Sunday, May 22, 2016

The cod in “Cape Cod”

Some readers may know this, but I didn’t: Cape Cod was named by an English explorer, 

Gosnold (1571-1607)

Bartholomew Gosnold, in 1602. Yup, 18 years before the Mayflower and that Plymouth Rock stuff. His visit is the first recorded European exploration of the Cape Cod area. He also helped settled the Jamestown colony a few years later in Virginia.

In 1602 Gosnold and his men intended to set up a trading post in what hadn’t yet been named “New England.” After landing on the tip of the peninsula, at what is now Provincetown, the explorers started checking out the bay area. The sailors caught so many codfish in the bay that they reportedly had to throw some back in the water. Gosnold named the place “Cape Cod.”

Later, after scouting down the Atlantic shore of the peninsula, he landed on an island with abundant grapes, raspberries, gooseberries, and huckleberries, and named it “Martha’s Vineyard” in memory of his deceased daughter.

Gosnold and his crew met and did some trading with some Native Americans. Ultimately, they abandoned the plan to build an outpost for trade.

By the way, there’s not much cod fishing in the bay these days. The fish stock is sharply reduced due to overfishing and environmental constraints, and the quotas for legal fishing are quite small.

Gosnold’s crewmen wouldn’t recognize the place.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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