Talk:Alexander Mackenzie (explorer)

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Capitalization of K in MacKenzie[edit]

The "K" in MacKenzie ought to be capitalised.

Why? Adam Bishop 05:50, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Look at the way it's written on the stone. 06:22, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Well, people during that era were not always consistent about how the name was rendered. The DoCB article prefers the "Mackenzie" spelling, I think we should stick with that. Fawcett5 12:46, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Because Mac means "Son of" + the name, in this case a bastardisation of "Coinneach", meaning Kenneth. No one writes "kenneth", unless they are e. e. cummings --MacRusgail 18:26, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
A name like that in lower case is common even today, and was certainly common then, e.g. James Macpherson. Mackenzie himself is known universally in reputable texts with his name in that form, and it's the form used in his book, Voyages from Montreal. (Look it up on Worldcat). Whoever changed the title on this did it without warrant. As Fawcett5 pointed out, a screen shot of a stone carving is not an acceptable basis when discussing a person who lived when spellings were not so rigid as now and for whom a mountain of citations and practice exists for the other way. 23:00, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not. The title page uses an all-caps ALEXANDER MACKENZIE and a cursory google of antique booksellers suggests that he spelt it MacKenzie in the first versions, with later editors emending it. Regardless, you're right that today his name seems to be generally (but not universally) spelled along English lines with a miniscule k; the lede should simply include a also or or MacKenzie to acknowledge the situation and tamp down similar well-intentioned edits. -LlywelynII (talk) 14:39, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
While correct that MacKenzie was a spelling of his, you should have looked at more than just the title page. There's a portrait on the frontispiece labeled with Mackenzie's name, and though also in capital letters the "M" is in larger script than the rest. He also mentions himself or his cousin Roderic Mackenzie several times in the text, in each case spelled "Mackenzie". One of the instances, in fact, is a formalized transcript of the "MacKenzie" rock carving. This is all from the first edition in London, 1801, and I am not aware of any copy printed "MacKenzie" and very much doubt one exists. The booksellers are probably just glancing at the title page and guessing. Derek Hayes, on pg. 7 of First Crossing: Alexander Mackenzie, his Expedition across North America writes that: "I have spelled Mackenzie's name as he spelled it in his book, but in fact Mackenzie himself used 'McKenzie' [sic] much of the time. Some letters are signed one way, some the other." (I'm guessing McKenzie is a typo, though maybe not.) Evidently like many men of his time he wasn't too particular about how his name was spelled. Cynwulf (talk) 19:57, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

I've removed "(unfortunately including an erroneous capital K in his last name)" because it implies the later inscribers were the ones that introduced the capital K, not Mackenzie himself. The sources I've seen do not say who spelled it with a capital K. -kotra (talk) 21:46, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Is there any objection to correcting the misspelling of this fellow's name in the article title? I see that in most places in the article it is correctly spelled with a lower case "k" as it is in the Canadian Biography online. I suspect it has been left partly because there is another Alexander Mackenzie and because the surveyors who carved the message in the rock got it wrong. I have corresponded with the folks at BCGNIS and they agree that Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park is properly spelled with a lower case k. Morton (see footnote 2) also spells it with a lower case k. --KenWalker | Talk 20:13, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

IIRC I remember somewhere on a talkpage that the capital-K was used here to distinguish him from "the other guy"; it was an arbitrary Wiki-style choice, not done on the basis of documentation.....Skookum1 (talk) 21:47, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Done. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:20, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
It isn't a misspelling (see above), but it is better to leave it here regardless of the utility of the disambig, since this is the more common format now. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Date of Birth earlier? 1822[edit]

I was reading Lewis by Donald Macdonald and it says Alexander Mackenzie crossed in 1774 aged 12 giving a date of birth of 1761/2, googling for Alexander Mackenzie a few pages record his DOB as 1762?

Yeah, i read a book about Alexander Mackenzie (lululemon) and it said he crossed to North America in 1776???

i am trying to find the explorer, NOT the prime minsiter. or are they both?

This is he. The other one is at the disambig. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Which Bentinck Arm?[edit]

In Alexander Mackenzie it says the end of his westward journey was at South Bentinck Arm for which there is no article. Dean Channel and North Bentinck Arm say it was at North Bentinck Arm. Is there a source that resolves this? --KenWalker | Talk 11:10, 23 September 2007 (UTC)


It is an insult to aboriginal/First Nations people of the world when it is stated that explorers "discovered" such-and-such a place. There are very few places that white Europeans actually discovered. What they did is simply stumble upon already-inhabited areas. I'd like to see the reference to "discovered" changed in this and other exploration articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Maybe if You were a little more polite about it. Remember, to the Europeans it WAS a discovery, and usually, these articles are written from the Eurocentric viewpoint.
Hey 209.202. How dare you seek recognition for First Nations people. Just because their ancestors were here 10,000+ years before any European, how would they know how to get around the country. They'd have to know the trails through forests, over hills and mountains, and the location of various lakes, streams, rivers, and good hunting grounds. Mr. Eurocentric wants you to learn some manners. Probably from other Europeans, since they're the world's experts. At least that's what THEY say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:31, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the First Nation inhabitants didn't make maps so their knowledge wasn't of much use to anyone else. And they didn't seem to go in for exploration as-such, so we in Britain never had ships crewed by First Nation peoples arriving at Liverpool or Southampton, bringing with them their home country's goods to trade. There was nothing stopping these peoples learning how to build large, seagoing ships, and how to sail and navigate them across three thousand miles of the Atlantic. But they didn't. Perhaps it was a lack of the technology needed to build these ships, or a lack of interest in exploring the world, or both. The Chinese were able to build large sea going junks, but we never had these arriving in Britain either. I'm interested to see Mackenzie's nationality listed as 'Scottish Canadian'. While he may have been both, he was actually a British subject, and his nationality was therefore British. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, there were many things stopping them from learning how to build large, seagoing ships (at least earlier than Eurasian civilizations), but the general point stands that 74... should WP:assume good faith and not be so snarky. It's pretty obvious that the Indians were here before anyone else, but while it's likely that at least some of them were able to range as far as Mackenzie did, their exploits have been lost in the collapse of their oral societies and for the society that replaced them MacKenzie & co. were explorers and discoverers. But surely this argument is already going on at some other page (Columbus? Age of Exploration?) and should be linked and dealt with there. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
And yes, the Scotch-Canadian thing is an inappropriate anachronism. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Cabeza de Vaca[edit]

I've edited out "by a European" in the "first person to cross" sentence, because no proof was presented that a non-European had previously crossed the continent north of Mexico. Also I edited Cabeza de Vaca out of that sentence because his crossing did conclude in Mexico.

As a note to future editors, I would hope Cabeza de Vaca's name will remain in this article as his story is truly amazing & people should be able to link to it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 4 April 2009 (UTC) (talk) 22:19, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

These are fine by me. The book cited simply said that MacKenzie made "the first transcontinental crossing north of Mexico since Cabeza de Vaca." The new wording and extra details are not in the book, so I took the reference out.
They aren't fine. Cabeza de Vaca didn't make a transcontinental crossing. He simply walked from ~Galveston, Texas, to Mexico City. There were conquistadors who did cross Mexico to (eg) Baja California, but he wasn't one of them. Should remain removed, although editors are welcome to find the actual crossers. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Then the main article for Cabeza de Baca should be edited, as it currently shows him reaching the Pacific coast. If the Cabeza de Baca article is accurate, it would be appropriate that he again be mentioned in the Mackenzie one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:13, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Inscription on Rock[edit]

The article says that the message left on the rock at Dean's Channel read ""Alexander Mackenzie from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three!" yet the picture reads as "Alexander Mackenzie from Canada, by land, 22d July, 1793". The article mentions that later surveyors permanantly engraved this message on the rock; did they change the date format when they did the engraving or is this an error in the article?Wkharrisjr (talk) 20:40, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

It is more likely, given the fact that they surveryors got his name wrong, that they got the rest of the inscription wrong or edited it to fit. As I understand it the surveyors did the engraving many years after Mackenzie's visit. The source given for the wording of the inscription is quite reliable I think. --KenWalker | Talk 02:15, 23 July 2009 (UTC)hes dad is kenneth
Except they didn't get his name 'wrong.' See above. As for the actual inscription (made deeper and more permanent over the original) being less reliable than an online gov't encyclopedia entry, I would have to contest that, especially given the unlikelihood of bothering to carve a spelled-out date into a rock. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
The article is based on the Canadian biography article, which simply transcribed it incorrectly. The exclamation point was just OR. Fix'd. -LlywelynII (talk) 16:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)