“Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in fourteen-hundred-ninety-two.” As American’s, we’ve been taught that whimsical little ditty to help us remember the date America was discovered on history tests. However, there is limited evidence to support this notion. Equally as limited is the suggestion that two other explorers may have stumbled upon the land of America first.
Leif Erikson, son of Erik The Red, was a Norse explorer who was born in Iceland. Sailing from Greenland, Erikson, and his 35 man crew set out to explore the uncharted territories in a.d. 1003. Strong evidence supports that Erikson and crew first landed on territory that was covered in shiny rocks. He called it Helluland (Hell Land.) It’s possible that the land is, what is now known as Baffin Island.
The next land that Erikson reached was abundant with grapes, thus being referred to as Vineland. It’s possible that the tip of Newfoundland, known as L’Anse aux Meadows, and referred to by Erikson as Vineland, was first discovered by the Icelandic explorer. Leif Erikson Day is observed by many states across the United States.
Another explorer, Zheng He (China) made seven epic voyages from China to The South Pacific, the Persion Gulf, Taiwan and Africa. Gavin Menzies, a former British Navy commander, believes Zheng He reached America in 1421, seventy-one years ahead of Columbus. This evidence was unveiled when a hand-drawn map from 1763 was discovered, which purports a reproduction of a 1418 map made by Zheng He. It shows the continents lined up with sophisticated detail, and the Europeans hadn’t made such a map until many years later.
So what do you think? Was it really Columbus who first discovered America, or did he just have a better P.R. Person that Erikson and He?