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The History Channel asks 'Who really discovered America?'


History is never more intriguing than when we are faced with questions for which there are no definitive answers, allowing us the luxury to research, question, and speculate on our own. One of those great unsolved questions will be examined Tuesday night, June 22nd at 8 pm when the History Channel presents “Who Really Discovered America?”. This new documentary, narrated by James Lurie, will explore many of the various theories and possibilities regarding the discovery of America, and will detail all of the different cultures that may or may not have successfully reached the Western Hemisphere much earlier than previously believed.

For many generations, Americans were satisfied with the idea that Christopher Columbus was the first European to reach the “New World” when he sailed to the West Indies in 1492. Later historians began to research the voyages of Leif Ericson,  concluding that the Norse explorer completed an Atlantic crossing sometime around 1000 AD, visiting areas in and around Newfoundland. Other scholars have theorized that Ericson may have been beaten to North America by early Welsh and Irish sailors, or even ancient Hebrews, in some cases, by hundreds of years. There is an equal amount of speculation concerning  pre-Columbus Pacific Ocean voyages. Gavin Menzies’ book, 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America makes its case for Chinese explorers making it to the western coastline of the Americas, while others maintain that Japanese and Polynesians may have accomplished this as well. “Who Really Discovered America” will examine each theory by tracing the probable routes, and recreating the technology available to the various cultures to determine the validity of possible successful early ocean crossings.


Of course, the notion of America actually being “discovered” by any of those early groups is a dubious one, when one considers that the entire Western Hemisphere was already populated by Native Americans, who probably made the actual discovery thousands of years earlier. In any case, “Who Really Discovered America” should provide an excellent starting point for anyone looking to study alternate ideas in the area of exploration.

 

Comments

  • Sandy 4 years ago

    I'm Native American. One of the first stories of the American Indians was about the first white man who arrived on the shores of the USA. He was white, and blonde, and they say he was skinny from starving, so the Native People tried to fatten him up. They befriended him. So it was a blonde white man who first set foot on the Shores of the USA who was not Indian.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    Sounds like the Vikings to me.

  • Nallely 3 years ago

    The man that arrived at the shores is not the one who discovered America. It was someone else. Think about it.
    The only reason everyone thinks it was Christopher, Amerigo or Ericson is because they had the "means" at the time to explore and get back to Europeans and fill them in with the information about the "New World." The people who were already here are the real discoverers of America and who knows. We probably will never find out who really discovered the all of the Americas....

  • Sally P. 4 years ago

    Thank you for the heads up on this program! Sounds like a great show! Would you recommend Gavin Menzies’ book?

  • Yomal 4 years ago

    DNA studies would be involved in the show, with FamilyTreeDNA President Bennett Greenspan speaking.

  • ElaineK 4 years ago

    I hope this documentary will explain, once and for all, why America was named after the Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci (I probably learned this in grade school, but have since forgotten it).

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    Amerigo Vespucci was the first European to discover South America. Originally, America only reffered to South America, but eventually came to mean both North and South.

  • Brian 4 years ago

    To Sally: Yes Menzie's book is a good read...one of the main points he makes is that the Chinese had incredibly huge ships that could have reached anywhere in the World...whether they actually traveled to the West Coast is another question.

  • Wally 4 years ago

    The Polynesians were incredible...whether they made it to America or not, we do know they made it to the Pacific islands sometime around 800 AD...How did they even know what was out there?

  • DCC 4 years ago

    The facts in this "documentary" are horribly slaughtered. They claim that in 1421, the Aztec Empire was on the rise in Central America! The Aztecs were never in Central America, those were the Maya. And both civilization arose long before 1400. The Maya were on the way down by the time Columbus arrived.

    It's pathetic that TV has fallen so low that nobody cares to check facts. As for ElaineK, Google is your friend, NOT the History Channel.

  • Beantown 3 years ago

    DCC I think you may need to fact check yourself beyond an occasional google before trying to argue with the professionals on The History Channel.

    The Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, is now Mexico City.. AKA CENTRAL AMERICA
    In the late 1300s to early 1400s the Aztec empire WAS rising to power, having their first official ruler only in 1375: Acamapichtli. The Triple Alliance formed with the Texcoco & Tlacopannd in 1487 was when they were able to conquer the entire valley of mexico. The height of the Aztec empire was reached in the early 1500s, distinguished by historians with Moctezuma II taking the throne in 1502.
    so yes, DCC, 1421 is EXACTLY when the Aztec Empire was on the rise in Central America.

    Yes the classic Mayan empire was on the decline when Columbus arrived, however, in the north city states like Yucatan remained for hundreds of years after the Spanish arrived, and the last Mayan city of Tayasal did not fall until 1697.

    And neither google nor the history channel told me this, since the internet is a useful tool, yes, but any person can post anything they want as though it were fact.
    I looked to actual BOOKS and a degree in history for my information.

  • Colin 4 years ago

    Just a few years ago archaeologists arguing any of these theories would have been fired. No matter how many archaeologists have believed the Hebrews sailed across the ocean in 1200 and 600 BC, the TV wouldn't have shown it because it makes them sound Mormon. Now people are savvy enough to know bottles with notes can cross the ocean, so how can anyone believe no vessel ever could before Columbus?

  • MrX 4 years ago

    Oh Oh, It looks like the US will have to give up the South West to Israel since they had settlements there in pre-Columbus times.
    I think the History Channel down played the Western Hemisphere's Natives ability to create sophisticated tools and devices such as pottery. Why can't Western scientist believe that the same technology can have two different points of origin that are not connected to each other.
    Also why did they leave out any potential connection between the ancient Olmecs and the Ancient Western Africans. If the DNA can't prove it the Olmec's Artwork should say a lot.

  • Bahati 4 years ago

    The whole premise of " Who Really Dicovered America, and then so-called scholars completely ignore the history of the Olmecs who were in the Americas before the "Indians" Native Americans walked across the Bering Strait. HOw can you call yourself a scholar and discuss the Chinese, Japanese, Polynesians, Norse, Welsh, Irish, Ancient Hebrews, and Soulreans ande leave the first men on earth out of this discussion. This reminds me of the 18th and 18th European scientists who distorted the History of the Kemetians (Egyptians). How could thet not discuss those colossal heads in La Venta ceremonial site? and the comparison of the Olmecs civilization of West and East Africa? How can you discuss the Americas without discussing the Olmecs . They would have come to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec vua sguo, Surely the "scholars" would have read Van Sertima's "They Came Before Columbus" and ""The Mystery of the Olmecs by David Hatcher Childress. I find it difficult to write my words are hidden.

  • Bahati 4 years ago

    It was announced in Jan. 2007 that a " 2,500 -year-old city influenced by the Olmecs, often referre to as the mother culture of Mesoamerica, has been discovered hundreds of miles away from the Olmecs' Gulf coast territory, archaeologists: National Geographic News, January 26, 2007. Did all of those scholards discussing the Americas not know this?

  • Shirley 4 years ago

    My grandfather was an Allen. My great-great-great grandmother born in North Carolina in 1802 came to Illinois in 1837 the year of the Trail of Tears. Either she was Cherokee or she had children by a Cherokee. After learning this, I have spent considerable time researching the Alan/Alain/Allen/ name which led me to the Alani Tribe mentioned by Josephus in the First Century. I have learned about a group called the Alani who seemed to play a significant role in history for the past 2,000 years but have warranted little mention in the history books, even though their migration parallels the stories told in the history channel about pre-Columbians coming to America. Even the haplogroup DNA of the Alani, starting in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas, parallels that of the Basques, Irish and Cherokee. Why is this group so obscure?

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    I am feeling you.My great grandmother was an Allen.I have found some things which took my legs out today .I have been asking the same questions .The Tsalagi[Cherokee ] have that dna project to see if they may have some Hebrew genes .......I have my haplo group results ,but ,not the ethnicity yet.Not yet.Too many questions .I saw Penon woman and that was it.The asiatics ,looks like might have come in and did the same thing to those na as what the Europeans came in and did to some of my na ancestors .I am mixed .I am Tsalagi.Blessings to you.Teri

  • bill 4 years ago

    man this land doesnt belong to any of those races this is gods land i hate how people try to claim land get the hell out of here

  • CandeloGuitar 3 years ago

    Perhaps, during the time of Peleg, people traveled less distances....Question: Noah's Ark came to rest on a mountain range in an area which is now called Turkey. How did humans and animals quickly migrate to the other continents like Australia and North America, which are presently separated by the seas?

    To begin to answer this important question we must examine another lesser-known, but important event that occurred on the Earth about one hundred years after Noah's flood:

    "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one [was] Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name [was] Joktan."
    (Genesis 10:25 KJV)

  • lano 3 years ago

    I am glad the Polynesians are acknowledged because so many western scholars have disclaimed this fact e.g Andrew Sharp. We do know that scientific evidence is important and at least we know that they have left behind traces of their fishing hooks and other artifacts of which more research needs to be carried out.

  • MattAnonymous 3 years ago

    The program was thoutht provoking,Sure I can see many others discovering America.But wait isnt also possable the panet didn't always have so many land masses or contenients, and that like a gigantic cataclasmic event, spread humanity, every living thing, all over the world.

  • Nallely 3 years ago

    Well actually that is the only possible way that people could have ended up in all different areas of the entire world. I find it hard to believe that people were able to take all the harsh climates from all different areas of the world in order to get to certain areas. Also, how would it be possible that the people back then were also able to build ships that would cross the ocean and the majority live.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Te Peruvian historuy is rich in early cities, kingdoms and empires.. begins back with Caral & Sechi Bajo the first cities in the Americas, passing throug Chavin, Paracas, Nazca, the Tiawanaku-Wari Empire, the kingdoms of Chinca, Lambayeque, etc. etc. till the short lived Inca Empire.

    Most of this cultures, as the orientals epressed richly in their art the gods and beleives but never themselves (which is an occidental practice). All but one.. the Lambayeque culture that flourished around 0 ad. Theye went to the extreme of representing vividly in the ceramics thousands of faces, people wit diseases, in pain, in jail, prisoners, etc. etc.

    There is a good collection of these in a Musuem in Lima where you could find two potteries depicting c;learly a big and strong black man. One is the head only and the other is a 2 feet [pottery with him playing a drum.

    In the same museum you could another pottery depicting clearly a strong caucasian man.

    How did they get there in 0 dc?

    There has been some ythought abount an indian connection with the Mexican cultures but these two guys do not fit the pattern.. I take that they were two slaves (of a whole ship?) that run away from the Romans.. easy to say but is not easy to cross the Pacific and there is no way they will make it from the Atlantic. As salves they mi8yt have been very ignorant and their cultural influence might have been nil from them?
    jalls100@yahoo.com

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    It's a crap show. With the exception of Lief Ericksen (sp), it poses a series of what are increasingly obvious myths, sets out to "test" them (unscientifically, at times laughably), and arrives at the obvious conclusion that they were obvious myths all along. The effect in balance is to further obscure the truth rather than to illuminate, make the viewer dumber, not smarter. There are loads of other programs that are worthwhile, but this one left me feeling cheated.

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