Lead: In the decades before Columbus returned from his accidental discovery of the Caribbean in 1492, Basque fishermen, from the northern part of Spain, may have beat him to the New World.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Writing in his elegant and fascinating Cod: The Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, Mark Kurlansky presents strong evidence that Christopher may have been a Johnny-come-lately.

Along the southwestern slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France Spain lies Basque Country. None of multitude of ethnic groups that make up Spanish society have been more resistant to assimilation than the Basques. Spanish kings and Spanish dictators have tried to homogenize Basque culture and language but have largely failed. They are a hearty people and jealous, sometimes violently jealous, of their independence.