How The Discovery Of St Juvenaly Changed History

I have a certain fondness for history, and particularly enjoy the occasions where historical evidence disrupts conventional wisdom. I’ve done a post on the book The Ra Expeditions, which has quite a few examples: the assumption that cultures that used reed boats did so because reeds were abundant in those places (untrue in several of those places), modern shipbuilders having opinions on how the boat should go together proving inadequate compared to the archaeological designs, and so on.

If you enjoy that sort of disruption, or just love a good story, you’ll probably enjoy the following video on those merits.

Back when Alaska was owned by Russia, a fur-trading company brought some Russian monks over, as part of a strategy to try and get a monopoly in the fur-trading business. One of those monks, Juvenaly, went travelling, and never came back.

Some years later, the company wrote a report on their activities, which reflected badly on the monks, and contained a story about what happened to Juvenaly. Some years after that, someone wrote a history of Alaska, which relied heavily on the help of a disgruntled Russian translator, who translated Juvenaly’s diary. The History of Alaska, in particular, became accepted history.

But some things about the conventionally-accepted history didn’t add up, and then some oral tradition surfaced which had the potential to shake things up a bit…

I found the video at the OCA site. They embedded it from Vimeo, but the video’s settings are preventing me from embedding it here. Still, I found it a very entertaining 40 minutes.


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