Before the 13th Century, did any Groups establish lands or contacts in North or South America?

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,794
USA
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.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,329
It wasn't like Rome, Persia, or China established an overseas empire. That wasn't possible with the technology etc. of the times.

There are all sorts of theories about contact from Europe, Asia, and Polynesia. There are also theories about native Americans arriving in other locations.

It seems likely that some stray ships got blown off course and landed in the New World. After the Vikings arrived in Canada, there may have been fishing off of Canada and / or trade with native Americans in those areas.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,877
Portugal
Apart from the pre-Colombian Indians (not from India) and the Norsemen, we only have hypothesis and speculations. Some already raised here in recent threads.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,087
Canary Islands-Spain
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.
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,877
Portugal
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.
...
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.
 
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Oct 2017
243
America ??
I wonder why there wasn’t much, more like barely any, contact between South America & Africa? I’m guessing no one along their shores developed maritime technology advanced enough to do so, that’s more than reasonable to assume since the Atlantic is a major ocean, that very few people developed interocean technology, & that no one had any idea what the earth is & where they were, but still, all time before the modern era is a damn long time to miss direct currents that take as little as less than a month to cross the narrowest part of the Atlantic, the closest points between the two hemispheres. This was the reason why Brazil received the most African slaves & has the largest population of African descent of any country, & why Portugal colonized/formed Angola. Africa being the birthplace of mankind, I’m sure West Africa has been populated even before modern humans evolved.
Luzia, the upper Paleolithic skull, has long been noted for its dissimilarity to typical Amerindian traits & its affinity towards African & Melanesian traits. It’s often been suggested that this skull may be of Melanesian descent. Do you think African rather than Melanesian descent may be a more reasonable hypothesis for this skull’s features?
 
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May 2019
138
Earth
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.
 
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Oct 2017
243
America ??
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.
That region of the world never having had recorded history, there might not be much way to tell either.
 
May 2019
138
Earth
That region of the world never having had recorded history, there might not be much way to tell either.
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.

The Yupik have had the maritime technology to island hop across that region for generations. Here's some info on their traditional boats: Yuungnaqpiallerput - The Way We Genuinely Live - Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival

Edit: The op might want to check these articles as a starting point. I can't vouch for their accuracy, but it might provide a lead or two to investigate:

Late Bering Strait Crossing Coincident with Pre-Columbian Trans-Pacific Crossings

Evidence of Pre-Columbus Trade Found in Alaska House

Old World metals were traded on Alaska coast several hundred years before contact with Europeans - Purdue University News
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,933
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
I say that the answer is yes.

I believe that Iceland is on two separate geological plates, and that the western part of Iceland could be considered to be part of North America according to plate tectonics. Iceland was settled during a period of several decades around AD 900 from Sandinavia and the British Isles.

Greenland is generally considered to be geographically part of North America. And it was settled by Norse from Iceland and Scandinavia about AD 985, which is more than 200 years before the 13th century began.

Geographically Greenland is a North American Island just as much as Newfoundland, Hispaniola, or Cuba are.

Therefor voyages between Europe and the North American island of Greenland between 985 and 1200 were just as much voyages to North or South America as voyages to the Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows on the North American Island of Newfoundland around AD 1000 would be, and just as much voyages to North or South America as voyages to the North American Islands of the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola were in the 1490s.
 
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