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Sorry Chris, the Vikings Were Here First

Sorry Chris, the Vikings Were Here First

There are probably diehards who think that Christopher Columbus was the first Westerner to discover the Americas, but the truth of the matter is that Vikings and Israelites got here first – and by centuries.

There are probably diehards who think that Christopher Columbus was the first Westerner to discover the Americas, but the truth of the matter is that Vikings and Israelites got here first – and by centuries.

A recent article in The Barnes Review substantiates the thesis that Viking explorers first set foot in America, though not on a formal sustained basis which characterized English colonies centuries later. In fact, material evidence indicates that Vikings were exploring America as early as the 10 the century.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who are aware of the legendary seafaring capabilities of the Scandinavians whose trading empire reached into Europe, Russia, North Africa and the Middle East. To make a trek to Greenland, when its climate was much milder than it is today, and then into Canada was part of the Norsemen’s ethos.

Not only did they establish settlements in eastern Canada, such as l’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, but they traversed the entire Northwest Passage to arrive in British Columbia where stone structures called cairns have been found confirming their presence as far south as Washington and Oregon.

These structures were odd constructions of stone piles built above the tree lines in coastal regions to aid navigation.

The most interesting region documented by the Vikings is a land called Vinland, said to be west of Greenland, and which historians had long assumed to be some part of the eastern Canadian seaboard. But this theory is not sustainable, especially given the fascinating evidence of the famous Yale University Library map drawn in 1440 which shows Vinland to be an island rather than a continental land mass.

A handful of scholars have argued that the land mass shown west of Greenland is in fact Vancouver Island whose shape matches that of the island shown on the Yale map. Given that material evidence of Viking presence in the region has been found in ample abundance, it is not even a leap of faith to suppose that this island is indeed Vinland.

In addition to the cairns, a helmet, pieces of chainmail, runic writings, and people with Scandinavian features have been found in sufficient abundance to give researchers confidence that Vikings had more than a passing interest in the western regions.

Archaeologists have amassed sufficient evidence to conclude that Vikings visited western Americas, said by them to be 90 days’ journey from Greenland, to conclude that the Norsemen were exploring and settling the Pacific Northwest as early as the 11th century.

Additional evidence reported, though not preserved, in the early 20the C. comes from site seers who discovered Viking boats in southern California and as far east as Arizona.

With all of these evidences, it seems more than reasonable to conclude that the adventurous and brave Vikings discovered not only Iceland, Greenland, and eastern Canada, but western Canada, the western USA, and perhaps even northern Mexico, points which would have readily stretched their supply lines, and thus explaining their sparse but evident footprint on the west coast.

But even these advances by the Scandinavians fail to appreciate the antiquity of Europeans on the American continent. John Keyser notes that The Popul Vuh -- the Quiche Mayan book of creation – describes a Wodin or Odin, King of Denmark, leading tribes of Canaanites to Mesoamerica after the Israelites had expelled them from the original land of Canaan. The interesting point is that these excursions into America occurred in the 10th C BC.

The New World, then in a sense, was never new. It had been discovered and rediscovered many times, oftentimes by Scandinavians, sometimes by others such as Phoenicians. Christopher Columbus was indeed a Johnny-come-lately.


Philip Rife, Viking Explorers in Ancient America, The Barnes Review, November/December 2016, accessed 12/23/2016

John D Keyser, What Happened to the Ancient Canaanites? Where Are They Today?, Hope of Israel, nd, accessed 12/23/2016

By Yale University Press - Yale University, from this website, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2698304




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