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November 24, 2017
Q. If the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dinner is turkey, you might take a moment to ponder how the bird ended up with the same name as the country Turkey. So, how did it?
A. “Turkeys are indigenous to the U.S. and Mexico; in fact, Europeans only first came into contact with turkeys roughly 500 years ago,” likely during Cortes's 1519 expedition to Mexico, says Dan Lewis in his book “Now I Know.” Five years later, the birds had reached England from the eastern Mediterranean Sea aboard merchant ships manned by so-called Turkey merchants, since much of the area then was part of the Turkish Empire. Back in England, buyers called the fowl “Turkey birds” or just “turkeys.”
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