Theory: Ancient Phoenicians were the first to discover the Americas

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Theory: Ancient Phoenicians were the first to discover the AmericasThe fortunate Islands were a group of legendary islands mentioned by various ancient Greek writers

Among the many theories about which civilization first sailed to the Americas and discovered them, there is also the theory that the ancient Phoenicians were the first.

This theory became popular in the 18th century and is closely connected with the petroglyphs on Dighton Rock which are still of unknown origin. This theory is not quite as popular as the one that says that the Norse made the discovery first, but still, it is worth mentioning.

Back in the 18th century, a lot of scholars started to offer ideas about the true origin of the inscriptions on the rock. Ezra Stiles, a theologian, author, and also the seventh President of Yale College, claimed that the inscriptions are in Hebrew. Antoine Court de Gébelin, who is mainly known for the popularization of the Tarot, had his own idea about the rock. He believed that the inscription was made by Carthaginian sailors who commemorated their journey to the shores of Massachusetts.

In the 19th century, the theory that a group of Israelite people visited the New World was widely adopted in the Mormon community.

Later, Ross T. Christensen, an American archeologist, speculated that the Mulekites, who are mentioned in the Book of Mormon, were probably of Phoenician ethnic origin.

Stone tablet with inscription

The Phoenician theory is also supported in a book written in 1871, by John Denison Baldwin, an American anthropologist. In Ancient America, Baldwin wrote,

“The known enterprise of the Phoenician race, and this ancient knowledge of America, so variously expressed, strongly encourage the hypothesis that the people called Phoenicians came to this continent, established colonies in the region where ruined cities are found, and filled it with civilized life. It is argued that they made voyages on the ‘great exterior ocean,’ and that such navigators must have crossed the Atlantic; and it is added that symbolic devices similar to those of the Phoenicians are found in the American ruins, and that an old tradition of the native Mexicans and Central Americans described the first civilizers as ‘bearded white men,’ who ‘came from the East in ships’.”

A stone tablet with an inscription that was supposed to be of Phoenician origin appeared in Brazil in the 1870s. The tablet was given to Ladislau de Souza Mello Netto, who was the director of the National Museum of Brazil at that time, and he immediately acknowledged the artifact as genuine. The inscription allegedly told the story of some Sidonian Canaanites who visited the shore of Brazil. It was later discovered that the symbols that appear on the tablet were variations of letters that appeared in different periods over a span of 800 years. It was impossible for all the letters to appear on the same tablet at the same time, so the artifact and the inscription were dismissed as fake.

In the 20th century, a few new artifacts appeared that again spiked the theory of Phoenician or Semitic discovery. One of these artifacts was the Bat Creek inscription. Cyrus Herzl Gordon, Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages expert, believed that the inscription of this tablet was in Paleo-Hebrew. Gordon thought that this was proof that Semitic people visited the continent prior to Columbus. Later, the Bat Creek inscription, together with another artifact called the Las Lunas Decalogue Stone, were proven to be forgeries and Gordon’s claim was dismissed.

Phoenician sailors visited the Americas 

In 1996, Mark McMenamin, an American paleontologist, speculated that Phoenician sailors visited the Americas around 350 BC. He based his theory on some gold stater coins that were allegedly made by the state of Carthage. On the back of the coins was a map of the Mediterranean and another land on the west, across the Atlantic. McMenamin interpreted that land as the Americas but later discovered that those coins were actually a modern forgery.

Another form of written evidence that slightly goes in favor of the arrival of Phoenicians in the Americas can be found in Ptolemy’s Geography. Lucio Russo, an Italian physicist, mathematician, and historian of science, analyzed Ptolemy’s book and noticed that he gives the coordinates of the Fortunate Isles.

The fortunate Islands were a group of legendary islands mentioned by various ancient Greek writers. Russo also noticed that the size of the world in Ptolemy’s Geography is smaller than what Eratosthenes measured. After he gave the same coordinates of the Fortunate Islands to the Antilles, the map irregularities in Ptolemy’s descriptions disappeared. According to Russo, Ptolemy could have known about the Antilles from his source, Hipparcos, who lived in Rhodes. It is possible that Hipparcos heard about the Antilles from Phoenicians sailors who controlled the western Mediterranean in those days. This is a far-fetched idea, but still, an interesting one.

Modern-day scholars

Most of the modern-day scholars deny the idea that Phoenicians, Canaanites, or Carthaginians discovered the Americas first.

Ronald H. Fritze, an American historian, says that although it was technically possible for those people to reach the Americas, it probably never happened:

“No archaeological evidence has yet been discovered to prove the contentions of Irwin, Gordon, Bailey, Fell and others. Since even the fleeting Norse presence in Vinland left definite archaeological remains at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, it seems logical that the allegedly more extensive Phoenician and Carthaginian presence would have left similar evidence. The absence of such remains is strong circumstantial evidence that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians never reached the Americas.”

Until some concrete evidence appears, this theory will remain only a fantasy.

Source:thevintagenews.com

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

Tornos
  1. 25/09 11:12

    Media report: Vegan campaign on Athens Metro gets mixed reactions

  2. 25/09 10:03

    Survival guide for culture tourists: Signs to historic places across Greece

  3. 25/09 03:08

    Paragliding: Chinese tourists land on Mount Olympus in Greece

  4. 25/09 02:59

    Greek Minister expects record investments in energy

  5. 25/09 02:52

    San Francisco Greek Film Festival between October 12-20

  6. 25/09 02:44

    Magical Patmos island cast in new light by attractive photo album

  7. 25/09 02:32

    History of Agios Georgios Sikousis of Chios island now in English

  8. 25/09 02:29

    Emirates: Exclusive Food and Wine channels for inflight entertainment

  9. 25/09 02:23

    Kapodistrian University of Athens launches 35 e-learning courses in English

  10. 25/09 01:12

    "3rd EU-Arab World Summit: Shared Horizons" in Athens on October 29-30

  11. 24/09 23:05

    British Airways: New route from London to island of Kos in summer 2019

  12. 24/09 23:04

    Ancient theatre of Eretria near Athens reopens after 40 years

  13. 24/09 19:12

    Cyrene, the stunning Ancient Greek City in Libya

  14. 24/09 18:59

    National Hellenic Student Association Fall Convention in NYC on October 12-14

  15. 24/09 17:49

    Brand strategist Peter Economides: Greece is full of treasures

  16. 24/09 15:33

    A Greek man elected as the “most travelled person in the world”

  17. 24/09 14:28

    The sweetest accommodation in the world: Chocolate farmhouse in France

  18. 24/09 12:21

    Ouzo favorite Greek drink in Holland

  19. 23/09 22:59

    Fastest speedboat in the planet routed in Greek islands of Cyclades (video)

  20. 23/09 22:13

    Athens hoteliers blame 'Airbnb-style' stayovers for marginal hike in vacancy rate

  21. 23/09 20:08

    'The Durrells' producer Christopher Hall on filming in Corfu island and cash rebates

  22. 23/09 18:04

    Fraport Greece: Fee rises next year at three upgraded airports

  23. 23/09 14:35

    Athens Flying Week 2018 amazes with spectacular array of performers (video)

  24. 23/09 12:27

    New Muscat-Athens route by Oman Air in 2019

  25. 23/09 10:49

    Early Christian finds above Ancient Pagan Temple at Paphos-Toumballos in Cyprus

  26. 23/09 00:44

    Weather Forecast: Greek summer comes to a halt next week

  27. 22/09 01:04

    25th Greek-Serbian and Pan-Orthodox Day in New South Wales

  28. 21/09 19:07

    Tourism Tradition: Philoxenia, the ancient roots of Greek hospitality

  29. 21/09 18:53

    Australia’s first recording of hymns from Greek Orthodox tradition released again

  30. 21/09 18:48

    Greek souvlaki joint in Astoria finalist in the 14th Annual Vendy Awards

  31. 21/09 18:35

    Religious Tourism: Miraculous church of Panagia Plataniotissa in Kalavryta

  32. 21/09 15:05

    Greek tourism revenues grow by 17% during first seven months of 2018

  33. 21/09 14:56

    Greek archaeologists accuse government of planning to sell historical sites

  34. 21/09 14:51

    Vivartia announces growth strategy through presence in top tourism spots

  35. 21/09 14:45

    Jewelry exhibition by 34 artists in Athens until October 6

  36. 21/09 14:41

    Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center Renovations funded by Onassis Foundation (video)

  37. 21/09 14:34

    DEAFestival in downtown Athens between September 21-24

  38. 21/09 14:27

    The first Pinball Museum has opened in central Athens

  39. 21/09 13:08

    Brazilian artist Luiz Veloso exhibition in Athens until November 2

  40. 21/09 12:46

    Reworks Festival in Thessaloniki between September 20-23

  41. 21/09 11:40

    Greek Tourism Minister Kountoura concludes visit to Korea

  42. 21/09 10:55

    First Islamic Mosque in downtown Athens nears completion

  43. 20/09 16:30

    Congress in Italy pays homage to "Magna Greece"

  44. 20/09 16:21

    Research: Only Greek yogurt passes the ‘low sugar’ test

  45. 20/09 16:16

    Fraport Hellas presents plan for new airport in Thessaloniki (video)

  46. 20/09 16:04

    Dozens of traditional boats mark Greece’s seafaring heritage in Paros island

  47. 20/09 15:31

    Dozens of Turkish airport workers jailed after protesting over deadly working environment

  48. 20/09 14:55

    Greek diet promoted at Mediterranean Health Expo in Australia

  49. 20/09 14:42

    ‘Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi’ work of art displayed at the Met in New York

  50. 20/09 14:26

    Travel Guide: Rhodes, the Greek Island of Wonders in the Dodecanese

  51. 20/09 14:20

    Μinoan Lines repays syndicated bond loan worth €139.3 million euros

  52. 20/09 14:11

    Visit Greece: Chios, a mastic-scented island with fascinating history

  53. 20/09 13:13

    Survey: Athens is an established holiday destination - the profile of its tourists

  54. 20/09 12:49

    Travel report: Exploring Chania, Greece’s leading summer destination in Crete

  55. 20/09 12:12

    Moralis retrospective exhibition at Benaki Museum of Athens

  56. 20/09 12:00

    Cuba welcomes Greek Cinema Festival after 4 years

  57. 20/09 11:40

    IranHotels.com application online booking website and android app launched

  58. 20/09 10:18

    Final pilot of SENSKIN infrastructure sensor on Egnatia Motorway bridge this Friday

  59. 20/09 09:47

    Survey: 45% of young Greek migrants living abroad want to return back home

  60. 19/09 23:33

    Trivago business report: The top Hotel amenities to attract every type of traveler

  61. 19/09 23:27

    Enterprise Greece: Foreign investors have their eyes on tourism infrastructure

  62. 19/09 23:14

    Athens Animation Agora to take place this weekend at Onassis Foundation

  63. 19/09 23:06

    Athens University Medical School in top 150 NTU global rankings

  64. 19/09 22:57

    Greek and Qatari foreign ministers agree to enhance bilateral cooperation

  65. 19/09 22:49

    Condé Nast International to launch Vogue Greece edition

  66. 19/09 20:31

    ‘Polyxeni’ film submitted for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

  67. 19/09 20:01

    New York University plants roots in Greece with Athens Center

  68. 19/09 19:25

    First private High School specializing on maritime education on Greek island of Hios

  69. 19/09 18:17

    WindEurope: Greek wind power to achieve a 50% surge by 2022

  70. 19/09 18:11

    Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria to air on September 26 on WNET Channel 13

  71. 19/09 17:10

    Piraeus port council approves energy program for street lighting

  72. 19/09 16:20

    English rock band The Cure to perform in Greece after 14 years (video)

  73. 19/09 15:55

    TRAINOSE aims to make the railway top choice for Athens-Thessaloniki transport

  74. 19/09 14:45

    Greek-American Pulitzer Prize winning author Jeffrey Eugenides to visit Greece

  75. 19/09 13:43

    Attica Region launches new and improved website for visitors of Athens

  76. 19/09 13:29

    Grace Santorini and Fouka Bay win MR&H Top Mediterranean Resort Award 2018

  77. 19/09 12:34

    Real estate report: Abandonded shack on Greek island of Skopelos sold for € 1 million

  78. 19/09 10:24

    Subsidies for unleaded petrol and diesel on Greek islands to start in October

  79. 18/09 23:08

    Deadline to register income and properties from 'Airbnb' style rentals in Greece

  80. 18/09 22:58

    Nammos beach bar on Greek island of Mykonos expands to Dubai

  81. 18/09 22:48

    Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey says “Greece is Paradise” (video)

  82. 18/09 22:18

    Turkish Airlines marks 85th anniversary with new cabin crew uniform

  83. 18/09 22:11

    Impressive Russian frigate docks at Greek island of Poros (video)

  84. 18/09 21:52

    8,9% more Cypriot residents travelled abroad this August

  85. 18/09 21:31

    Record tourist arrivals in Cyprus during August 2018

  86. 18/09 21:04

    8 top reasons to add Greek yogurt to your daily diet

  87. 18/09 20:46

    First underwater gallery on "Big Blue" Amorgos island

  88. 18/09 18:38

    Eros Ramazzotti show in Athens Riviera on September 27

  89. 18/09 17:50

    Traditional Boat Regatta on Greek island of Chios enchants spectators (video)

  90. 18/09 16:02

    Federation of Business Information Service AGM and conference in Athens

  91. 18/09 15:52

    Marketing Greece: New campaign showcasing the beauty of Crete island

  92. 18/09 15:21

    Standard & Poor’s raises again Cyprus into Investment Grade

  93. 18/09 15:16

    Homage to renowned Greek artist Halepas in Athens until October 13

  94. 18/09 14:38

    New UNWTO Report assists cities manage impact of overtourism

  95. 18/09 13:07

    Greek Deputy Foreign Minister meets with Canadian ambassador Dion

  96. 18/09 12:56

    Leonard Cohen tribute at Athens Concert Hall on September 21

  97. 18/09 11:47

    Greece and Russia celebrate 190 years of diplomatic ties

  98. 18/09 10:18

    "Face Forward" interactive art project on Crete island until October 14

  99. 17/09 23:04

    Greek Tourism Minister meets South Korean counterpart

  100. 17/09 22:54

    Egnatia motorway, Alexandroupolis and Kavala ports on Greek privatization agency's priority list