Here’s the thing. I had planned on writing about The Three Bears today. The ones with that gal Goldilocks. I was going to put the brakes on writing about history for a while. It seems that I’ve been looking back quite a bit lately. But when I saw what happened on April 5, in 1722, I couldn’t help myself.
So there was this Dutch guy. His name is Jacob Roggeveen. He was living his life up there in the beautiful, cold, dark Netherlands. And he found good work at a Trading Company. The Dutch East Trading Company, called the VOC. It was a decent job. I guess he traded stuff. But then he went a little bit adrift from there.
He started backing this controversial preacher guy. This preacher was a Liberal, and had some new ideas about God and religion. So they produced this little pamphlet which was called “The Fall of the World’s Idol.” Well, the city council didn’t like these new ideas about God. And with that, our pal Jacob Roggeveen left town for a couple of years. He laid low another town in the Netherlands, he did.
Shortly thereafter, he went to work for the Dutch West Trading Company, not to be confused with the Dutch East Trading Company (the VOC). You would think they could have come up with a better naming schematic. I cannot imagine in the problems this caused with shipping labels, and the likes of Amazon deliveries.
The people back then had a lot of different ideas about the world. Some people STILL thought the Earth was FLAT! (Hey wait…..there are STILL…. oh…. just never mind about them.). Anyway.
Back then, they believed that since the northern hemisphere had certain types of land masses, then the southern hemisphere would have the SAME exact types. The people back then didn’t actually know if the bodies of land were there, or not. They just presumed. They even mapped them out. They gave them names. One such name of the land mass of the South was Terra Australis. They figured this would be a great trade route to the Spice Islands. In their minds.
So. That Dutch WEST Trading Company sent our boy Jacob Roggeveen out to find Terra Australis. They gave him three ships, pinned the instructions to his shirt, and sent him on his way. Find the trade route, young Jacob.
And then, he went sailing, sailing. He and his 233 men on three ships. He bumped into a bunch of stuff along the way, while looking for Terra Australis. The Falkland Islands, and the Straite of Le Marie. He continued south to the Pacific Ocean, and finally made landfall in Chile.
Then, a week or so later, he was bobbing around in the ocean again. That is when he spotted it. Easter Island. Yes. Easter-dang-Island. Now can you imagine of all the things to see? I mean, here you are, on your boat. And you had just published a pamphlet questioning everything about the world’s view on God? And you bump into a land with all these massive heads sticking out of the ground, staring right at you. Annnnd… it happened to be Easter Sunday, hence his naming of the place.
I bet Jacob Roggeveen peed his pants right there on the deck of his Dutch boat. It isn’t in the history books anywhere, but I’m adding it. He peed himself. Then probably shredded the instructions that had been pinned to his chest.
Captain’s Log: Looking for trade route to Spice Islands today. Found massive heads from outer space, firmly planted on the most remote island in the world. Their eyes watch you no matter where you go. It is creepy. Heading back home now. Full speed ahead Sulu. Hope we don’t fall off the edge of the earth.
You know. Sometimes life serves you up a big bowl of porridge. It is immaterial whether it is too hot, too cold, or just right. You just have to eat the thing before the bears get home and eat you. It was probably a dumb idea to enter the cabin in the first place. And if the three pigs show up before the bears, all bets are off.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
“Sometimes we seek that which we are not yet ready to find.”
― Libba Bray, Rebel Angels
“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
― William Butler Yeats, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats