posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 04:30 PM
You know, your comment about South America reminded me of something that you may find salient. Back at university, I took a class in Historical
Geography, and I remember the professor telling us about an odd geographical anomaly in the Americas. Aside from the United States, Canada, and some
of the islands in the Caribbean, the rest of it is uniformly Catholic.
It's Catholic, one surmises, because of the Spanish. Columbus, after all, was Spanish and Spain conquered the place, made everyone Catholic and
there you go. Areas which are not Catholic were obviously settled by others (such as the English and French in the US and Canada.)
However, Columbus was not Spanish. He was, in fact, Portuguese, and was working for Spain (the whole "Isabella selling her jewels to pay for his
trip") because he couldn't get funded at home. Why? Because they were convinced that he was nuts.
Not nuts in the whole "the world is flat" sense, only rubes really believed that. No, no one figured that he could get to the East Indies be
sailing west because they all knew that the planet was too big. We had reasonably accurate measurements of the globe since Eratosthenes in 250BC, and
they showed that there was no chance you were going to be able to sail across that distance.
However, Columbus took an alternative measurement, Ptolemy's, fudged on that one a little bit, and sold Isabella on the idea. Ironically, if we
wouldn't have been in the way, he'd most assuredly have done what everyone else said he would -- have died of thirst, starvation or mutiny on the
But, as we all know, he did not, found a new world, and before too long, it was clear that this was NOT India, and there was some stuff here worth
going after. Rather than fight it out amongst themselves, the two major powers of the day, Spain and Portugal, both solid Catholic countries, agreed
to let the Pope sort it out, which he did by drawing a line out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Everything west of this line, Spain can have,
everything east, that's for Portugal. The intent was to give the Americas to Spain, Africa and Asia to Portugal (from an exploration standpoint --
the Pope wasn't really "giving" them the land.) This was codified in the Treaty of Tordesillas, in 1494.
Well, not too long after that, two things were evident. There was a crapload of stuff in this hemisphere, and not only couldn't the Portuguese sail
this way efficiently to get to the East Indies, they were also missing out on some prime real estate.
However, in 1500, a Portuguese fellow by the name of Pedro Álvares Cabral "accidentally" ran into a chunk of land that fell on the east side of the
Pope's line. Turns out that Brazil went quite a bit further east than anyone thought, and the Pope's "middle of the ocean" line wasn't even
close to being the middle of the ocean.
Now, you guys who think that Christians only do things in the name of Christianity can probably figure the rest out. The Portuguese obviously said
"hey, the Pope made a mistake, no problem Spain, that's your land."
Except, of course, that's not what happened -- the geographical anomaly that my professor spoke of is the fact that, south of the Rio Grande River,
although it's almost uniformly Catholic, Central and South America is not uniformly Spanish speaking. To this day, the official language of Brazil