TELLING OUR WAY TO THE SEA
PART II. Pachycereus pringlei / La Isla de California
All quotations from the letters of Hernán Cortés are from Anthony Pagden's translation.
I base the claim of high sequence similarity on a translated nucleotide alignment of aloe arborescens pep-c with Carnegiea gigantea pep-c. Over a stretch of 57 amino acids, there is 98% identity. Over another stretch of 19 amino acids, there is 100% identity.
"They all reported thousands of islands." For example: "the riches of those islands is something wonderful, whether in gold or precious stones, or in all manner of spicery..." Page 209 of volume two of Henry Yule's translation of The Book of Ser Marco Polo. For other examples, see Dora Beale Polk's book, The Island of California.
"In that land.... in such a case he will die." Page 144 of Robert Silverberg's The Realm of Prester John.
"He brought me word.... They also told me that it was very rich in pearls and gold." Page 300 of Pagden's translation of The Letters of Hernan Cortes.
"To the right hand of the Indies.... then he was killed." Pages 457 - 458 in W.T. Little's translation of Esplandián.
"Montalvo invented the word California..." One historical antecedent is particularly intriguing, however. It’s possible that Montalvo derived his feminization of Calif from the Old French poem Le Chanson de Roland. Dora Beale Polk directed my attention to the convincing article by Ruth Putnam.
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