55

Columbus was not, in fact, the first to cross the Atlantic. There were Norse communities living in Greenland from the 10th Century. They even had some temporary settlements in North America proper. However, the Norse weren't as good at eking out a living in the North Atlantic as the Inuit, and (after 500 years) eventually got wiped out by some combination of ...


41

As fate would have it, the first known globe of the Earth was created in 1492, the same year as Columbus' voyage. As such, it is also the only known globe to depict the area between Western Europe and East Asia prior to the discovery of the New World. None of the earlier flat maps I could find made any kind of legitimate effort at depicting this area. The ...


39

I think you are missing the true pattern of that map. Note that it shows a higher percentage of natives in Canada than it does in the US, and shows the same lower percentage of natives in the USA as in a geographically contiguous area of South America (1% or less). If anything, the real pattern there is that areas in the subtropics (but not subartic) have ...


27

Cristóbal de Molina, a young Spanish priest, witnesses in 1535 the Inca celebration of the maize harvest: On a platform Indians were throwing meats into a great fire. At another place the Inca ordered llamas to be thrown for the poorer Indians to grab, and this caused great sport. Over 200 hundred girls came out of Cuzco, each with a large new pot ...


27

Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish-Peruvian chronicler in the Viceroyalty of Peru(then Spanish-held) recounted several aspects of Incan life and tradition. His most famous works include Historia de la Florida and Comentarios Reales de los Incas the second of which is of presumably more interest to you as it details some of his experiences in Cuzco as a child. ...


26

Sure, it's possible. Many things are possible. Likely, however, is another question. The link you posted describes a vague story of sailing west into the Atlantic, finding an island, trading with the locals, and returning home. Could the island be in the New World? It could, but it could just as easily be one of the islands in the Atlantic. For me to ...


25

POWER AND EXTENT OF THE MALI EMPIRE At its peak during the 14th century, the Mali empire controlled an area of well over one million Km2 (approx. three times the size of modern Germany): At its height, under the reigns of Mansa Musa I and Mansa Sulaymän, the Mali empire covered the entire Sudan-Sahel region of West Africa. Many peoples and cultures were ...


22

Europeans, perhaps not, someone in the old world, yes. Al-Biruni (973–1050) lived in Khwarezm (modern Uzbekistan). Among other works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, mineralogy, history and geography, he calculated the circumference of Earth with a precision higher than his predecessors, and made some precise maps of known lands. In his work Codex ...


18

Disease plays a significant role. Estimates vary wildly, but there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million people living in the Americas before Columbus. The vast majority of those would have lived in the Mesoamerica and Inca areas. Europe's population at this time would have been in the vicinity of 90 million. What pretty much everyone ...


17

Columbus and everybody else at the time believed that he had discovered the Eastern shores of Asia. Vespucci was one of those amongst the everybody else. An essay by Jonathan Cohen titled, The Naming of America: Fragments we've shored against ourselves, covers the naming of America in some detail. In it, Cohen notes: The voyage completed by Vespucci between ...


17

Apart from other reasons here exposed, I think it is worth mentioning a) some groups of South American natives were adapted (culturally, and even in some cases, physically) to environments which were not comfortable for white settlers. For extreme examples, think of Amazonian tribes and inhabitants from the Andean Plateau. In these cases, there was little ...


15

Many prominent men of science in the 19th century believed that the Indians' ancestors had always been in America. This belief draws on the theory of polygenism--that the several races had independent origins as separate species. "Scientific" polygenism also had a religious aspect called "Pre-Adamism." Polygenists/Pre-Adamists didn't need to posit ancient ...


14

By 1824, Spain had lost all of its mainland colonies in America. When the powers of Europe proposed to use the recently created Congress System to help Spain regain control of her lost American colonies, Great Britain balked. In addition to being sympathetic to the Latin American nations’ desire for independence, Great Britain had developed a thriving trade ...


13

Columbus' origins are a bit of a mystery. He himself claimed to have been born in Genoa, but this may have been a ruse according to some. ChristopherColumbus lists the most notable claims, Poland is not among those. What all the possible locations have in common is that they're in southern Europe, a quick look at the map shows that Poland is not in that ...


13

Manuel da Silva Rosa, an information technology analyst, claims that Columbus was the son of Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary, but for some reason nobody seems to mention that). To make this claim, he has to first claim that Władysław III, who died in a battle in 1444 without having children and had his head displayed on a pole, for no good reason faked ...


12

Early post-contact beliefs contained an unhealthy dose of myths and legends, e.g. Atlantis or that Native Americans descended from the lost tribes of Israel. These were displaced as rationalism developed, but suspicion that the Old World populated the Americas grew over time (for the alternate view, that the Natives had always been in the New World, see @...


12

I think this question is conflating two things: whether Columbus thought he had found the Indies, and whether he thought he might have also discovered a new continent. Did Columbus think for the rest of his life he had sailed to the Indies1? Yes he did. Columbus appears to have been one of those people who believes things that they want to be true, and ...


12

Ironically enough, this is likely a case of Chinese whispers. There is a relatively established crackpot "theory" that the Chinese discovered America in the 5th century or so, and called the new land "Fusang." This claim has been around for a while, and also features in the Wikipedia article linked in the question: A group of Chinese Buddhist ...


11

The map shows the general shape of South an Central America, and the general shape of the Atlantic coast of North America. If it shows it in "such detail" or not is a matter of opinion. Sure, a lot of things are correct, but a lot of things are incorrect. The question then is how they could know the general shape of South and Central America at all, and the ...


11

Pre-columbian population of North America was only a couple of million people, most of them are pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers. This kind of lifestyle does not allow more than 2-4 million people people to live on the continent. Central and South America, on the other hand, was home of several large civilizations with developed agriculture, and ...


11

This is a huge question, one that cannot possibly be covered entirely in a single answer on a website. However, the three points you listed in your question can be addressed, and I've tried to do so below. Please keep in mind that even these could each have whole books written about them, so I'm aiming for the broad strokes here, just to give you an idea ...


9

That passage is based on the works of Henry F. Dobyns. In his 1983 book, Dobyns advocated for a 18 million strong pre-contact population in North America. Specifically, he gave an estimate of 5,250,000 people living in the Mississippi River valleys. This, according to Dobyns, amounted to a population density of 2.53 per km2. Horcicultural peoples ...


9

Remember that the word "India" would mean 'get-rich-quick-dream-land' for the sailors. At first Columbus believed he was in Asia, and they had been looking for a way to India for generations. For Columbus, they'd better be Indians. It did not take long for the Iberians to be sure that America was not in Asia, but why drop a very inspiring name, that already ...


9

The Spanish and Portuguese noticed early in the 16th century that the native peoples of the Caribbean and South and Central America were sickly to the point of being unsuitable (in general) for slave labour. From this the First Atlantic System develops into South and Central America: Regarding the Atlantic slave trade [The First Atlantic System] started (on ...


8

Technically, the Hohokam were culturally and ethnically an outpost of Mesoamerican civilization in what is now the United States. Though they peacefully colonized and settled the area, there is some evidence that they engaged in warfare with the pastoralist Apache and Navajo when those cultures migrated into the area near the end of the Hohokam Classical Era,...


8

Quite apart from Semaphore's assertion that there simply were more Amerindians in the south than in the north, there's also the factor that there was far more immigration of Europeans and Asians into the north than there was into the south. But that's not all of it. Another important factor is how the numbers are established. Especially in the US people who'...


8

Economic reasons After Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 most of the countries of Central and South America cooled relations with Axis countries. Following the cooling of relations, most countries of Central and South America realized that they are now dependent on the United States for trade. Needs of the USA during the war disrupted ...


8

It was discovered, since there is evidence that the native Americans came from Asia through the Bering Strait land bridge (at a time where there was no sea in the straits due to the water being held in the glaciars of an Ice Age). If you mean "why did Europeans (or Chinese/Muslim/etc.) travellers discover America from there?", the answer is that there were ...


8

This was posted as an answer to an earlier version of the question titled Does modern scholarship treat Samuel Rafinesque as credible? (See the question edit history for more information) It is certainly true that Rafinesque classified native American peoples as 'Negroes'. However, I can find no evidence that Rafinesque's classification was ever widely ...


8

There are two potential points of evidence that I am aware of. 1) A Mr. Moriarity and Mr. Pearson first published a paper detailing the findings of circular stone anchors similar to a type of anchor found in china that were found off the coast of California, 2) a map was published by Gavin Menzies that seemed to be a Chinese map from the 1400's showing ...


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