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Who Discovered America?


Who Discovered America?

by Kenneth Lyen

In 1497, the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci discovered a new country, and it was named America by the map maker, Martin Waldseemuller.

However, it was later realized that Amerigo’s friend, the Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus, had been there a few years earlier in 1492. But it was too late to rename the country Columbia.

More recently evidence has appeared showing that in fact it was the Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho who discovered America in 1421.

So who deserves the credit for actually discovering America?

And why have we forgotten the American Indians who were there to greet these valiant explorers? Shouldn’t they have a claim too? It is a sad fact of history that indigenous populations of most countries, whether it is the Africans in Africa, the aborigines in Australians, the Maoris in New Zealand, and many other countries, are largely ignored by the dominant colonizing powers.

Coming back to the Americas, it was noted that there are some similarities between pre-Columbian architecture and culture with that of the ancient Egyptians. Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian explorer, decided to prove that it was possible for the ancient Egyptians to discover and populate the Americas. He built a boat out of papyrus, and after an initial failure, managed to sail successfully across the Atlantic Ocean from North Africa to the West Indies.

Trying to trace a country’s roots is a never ending task. With primitive technology and armed with an incredible degree of curiosity, man set out on a voyage of discovery, with no guarantees as to what they will find. We owe these dreamers a debt, because they have opened up entire new vistas for us.

So what’s left to explore today?

Some people lament there's nothing left. Quite the contrary. There is still the entire universe to venture forth, and there are large areas of the infinitely small to be probed. As for me, I think the human mind remains one of the last great mysteries to be explored. We are living in very exciting times, and we are definitely not running out of places for today’s intrepid explorers to discover.

"Seek and ye shall find."