Last Friday, we welcomed (virtually) our ten thousandth visitor to this blog — a statistic we’re pretty pleased with given the shall-we-say ‘specialist’ nature of this site (now there’s a phrase designed to attract google hits!). We are delighted to be well on our way to our target of 20000 hits by the formal end of the project in September 2013. Most exciting, however, is the global range of our readership.
As we might expect, most visitors come from the US (37%) and the UK (27%), but, since February this year (when wordpress began to make this information available), we have been joined by readers from 76 different countries, and are delighted that we are being read across the globe, from Indonesia to Argentina, Nicaragua to Singapore. It is an exciting opportunity to share our research with a much more diverse audience than will access the findings of this project in traditional academic journals and books.
Perhaps it is fitting that we have chosen the Cantino World Map as the background to the twitter account that accompanies our blog. The map is the earliest map to show Portugese discoveries in the East and West, and is named after the Italian Agent (read spy!) Alberto Cantino, who smuggled it from Portugal to Ferrara in 1502. Does the excitement we feel at seeing our readership expand across the world have some unsettling parallels with the global ambitions of early explorers, whose ventures went hand-in-hand with the efforts of missionaries to convert indigenous peoples to the Christian religion? We hope readers will agree that our intentions are more benign, and that you will continue to visit and share in the findings of the project.
Suggestions for content, and guest posts, are always welcome — and we would be delighted if some of our international visitors (as well, of course, as our Anglo-American friends) would say hello, and share your reasons for visiting – and your views on our work – in the comments.