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!)
A MISLAID CONTINENT
(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,
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