Which Europeans discovered America before Columbus?I have to write a report on the European discovery of America before Christopher Columbus. I thought he discovered America??? Can anyone help me...

Which Europeans discovered America before Columbus?

I have to write a report on the European discovery of America before Christopher Columbus. I thought he discovered America??? Can anyone help me please. Thanks.

Asked on by dancer7

4 Answers | Add Yours

drgingerbear's profile pic

drgingerbear | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Excellent question! Many historians have argued that Columbus was not the first person to discover America, despite what the school history books relate. However, recent historical documents reveal a different story.

An nautical chart dated 1424 was discovered that revealed a map of the "New World" created by a Portuguese cartographer.  Armando Cortesão, a cartography expert asserts that this was made 70 years prior to Columbus.


For assistance with your research, I have included several articles that will assist you with your assignment!


lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Columbus's "discovery" of America led to the permanent settlement of Europeans in North America. However, around the year 1000, Leif Eriksson and his men (I doubt there were any women) discovered America, too. They did not achieve any kind of permanent settlement, so they are seldom credited with the discovery. There have always been sagas about Leif Erikson and other Norse people in the New World, but archaeological evidence also establishes that they were here, generally in the northeastern sections of North America.  Many items clearly manufactured in Europe have been unearthed, including a cloak pin and a spindle whorl. I don't know why American history textbooks have always tended to ignore this part of our history, but it might be because the major areas of settlement on this continent were in what is now Canada. Also, since Columbus's voyage was so well documented, history tends to focus on it, rather than on what were previously regarded as just "stories."  I have provided on link for you that gives a good overview of the Vikings in the New World, and I am sure there are others. 

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

There's a group of people that formed a culture known as
the "Maritime Archaic" that traveled throughout New England
and Northern Europe about 9000 years ago, "island hopping"
back and forth to trade with each other. So certainly
early "Europeans" were in the New World in prehistoric times.

Within the era of recorded history, however, others before
Chris have been here, as this old poem illustrates: (Enjoy!)

(from Whiffs from Wild Meadows, Sam Walter Foss, circa 1880)

Now let us run the list over,
Of men preceding Christopher,
Who came before Columbus came, that laggard
dull and slow ;

The early Buddhist missionaries,
Those rapt religious visionaries,
Who thirteen hundred years ago discovered

An Irishman named Brendin
(The list is never ending)
He crossed the Sea of Darkness, crossed the wild,
untravelled main.

He thought that he would try a land
Some miles away from Ireland;
So he, twelve hundred years ago, discovered us

Leif Ericson, the Norseman,
A regular old sea-horseman,

Who rode the waves like stallions, and couldn t
endure the shore,
Five hundred years thereafter
Said to his wife in laughter,

" It s time to go and find, my dear, America once

And so he went and found it,
With the ocean all around it,
And just where Brendin left it five hundred years before ;

And then he cried, " Eureka !
I m a most successful seeker!"
And then went off and lost it, could not find
it any more.

They fought the sea, and crossed it,
And found a world and lost it ;
Those pre-Columbian voyagers were absent-minded men.

Their minds were so preoccupied,
That when a continent they espied,
They absently mislaid it, and it couldn t be found

But Columbus when he found us
Somehow kept his arm around us,
For he knew he must be careful when he found
a hemisphere ;

And he knew just how to use it,
And he didn t misplace and lose it,
And mislay it in a corner where it couldn t be
found next year.

Like a pretty worthless locket
He didn t put it in his pocket,
And drop the New World through a hole that he d
forgot to mend ;

But he kept his eye upon it,
And he kept his finger on it,
And he kept his grip upon it, and held on it to
the end.


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