News.com.au reports that a 16th century map in “a Los Angeles Library Vault” proves the Portuguese were the first to discover Eastern Australia, not Captain Cook.
Problem is, it’s just plain bull.
For starters, the maps are freely available on the net here, they aren’t hidden in a vault somewhere and this isn’t a miraculous discovery.
Peter Trickett claims that he could recognise the headlands and bays in Botany Bay. Now I’m not cartographer, admittedly, but I grew up in the vicinity (Sylvania) and spent many, many years with my family fishing and boating in Botany Bay, so I’ve got a better idea than many people as to how Botany Bay looks, and it doesn’t look like this, although admittedly there is a passing resemblance, but there’s a passing resemblance between my wife and Paris Hilton, but that doesn’t make her Paris Hilton now, does it!
or maybe it was this part of the map?
What I really think adds to the authenticity of the claims (not) is the paintings of the native population, they’re not only ridding camels (or maybe long necked horses), they’ve also managed to create reigns. (for non-australian readers Camels were introduced to Australia in the 19th Century, Aboriginal people never managed to domestic animals, except maybe the dingo depending on which version of history to subscribe to).
Of course, the coastline jutting out at right angles for 1500kms has a logical explanation according to Trickett: the French were to blame.
Don’t go rewriting the history books quiet yet folks, backing Captain Cook will keep you on a winner 🙂