Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before the Vikings. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.
The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”
Located in the Museum of the Seminary of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada there are a set of mysterious stones that, according to many who have researched them, could offer conclusive evidence that neither the Vikings, nor Columbus traveled to America first, but a culture from Northern Africa 2,500 years ago.
The stones have been in the museum since at least 1910, but they were discovered much earlier. The two flat stone pieces of limestone are three feet long and one and a half feet high and weigh around four hundred pounds. They were discovered in a field near the St Francois River by M. Ludger Soucy sometime early in this century.
At the time of the discovery the considerably weathered stones were covered with two lines of unknown script.
Professor Thomas Lee, a Laval University archaeologist deciphered the inscriptions. According to Professor Lee the Egyptian inscriptions were written in a Libyan script. Professor Lee said: “The Libyans would have been operating, in my opinion, out of Carthage, which was a Phoenician city at the time”.
He added saying the inscriptions suggest an ancient expedition reached the area after sailing up the St. Francis River, which flows into the St. Lawrence River, southwest of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
The inscriptions are written in a format called Boustrophedon, in which “you read the first line left to right and the next line right to left.”
Professor Howard Fell of the department of comparative zoology at Harvard University believed that the message was in Libyan from North Africa and translates as following: “Thus far, our expedition traveled in the service of Lord Hiram, to conquer land. This is the record of Hanta, attained the great river. And these words cut in stone.”
One inscription on the stone reads – “Expedition that crossed in the service of Lord Hiram to conquer territory.”
The other of the pair discovered together bears the inscription: “Record by Hata, who attained this limit on the river, moored his ship and engraved this rock.”
Despite the fact that Fell’s primary professional research included starfish and sea urchins, he is best known for his controversial work in New World epigraphy, arguing that various inscriptions in the Americas are best explained by extensive pre-Columbian contact with Old World civilizations.
Professor Fell’s work was—unsurprisingly—rejected by most mainstream scholars who firmly reject the notion that African explorers arrived in the American continent around 2,500 years ago.
Professor Fell also said that he believes that the reference found in ancient African inscriptions, “barabarous lands at the end of the world”, definitely describe the Americas. He said evidence supporting an earlier discovery of the Americas than that of the Vikings has also been found in Spain and North Africa.
In his opinion, the people who left the stones made “at least two” expeditions, including one to the Yucatan area of Mexico. He even said, that one stone found there “gives the area its name.
Ancient history of North America is still shrouded in mystery. Historians, archaeologists and other scientists keep debating who really discovered North America and we have many reasons and plenty of evidence to say Christopher Columbus and the Vikings were by no means the first foreigners who discovered the continent.
Some scholars agree that ancient Egyptians and Africans visited America long before Columbus and the Vikings. The controversial Davenport and Pontotoc stele are two artifacts that may prove presence of ancient Egyptians and Africans in America. The Davenport Stele was unearthed in a burial mound in 1877 in Iowa. It contains a carving of “Opening of the Mouth Ceremony” which is of Nubian/Egyptian origin. Dr. Barry Fell, a Harvard scholar with an avocation for ancient writings, said the following: Egyptian and Libyan explorers had sailed up the Mississippi River and left the written stone tablet, the Davenport Stele.
According to Professor Fell, the Davenport Stele contains a “trilingual text” in the Egyptian, Iberian-Punic, and Libyan languages. “This stele, long condemned as a meaningless forgery, is in fact one of the most important steles ever discovered,” wrote Professor Fell in his book America B. C. – Ancient Settlers in the New World.
Professor Fell surmised that the Davenport Stele dates back to the Twenty-second, or Libyan, Dynasty of the Egyptian empire, “a period of overseas exploration.”
On one side of the artifact there are carvings of Egyptian writing and the depiction of an ancient Egyptianfestival. On the other side there is a picture of two Egyptian obelisks, a pyramid and African animals.
In the book, The First Americans Were Africans: Documented Evidence, Dr. David Imhotep writes that “the religious similarities here are numerous and sometimes not only similar, but identical to the Djed Festival of ancient Egypt. This ceremony traces back, however, before Egypt to Nubia because the Egyptian God Osiris is part of the ceremony. This means the Djed Festival predates even Egypt.”
The Pontotoc Stele is considered to be the work of an early Iberian colonist in America, as the script is that known otherwise from the Cachao-da-Rapa region in northern Portugal. It depicts the life-giving rays of the sun descending upon the earth beneath.
If we can imagine that Viking visited America in ancient times, why should Phoenicians, Libyans, Egyptians or other sailing cultures do the same?
To the amazement of archeologists and researchers, in 1992, a German researcher who was performing tests on Ancient Egyptian mummies found traces of hashish, tobacco, and cocaine in the hair skin and bones of Ancient Egyptian Mummies. Tobacco and cocaine were plants that only grew in the ‘New World’, at the time of mummification. So just how did these exotic narcotics arrive in ancient Egypt before the ‘New World’ was found? (Source) This crucial piece of evidence proves that not only were ancient civilizations interconnected in the distant past, elaborate trade routes were established thousands of years ago. This is why it isn’t that difficult to believe that there are Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in Australia and that people of ancient India knew of modern-day England and called it “the Island of the White Cliffs”. Their Vishnu Purana describes, to the amazement of many, parts of Europe, the Americas and even the North Polar Zones on our planet.
While this is a heavily criticized subject, there is evidence that suggests that in the 1900’s, researchers belonging to the Smithsonian institute stumbled across ancient Egyptian artifacts deep within the Grand Canyon.
According to an article published by the Arizona Gazette, the discovery of a series of mysterious caves and artifacts in the Marble Canyon region of the Gand Canyon would forever change our history. The report claimed that two Smithsonian-funded researchers Prof. S. A. Jordan and G.E. Kinkaid were responsible for the groundbreaking discovery:
The article reads:
(D)iscoveries which almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with hieroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric people of North America, their ancient arts, who they were and whence they came, will be solved. Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages which staggers the wildest fancy of the fictionist.
But if the ancient Egyptians did, in fact, have the ability to organize large-scale trans-oceanic voyages, would we have found more evidence of their travels?
Well, we have, it’s just that mainstream scholars firmly oppose the discoveries while tagging them as elaborate hoaxes.
According to an intriguing set of glyphs located in Australia, ancient Egyptian Sailors traveled to modern-day Australia thousands of years ago, proving that the ancient Egyptian civilizations had the capability of large-scale trans-oceanic travel.
While the mysterious glyphs, known as the Gosford Glyphs, are considered as a hoax by mainstream scholars, many people believe that the Gosford Glyphs are just one of the many pieces which point towards Ancient Egyptian large-scale oceanic voyages.
As we have reported in previous articles, the most interesting part about the Gosford Glyphs is their writing style. According to local residents that have had the opportunity to see and study these hieroglyphs, they appear extremely ancient and are written in the archaic style of the early dynasties, a style that has been studied very little and is untranslatable by most Egyptologists.
However, Egyptologists like Mohamed Ibrahim and Khemit School Co-Director Yousef Abd’el Hakim Awyan (who has studied ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs his entire life) (source) were able to decipher the enigma.
Mohamed Ibrahim and Yousef Abd’el Hakim Awyan worked with a group of people in order to translate the mysterious engravings. The result? Well, not only are the mysterious Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in Australia authentic, the scribes accurately used several ancient hieroglyphs and ‘grammatical’ variations which, crucially, were not even documented in Egyptian hieroglyphic texts until 2012.
As you can see, there are numerous pieces of evidence which support the idea that ancient Egyptians had the ability of trans-oceanic voyages in the distant past, leaving behind clues that researchers today are finally picking up.
There have been many instances of archaeologists discovering skulls and skeletons that they believed clearly belonged to people of African descent. Polish professor Andrzej Wiercinski revealed the discovery of African skulls at Olmec sites in Tlatilco, Cerro de las Mesas and Monte Alban. Even more ancient African skeletons that would clearly predate Columbus’ arrival in the Americas were discovered throughout Central America and South America with some even being unearthed in what is now California.
Christopher Columbus wasn’t the only European explorer who made note of an African presence in the Americas upon his arrival. Historians revealed that at least a dozen other explorers, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa, also made record of seeing “Negroes” when they reached the New World. The accounts match up with the reports from the natives in Mexico. Nicholas Leon, an eminent Mexican authority, recorded the oral traditions of his people and ultimately kept track of a key piece of evidence that Black people made it to the New World far before their European counterparts. His reports revealed accounts from natives saying “the oldest inhabitants of Mexico
were blacks. [T]he existence of blacks and giants is commonly believed by nearly all the races of our sail and in their various language they had words to designate them.”
Some people insist that Africans couldn’t have made it to the New World first simply because they didn’t have the skill and resources to sail across the Atlantic. As it turns out, that’s completely false. Historians have discovered evidence that suggests Africans were masters at building ships and that it was actually a part of their tradition. Shipbuilding and sailing are over 20,000 years old in the Sahara, and cave wall paintings of ancient ships were displayed
In National Geographic magazine years ago. With those shipbuilding skills and the navigation skills that were noted by other historians of the time, the myth that Africans wouldn’t have been able to sail to the New World becomes officially debunked. As Dr. Julian Whitewright, amaritime archaeologist at the University of Southampton, explained, the voyage from Africa on ancient ships was “quite a plausible undertaking, based on the capabilities of the vessel of the period and historical material stating it took place.”
The Olmec civilization was the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica and deemed “Mother Culture of Mexico” by some historians. This civilization dominated by Africans is best known for the colossal carved heads in Central Mexico that serve as even more evidence that Africans sailed to the New World before Columbus. The heads are clearly crafted in the likeness of Africans. The same civilization that created these giant heads was also responsible for introducing written language, arts, sophisticated astronomy and mathematics to Mesoamerican civilization, ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima explained.
According to Paul Alfred Barton, the author of “A History of the African-Olmecs: Black Civilizations of America from Prehistoric Times to the Present Era,” ancient kingdoms in West Africa have a long history of trade by sail, which made it all the more likely that they eventually expanded their trade to the Americas. While the Sahara is a dry desert today, its past as a lake- filled, wet and fertile place has been well-documented. African ships often crossed these large lakes to get from place to place and traded with other African civilizations along the way. After expanding their trade to the Americas, they certainly made their mark as things like African native cotton were soon being discovered all across North America.
One of the first documented instances of Africans sailing and settling in the Americas were black Egyptians led by King Ramses III, during the 19th dynasty in 1292 BC. In fact, in 445 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ great seafaring and navigational skills.
In 1311 AD, another major wave of African exploration to the New World was led by King Abubakari II, the ruler of the fourteenth century Mali Empire, which was larger than the Holy Roman Empire. The king sent out 200 ships of men, and 200 ships of trade material, crops, animals, cloth and crucially African knowledge of astronomy, religion and the arts.
African explorers crossing the vast Atlantic waters in primitive boats may seem unlikely, or perhaps, far fetched to some. Such incredible nautical achievements are not as daunting as they seem, given that numerous successful modern attempts have illustrated that without an oar, rudder or sail ancient African boats, including the “dug-out,” would certainly have been able to cross the vast ocean in a matter of weeks.
As time allows us to drift further and further away from the “European age of exploration” and we move beyond an age of racial intellectual prejudice, historians are beginning to recognize that Africans were skilled navigators long before Europeans, contrary to popular belief.
Of course, some Western historians continue to refute this fact because, consciously or unconsciously, they are still hanging on to the 19th-century notion that seafaring was a European monopoly.
After all, history will tell you that seafaring is the quintessential European achievement, the single endeavor of which Europeans are awfully proud. Seafaring allowed Europe to conquer the world. The notion that black Africans braved the roaring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beat Europeans to the New World threatens a historically white sense of ownership over the seas.
As an end, I’m going to tell you the The Legend, of How Mansa Abu Bakr II, of The Mali Empire, gave up the Throne to Explore the Atlantic Ocean, and eventually, reach the shores of America.
Mansa (meaning king, emperor or sultan) Abu Bakr II was a 14th century ruler of the Mali Empire in West Africa. This period of time, i.e. the 14th century, was a time when the Mali Empire had reached its pinnacle. In this period, The Mali Empire was even bigger then the Holy Roman Empire. The empire’s peace and stability may have allowed a rather bizarre episode in Abu Bakr’s reign to take place. According to Syrian historian, al-Umari (who met Musa in Cairo) the Malian ruler’s predecessor had abdicated his throne so that he could explore the Atlantic Ocean.
Very little is known about the life of Abu Bakr, and the only known written account about him at present may be found in the work of al-Umari. It may be interesting to note that this account of Abu Bakr comes from the mouth of his successor, Musa, and seems to be an explanation of how the latter came to power. One English translation of al-Umari’s conversation with Musa is as follows,
“So Abubakar equipped 200 ships filled with men and the same number equipped with gold, water, and provisions, enough to last them for years…they departed and a long time passed before anyone came back. Then one ship returned and we asked the captain what news they brought.
He said, ‘Yes, Oh Sultan, we travelled for a long time until there appeared in the open sea a river with a powerful current…the other ships went on ahead, but when they reached that place, they did not return and no more was seen of them…As for me, I went about at once and did not enter the river.’
The Sultan got ready 2,000 ships, 1,000 for himself and the men whom he took with him, and 1,000 for water and provisions. He left me to deputies for him and embarked on the Atlantic Ocean with his men. That was the last we saw of him and all those who were with him.
And so, I became king in my own right.”
Whilst the aim of this story was to explain the way in which Musa gained the throne of the Mali Empire, heralding the beginning of a new lineage of rulers, there seems to be much more focus in modern times on the actions of Abu Bakr.
If the words of Musa and al-Umari are to be taken as reliable (this tale is not found in any other African or Arabic source, with the exception, perhaps, of oral tradition), then the Mansa’s abdication and subsequent voyage into the Atlantic Ocean may be considered as events that actually took place.
Yet, there are those who are not content to stop where al-Umari’s narrative ends, and have extrapolated the tale. Instead of merely sailing ‘on’ the Atlantic Ocean, Abu Bakr is speculated to have sailed ‘across’ this body of water, and even reached the Americas. Evidence that seem to support such claims have even been presented.
Place names on old maps, for example, are said to show that Abu Bakr and his men had landed in the New World. The Malians are claimed to have named certain places after themselves, such as Mandinga Port, Mandinga Bay and Sierre de Mali. The exact locations of such sites, however, are unclear, as one source states that these places are in Haiti, whilst another puts them in the region of Mexico.
Another common argument is that metal goods from West Africa were discovered by Columbus when he arrived in the Americas. One source claims that Columbus himself reported that he had obtained metal goods of West African origin from the Native Americans. Another source asserts that chemical analyses of gold tips found by Columbus on spears in the Americas showed that the gold probably came from West Africa.
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