Since kindergarden, we’re taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America. Well, he probably did. I did too, when I first landed in La Guardia. In fact, nearly everyone seems to claim to have discovered America at some point. Some way before Christopher. It goes to a point where we could even wonder which great civilization from the past didn’t discover America.
So far, we got:
– The Vikings: that’s the easiest part, we have archaeological evidence. They were there, nearly 5 centuries before old Chris.
– The Polynesians: even if there is no direct proof, it’s now admitted that they reached the Americas more than 2500 years ago.
– The Romans: discoveries of several coins and even a bust in Mexico lead some to claim Romans sailed to America too.
– The Egyptians: We don’t know when or how, but they must have been there: some herbs which are only found on the American continent have been discovered inside mummies from 3300 years ago.
-The Arabs: According to some Chinese text, they could have reached America too… maybe in the early 12th century.
– The Irish: The legend of Saint Brendan says that he reached the Americas, in the 6th century.
– The Phoenicians: They were great sailors, so well, why not? There are a few theories about their travels to the Americas.
– The Africans: Some pretend that the Olmec culture (1200-700 BCE) is from African origin.
– The Chinese: They’re also suspected of being linked to the Olmecs, but more seriously, several old chinese coins have been found during digs, and some buddhist monks have supposedly discovered the American continent in the 5th century.
– The Greeks: based on a text by Plutarch, a Greek-Canadian scientist claims the ancient Greeks were there too.
– The Basques: These skilled fishermen might have reached the New Continent before Columbus. Maybe the Bretons too…
– The Japanese: some people link the Valdivian culture (Ecuador) and the Japanese Jomon culture, talking about a possible Japanese migration.
-The Turks: They didn’t. There’s just a modern novel by Jorge Amado named “The discovery of America by the Turks”, but it was fun to mention.
– The fist natives. Or not?: Of course, the real discoverers of America are the first humans who got there, the ancestors of the actual natives. But another theory says that stone age Europeans were there first…
Even though lots of these “contacts” are either not totally proven or blatant speculation, they’re still evidence that some historical facts are also a bit speculative until we get more facts from the past. Besides, they’re great ideas for fiction stories, aren’t they?