Thanksgiving Day: How an ‘Indian bird’ made its way to the American dinner table

Vivek Menezes in

Our quest centres on this simple question: why do so many languages and cultures identify these North American natives as “the birds from India” (oiseaux d’Inde, or simply dinde in French).

I believe one important clue is what the Turks call it themselves: Hindi (or simply, “from India). Another is the terms used by the Dutch and assorted Scandinavians, which are all variations of kalcun, indicating the specific origin of Calicut on India’s west coast.

Here, we should note many people have considered these same exact facts, and dismissed the idea there’s anything complicated to be ferreted out. Their logic goes this way: Columbus thought he’d arrived in India, and just as Native Americans were called Indians, that’s why so many Europeans referred to “the Indian bird”.

More here.