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How can people believe this?


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Ahem. Scientific explanation incoming. Prepare for boredom.



As far as we can tell nobody ever considered the world to be flat. The very earliest writings always describe the world as a dome or an upturned bowl or as a pile of soil or similar descriptions. So we can assume that people never thought the world was flat. That makes sense since anyone who climbed even a small mountain could see quite clearly that the world curves away on all sides. As a result they assumed it was shaped like a dome, with their location near the top.


I guess what you meant to ask is when people first started to think the world was spherical. We don't know the answer to that question. We know that by the time we get to Hellenistic Greece it seems to have been universally accepted that the world was a sphere. Given their advanced astronomy it seems almost certain that the Persians had figured out that the Earth was spherical. After all they saw that the moon was spherical.


So the person who first discovered that the world was round was probably some Persian or Babylonian astrologer 3, 000 years ago.


How was it proven?


I guess the person who 'proved' the world was round was Ferdinand Magellan who was the first man to sail around the world. That was the first time it was conclusively proven that the world was round.


Note that he never disproved that a belief in flat Earth was wrong. Neither Magellan nor anybody he ever met believed the Earth was flat. All Europeans knew it was round. Other cultures may have thought it was a dome but nobody had ever thought it was flat.



Those who have answered “Columbus” are completely wrong. Everybody knew that the world was a sphere by the time Columbus was born, and everybody already knew that you could sail west to get to India.


All that Columbus did was underestimate the size of the world. He calculated that it would be faster to sail wets to get to India than to sail East. Of course he was completely wrong. But the point is that he and everybody else had long since accepted that the world was spherical.

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