The First Explorer to Travel around the Horn of Africa

Walking past a history classroom yesterday, I heard a teacher, probably reading from a test, ask, “Who was the first explorer to travel around the Horn of Africa?” She then listed four possibles. I recognized two of the four and immediately knew the answer to be the first listed, Vasco Da Gama. I doubt, however, that I would have been able to answer that question had it been a fill-in-the-blank. I’m not sure exactly when I learned about Vasco. Probably in late “grammar” school. But I do know that, unless you count yesterday’s experience as a “need to know,” I have never in the past 55-plus years needed to know that the first explorer to travel around the Horn of Africa was Vasco Da Gamma. I wonder what else I learned that I have never needed and have since forgotten that I know. How much of my education K through masters was a waste of time and effort?

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