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The Earth Paean
发布时间:2015-07-01 浏览次数:

Around 400 years ago, Magellan, the Portuguese navigator subsidized by the Queen of Spain Isabella, kicked off the unprecedented global navigation with his flotilla from Spanish port. After a long tedious voyage adrift at sea since they left Europe, Magellan’s flotilla, although severely scourged while they were involved in a tribe fight in the Philippines, succeeded in returning Europe. During this incredible and significant journey, the flotilla had successively passed by the Atlantic, South America, Pacific, Oceania, Asia, Indian and Africa before it arrived its departure place.

 

The triumph of the flotilla triggered a great stir in Europe at that time, because it confirmed a fact that the Earth was shaped as a globe as the flotilla successfully returned Europe after its eastward straight voyage. However, this daring conclusion was extremely opposite to the stereotypical religious teaching, which regarded the Earth as an endless flat land. It was exactly this unparalleled voyage that opened the period of Great Geographical Discoveries, followed by the Renaissance, Protestant Reformation and Enlightenment. Up to this point, the ever isolated regions were going to be linked together, and the world history began in its true sense.

 

Nowadays, after the long death of the previous great captain Magellan, nobody will doubt over the scientific verdict that the Earth is a globe. Still and all, there were various intriguing speculations about the shape of the Earth in the past. As a result of the deficiency of science research and geography isolation, those bound-to-die speculations ever played essential roles in our history.

 

In Zhou Dynasty of Chinese history, people generally held the idea that “the dome-like heaven embraces the vast earth”. In the meantime, the Russian’s speculation seemed to be more fascinating, where the land was thought as a giant shield carried by three huge whales floating on the massive sea. And the Indians bore some resemblance referring to the shape of the Earth, however, it was the elephants standing on the back of the giant turtle that carried the land and there was an earthquake whenever the elephants shook their bodies.

 

All these amusing speculations have been buried in the history, and they are now more like the leisure jokes than the universally accepted theories at their times. When we look back on this interesting debate over the shape of the Earth, it is obvious to see the science pushing the process forward.

 

Humans’ exploration of the Earth is somehow a piece of paean that wipes out the dirt covered on it. But to some extent, it is more of a paean of the science.After all science outlives both humans and time.

 

(Editor: Zhang Yawen Source: English Net)

 

      

 

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