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. 11/12 20:02

    Survey: Greeks rank as the 4th most religious people in Europe

  2. 11/12 19:54

    Students from Panama learn Greek language and plan to visit Greece

  3. 11/12 19:42

    First Greek lending library opens with huge success in London

  4. 11/12 19:29

    "Women in Diplomacy and Public Life" event organized in Athens

  5. 11/12 19:23

    Religious Tourism: Nativity Church renovation lifts Christmas spirit in Bethlehem

  6. 11/12 19:14

    Chinese buyers leading Greek real estate boom

  7. 11/12 19:05

    Building permits value soars due to large-scale projects in Cyprus

  8. 11/12 18:14

    Internationally famed Greek dancer at Thessaloniki’s Vassiliko Theater (video)

  9. 11/12 18:03

    Greek literary masterpiece “My Mother’s Sin” presented for first time in English

  10. 11/12 15:55

    Υellow vests: Tourists cancel Paris hotel Christmas bookings due to violent protests

  11. 11/12 15:13

    Historic Tourism: Bactria, the Ancient Greek State in Afghanistan

  12. 11/12 15:04

    Greek academics call for private universities to be recognized in country

  13. 11/12 14:58

    Greek airports among Europe's top-7 in passenger traffic

  14. 11/12 14:33

    Greek farmers from Thessaly exhibit a sexy side in new calendar

  15. 11/12 13:52

    Athens University of Agriculture gives EU Commissioner honorary doctorate

  16. 11/12 13:42

    10 finalists in 1st UNWTO-Globalia Tourism Startup Competition announced

  17. 11/12 13:21

    Funding approved for four new Ionian island water airports in Greece

  18. 11/12 11:16

    Corporate bonds put on hold in Greece until market turmoil eases off

  19. 11/12 01:53

    Christmas celebrations at the National Observatory of Athens

  20. 11/12 01:47

    Anti-fascist film festival commences at Studio cinema in Athens today

  21. 10/12 23:49

    Greek trade deficit declines in October as exports continue to grow

  22. 10/12 22:36

    Greek architects present "smart" hotel room at 5th Athens International Tourism Expo

  23. 10/12 22:31

    Magical night of Broadway classics at the SNFCC in Athens

  24. 10/12 20:26

    Greek President inaugurates Athena Center for Science and Technology

  25. 10/12 18:36

    Infrastructure investment: ERGOSE's new-generation railway projects in Greece

  26. 10/12 17:26

    Winter tourism: Arachova, Greece’s top skiing destination

  27. 10/12 16:19

    Welt: One in every two new LNG ship orders by Greek companies

  28. 10/12 15:09

    EU Commission's Costello urges Greece to conclude privatizations and reforms

  29. 10/12 14:10

    Last Greeks of Alexandria strive to keep their historic community alive

  30. 10/12 13:58

    Prime Minister at NY Forum: Greece is a safe investment destination

  31. 09/12 13:35

    Unique experiences at Athens Museum of Illusions on central Ermou Street

  32. 09/12 13:32

    2018 Global Migration Film Festival in Cyprus honouring migrants

  33. 09/12 13:19

    Greek island of Kea pays tribute to American archaeologist Miriam Caskey

  34. 09/12 13:11

    Cosco eyes separating draft master plan for Piraeus port to speed up process

  35. 09/12 13:05

    Nicosia advises Cyprus citizens on 'yellow vests' riots across France

  36. 09/12 12:55

    'Right-of-use' extending into decades for illegally built structures in Greek forests

  37. 09/12 12:45

    EBRD: TAP pipeline a great opportunity to give up use of coal in Greece

  38. 09/12 12:36

    New York City taxi board sets minimum pay for app-based drivers

  39. 09/12 12:36

    Greek top-500 companies generated impressive profits in 2017

  40. 09/12 10:10

    Greek doctors and hospital staff on work stoppage between 11:00-15:00 on Monday

  41. 08/12 13:45

    Island of Corfu to host International Open Chess Festival at Easter

  42. 08/12 13:37

    Holiday season festivities guide: Celebrating Christmas in Athens

  43. 08/12 12:51

    Daily Mail dream job report: Get paid 90,000 euros to travel

  44. 08/12 12:45

    Foreign Minister Lavrov: New starting point in Greek-Russian relations

  45. 08/12 12:34

    Three Greek hotels voted best in the world at Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) competition

  46. 08/12 12:25

    Draft law on thematic tourism approved in Greek parliament

  47. 08/12 12:04

    President Putin: Record one million Russian tourists to visit Greece in 2019 (video)

  48. 08/12 11:56

    Ryanair launches new Thessaloniki – Krakow route in summer 2019

  49. 08/12 11:02

    Alitalia accepts purchase offer from Italian State Railways (FS)

  50. 08/12 10:54

    Bronze age finds from excavations at Agios Sozomenos- Ampelia and Nikolides sites

  51. 07/12 18:04

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Cyprus to spread Christmas spirit

  52. 07/12 17:57

    Construction works for Kasteli Airport in Crete to commence in January 2019

  53. 07/12 17:50

    First e-charging of commercial vessel at Greek port of Kyllini this month

  54. 07/12 17:45

    Commercial property prices grow by 3.5% in Greece during H1 of 2018

  55. 07/12 17:13

    Media report: Thousands of Turks flee Erdogan’s purge by seeking asylum in Greece

  56. 07/12 16:24

    Large-scale infrastructure projects to be delivered across Greece by 2021

  57. 07/12 15:20

    Trolleys to hold 3-hour work stoppage in Athens on December 12

  58. 07/12 14:00

    Unemployment in Greece drops further to 18.6% in September year on year

  59. 07/12 12:53

    Greek PM promises to upgrade infrastructure in islands

  60. 07/12 10:45

    OTE presents Greece's first pilot 5G network in Athens suburb of Zografou

  61. 06/12 22:35

    Welcome the New Year in Athens at SNFCC’s First Run 2019

  62. 06/12 22:31

    City of Athens turns into Christmas city of angels during holiday season

  63. 06/12 22:20

    Getty Museum vows to assert its right to keep prized Greek statue

  64. 06/12 22:07

    Greece unveils new draft law on attracting strategic investments

  65. 06/12 21:16

    Greece sets terms and conditions for casino licensing and operations

  66. 06/12 21:08

    Aegean Airways signs preliminary deal to purchase Pratt & Whitney engines

  67. 06/12 21:01

    Greek Minister: PM's meetings will confirm Greece's good relations with Russia

  68. 06/12 20:24

    Daily Mail: Danish family books Airbnb house which turns out to be a brothel

  69. 06/12 19:43

    Greek PM to meet with Putin and Medvedev at visit in Moscow on Friday

  70. 06/12 19:33

    Outdoor activities tourism: Greece voted 3rd destination in the world for summer 2018

  71. 06/12 19:27

    10th Honey and Bee Products festival opens in Athens on Friday

  72. 06/12 18:01

    Research Institute: Supermarket prices significantly lower in Greece

  73. 06/12 17:59

    Union of Greek Shipowners announces joining Arctic Economic Council (AEC)

  74. 06/12 17:41

    South Australia to celebrate all things Greek at Semaphore Beach in Adelaide

  75. 06/12 17:24

    Infographic: Global 5G smartphone adoption to take off in 2021

  76. 06/12 17:14

    Panepistimio metro station in central Athens closes again due to rallies

  77. 06/12 16:15

    Reuters report: EBRD approves extension of mandate in Greece until 2025

  78. 06/12 14:06

    AHFWPA marks 125 years of Greek presence in Pittsburgh

  79. 06/12 12:56

    Ambassador Pyatt: US capital market will support Greek enterprises

  80. 06/12 10:34

    Diaspora report: 15 things all Greek-Americans experience growing up

  81. 05/12 22:10

    City Breaks: Three Greek entries among World’s Top City Destinations in 2018

  82. 05/12 22:00

    Itinerary fixed for Greek PM's visit to Moscow on Friday

  83. 05/12 21:55

    Jurij Subic exhibition opens on Wednesday in Athens

  84. 05/12 21:50

    Marine tourism professionals in Greece await governmental decision on VAT imposition

  85. 05/12 21:42

    Extension of Antikythera Shipwreck exhibition at the Forbidden City approved

  86. 05/12 20:41

    SETE workshop to boost wine tourism across Greece

  87. 05/12 20:36

    Tourist arrivals and departures show increase in Cyprus during October

  88. 05/12 20:30

    Elgin’s descendant claims Athens Acropolis Marbles were a gift

  89. 05/12 19:54

    Athens' top-5 museums with nice cafes

  90. 05/12 18:55

    Greece to suspend implementation of 15% capital tax on property transactions

  91. 05/12 18:26

    Island of Corfu clinches best European Film Location Award for 2018

  92. 05/12 16:20

    Greek passport among the ten most powerful in the planet

  93. 05/12 16:13

    Bureau Veritas' 29th marine technical committee meeting in Greek port of Piraeus

  94. 05/12 14:01

    UNWTO/UNESCO: Cultural tourism supports communities and living heritage

  95. 05/12 12:50

    IATA: Air freight records modest growth in October by 3.1%

  96. 05/12 10:32

    Greek youngster creates new world with “Playmogreek” dolls

  97. 04/12 20:39

    City Break report: Pangrati, a hip neighbourhood in Athens is born

  98. 04/12 20:36

    Hellenistic and Byzantine Jewelry at New York Met Museum exhibition

  99. 04/12 20:26

    Cretan olive oil fetches price of €1,020 per liter at Dutch auction

  100. 04/12 20:21

    Eurozone to pressure Greece over 'bad debt' and main residences protection