Originally published on September 10th, 2011. I was feeling quite self-righteous and rebellious at the time, and I was never nearly so good with history as I thought I was. Most of these alleged “Discoveries” have been properly refuted.
Like every schoolchild, I was taught that “in Fourteen-hundred and ninety-three, Columbus Sailed the Deep Blue Sea”. I realize that most people learned it as “in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue”, but I went to a lot of religious schools as a kid, and, frankly, my education was rather substandard.
My substandard education worked out to my advantage, however, since it helped me to develop cynicism at an early age. What else had I been taught that was wrong? Well, most things, as it turned out, but I was always particularly interested by the whole ‘who discovered America’ thing, since so much of the early information I’d been taught seemed either openly wrong, or else propagandistic and dubious. Note from 2015: God, I was such a contrarian prig in those days]
As such, I’ve always kept a kind of running tab of ‘Discoverers’ who claim to have gotten ‘there’ first. Some of these, like Columbus and Leif Ericson, are well known. Others, like Sir Henry Sinclair, or Sheik Zayne-eddine Ali ben Fadhel Al-Mazandarani, are quite obscure. Curiously, the most logical discoverers of America, the Indians, are generally ignored, which, I suppose, is fair, since they had a tenuous claim to the place, having only been here fifteen thousand years before anyone else.
There’s a strange hint of racism surrounding the Discovery of America. Sure, everyone knows of Columbus and Ericson, a couple white boys, but try finding conclusive information about the Arabs who may well have been here, or the Chinese, or Africans, and you’ll have a hard row to hoe. And, of course, everyone ignores the Indians. [Note from 2015: you just said this, dumbass] Why this should be, I don’t know. Perhaps, like the nation of Canada, we’re willing to admit our cherished myth that Columbus discovered America is false, but it seems a lot of us are not willing to admit that the discoverer may not even have been Caucasian. [Note from 2015: ah, bullshit] I’m not dogmatic about this, though. Records from the ‘Age of Discovery’ are sketchy for European history. Records in other parts of the world may be similarly sparse. The Chinese, for instance, seem to have no record of their own discovery of America. [Note from 2015: this is because they didn’t discover it. Nova did a whole episode on this. The myth was started by a crazy conspiracy-theory Englishman in the 1990s. He got a couple bestsellers out of it, but it was utter bullshit.]
Who knows. [Note from 2015: Actually, a hell of a lot of people know, 34–year-old-stupid me!]
In any event, I find the subject interesting, and for your edification, I’ve compiled this list from my ‘Running Tab’ of discoverers. It’s by no means authoritative of exhaustive, but it is interesting and I hope it will provoke discussion. [Note from 2015: It did not.]
30,000 to 15,000 BC – During the height of the last Ice Age, the ocean levels were much lower, and as such the relatively shallow Bering Straights that separate Alaska from Siberia were above water. This “Land Bridge” is sometimes called “Beringia.” Nomadic Stone Age Asian herders, probably following Caribou or Reindeer or something similar, crossed over the Land Bridge to North America. The Indians, descendants of these Asian Herders were fruitful and multiplied, quickly spreading all throughout North and South America. All Indians are descended ultimately from these initial Asians. It may seem self-evident, but I’m constantly annoyed that people discussing the ‘Discovery of America’ always manage to ignore the Indians that had already been here for tens of thousands of years. [Note from 2015: Oh for God’s sake, 34-year-old-me, we get it, we get it. Shut up about it already] In any event, the migration from Asia to North America was a very long one, which may have taken place in small waves over five thousand years or more, until the Ice Age began to thaw out, thus raising Sea Levels, flooding the Bering Straight, and effectively cutting off North America from Eurasia.
5,000 BC – The Aleut Eskimos live in the Aleutians, an archipelago that stretches from Alaska well out into the Pacific. Aleuts are excellent fishermen, who can go out into the freezing arctic waters for days or weeks at a time, and survive. Their Kayaks are an ingenious design that has been in use for more than a thousand years, and they operate them half like a canoe, and half like a surfboard. Even in our own modern times, Aleuts are know to Kayak all the way across the north pacific to Siberia, and back again. The Aleut are Indian/Eskimo, so I’m not quite sure wether or not to consider this a case of the Siberians discovering America, or American Indians rediscovering Asia. In any event, there was some minor, but continual, contact between the two groups for thousands of years.
2500s BC – In the 3000 years of Egyptian history, there were essentially three dynasties, the so-called First, Second, and Third kingdoms. The First Kingdom was the one that built the Pyramids, and then shortly thereafter, collapsed. Neither the Second nor Third kingdoms ever built pyramids, nor did the various foreigners that ruled Egypt after the collapse of the Third and Final kingdom. (In the Greco-Roman Imperial Period, Egypt was ruled by the Ptolamy family, who were Greek. Cleopatra, the most famous Ptolamy, had not one drop of Egyptian blood in her. [Note from 2015: This is relevant how?] Just to put things in perspective, it is interesting to note that Cleopatra lived closer to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon than she did to the building of the Pyramids.) So why didn’t the subsequent Egyptians build pyramids? Well, either because the secret of their construction had been lost in the collapse of the First Kingdom, or, more likely, because Pyramids are huge, expensive, structures that take hundreds of thousands of men decades to build. The First Kingdom was able to float pork barrel projects like that, but the Subsequent Kingdoms were more modest. The point of all this is that Pyramids start showing up in Mexico at roughly the same time they stop showing up in Egypt. [Note from 2015: Bullshit! I was reading a lot of Thor Heyerdahl in those days] This, and some fairly tendentious other connections, have caused many to conclude that there was some kind of contact between Mesoamerica and Egypt in the 3rd Millenium BC. Thor Heyerdahl, and his Phonecio/Egyptian styled boat, the ‘Ra’, and it’s more successful heir, the ‘Ra II’, proved that it was at least possible for Egyptians to reach central America with the technology they had at that period. So we know it was possible, but we still don’t know for sure that it happened. There have been many subsequent claims of ‘proof’ of the Mexico/Egyptian connection, up to and including a claim that Cocaine was used in Egyptian embalming. To date, I have not been able to verify any of these claims, and have to assume they’re simply wishful thinking. It is, however, not too terribly implausible to guess at what might have happened: The First Kingdom discovers Mexico, and try to colonize it, or set up trade with it, or whatever. In any event, they would have established a presence there. Meanwhile, back in Africa, Egypt over-extends itself, and the First Kingdom collapses. This strands an unknown number of Egyptians in central America, with no way to get home, and not much to do, other than ‘civilize’ the local Indians into a new society like the one that had just collapsed across the ocean. Eventually, as the initial Egyptians died out, this Egyptian Colony would pick up more and more Indian traits, ultimately hybridizing into a uniquely mesoamerican form, which we would later call the Aztec, or the Toltec, or the Maya. And why didn’t the Egyptians ever come back to Mexico? Well, when the First Kingdom fell, it fell hard. The Chaotic Hyksos period that followed it lasted several hundred years. When unity was finally restored in the Second Kingdom, it was a long time later, and a very different world. The Second Kingdom was much more modest than the first, and probably had no memory of the fact that there was a long-lost colony across the Atlantic, and no way of reaching it, even if they did. All just speculation, mind you. Not a word of proof to any of this. [Note from 2015: so what I did here was basically crib Heyerdahl’s theory and kinda’ pass it off as my own. all these mesoamerican cultures I mentioned are solidly in the years AFTER Christ, not 3000 BC]
1300s BC – This one’s a bit of a stretch. At this period in history Olmec civilization shows up in the Americas. The most striking feature of the Olmec is that they left huge, carved statues of heads strewn about the place. It has been mentioned – with dubious proof – that the Olmec civilization showed up practically overnight, which, to many, suggests that its founders must have come to the Americas from elsewhere. It is argued that the Olmec Indian Head Statues generally display Negroid features, which means the founders of the Olmec society must have come from Africa. The problem with this theory, like so many other theories of who ‘Discovered’ America ‘First,’ is that there’s no proof. With Columbus or the Vikings, there are artifacts to verify their stories. With Saint Brendan the Navigator or the Muslims, the stories are recent enough to be technically plausible, even though there’s no proof, and probably never will be. With the Olmec theory, however, there’s just nothing to give us a clue one way or another. I don’t want to sound like I’m immediately discounting this possibility – I’m not – but there are serious contentions that any proponent of an African/Olmec link will have to explain:-No African legends of Seafarers colonizing a land across the ocean.-No big Olmec heads strewn across Africa.-No real history of African seafaring, other than the Egyptians, who stopped doing it in the 3500s BC, and the Phoenecians, who weren’t really from Africa to begin with.-A lack of any African artifacts or traditions in central American Indians. None of this should be taken to mean that Africans couldn’t have crossed the sea. Certainly there are many large and impressive African civilizations of great antiquity, like the Great Zimbabwe, so there’s a lot of technical knowledge there. The problem is that other than a few carved heads with thick lips, broad noses, and prominent foreheads, there’s just not a shard of proof. It is argued that people only carve things that represent themselves, but this is just ludicrous – Greek people didn’t look like Satyrs or Centaurs, but they carved ’em. Why? Because they thought they looked pretty, and they got damn tired of carving naked guys looking at Discuses, and wanted to do something different for a change. Art is art, and is limited only by the imagination and resources. So as for the plausibility of this one, I just dunno. [Note from 2015: yeah, the Olmecs didn’t discover America. This is utter bullshit]
600 BC – A Phoenician Galley was blown off course in a very bad storm that pushed them out to sea and carried them along for a week or so, before they were able to break free. When they were freed of the storm, the Phoenicians did not recognize any of the stars in the night sky, apparently they had gone south of the equator. Realizing their ship was badly damaged by its ordeal, they beached themselves on the nearest coastline they were able to find, to get supplies and make repairs. The land they discovered was remarkably verdant and beautiful, and there were lots of outcroppings of veins of Iron in the rocks and cliffs along the beaches. Because of the iron, they named the place “Huy Brazl” which, in the Phoenician language, means “Iron Stones” or “Rusty Rocks” or something like that. Several months later, the Phoenicians set sail again, and eventually made their way home, whereupon they regailed all their family and friends with tales of a wondrous land beyond the sea. These stories of ‘Huy Brazl’ spread throughout the Mediterranean, and became well known in the Greek Empire, as well as the later Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic empires, and became synonymous with a paradise on earth, generally called by a variation on its Phoenician name, like in Portugal, where it was named “Hy Brazil”. Millenia later, Portuguese sailors discovered South America, which seemed to them to be a very nice place. One optimistic Portuguese captain decided to name the new land after the ancient legend, and thus christened the place “Brazil.” The irony of all this is that the modern-day nation of Brazil probably really is Huy Brazl, the place that the Phoenicians discovered by accident 2600 years ago. [Note from 2015: Good God, what was I smokingthe day before the terrorists came? Ok, the Phoneticians were great sailors, and it’s pretty likely that they did circumnavigate Africa, but they sure as hell didn’t make it to the New World. The story I quote is like fifth-hand out of a kind of paranoid book I read while I was in Atlanta, and I have found no other citations for it. Added to which “Huy Brazl” (Also known as “O’Brasil” was an Irish myth.]
100-ish AD – There is ostensibly a legend about a Roman Galley somehow making its way to North America. I’ve heard several people talk about it, but when questioned, it’s clear they had no solid knowledge about the story, or any proof for it, and were simply repeating things they’d heard from others ‘as though it were an accepted fact.’ I can find no mention of anything to substantiate this in any historical papers, books, or legends, and I doubt very much that such an expedition took place, or that such a legend existed in the Roman Empire. It sounds more like Hollywood than Rome. [Note from 2015: Didn’t happen. There have been a number of coin finds – people finding Roman coins from the 1st century – but all of these have been proved to be plants by fraudsters who had nothing better to do with their time]
400s/500s – Orry, an Irishman about whom nothing is known, claimed to have traveled across the western ocean to a land beyond. These stories – which may be entirely mythical – apparently inspired Saint Brendan the Navigator to head west, looking for land.
500s – An Irish Abbot, ‘Brendan’ apparently became obsessed with legends of someone named ‘Orry’ who claimed to have been to a land beyond the western sea. Brendan built a large boat, crewed with his Monks, and they sailed west, apparently going via the Orkneys, to Iceland, to Greenland, to the extreme north coast of Canada, before heading south into “The Land of the Ever Young.” Brendan made it back home again years later, earring the name “Brendan the Navigator”, and was eventually Sanctified. There is some evidence that Irish monks (a weird breed about which we know comparatively little) continued to make trips to the Land Of the Ever Young for as much as several centuries, for ceremonies and such. The Viking accounts from 500 years after Brendan include a run in with a mysterious group that is clearly not Indian, and sounds a bit like Monks, and there are curious ‘Ogomic’ writings in the Appalachians, which (if Authentic [Note from 2015: It’s not. This is still debated, but Ogomic script was never widely used in Ireland, and the marks – if they’re real – are probably from the colonial period or later]) may date from the 600s AD. Though it is unlikely that this story will ever be proved, it is at least plausible and although it tacitly presupposes continued contact with Indians, it does at least include an explanation as to why there was no lasting influence on the Indians: These were Monks, they weren’t interested in amassing a fortune, a kingdom, or even in breeding. One possible point of evidence – to be taken with a grain of salt – would be the Irish Tonsure, the unique haircut that Irish Monks wore up until the Catholic Church did away with it about two centuries ago: It’s essentially a Mohawk. One might assume they got it from the Mohawk Indians, or, conversely, that the Mohawk got it from the Irish. [Note from 2015: This one is theoretically possible, but pretty unlikely. It falls into a long tradition of celtic “Land beyond the sea” fables.]
889 AD – Khashkhash Ibn Seed Ibn Aswad, a Moor from Cordoba, Spain, sailed from Palos (Now Delba), went well past the Canary islands, and reached an unknown new land that he named “Ard Majhoola” (Unknown Land), and is reputed to have returned with a bunch of neat artifacts. This story can not be verified, however in Al-Masudi’s world map from the early 900s, there is an ‘Unknown Territory’ demarked which is roughly where North America should be. [Note from 2015: Didn’t happen. The map has been adequately debunked, too.]
926-961 – Sometime during the reign of Abdul-Rahman III, an Umayed Caliph, African Muslims left the Spanish Port of Palos (then called Delba) and sailed due west for a very long time. Some months later, they returned with booty taken from a “Strange and curious land.” This voyage was common knowledge in the Islamic Empire afterwards, and, thus, was spoken of commonly in Spain as well, since most of the country was part of the Islamic Empire at this period. It can not be proven that the “Strange and curious land” was North America, though, clearly, most Muslims do. Unlike most stories of pre-Columbian contact, this one has actually left several germs of evidence to suggest it is true. Firstly, there is some evidence of Islamic contact amongst the Cherokee indians [Note from 2015: There most certainly is not. Also, the Cherokee lived around the great lakes at the time this contact would have taken place, not in the South] – Turbans, Caftan-like clothing, a vaguely judeo-islamic view of God and creation (which is largely at odds with other Native American Religions [Note from 2015: Uhm…what? I don’t even remember what that was supposed to be, but as most Cherokee religious rituals were forgotten once they mostly became Baptist, I’m assuming the ‘unusual myth’ is probably just backdated, or the Cherokee telling a garbled version of the Biblical version heard from Colonials), and some Islamic-seeming names (for instance, a 1787 treaty between the Cherokee Nation and the United States includes the names “Abdel Khak” and “Muhammad Ibn Abdullah” as Cherokee signatories [Note from 2015: Oh, prove it 34-year-old me! You’re full of crap!), and a smattering of Arabic words. Secondly, there is a smattering of linguistic evidence that the Muslims had contact with other southeastern indian tribes, most of which remains only as place names. For instance, “Tallahassee” (The Capital of Florida) can be translated “God [Allah] will bring you future deliverance.” [Note from 2015: Yes, it can be, but only by drunken ignorant fools. It’s not a Cherokee word, nor an Arabic one, and it simply means “Old Town.” Dipshit.] Thirdly, Columbus, and the Spanish Royalty were clearly aware of these stories. Columbus actively researched stories of “Western Lands” prior to his journey, traveling to Norway and Ireland to learn the stories of Ericson and Brendan. Though no other European country was interested in “Sailing west to get east”, the Spanish Royal Court immediately sponsored Columbus’ voyage almost as soon as they had extricated themselves from the Islamic Empire, presumably because they already knew from the legends that had been floating around for 400 years, that there was some plausibility to it. Columbus even took along several “Ex-Muslims” in his crew [Note from 2015: Not sure about this, but doubtful]. Fourthly, early english explorers in the Southeast all reported meeting “Swarthy” people who looked “Moorish” (North African), and clearly not Indian, but who lived as the Indians did. These people were called “Melungeons”, and were thought to have been Portugese, but Genetic Analysis of modern Melungeons shows them to have been overwhelmingly Turkish! [Note from 2015: This is true, and it’s damn weird. No one has been able to explain the Turkish/Melungenon thing]
999 – Ibn Farrukh, another Moor, this time from Granada, Spain, sailed from Kadesh, past the Canaries, and discovered two large islands, Capraria and Pluitana, which may have been Cuba and Hispanola. Ibn Farrukh appears to have been following up on the legends surrounding the voyage of Khashkhash Ibn Seed Ibn Aswad from a century before. Again, this story can not be verified. [Note from 2015: Didn’t happen. Thing is, Arabs were pretty good sailors, but they were afraid of the open ocean for good reason, and simply didn’t explore far from the coast.]
990s – A Viking named Horst Brumfeldson was blown off course sailing to Greenland, and ended up several hundred miles to its west. He reported seeing islands and birds, but didn’t feel like sticking around to explore. These were likely the sea coast islands of North Eastern Canada, which makes our friend Horst the first European to see North America (though not the Continent itself) that we can reasonably verify. He made his way back to Greenland, and told of his exploits, but no one seemed too interested at the time. However, Eric the Red was interested in these reports.
1000 – Give or take a year, Eric the Red had become interested in the reports of islands to the West of Greenland, as reported by Horst Brumfeldson anywhere from ten to sixteen years earlier. Eric decided to head an expedition to these new islands, but fell off his horse and broke his leg enrout to his boat. At the last minute, he turned over command of the expedition to his son, Leif Ericson. Leif sailed west on his single longboat, with a mixed crew of Pagans and Christians. They eventually sighted a frozen, glaciated land they called ‘Telluland’ (“Frozen Land”), and did not go ashore. Sailing south from there, they found a densely wooded area that they called ‘Markland’ (“Land of Trees’). They went ashore briefly for provisions, and met the local Indians, whom they named “Skraeligs” (“Wretches”). Quickly running afoul of the Indians, they headed farther south to a place they named “Vinland” (‘Land of Vines’, or possibly ‘Land of Berries’). There have been many attempts to identify the location of Vineland, none of them entirely satisfactory, since they conflict with the Viking’s own reports. It is commonly accepted that the remains of a Viking settlement in Nova Scotia, discovered in the 1970s, was the ‘Vinland Colony,’ however this is easily disproved. The Nova Scotia Viking site is definitely the remains of a failed Viking colony, however it is a different (Later) colony than Vinland. There were several waves of Viking colonization, all of them curiously abortive. The Vikings report that their winter spent in Vinland was remarkably mild, and although there was snow, there was little or no ice on the rivers or lakes, and they didn’t even need to wear winter clothes. This clearly does not match with Nova Scotia. More likely sights suggest southern New Jersey (Oh, the ignominy of it!) or Coastal Virginia. [Note from 2015: Nope. It’s definitely Nova Scotia.] In spring, the Vikings headed back to Greenland, where, again curiously, no one seemed too interested in Vinland. The next expedition that we have any knowledge of was about six or seven years later, led by Leif’s brother. They found the wreckage of a ship in a river near Vinland, that was obviously left over from a failed expedition about which they knew nothing, that took place at some point between Leif’s first voyage, and their own, so at least one group had made a go of the New World and failed in the doing. Leif’s brother named the place ‘Kyarlness” (‘Broken Keel’). In all the Ericson family made four major expeditions to Vinland, some of them lasting several years, until the ‘Skraeligs’ overran them and forced them to abandon the colony.Papers in Greenland show regular expeditions to ‘Markland’ to get wood and building materials, as late as the 1300s. Of all the various stories of pre-Columbian discovery, this is the one with the most credence, the most evidence, and was the most likely to have happened. In fact, Leif Ericson day is recognized as a holiday by the Canadian Government. Though the Vikings clearly got here around 1000 AD, they don’t appear to have penetrated very deeply into the continent, though they may have explored the Great Lakes to some extent. Even so, some of the alleged Viking artifacts, such as the so-called “Heavener Runestone” that was ‘Discovered’ in Kansas in the 19th century, are certainly fakes.
1000s – About the same time Leif Ericson was ‘discovering’ the east coast of America, the Chinese were apparently discovering its west coast. [Note from 2015: No they were not] In 1989, the remains of a Chinese Junk were discovered in the sand, just offshore from the California Coast. Its design, and the general deterioration of the wreck suggests that it sank sometime between 1000 and 1100 AD. [Note from 2015: These were just anchor stones, no wreck was found, and the Chinese sailed extensively between home and California in the 19th century. No mystery here, someone just dumped their anchors] 0The Chinese have no record of the discovery of America, [Note from 2015: because they didn’t discover it] nor of the loss of this particular ship. Most likely what happened is that it was caught in a storm, and blown off course, much like the Phonecians who discovered Huy Brazl. The ship eventually blundered into California, where they attempted to find shallow water to beach the ship, or make repairs. Subsequently, the ship sank, possibly after catching fire. The surviving crew, if any, probably married into the local Indians, or else were killed by them. In any event, it’s obvious that no one ever made it home to China to tell about this discovery. [Note from 2015: It IS possible that the Chinese or Japanese did occasionally have fishing boats that got lost at sea and were carried by currents to the Pacific Northwest. I’ve heard tales of early explorers who had Japanese people held captive, though I really don’t believe them. ]
1100s – There is a legend of a Welsh king who left Wales in the 12th century, trying to find a new land for his family to live in, free of the fear of the generations-long civil war that was raging in Wales at the time. A couple years later, he came home, and some time after that, allegedly, several dozen ships and perhaps a thousand people headed out to see for place or places unknown. Eight Hundred years later, In the 19th century, a member of the Army Corps of engineers was discussing some a-typical Indian ruins with some Indians in Alabama and Mississippi, and was apparently told the ruins were built by ‘Waylsh Men” who came on boats. Eventually they ran afoul of the local Indians, and were driven out of their settlement, moving upriver a hundred miles or so, where they build a new settlement. A generation later, the process was repeated, and they again moved upriver about a hundred miles. They allegedly interbred with the locals whenever possible, and were apparently more Indian-looking than Welch/Celtic-looking after a century or so. If this dubious theory is true, then the ‘Welsh Indians’ survived until about 1850 in what is now Oklahoma, where they were wiped out by a bout of smallpox. This theory is more likely the product of wishful thinking on the part of the Engineer, though there are some odd stone structures in Mississippi. Also, the Melungeons mentioned above were called “Black Welsh” and “Black Scots” in some southern states in the middle of the 19th century. [Note from 2015: The legend was never heard of until it was retroactively invented in the 16th century in the midst of a massive “Me too” craze that was sweeping Europe. (“No, it wasn’t the Spanish, it was Lithuania who discovered America!” etc]
1291 – Sheik Zayn-eddine Ale ben Fadhel Al-Mazandarani is reported to have set out from Morocco, and led an expedition to Green Island, which is purported to have been in the Caribbean sea. [ [Note from 2015: Nope]
1309 – After the successes of the 1st Crusade, the Pope ordained the “Knights Templar”, ostensibly to protect pilgrims on their way to the holy land, but in reality to rob Jerusalem blind of any religious antiquities they could find. (Templar artifacts have been found buried in the ruins surrounding the Temple, among other interesting places.) under unexplained circumstances, the Templars quickly became the richest sect of Christendom, and evolved heretical beliefs, prompting many to suspect that they may have lucked into a trove of manuscripts like the Nag Hamadi library in Egypt or the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel. The order eventually moved to France, where they began their own large merchant marine travel fleet (Their banner was the now-famous ‘Skull & Crossbones’) and became serious rivals to the authority of the Pope. On May 13th, 1309, a papal bull was issued excommunicating all Knights Templar, and the vast majority of them were slaughtered within a month. Their large Merchant Marine fleet, however, headed west with as many Templars as they could carry, and was never seen again. Some suppose that these Templar sailors headed to “La Merica”, a mythical land that they were said to believe in (Generally without much explanation as to why exactly they were said to believe in it.) across the western ocean. More likely, however they just headed to Scotland, which was under papal interdict at the time, and would have been just absolutely perfect for a few thousand heretics on the lam from Rome. Interestingly, Templars disappear from history roughly the same time the Free Masons show up in Scotland, and links between the two groups have long been suspected. There is a church in Scotland, Roselyn, which was one of the first Masonic structures built. Inside, it has depictions of all kinds of Flora and Fauna, all dating from the mid-1300s. Several of these plants have been positively identified as New World Flora, which should have been completely unknown to Scotsmen more than a century before Columbus. [Note from 2015: “Freemasons run the country!” This paranoid crap came from a very badly written book about Gnosticism I was reading at the time, which, well, basically, I put forth their whole theory above. Tommyrot.]
1311 – Sultan Abu Kakari I led two expeditions to the west Atlantic, claiming to find land. He did not return from the second voyage. (Perhaps he ran into a Templar ship? Nah…) [Note from 2015: God I was stupid]
1389 – Sir Henry Sinclair, a Scotsman, led a large and lenghty expedition across the atlantic, acompanied by his cousin, Sir James Gunn, Captain Antonio Zeno, and 200 knights, monks, and twelve ships. They apparently landed in Nova Scotia, and spent several months there. They then sailed down the coast as far as Massachusetts, where Sir Gunn took sick and died, and was buried. The expedition then went back to Scotland, where curiously little attention was paid to their reports of their exploits.Some advocates of the Sinclair-Discovering-America theory will tell you that a 14th century suit of armor was discovered in Massachusetts, riddled with arrow-holes, obviously the one that Sir Gunn was buried in. In fact, this isn’t true. There is a large stone carving of a knight in Massachusetts wearing a rather generic suit of armor. No one knows who made this carving on the Cliffside, or when, but it does appear to have been there since the earliest days of English Colonization. There’s no proof that it pre-dates Columbus, however.There is a link between America and Scotland that we’ve already seen: Roselyn Chapel, which depicts New World Flora. So was Sinclair following up on information he’d already heard of from Freemasons? Certainly Someone seems to have gotten here, then made it back to Scotland to tell about it. [Note from 2015: Popular with Mormon Conspiracy Theorists, but untrue. The Knight and other artifacts and structures have been solidly dated as colonial-era things. This came from the same paranoid book as the previous entry. The Roselyn Chapel art is thought to be simply stylized representations of old world flora and fauna]
Early 1400s – This one is pretty tenuous, as well. The English had traditionally fished off the coast of Spain. Relations between the Spanish and the English turned sour, however, and the Spanish barred English ships from their waters. One would expect the annual haul of fish brought to England would diminish after this, but it didn’t. In fact, the size of the catch increased every year for the next decade. When things were patched up with Spain, they offered to let the English fish in their waters again. England responded with a ‘thank you very much, but no’ attitude, and never went back to fishing off Spain, and still their catches went up.Obviously, the English found a new fishery. Where was it? Unknown. It was a closely guarded secret. All we know is that it was due west of England. Newfoundland is due west of England, and has some of the best fisheries in the world. A few years later, when Columbus ‘Discovered’ America, England was the only maritime power that didn’t freak out at the news. They seemed completely underwhelmed by it. This may well be due to the short-sightedness of the English government at the time, or it may have been due to them already having known about it for a generation or two. Or not. Again, this is a tenuous one. It should be noted, however, that England has a disproportionately high number of hypothetical early ties with America: Alleged discoveries by the Irish, Welsh, and Scottish, and possibly even the Templar/Freemasons. In the case of the Scottish and Templar/Freemasons, there even appears to be some hard evidence in the form of Roselyn Chapel, which was built a century prior to Columbus, but appears to depict New World Flora. If any of these claims can hold water – and two of them appear to – then it would be very surprising if the Royal Court didn’t have some prior awareness of the place across the sea. [Note from 2015: None of those claims were true, and this didn’t happen.]
1492 – Christopher Columbus, leading a small flotilla of three dinky ships, blundered into the New World entirely by accident, attempting to sail to China. Columbus, who led four expeditions to the new world, never figured out where he was, or at least never admitted it to anyone if he did. He never even reached the actual North American Continent itself, but wandered about from island to island, assuming he was somewhere in the vicinity of India. (Hence we call Native Americans ‘Indians’ to this day.) It is interesting to note that Columbus (an Italian) was from the same country as Captain Antonio Zeno [Note from 2015: who didn’t exist], and had certainly heard his stories of ‘A land to the west.’ He is also known to have spent extensive time in Ireland (Where Saint Brendan the Navigator was from) and Norway (Where the Viking Ericson family ultimately re-settled) shortly prior to the first time Columbus mentioned his whole ‘Sail around the world’ idea. It’s also interesting to note that Columbus’ voyage of ‘Discovery’ left from Palos (Delba), the same place Khashkhash Ibn Seed Ibn Aswad and Ibn Farrukh [Note from 2015: who also didn’t exist] set out from when they allegedly discovered America a half-millennium before.
And the rest you know…
It seems likely to me that America was ‘discovered’ and ‘lost’ several times in the last 5000 years or so. This, perhaps, shouldn’t be surprising, but one does wonder why no one seemed excited or amazed by the discovery until Columbus.
In the case of the Egyptians, it seems likely they simply forgot about the place. The Phoenicians may never have been able to find it again. The Vikings did make a go of the place, but never really committed to colonization. They do not seem amazed by the discovery, but then they were a seafaring people who didn’t have a lot of preconceived ideas. Why should the discovery of a continent be any more amazing than the discovery of an island?
In the end, no one knows, and no one will probably ever know. It’s fun to wonder about, though. And, trust me, if you bring up Sinclair or Ibn Farrukh at a cocktail party, everyone will naturally assume you’re a genius. [Note from 2015: actually, if you tell anyone other than stoned college freshmen this stuff, they’ll probably think you’re an idiot]