran into some difficulties with local authorities and was apparently exiled out of iceland and told go west, get out of here. and he did. but again, he's not going -- he's going in a direction that they think there is something because look here, between
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iceland and greenland, which we'll see in a moment, not a vast distance. so you can imagine standing on the shore of iceland, seeing birds flying from the west, seeing debris in the water. so erik the red with a number of vessels exiled from iceland heads west. he heads west and finds greenland. he sees this, erik sees this, sort of as an opportunity for real estate development. greenland, you could probably call it whiteland. you might want to call it grayland. you might want to call it icy land, rock land. but if you've seen greenland, you wouldn't think of it as greenland. but erik wants to attract people there. so he calls it greenland. he returns home to iceland. and he tells people he found this green land. and that begins a viking migration. a norse migration to greenland. and they establish communities. along the south shore of
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greenland. the south and southwestern shore of greenland. these viking settlements are going to be in greenland for almost 500 years. now, think about that for a minute. >> what year is this starting? >> around 900 to 1000. so we're talking about a very long period of time. they are here in greenland, 500 years before columbus. they're here 500 years before columbus. it's really a remarkable story. yeah. >> what happened to the vookings? >> well, that's a great question, what happened. because we know they weren't there. by the time 1500 or thereabouts we know there were no viking settlements in greenland. again, the evidence is uncertain. it would seem that a couple things happened, madeline. one is perhaps the climate changed. it got colder. we know that from evidence, evidence from climate history.
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that they have the little ice age as it's called. so it probably did get colder, which would of course impact domestic animals, agriculture, et cetera. they may have been pa rauded, attacked by pirates and others. there are lots of people who begin in the 1400s and 1500s. there are lots of vessels sailing through there. they may have attacked and sacked some of these towns. there's also something else that's curious and relates back to our friends the portuguese. one of the big exports from greenland, what do you think the greenlanders would be sending back to iceland and back to scandinavia? >> ice. >> no. well, scandinavians have enough ice of their own. but what might they send back? what's -- well, fish -- >> certain types of lumber maybe? >> not so much lumber because they don't have trees. walrus tusks. ivory. ivory is really quite valuable. but then the portuguese, as you know, in the 15th century the
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portuguese pushed down africa. and what can you get out of africa? elephant tusks. sought portuguese find a greater supply of ivory and cheaper. and it's likely then there's a kind of economic impact here. the portuguese in africa have an economic impact on this struggling little community or communities there in greenland. while these greenlanders, though, are living here, they too look to the west. one of the things -- one of the things, matthew, they do lack in greenland is timber. so they're looking for a source of timber. timber for building. timber for fuel. and they sail west, looking for timber. again, the birds, the debris. and as you can see, not a very long distance as they sail west. and they encounter north america. the first of the vikings to encounter north america is the son of erik the red. he's called leif eriksson.
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leif the son of erik. and it's leif eriksson who ventures west. and we know encounters north america. he probably went first to labrador, which is on the upper coast here. didn't find much in the way of timber there. that's a pretty desolate coast. and sew sailed further south until he would find -- he's looking for a reasonable place to live and resource his agriculture, et cetera. and he finds it. he finds it. on the north, the tip of newfoundland, the island of newfoundland, on the northwest corner in the little peninsula that juts up. there is a place called ans anse aux meadows. in the 1960s scandinavian archaeologists began to look in this area. now, it's interesting how they decided to do this. they looked at maps from the
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14th and 15th century of this part of the world. primitive, to be sure. primitive to be sure. but these maps did show in gross outline something that looked like newfoundland. they then began to apply common sense, when you were sailing west from newfoundland, looking at tides and currents. and they began to come to this place called anse aux meadows. and they found the remains of the viking settlement on newfoundland. this is leif ericksson's settlement. parks canada, the canadian equivalent of the national parks service, administers this site. a remarkable place. i've been there several times. and i really -- if you have an opportunity. it's a little out of the way, that's for sure. but if you have the opportunity to visit it, it really is quite remarkable to come here and see
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the actual archaeological site of people who lived in north america, europeans, not natives, obviously. europeans who lived here in the year 1000. and this is a reconstruction of the kind of huts they lived in. and here's one of the archaeological digs. you can see, by the way, just in the distance the shoreline. it's a gentle sloping shore. it's green. i took these photographs in the summertime. i'm not sure what it's like in the winter. but you can see it's sort of a welcoming place. it doesn't look harsh or hostile. and so they settled here then. they lived here. now let me go back here for a minute. the question might arise, but they're not there now. what happened? why didn't they stay? we think they stayed here in anse aux meadows probably not more than a couple years. so it wasn't a long settlement. but there are things we know
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about this settlement from archaeological evidence. we know that women were here. which sort of indicates that somebody might have been thinking about a relatively permanent place. how do you think we might know that women were here from archaeology? yeah. >> remains of different types of clothing? >> clothing. but also what we found -- i shouldn't say we. what the archaeologists found were the remnants of a spinning wheel. a spinning wheel. the norse warriors didn't spin. but their wives did. so we know that women were here. and other archaeological remains too that you just identified. indicate clearly that they were here. and here for a period of time. now, why didn't they stay? well, think for a moment. these norsemen, fine warriors, no question about that. and they have metal weapons. they meet natives called the inuit. or as the vikings called them, they called them the scralines. these were native peoples.
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the native peoples were still in the stone age. but when you think about the encounter here of two cultures coming against one another and their capacity to defend or to attack, the vooking weapons, while metal weapons, were not far superior to the weapons that the scralings had. hatchets, spears, bow and arrow. and there were more scralings than vikings. so it seems likely then that the vikings could not sustain themselves against the hostility of the scralings. that's going to change in about 400 or 500 years for europeans, isn't it? what's going to make it possible for relatively small number of europeans to sustain themselves against hostile peoples? mckenzie? >> guns. >> guns. gunpowder. cannons. muskets. but the vikings don't have that. they don't have that technology.
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but it will be the development of that kind of warmaking technology. yeah. >> thanksgiving? >> thanksgiving? what do you mean? >> that allowed them to sustain their population because they didn't have any -- >> oh. good point. yeah. a good point. this is not particularly rich agricultural country. right. so they would -- unless they had good relations with the scralings, who would know how to hunt and gather it would be difficult for them to survive. you're right. a little side bar here for a moment. recent archaeological excavations in the late 20th, early 21st century farther north in the arctic we find among inuit settlements european goods. so on one hand the hostility between the two. but it also seems that over a period of time, maybe hundreds of years, maybe hundreds of years, the vikings first in newfoundland and then greenland actually are trading with the
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inuit in the arctic. so there is an interchange there. the archaeological evidence would seem to indicate that. then people always say, well, d come farther south? the answer to that is probably not. every once in a while someone comes up with a theory that the vikings were in new england or the vikings were in rhode island or some place like that or minnesota, not the football team but the original vikings. that doesn't seem to have much substance. we know for certain without question they're in newfoundland. we know that they were trading with the inyuit in the arctic. it goes away by roughly 1500, the vikings are no longer either in greenland or certainly not in north america. so it's an astounding story about their accomplishment.
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of that there's no question. as historians we have to sort of ask, so what was the long-term impact? the answer to that is, probably not much because no one else really knew about this. there was no sustained settlement. no big or important cultural interaction here. an extraordinary achievement, yes, but in terms of impact upon the settlement and the evolution of north america, probably not terribly important. yeah. >> in europe was there contact with the west? >> i'm sorry. again. >> when did western europe or the western powers have an understanding of the vikings establishments? >> that's a great question. when did -- let me rephrase that slightly. did the other western europeans know about the vikings in iceland and greenland. the answer would seem to be yes.
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they knew, but there was european trade with iceland. so french, spanish, british sailors did go to iceland, and it's probably true when they were in iceland they heard stories about something to the west. again, we have no really hard evidence of that. common sense would tell us that sailors would tell stories to one another, so it's possible. for example, christopher columbus, whom we will come to in a minute, did apparently visit iceland during his early stages as a sailor and trader and as an merchant. when columbus was in iceland did he hear about these stories from the west? maybe, maybe not. he doesn't speak icelandic, so could he even understand? as we see in a moment, columbus wasn't looking to find greenland, north america or iceland. he had entirely different motives. yes, the europeans did hear the
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stories, oral tradition. they did hear the stories. no question about that. again, historical impact, probably fairly minimal. but not so for this guy. christopher columbus. i need to warn you about one thing. christopher columbus, we don't have a clue what he looked like. this could be christopher columbus. it could be almost anyone from that time period. we have no life portraits of christopher columbus. so everyone, you can imagine him in any way you want. in any way you want. he's born in genoa, italy, 1451. his father is in the wool business. the wool business in the mediterranean that time period means travel by sea. so at an early age columbus, young christopher, goes to sea in this wool business. he seems to enjoy it. he seems to be pretty good at it. he takes up the life of a
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sailor. we know that he sails to portugal. there's the place to go, right? think about this. late 15th century, what do you think is going on down on the waterfront of lisbon, what are they talking about? bha are they talking about down there? they're talking about india and china, they're talking about the exploration of their captains coming back with more news. they're talking about exciting things, which columbus hearing. he also watches these portuguese and see how they navigate and use the compass. he takes courage from them, because these are men, the portuguese, who are aabble to me long voyages and come back. that's the important part, isn't it? long voyages out and they come back. he learns what sea stories do you take? what lasts on a long time? if gu off on a hiking trip in the appalachians what do you
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think that lasts and not go bad? not an unimportant question. what ship stores won't spoil? what kind of vessels to use. what kind of techniques. how to sail them. columbus learns and absorbs these from the portuguese shipments. it absorbs all of these portuguese shipments and learns how to handle these. we talked about these type of vessels and we talked about the portuguese. they're very handy, weatherly, seaworthy, learned how to sail close to shore, in and out. how to master the long distance voyages that the portuguese were accustomed to making. he knew about the large vessels, and what their capabilities were. he learned how to handle men. again, where do you learn about that? how do you handle a crew on a long voyage.
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wlar the techniques, discipline, et cetera, et cetera. all of these things he's learning and observing and participating in from the portuguese. where does columbus getted idea to sail west to come to the east. he gets it from the general knowledge of the time that the world is round. columbus, who by this time experienced navigator, is a good chart maker. he learned that from the portuguese, too. columbus continues to calculate the size of the earth. how big is this palm? columbus comes up up with an estimate that is grossly inaccurate. he comes with an estimate of the size of the earth which is considerably smaller than it actually is which, of course, is a good thing for him, of course. if columbus knew the true size of the earth, he would know that what he proposed to do sail west to come to the east was impossible. he shrinks the earth, and what
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else doesn't he know about? you can shrink the size of the earth, but if you sail west to get to the east, there's land and something called north america, something called south america. he has no knowledge of that. none. none. he just thinks it's ocean between europe and china. columbus comes up with his proposal and tries to pedle his wares. he needs sponsorship and someone to finance an expensive voyage. it costs money. columbus has to find the money. he goes first to henry vii. he's known as the biggest skinflint in europe. henry vii listens and says, no. so columbus then decides, well, england is not going to sponsor the voyage. he goes our places. he tries francois i, the king of
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france. the french nation at this particular time is somewhat in crisis, and francois i is not willing to support him either. so columbus begins to go and visit with other people, and here you see a wonderful little depiction. here's columbus making his proposal to a group of people. he goes to portugal and makes his pitch to the portuguese. the king of portugal -- these are people who know sea faring. the king of portugal decides he's going to do what executives do when in doubt. what does an executive do when in doubt? exactly, exactly. you call and form a committee, hire a consultant. that's what you see depicted here. columbus making his proposal, and the kings' consultants looking it over. the king of portugal and the portuguese are skeptical. again, not skeptical that you can sail to the west and come to the east, but also keep in mind
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going to the portuguese, they've invested very heavily in the africa root and the idea of going across. the portuguese are not keen to do this at all. not keen at all. columbus next tries spain, ferdinand i ssabellum. spain and portugal are rivals for trade and for on other political reasons as well. columbus makes his pitch to the spanish court, and that's what you see here. again, the consult anlants pondg and thinking. the consultants had an opinion. they said you've made the earth too small. they were right. they were right. the experts in portugal and in spain were right. you have made thea


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