- Dec 2015
Before the 13th Century, did any Groups establish lands or contacts in North or South America? This could from example the Roman Empire, Persian Empire, or any Dynasty from China , or any groups folks can think of.
Al-Idrisi's account is well known, at least in Portugal and even in Spain, but he isn’t clearly talking about America. Probably as you say is about the Macaronesian islands, or Canary Islands more specifically, since the others were uninhabited. But, if we are talking about the Canary Islands, the existence of an Arabic translator that also demonstrates that there were more contact than we know.There're some accounts of Arab sailors departing from Lisbon which seem to describe Macaronesian islands and, furtherly, maybe America or Africa. They mix reality and fantasy in their descriptions
Al-Idrisi's Account of the Lisbon Wanderers
It was from Lisbon that the Maghrurin or Deluded Folk, left on an expedition to find out what the (Atlantic) ocean contains and its limits, as we have discussed above. There is still in Lisbon a street at the foot of the hot baths which bears the name of these Maghrurin.
These were eight in number, all related to one another as first cousins. They built a boat, fitted for ocean sailing and for the transport of a large amount of fresh water and provisions, and thus equipped for many months they set out from Lisbon with the first east wind. After eleven days they reached a sea, whose thick waters had a foetid smell, concealed numerous reefs, and were but faintly lighted. Fearing for their lives, they changed their course, and sailed to the south for twelve days more. In this way they reached an island which they found to be uninhabited, except by large flocks of sheep. Some of these they killed on landing, but they found the flesh so bitter that they could not eat it, and only took the skins. Some wild figs and a spring of fresh water were the only other things they remarked in the island, which they called Al Ghanam (‘the Isle of Sheep’). Again they sailed southwards for twelve days, and so came to another, dotted with houses and cultivated fields. They landed, and were at once surrounded, made prisoners, and carried in their own boats to a city on the sea shore. Here they were confined in a house, where they saw some of the inhabitants, men of tail stature and red color, with little body hair and wearing their hair long (not curly). Along with these were some women of great beauty. For three days they were left alone, but on the fourth day, the king’s interpreter came to them and questioned them in Arabic. Two days afterwards they were brought out of their prison and presented to the king, who asked them the same questions as the interpreter had done. Especially he wished to know what they wanted in his country. They replied that they were seeking out the wonders of the ocean and its limits.
That region of the world never having had recorded history, there might not be much way to tell either.Indigenous groups who lived on either side of the Bering Sea have had contact for centuries. There are even "Eskimos" living on both the Asian and North American sides: Siberian Yupik - Wikipedia
I can't tell you if it was already happening before the 13th century though. Might be something for you to look in to.
Archaeology would be one to look in to. Evidence of material culture from guys on the Siberian mainland making its way to the Alaskan islands/mainland, or visa versa. Also, local oral history might be able to at least tell whether Asian and American groups knew each other before or after the Whites showed up. Certainly by the time the Russians arrived (17th-18th century), there was contact between indigenous groups on both sides of the Bering Sea.That region of the world never having had recorded history, there might not be much way to tell either.
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