Archive for Canary Islands

West Africans & Navigation


by Harry Bourne


CANOES & NAVIGATION: Oliphantes to Ogowe


This is to be seen as a companion piece for “East Africans & Navigation” that in turn is one of a series of papers discussing aspects of whether Africans ever went to sea or were too much in terror of it to do so. Ivan Van Sertima (They Came Before Columbus 1976) wrote against the latter opinion when saying Africans were not the “boatless” people they are frequently described as. As many of the other negatives of voyaging around African shores are listed in “East Africans & Navigation”, there is little point in repeating this here.

Otherwise we begin here with the dugout-canoe. Such canoes were scarce relative to other types over most of east Africa. They originate the Before Common Era (= BCE) were still around in Common Era days to be reported by the unknown author of the Periplus Maris Erythraei (= PME). An addition to this 1st c. CE reference would be those that James Hornell (Mariner’s Mirror 1948) thought were exampled in Egypt by scenes in the tomb of Queen Tiye. Long journeys by canoes are put forward as having taken the Polynesian ancestors of the Maoris to New Zealand. More canoe-borne migrants are those from the part of east Africa that is now called Tanganyika getting to Fiji according to Fijian tradition cited on the Balson Holdings site (online).

There is general opinion groups going under the several labels of Khoikhoi, Khwe, San, Khoisan, Queyna, Bushmen, Capoids plus umpteen others did not use boats. More of the same comes with a contributor to the New Advent Encyclopaedia confidently saying the Khwe did not fish. Contrary views are not helped by the faults of “Bushman’s Art” by Erik Holm (1987) being pointed out by John Parkington in the South African journal called “The Digging Stick” (1988). These faults are such that Holm’s book has been withdrawn by the publisher.

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Muslims In The Americas Before Columbus

by Dr. Youssef Mrouch


by John White and Jim Leslie


Originally published in the MES Journal


This is a news summary of an internet article discovered by Jim Leslie.  Our previous knowledge of Muslim diffusion was limited to the translations of Arabic inscriptions described in the excellent book Saga America published by Barry Fell in 1980.  The MES also reported Ivan Van Sertima’s findings on West African visitors to the Caribbean in MEJ 20, 2006 and in MENL 25(2), 2008. Some claims are:


1. Al-Masudi (871-957 CE) wrote that Khashkhash Ibn Saced Ibn Aswad in 889 CE sailed west from Spain and returned with treasure.


2. Al-Guityya wrote that Ibn Farrukh in 999 CE sailed westward from the Canaries and named two islands in the Atlantic before returning.


3. Francisco Bobadilla of the Canary Islands put Columbus in chains and returned him to Spain in November 1500 CE.


4. Ferdinand Columbus wrote of his father seeing blacks in Honduras, and Dr. Mrouch states that a Muslim tribe known as the Almamy were living there at that time.


We also looked for other internet evidence on this subject and found the following:


5. Moin Ansari reviewed the book by Abdullah Hakim Quick, Before Columbus: Muslims in the Caribbean published on 9/24/2007.


6. The website Muslims in America claims that Columbus wrote he saw a mosque in Cuba on a mountain near Gibara.  Research shows that Martin Alonso Pinzon, captain of ship Pinta, and his brother Vincente Yanex Pinzon, captain of ship Nina, had Muslim heritage.

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