My stance on the possibility of West Africans REACHING the Americas

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,040
Portugal
There is no law in Brazil that prohibits archeology studys and discoveries or theories about pre-european contact,in reality there is a guy seling books here about vikings in Brazil or a archeologist that claims Brazil was fists populated by europeans and african neolitic peoples some 40.000 years, the prohibition is a internet legend of people that created the myth of the discovery of the Roman ship in the middle of Rio de Janeiro, and because they cant prove it, they moved to do what they love government conspirancy.
This is the usual problem when we talk about pre-Columbiam voyages, or in the case of Brazil pre-Cabral voyages. There are some guys that try to make some money with it, selling huge fantasies. From utter fantasy to possibility to historical established fact goes a wide range.

A Brazilian “authority”, the director of the Brazilian National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Landislau Netto, in 1874 published a copy of a Phoenician transcription revealed in a rock near Paraíba, in the North of Brazil. The inscription was considered a forgery by most of the Semitists, but in 1968 Cyrus H. Gordon tried to rehabilitate it without much success and today there are no much doubts that it is a forgery.

This kind of forgeries (apparently Landislau Netto was a victim here) give us more steps back than steps forward to try to know if there was really such voyages or if there were some random shipwrecks.
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,976
Brazil
This is the usual problem when we talk about pre-Columbiam voyages, or in the case of Brazil pre-Cabral voyages. There are some guys that try to make some money with it, selling huge fantasies. From utter fantasy to possibility to historical established fact goes a wide range.

A Brazilian “authority”, the director of the Brazilian National Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Landislau Netto, in 1874 published a copy of a Phoenician transcription revealed in a rock near Paraíba, in the North of Brazil. The inscription was considered a forgery by most of the Semitists, but in 1968 Cyrus H. Gordon tried to rehabilitate it without much success and today there are no much doubts that it is a forgery.

This kind of forgeries (apparently Landislau Netto was a victim here) give us more steps back than steps forward to try to know if there was really such voyages or if there were some random shipwrecks.
This internet lies sometimes, annoy me, people that never set foot here thinking they know more, the funny they say when the "Roman ship was discovered", Italy tried to make Brazil accept it, question why Italy dont teach it in his books.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,040
Portugal
There is no law in Brazil that prohibits archeology studys and discoveries or theories about pre-european contact,in reality there is a guy seling books here about vikings in Brazil or a archeologist that claims Brazil was firsts populated by europeans and african neolitic peoples some 40.000 years in the past and she work for brazilian government in the Museum of American Man, the prohibition is a internet legend of people that created the myth of the discovery of the Roman ship in the middle of Rio de Janeiro, and because they cant prove it, they moved to do what they love government conspirancy.
It is annoying. Not only because we still don’t have evidences of those voyages, but also because the Media, and not only the pseudo-history sites, have the tendency to say that those discoveries will re-write history completely.

Today we know about the presence of the Norsemen in North America, and that lead us to new perspectives, but far from re-writing history. And their voyages wore no accidents, they wore a colonization attempt.

Even if we find a shipwreck in other place of America, with other origins, we still have to establish if those ships were a fortuity case, dragged by the waves, or if there was a colonization effort. In the last case if the colonization effort seceded, if it had influences in any Indian American society (the Norsemen apparently hadn’t), then with all those ifs, we would have to reinterpret some parts of our history.

It is a bit that old story, don’t know who said it: over the centuries many people crossed the Rubicon river; but only the fact that Caesar crossed the Rubicon is relevant in history.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,640
Benin City, Nigeria
Since this thread has been resurrected, I might as well post a link to this thread, where I address some of the misconceptions on both sides of the argument about Mali specifically:

http://historum.com/general-history/127410-olmec-stoneheads-2.html

Regarding one of the discussions in that thread: Mansa Musa isn't really a favorite African ruler of mine, though not a least favorite either. He is alternately somewhat over praised and excessively criticized, but I thought that the implicit slights on his character, just to cast doubt on the expeditions occurring without a solid justification/basis for casting that doubt, were very strange, and that is why I had that little debate with Builder.


Some further comments:

1. Mansa Musa is identified as "Musa ibn Abu Bakr" in a few of the medieval Arabic sources, which should indicate that his father was a prince named Abu Bakr. Or (and this is more likely) the "Abu Bakr" refers to his descent from a certain prince Abu Bakr who was the brother of the founder of the dynasty, Sundiata Keita.

So the Abu Bakr in the name Musa ibn Abu Bakr is not necessarily a reference to his father (although, ordinarily it should be), yet even if it was a reference to his father and not some earlier important ancestor, that would probably not matter much because there is nothing to indicate that his father was the person ruling before him, but in fact there is a source against the idea. Ibn Khaldun's account states that Musa's predecessor wasn't his father, but instead someone from another branch (the main branch, actually) of the royal family named Muhammad ibn Qu.

Since Mansa Musa stated to Al-Umari's informant that his predecessor was the one who went on the ocean explorations, that reference to his predecessor should refer to Muhammad ibn Qu, not to any supposed earlier Malian ruler named Abu Bakr or Abu Bakari.

I'm guessing some people have assumed that "Abu Bakr"/"Abu Bakari" was the predecessor who went exploring the ocean because Mansa Musa was remembered as Musa ibn Abu Bakr, with those people not realizing that Musa's predecessor was almost certainly not his father or whatever other earlier ancestor is referred to by the name "Abu Bakr".

After a few hundred years I guess some of the finer details got lost in the modern retelling. Someone remembers that Mansa Musa's father or his grandfather or some slightly earlier important ancestor of his was named Abu Bakr, others remember that his predecessor as ruler left to explore the Atlantic ocean, or they read about that in Al-Umari's work, and then these two things get mixed together when they're distinct.

2. It ultimately does not matter - with regard to the question of whether the expeditions truly happened - that Ibn Khaldun's account of the Malian kings and some of their activities does not mention any king "Abu Bakari" of Mali, since the account of the expedition is from al-Umari's famous history/geography encyclopedia, and no mention is made of Musa's predecessor's name in that account. So proving that there was no sultan "Abu Bakari" mentioned in Ibn Khaldun's account has no real significance to the question of whether the expedition happened or not. To take the position that disproving that this name (Abu Bakari} existed among the earlier Malian kings is something especially important to determining whether the expedition happened would be taking a misinformed stance.

Also, Ibn Khaldun's account of Mali in his Kitāb al-ʿibar is not a "comprehensive history of the Malian kings" and was not even intended to be, despite what was written on Wikipedia. Trying to understand what the sources actually are would be a good starting point when talking about the history of a particular state and apparently that particular Wikipedia editor did not do so. There are some good articles on Wikipedia, but it is not really good practice to simply cite it to make an argument without really understanding much about the sources that a Wikipedia article is discussing.

3. I'd like to point out one of the problems with thinking that it was all just a tall tale, since that came up in the other thread.

The notion that a pious ruler (from reading the sources, this aspect of his behavior and character is attested; he was very much into Islam) would go there and simply make up the claim that the expedition occurred, when another North African state closer to the Atlantic might learn about the account of the Malian expedition from the Egyptians and subsequently launch their own Atlantic expeditions and see whether the brief description given about the Mali expedition in al-Umari's work was in some way credible or not, is very strange.

If Musa had claimed that his people had seen gigantic serpents and moving pillars of green fire in the ocean, how would he be sure that others would not eventually explore it also, and see whether there were actually such things in the Atlantic ocean? If they failed to find those things, he could go down in history as a liar and fabulist, which is a result that definitely would not be desired by any ruler.

Other states could eventually send their own expeditions into the Atlantic and see if there was really some mighty "river" in the ocean (and try to find out where it led), as one of the Egyptian governors had learned from Musa.

(The answer is that there is in fact such a "river", as I explained on p. 6 of the thread linked above.)

All that said, as I mentioned in the thread I provided a link to above, the evidence points to the Malian Atlantic ocean exploration expedition occurring in the early 1300s but it is not proven that they reached land in north or south America or ever returned.
 
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Nov 2016
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Wakanda
In response to page 1, nothing is wrong with being Afrocentric. Its not any less reputable than eurocentric sources. Eurocentrism is accepted as fact yet afrocentrism is supposed to be an insult? Nope...
 
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Aug 2012
1,554
In response to page 1, nothing is wrong with being Afrocentric. Its not any less reputable than eurocentric sources. Eurocentrism is accepted as fact yet afrocentrism is supposed to be an insult? Nope...
Yes and no. I mean, you must have seen those Afrocentrists who claim everyone in history was black, right? If we're talking about re-evaluating the accomplishments and civilizations of the African nations, I'm all on board, but if it's all an effort to skew history and uplift yourself by demeaning others, then that's a different story.

Even the labels "Eurocentric" or "Afrocentric" are extremely unhelpful, implying cultural superiority of one over the other.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
There are quite a number of peoples from Europe, Asia, or Africa who might have been capable of reaching the Americas before Columbus.

I'd love for evidence to turn up as it would rewrite history, whether it be Chinese, Polynesians, Africans, Phoenicians, ancient Romans, ect. There is not a shred of evidence yet however for anyone other than medieval Scandinavians having done it.

Of all the candidates who *might* have reached the Americas before Columbus, the Polynesians are the most interesting. Like the medieval Scandinavians they were great seafarers, and they sailed and colonized immense stretches of the Pacific ocean in one of the greatest feats of maritime exploration in human history. There is no evidence that they attempted a voyage to the Americas, but if any evidence ever turns up for someone other than Scandinavians doing it prior to the Columbus, they'd be where I'd place my bet.
 
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specul8

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Oct 2016
3,413
Australia
There is a relationship between some indigenous groups in the Amazon to the type of Austraoids found in Australia , PNG and Andamen is.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,640
Benin City, Nigeria
not to any supposed earlier Malian ruler named Abu Bakr or Abu Bakari.
A correction is in order here: Ibn Khaldun does mention an earlier Malian king named Abu Bakr (I remembered this in the other thread but forgot about this detail in this thread for some reason). But this ruler reigned even before Mansa Musa's predecessor (Muhammad bin Qu), and also even before Muhammad bin Qu's predecessor reigned and thus could not be the so-called "Abu Bakari" who supposedly immediately preceded Mansa Musa (Musa bin Abu Bakr), as claimed in one of the modern oral traditions mentioned in the BBC article that was brought up in this thread.

In any case, this doesn't actually affect my argument or overall point. I just felt I should correct that misstatement for the sake of accuracy.
 
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Ighayere

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Jul 2012
2,640
Benin City, Nigeria
In response to page 1, nothing is wrong with being Afrocentric. Its not any less reputable than eurocentric sources. Eurocentrism is accepted as fact yet afrocentrism is supposed to be an insult? Nope...
Well I think both of these stances are highly problematic. I think both of these biases have already led quite a few people into misunderstanding and confusion, though I would say that Eurocentrism has had a much bigger impact so far.

I agree that there are certain Eurocentric claims that are basically accepted as fact, particularly when talking about African history. That's another topic that I won't get into here though.