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African Voyages to the Americas Before Columbus

Since the early 1990s, many studies have argued that Chinese, Vikings, Phoenicians, and Africans arrived in the Western Hemisphere before Columbus. Such research suggests that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have not been barriers to international travel but corridors for it. This entry discusses the background of and evidence for these claims and their relevance to the understanding of African culture.

Historical Background

Until 1992, it was generally assumed by many in the Western Hemisphere that the Italian-born sailor and explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) was the first to undertake a successful voyage to the Americas when, in 1492, he and 90 men sailed in three ships from Spain to the Caribbean. However, over the past two and a half decades since the 500-year ...

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