Welcome to New Zealand! (Now Go Home.)

December 13, 1642: Abel Tasman discovers the island of New Zealand.  Unfortunately, his attempt at landing was repulsed by native tribesmen when the Dutch navigator’s trumpet signals (used to coordinate ship movements) were misinterpreted as war horns.  After losing several crewmen, Tasman turned his ships around and left without setting foot on the newly discovered land.

Several weeks before, Tasman had discovered another island off the coast of Australia.  He called it Van Diemen’s Land, but history got the better of Tasman when it came to naming that discovery.

Historical geography question of the day: what is the modern name of Van Diemen’s Land?

6 thoughts on “Welcome to New Zealand! (Now Go Home.)

  • December 13, 2010 at 9:48 am

    If I remember my 6th grade geography report it was either Papa New Guinea or Tasmania.

  • December 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Well considering the good Captain’s name I’d have to go with Tasmania now 🙂

    • December 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      Woot! Good call – and absolutely correct. I’ll give you a harder one next time….

  • December 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Without looking it up, my guess for the modern Van Diemen’s land is Melbourne.

  • December 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Oops, just looked at your posted answer. Oh well. Hopefully no Aussie’s take offense.

    • December 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

      Don’t think they will – the Aussies and the Kiwis I know all play nicely together. Can’t say I know any Tasmanian Devils though…

Comments are closed.