Who Came to America Before Columbus?

The trips that Christopher Columbus made to the American continent are especially well known. His travels have been widely detailed and recognized. Now, the possibility of the arrival of other people to the same continent prior to the famous navigator is also known.

Columbus carried out four expeditions: the first time, in 1492, he set sail from the Port of Palos and, passing through the Canary Islands, he ran into the Bahamas Islands and later arrived at Santo Domingo (Hispaniola) and Cuba. He returned again to the Port of Palos, passing through Lisbon. The second trip began in Cádiz in 1493 and reached the island of Guadalupe. During this trip, he explored Jamaica and Puerto Rico and returned in 1496 to Cádiz. The third time he set sail in 1498 from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, passed through Cape Verde, and arrived on the island of Trinidad. This time he toured the coast of Venezuela. On the fourth and last voyage, Columbus left Seville in 1502 for Hispaniola. He surveyed territory that is currently Honduran and returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Voyages of Christopher Columbus

Columbus’s voyages established safe routes between America and Europe for regular and repeated navigation. Despite being tentative hypotheses, the possibilities are important and most suggestive. These are speculations about pre-Columbian transoceanic contacts.

The first hypothesis, the one closest to Columbus, is known as the Prenauta. According to this belief, this person revealed to Columbus the secret of the existence of land between Europe and Asia. Said prenaut could be the merchant sailor Alonso Sánchez de Huelva, who supposedly arrived before Columbus to America. There is no evidence to prove the existence of this person. However, personalities of the time such as Bartolomé de las Casas, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo Valdés or Francisco López de Gómara They affirm that prior to Columbus’s voyages there were transatlantic navigations that reached America of which Columbus had news.

The so-called “hypothesis of 1421” by Gavin Menzies is famous, by which the Chinese explorer, sailor, and military man Zheng He would have arrived in America in one of his seven expeditions around the world between 1405 and 1433. Chinese naval technology was superior to the European, their military initiative was audacious, and supposed pieces of Chinese porcelain have been found in places like Peru or California. This assumption is mainly supported by a copy of a controversial map showing Oceania and America, the authorship of which is attributed to Zheng He.

Another hypothesis is the one that refers to the arrival of Viking explorers in North America. This conjecture has, in addition to the accounts of cultural traditions, the support of archaeological documents. Whoever was the son of Erik the Red, Leif Eriksson “the lucky one,” would have arrived in America around the year 1000. In the Icelandic Sagas, the arrival in an unknown land called Vinland is told, which is today associated with the island of Newfoundland, Canada.

One of the most convincing proofs of the existence of pre-Columbian contacts is the discovery in Alaska of metallic objects made around 1,300 in East Asia. The possible relationship between Polynesian inhabitants and pre-Columbian Americans is also recognized. The credibility of this hypothesis is high due to the finding on one side of materials, artifacts, fauna and flora on the other and vice versa dated to pre-Hispanic dates, as well as some similarities between languages ​​and genetics, for example, indigenous Mapuches and people of Easter Island. This is reinforced by the encounter of bone evidence in Tunquén (Chilean territory) that indicates miscegenation between Polynesians and Native Americans. Six skulls were also found on the island of Mocha with morphology typical of the inhabitants of Polynesia.

There is no shortage of people who attribute trips to America to the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, and the Carthaginians. In turn, the famous ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl organized a journey through the Pacific that traveled 8000 kilometers in 1947 with a handcrafted raft ( Kon-tiki ). The trip was intended to prove that it was possible that ancient peoples could carry out long-distance ocean voyages so that they could establish contact even when they were far away. Furthermore, Thor Heyerdahl defended the hypothesis that the Egyptians were able to reach America, so in 1969 he set sail from Morocco with a boat built of papyrus to cross the Atlantic and reach America. The Ra, a name that gave the ship a replica of an Egyptian boat, failed to reach its goal. However, in 1970 the Ra II expedition was successful. The feat is recounted in the 1971 documentary The Ra Expeditions.


Human migrations must be taken into account in relation to the expansion of Homo sapiens for the settlement of America. Humanity expanded from Africa to the Middle East. Then it spread to European territories and then to Oceania, Asia and, finally, America. According to the Clovis Consensus (or late settlement theory), due to the last ice age and the concentration of ice, ocean levels fell. Therefore, land connections were established in some places previously separated by water. This was the case of the Bering Strait, which, at that time, united Siberia and Alaska. In this way, approximately 13,000 years ago, a group of humans crossed to the American continent beginning their settlement. This theory is under discussion, especially from older finds such as the Monte Verde deposit in Chile.

The hypotheses on pre-Columbian contacts with natives and American lands are innumerable (some with great force, others considered pseudoscientific), which leads to thinking that the relationships could not have been strange. If cultural decentralization is added to this so that Americans are not considered passive subjects, then the concept of ” discovery ” dissolves without going beyond exploration and the creation of stable maritime routes (which is not a little bit).