Strange History: Did Native Americans Land in Ireland?

Another possible case of Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic travel?

Picture: Edward Curtis (PD)

Via Strange History:

One of the most dramatic pieces of evidence for a pre-Columbian crossing of the Atlantic is to be found in a single Latin marginalia, that is some words scribbled into the margin of a book. The sentence in question appears in a copy of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini which was published in Venice in 1477. In that work Piccolomini discusses the arrival of Indians in Europe blown from across the Atlantic at a date when America was unknown to Europeans (another post another day). Next to this passage a reader has written in Latin the following extraordinary words:

Homines de catayo versus oriens venierunt. Nos vidimus multa notabilia et specialiter in galuei ibernie virum et uxorem in duabus lignis areptis ex mirabili persona.

Keep reading…you’ll never guess who scribbled in the book.


14 Comments on "Strange History: Did Native Americans Land in Ireland?"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Nov 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

    One senses that the ultimate subtext of this article could read something like, “Irish talent for bullsh*tting inspires European colonization of the Americas.”

    The gloss highlighted in this story seems to have reasonable claim as an early indication of Columbus’ sources of inspiration, but, as the author rightly points out, it is extremely curious in its brevity and failure to elucidate even the most obvious questions as to the alleged pair’s origins, journey and eventual fate.

    No doubt the true origin of the gloss was some drunken ‘clabaireacht’ down at the local shebeen intended to charm a free round of drinks from a gullible foreign tourist. Well done, ye men of Galway. Well done.

  2. kowalityjesus | Nov 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

    The only descriptor I have for this story is: balls. My goodness, that is just extraordinary.

    I am willing to believe this story on the basis that Amerindians were INCREDIBLY hardy, like walking-around-naked-in-Canadian-winter hardy, and probably could have survived a few weeks on a raft at sea with a strong trade wind and divine intervention.

    As the angel spoke to Columbus as he was despairing while stranded on Jamaica in his fourth voyage: “Do not fear, trust: all these tribulations are written on marble stone and not without reason.”

    • Jin The Ninja | Nov 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |

      there is no tribe, in description historical or traditional, that was ever ‘naked’ during a cdn winter.

      also, was god watching columbus as he purposefully spread small pox and bubonic plague? raped local women and plundered food stores from villages? or maybe when he MURDERED entire villages/cultures THAT caught god’s favour.

      • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 11:46 am |

        Given the general tenor of the OT it probably was a grand time for the ole mtn demon.

        • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 11:51 am |

          Well done.

          Yet one shouldn’t overlook the possibility that the Book of Mormon was correct, and that whitey was simply settling an ancient score on behalf of The Big Fellah.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

            Indeed. All those wayward Children of Israel running around the Promised Land not only got to party with the Son O’ God but they then had the audacity to forget all about him.

      • kowalityjesus | Nov 22, 2012 at 4:52 am |

        I am very surprised since you are so acquainted with ALL of the literature that you failed to read this one:

        In 1535-36 during Cartier’s second voyage to Canada when he wintered at what would be modern-day Quebec City, he recorded several pages of the manners and customs of his Indian friends “at whose habit of going almost naked in the dead of winter, except for moccasis and leggings, he never failed to marvel.” (p 418 S.E. Morison ‘The European Discovery of America: Part I The Northern Voyages’)

        Am I going to get an appropriate concession from you finally?

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 11:53 am |

      Have you ever experienced a wind chill of -70°?

      • Jin The Ninja | Nov 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

        even torontonians cannot really imagine northern saskachewan (or god forbid northern quebec) winters.

      • kowalityjesus | Nov 22, 2012 at 5:10 am |

        I have felt somewhere around -20-25°F but that was a still night, though for my sake I walked through a half kilometer of 3 ft snow to a cold cabin.

        What’s more for my case, I remember Columbus stating when he was stranded on Jamaica and living off the good will of the natives that each Spaniard ate enough for 6 natives, though I can’t presently find that text.

        Thus, I know that I would most likely not survive such a happenstance voyage blown across the Atlantic, but I think it was not without reason to believe that a person acquainted with living in hardy conditions could possibly survive it.

  3. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was true – I’ve believed for a long time that people have sailed between the two continents for (at least) a few thousand years before Columbus – both ways.

    Probably the biggest difference between the earlier trips and the trips of Columbus and Vespucci is the printing press. When you can make a thousand copies of one’s writings on woodblocks, suddenly you don’t have to worry about a fire or two destroying important information – and literacy goes from being a luxury to a useful skill worth picking up by the masses.

  4. Are there any examples of Christopher Columbus’s handwriting still left? Easy enough to make a comparison.

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