Author Jack D. Forbes posits that Native Americans sailed from the Americas to Europe long before 1492 - sometimes purposely, but most of the time
by accident. Some Native Americans most likely made trips to the Old World and back to the New World. American plants and other objects ended up on the European and African coast, and some were able to take root and prosper. Some large logs that showed up on the coasts and were used for various purposes did not belong to trees in the Old World.
Columbus himself met some Americans in Ireland,
Forbes says, 15 years before he famously set sail in 1492, and he points to notes in Columbus’ books written in Latin about meeting these Native Americans in Ireland. The Italian may not have completely fathomed that these people were not Asian,
still clinging to the belief that one could sail west and eventually hit landfall in Asia.
Forbes examines the early Americans’ capability to create large boats to travel in the Caribbean and other waters, and how they learned about the Gulf Stream and other concepts of use for sailing. The Americans had large empires that communicated with each other via the seas; they also used the waters for commerce, and for war. Some Native Americans also may have gone to the Old World and picked up some diseases that they brought back to the New World. This may help explain why the Spanish and other explorers did not find very many Native Americans, and why some great civilizations, like the mound people, disappeared.
How did Native Americans come to be living in the Americas? One theory is that they came from Asia across the Bering Strait. Another is that some Native Americans might have gone to Asia from the Americas. DNA tests on various continents have shown indigenous American DNA showing up in unusual places like Australia.
Jack Forbes is the author of seventeen books, including I’d Be Tempted to Dip into the Capital First (2004), Red Blood (1997), Only Approved Indians (1995), Apache, Navaho, and Spaniard (1994), Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black People (1993), and Native Americans and Nixon (1984).
This is a fascinating read about the possibility of the New World having discovered the Old first and is recommended to those interested in New World exploration and Native American studies.