10 Mar 2013

Phoenicians discovered America 2000 years before Columbus?

Columbus, credited with the discovery of Americas, may not have been the first to set foot on the continent, says a British explorer, claiming that Phoenicians actually beat him by 2,000 years. Christopher Columbus, the poster boy Renaissance explorer found fame and fortune by sailing from the ‘Old World’ to the ‘New’, crossing the great unknown waters between Spain and the Caribbean in 1492.

In an ambitious voyage that could challenge maritime history, former Royal Navy officer Philip Beale hopes to sail a replica Phoenician boat 10,000 kilometres across the Atlantic. Beale aims to demonstrate that the Phoenicians – a Semitic civilisation that prospered between 1500BC and 300BC on the Mediterranean coast – sailed to the Americas first, CNN reported.

replica phoenician boat

“It is one of the greatest voyages of mankind and if anyone could have done it [before Columbus], it was the Phoenicians,” said Beale. “Of all the ancient civilisations they were the greatest seafarers – Lebanon had cedar trees perfect for building strong boats, they were the first to use iron nails, and they had knowledge of astrology and currents,” he said.