[tz] Pre-1970 data

Brian Park brian at xparks.net
Tue Nov 9 18:28:44 UTC 2021

On Tue, Nov 9, 2021 at 2:58 AM Gilmore Davidson via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> On 6 Nov 2021, at 02:26, Brian Park via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:
> Virtual no one in the world thinks of "America" as referring to all of
> "North America" and "South America".
> Building upon what Alois and Clive have said, this is a dubious statement
> that’s disproven with only a cursory search. This is what Wikipedia[1]
> currently has to say on the matter, referring to an English-language shift
> in terminology towards separate “North” and “South” continents:
> This shift did not seem to happen in most other cultural hemispheres on
> Earth, such as Romance-speaking (including France, Belgium, Luxembourg,
> Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, and the postcolonial
> Romance-speaking countries of Latin America and Africa), Germanic (but
> excluding English) speaking (including Germany, Austria, Switzerland,
> Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Icelands,
> Faroe Islands), Baltic-Slavic languages (including Czechia, Slovakia,
> Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia,
> Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria) and in many other
> hemispheres, where America is still considered a continent encompassing the
> North America and South America subcontinents, as well as Central America.
> Would it have been less confusing overall to have used the prefix
> “Americas/” instead of “America/”? Yes.
> But is it completely wrong to use “America” to refer to the entire
> continental mass? Not at all.
> (And should the Wikipedia entry be rewritten to not have a single sentence
> that's 102 words long? Undoubtedly.)
> On a broader note, I’ve seen a few “my opinion is fact” statements fly
> around on the mailing list lately, from various parties. (I know, I know,
> “welcome to the internet”.) Normally I let them slide by—I’m far more a
> casual peruser of this list than an active contributor. But I realised that
> bold assertions about what people in “other countries” do or do not care
> about is partly what’s caused this pre-1970 dilemma in the first place.
> Obviously we can’t do rigorous information-gathering for every decision
> about the tzdb structure—the scope is so broad that nothing would ever get
> resolved. But on the other extreme, if everyone only puts forward
> unresearched opinions masquerading as facts, then still nothing gets
> resolved because there’s no compromise.
> [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_of_the_Americas
> Cheers,
> Gil

That's a fair point, and reminds me that I should avoid making overly broad
statements on the internet. Although in the multiple decades that I have
been on Earth, I have never heard of the English word "America" being used
to refer to both continents. We agree that the better term is "the

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