The United States knew Italian sailors 150 years before Columbus

Les marins italiens connaissaient lAmerique 150 ans avant Colomb

Analysis of ancient documents by the Italian mediator Paulo Cesa, an expert on medieval literature, suggests that Italian sailors were aware of the existence of the United States at least 150 years before the “discovery” of Genoese Christopher Columbus in 1492.

The document contains information Chronicle Universalis, Written in 1345 by the Milanese brother Calvinius Flama. According to the site Physique, A text discovered only in 2013, states that Genoa’s sailors already knew of the existence of a land called Markland or Marquelde, from Icelandic sources.

“We were confronted with the presence of the first reference to the American continent,” said Cesa, a professor of literature, philology and linguistics at the University of Milan. Unknown lands.

Galvanius Flama was a Dominican brother who lived in Milan and was associated with the family that ruled the city of Genoa, which was an independent kingdom at the time. He wrote many historical texts in Latin, mainly in history subjects. His testimony is a valuable piece of information about contemporary Milanese facts in which he had direct knowledge.

At the time of Flama, Genoa was one of the best maritime powers in Europe, so it was a source of information about what was happening in different parts of the world. From Calvinius sailors, rumors of land in the northwest may have been of commercial interest, as well as information about Greenland, which he accurately described, as far as he knew.

“But these rumors were too vague to be consistent in the graph representations,” the professor notes. Therefore, Marcalada was not classified as “new land” at the time.

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Ruins of the Huvalci Church, built by Scandinavian settlers in Greenland in the early 13th century Fig: 57 (public domain)

It is noteworthy that Icelandic sources point to the discovery of three parts of North America, Markland, Vinland and the Hellland, by novelist Leaf Erickson in the year 1000. An Icelandic document from 1347, two years after Flama’s text, speaks of a ship. , On his return from Markland in Greenland, got lost and ended up in Iceland, but did not specify the location of the origin.

The land described by Galvanius is as rich in trees and animals as the Markland in Icelandic texts. Greenland has not been occupied by Icelanders and Norwegians since 986 because it has been described as a Galvanian glacier, desert and desert.

According to Sisa, the Genoese could have brought back various messages about these lands to the city, some real and others imagining that they were trading from Scottish, British, Danish or Norwegian sailors.

“I have no reason to doubt him” (Flama), he adds, “We have long observed that the 14th century ocean maps drawn in Genoa and Catalonia have a geographical representation of the North, thanks to direct contact with these regions.”

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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