Happy Meleagris Gullapavo Day Or, how the "thanksgiving bird" acquired its name: The homeland of the fowl known as "Meleagris gullopavo" or "americana sybestris auis," is the North American continent. The 1494 Tordesillas treaty, forged by the Pope in Rome, granted the monopoly of commerce originating from the newly discovered continent to the Portuguese (as opposed to the Spanish). The Portuguese brought this fowl to their Goa colony in India. Circa 1615, Cihangir (a direct descendent of the founder of the "Mughal" empire in India, Babur 1483-1530, who was himself a grandson of Timur who died in 1405) wrote his Tuzuk-u Jahangiri (Institutes of Cihangir). In his book, Cihangir also described this fowl in detail replete with a color drawing. Since "Meleagris gullopavo" resembled the "Meleagris Numida" commonly found in Africa (especially in Guinea), and already known in India, the former became known in British India as the "Guinea Fowl." [See O. Caroe, "Why Turkey." Asian Affairs (October 1970)]. Meleagris gullapavo was then introduced to Egypt, a province of the Ottoman empire and entered the Turkish language as Hindi ("India," or, "from India"). When traders took a breeding stock from Ottoman ("Turkish") Egypt to Spain and the British Isles, the bird was designated "Turkey." As a result, the pilgrims landing on Plymouth rock in 1620 were familiar with "Turkey," when they encountered it in their new home. After the 1776 Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin suggested that "turkey" --native of the land-- be designated as the symbol of the young American republic. Instead, Haliaeetus leucocephalus ("Bald Eagle") was given this honor. Translated from: H. B. Paksoy, "Turk Tarihi, Toplumlarin Mayasi, Uygarlik" Annals of Japan Association for Middle East Studies (Tokyo) No. 7, 1992. Pp. 173-220. Footnote 26. [Reprinted in Yeni Forum (Ankara), Vol. 13, No. 277, Haziran 1992. Pp. 54-65].
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