Compare the Evidence of a Nordic Presence in the Americas Before the Arrival of Columbus with the Evidence of a West African Presence During That Period.

Topics: Caribbean, Africa, Atlantic Ocean Pages: 5 (1665 words) Published: November 13, 2012
Compare the evidence of a Nordic presence in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus with the evidence of a West African presence during that period.
It has been said by historians that the Nordics and the West Africans were in the Americas before Columbus arrived in 1492. Though evidence, such as oral sagas, tracing routes which it was said they took, artifacts, skeletal remains, among others, have been found to prove that they could have been present; there are still debates as to whether or not they actually came to the Americas before Columbus. Some believe that the evidence of the presence of the Nordics is more admissible than that of the West Africans.

The Norse (also known as the Vikings) got their name from the language they spoke, ‘Old Norse’. They were originally from Scandinavian countries. It believed that they came to the new world for several reasons such as; the fact that it had a rich supply of salt to preserve their goods, they were explorers, the country they lived in, Greenland, soon became over populated and they experienced a great famine in 975. It is also believed that there was a political unrest between the cans in Northern Europe. There has been many pieces of evidence to support the theory that the Vikings were, in fact, present in the new world during the pre-columbian era. Some of the settements of the Vikings were found, still standing, such as ‘York’ and ‘Dublin’. There was not much written records on the Viking so most of their history was passed down orally through sagas, through which we first heard of their exploration into Europe and the Americas, there were two sagas which survived; these are the Greenlander’s Saga and The Saga of Erik the Red. The sagas claim that the Vikings interacted and traded with the native people that they found in the Americas. The sagas led to the finding of some substantial evidence such as the archaeological remains found in ‘Newfoundland’ and there it was discovered that there was a Viking settlement in the town called ‘L’Anse aux Meadows’, in this town historians discovered that the Vikings did travel further south into the Americas and explored the land they spoke of in their sagas, Vinland. When they ventured further down into Vinland historians discovered butternut wood and butternuts, which were not native to the area so it is believed that the Vikings brought it there from further south (lands surrounding the Gulf of St. Lawrence). Other artifacts such as architectural structures, woodworking items, boat rivets and personal items were found in the region, which historians dated back to about AD 1000 with the use of scientific method. Another hard piece of evidence found in ‘Vinland’ was a Norse coin which was found off the coast of Maine and was dated back to between AD1065-1080 which suggests that there was interaction of these people and the indigenous peoples. This gave historians physical evidence that coincided with the oral sagas. All this evidence pre-dates European arrival by as early as 500 years. It is also believed that the West Africans came to the New World centuries before the arrival of Columbus. Ivan Van Sertima is one of many who argue that West Africans made contact with the new World before Columbus. According to Sertima the Africans travelled from the African coast from the north to the west and crossed the Atlantic. According to the famous Egyptian Scholar, Ibn Fadi Al-Umari, in 1342, there were two large voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, before Columbus’ voyage, both of these voyages were pioneered by one man, Mansa (king) Abubakari II. In the year 1311, Abubakari abdicated his thrown to Mansa Musa. Not a son of his son but in fact his brother. He (Abubakari) equipped 1000 of his ships with the finest men, sorcerers, physicians, sailors and navigators. Every ship had supply ship attached to it. The number of ships totalled 2000. The other 1000 ships were loaded with foodstuffs, drugs, fruits and...
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