Saturday, March 02, 2013

Phoenicians in America?

PHILIP BEALE, the captain of the Good Ship Phoenicia, is profiled in the Daily Mail:
Man's mission to prove Phoenicians discovered the Americas a thousand years before Columbus

Former City fund manager Philip Beale built replica Phoenician vessel
Believes 50-tonne wooden boat could have crossed the Atlantic
Will set sail from Tunisia to try and prove the theory himself

By Steve Robson

PUBLISHED: 08:45, 1 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:39, 1 March 2013

Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas in 1492 is one of the great stories of modern history.

But five centuries after his momentous achievement, a British explorer wants to prove that Columbus was actually beaten to it by another seafaring nation 1,000 years earlier.

Philip Beale believes the ancient Phoenicians - a Semitic civilization that prospered between 1500BC and 300BC on the Mediterranean coast - sailed to the Americas first.

All he needs now is £100,000!

Attempts thus far to prove that the Phoenicians made it to the Americas have not been found persuasive by specialists. (If you follow the links at this recent post, you will find discussions of much of the supposed evidence.) It's not impossible, of course, and Beale's dangerous project to prove that a Phoenician vessel could have done it would be interesting in principle as long as he manages to succeed and not get himself killed. But positive evidence is currently lacking and still would be if he succeeds.

On the discovery of America, see the comments at the bottom of this post.

I have blogged a great deal on the voyage of the Phoenicia (see here and links) and whether he is right or wrong, I wish Captain Beale well.

(HT Dorothy Lobel King.)