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Discovery of New Zealand

Did you know that New Zealand was discovered with the help of fruits? New Zealand is a country located in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean and southeast of Australia. New Zealand is so on the edge that it is sometimes forgotten in world maps. Its name comes from “Zeeland*” which is a province in the southwest Netherlands. But then it was colonized by the United Kingdom and declared its independence in 1835. However, it still has the Union Jack** on its flag, and it still accepts the authority of the royalty of the United Kingdom. Also, New Zealand was in a proposed alliance called CANZUK*** which contains the following countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Have you ever heard the story of the discovery of New Zealand? Let’s talk about it. Scurvy was a big problem between the 16th and 18th centuries. When a ship sails to the ocean, it was well known that more than half of the crew won’t be able to return home. This situation had a lot of causes, like an attack on another ship or an attack from angry natives, but the most important reason was scurvy. At that time crew's diet only contained grains and dried meat which doesn’t have vitamin C. However, vitamin C was (and still is) essential for life. Hence, almost all the crew would get scurvy. Scurvy is an illness that happens due to the lack of vitamin C and its symptoms are numbness, depression, bleeding of soft tissue like the gums, falling out of teeth, high fever, yellowish skin, open wounds, and finally your legs and arms go numb. They couldn’t find the reason for this until 1747 when a British doctor, James Lind, conducted a controlled experiment on sailors that had the illness. He separated the sailors into groups, and one of the groups tried the potential cure that people were using traditionally: eating citrus. People in that group were cured in a short time. Then, James Lind told this to the Royal Navy, but they didn’t believe him. A crew captain, James Cook, believed that it could work, though. He put a lot of vegetables into the ship before sailing, and he ordered the crew to eat fresh fruit and vegetables from the island whenever the ship landed on land. Result? None of the sailors got scurvy. Thus, the ship was able to go to further places like Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, and Samoa.

Briefly, they didn’t lose half of the crew and were able to colonize places that were far away from the mainland United Kingdom. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but now you know it!

*For further information about Zeeland please check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeeland

**For further information about the Union Jack please check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Jack

***For further information please check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CANZUK

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