25 Jan The Boring 40’s
The Boring 40’s
Unbelievably and, it seems, unfailingly I am becalmed. Honestly, I don’t go looking for giant patches of ocean with no wind but they sure seem to find me.
Pouring over my copy of The History of Maps, Mapmakers, and Empire, I discovered this gem.
The famed 17th century Dutch explorer and navigator Bertje vanCalm commissioned the leading cartographer of the time Antonio Articus Errorus to produce the maps of vanCalm’s latest expedition into the then unknown vast western South Atlantic.
Errorus not caring much for fine print and picky details had little patience for vanCalm’s poor excuse for penmanship. Coming upon the log entries for the very region I am in now, Errorus mistook vanCalm’s ‘b’ for an ‘r’ and grandiosely flourished that region of his chart with the label ‘The Roaring Forties’.
The name stuck. Mostly, I suppose, for two reasons. Firstly, vanCalm faded into history after claiming to have invented the bucket and secondly, sailors returning to port always seemed to do better in pubs and bars with stories of daring do and bravery as compared to boring calms and catspaws.
Follow my tracks in real-time: