I am going to end with some words by Edward Hallet Carr (What is History? ‘George Macaulay Trevelyan' Lectures, given at Cambridge University in January-March 1961, latest edition, Editorial Ariel, Barcelona, 1987, pp. 25,59, 60 and 61), one of the most eminent historians of our day and one of the figures of greatest political weight within the intellectual world. (*).
Carr says that history requires the selection and ordering of facts relating to the past, in the light of some principle or standard of objectivity accepted by the historian, which will of necessity involve some degree of interpretation. Without this, the past would dissolve into a shapeless heap of innumerable isolated and unimportant incidents and this is no way in which to write history. He carries on to say that the historian must be given the right to base his conclusions on what have been called ‘auxiliary sciences' of history – archaeology, epigraphy, chronology, among others – to show that the so-called basic data, which are the same for all historians, would tend to come under the category of the historian's raw material, rather than that of history itself.
The great Liberal journalist Charles Prestwich Scott (**) had a favourite saying; ‘Facts are sacred, opinion is free', but Carr retorts that all journalists today know that the most effective way of influencing public opinion is by selecting and ordering the appropriate facts. He adds: ‘It used to be said that the facts spoke for themselves. Naturally, that is false. The facts only speak when the historian calls on them to do so; it is he who decides what facts to call on, and in what order and context this should be done. Unless I am mistaken, it was a character from Pirandello who said that a fact is like a sack; it will not stand up by itself unless we put something inside'.
Indeed, in relation to the pre-discovery of America from the Pacific, we owe a debt of gratitude for the massive work carried out by the South American historians Dick Edgar Ibarra Grasso, Enrique de Gandía, Paul Gallez, Gustavo Vargas Martínez, Jaime Errázuriz Zañartu; and the America Gary Urton, as well as many others who have studied South America's past from several different angles. The fact is that I have carried out a study of the works of all the above-named authors, with special attention to that of my friend and master Paul Gallez, which have sent me off in new directions to obtain information previously unknown to me. So I hope I have filled the sack Dr Carr was talking about. I don't know if I have succeeded, but at least I have tried to summarise a series of works of research that I trust will help to fill a historical vacuum. To do this, I have made use of already published data of all shapes and colours on facts referring to South America's past. I believe that there are historians in Europe and the United States who know of the Asian connections with South America predating Columbus's arrival in 1492, but they remain silent and keep the information to themselves, lest it should reach the ears of the general public and the truth be known. I hope and desire that the Internet will serve to open ‘closed doors and windows' and once and for all, let in a breath of fresh air.
(*) England, 1892-1982. His masterpiece is the monumental History of Soviet Russia.
(**) England, 1846-1932. Liberal and editor-in-chief of the Manchester Guardian for 35 years.