Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Basques in North America before Columbus?

  1. #1
    Valued Senior Member
    Posts
    1,134

    Basques in North America before Columbus?

    Other than Norsemen around 1000 AD and somewhat after, is there any evidence of contact between Europeans and American natives?

    In a book I am reading, the author asserts (I don't see any proof) that, for at least 100 years before Columbus, European (mainly Basque) fishermen were fishing and also whaling off the coast of North America from Maine to Newfoundland. I checked (Google) various sources - they mention this possibility, but with great skepticism. Basque fishermen did operate in the area from about 1500 onward, but there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence of earlier operations.

  2. #2
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
    Posts
    30,586
    Hard to determine since no one then could write or have anything to show that they ever were here before then.

  3. #3
    Valued Senior Member Pandaemoni's Avatar
    Posts
    3,631
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Hard to determine since no one then could write or have anything to show that they ever were here before then.
    It is difficult to establish, and even the Norse presence was long doubted. There are examples of pre-Clovis arrowheads that some experts have said appear to be of a style used by Solutrean cultures...and Solutreans were located in what would (much later) be Basque regions of Spain.

    If the conjecture is correct, they would have come to the new world long before the Basques were in the same region (circa 20,000 - 15,000 BC, whereas the Basques have been there for the last 2,000-4,000 years, as I understand it), but I wander if there might not have been some confusion that led to the identification of the Basques. The Solutreans would then have been the cultural predecessors to what we know as Clovis culture.

    The Solutrean hypothesis is a valid (if minority) one.

  4. #4
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
    Posts
    30,586
    ), but I wander if there might not have been some confusion that led to the identification of the Basques.
    Sometimes one characteristic is the same as another, for ideas aren't only given to one set of peoples at a time, many can have ideas about making the same things at the same time.

  5. #5
    Valued Senior Member
    Posts
    1,134
    Quote Originally Posted by Pandaemoni View Post
    It is difficult to establish, and even the Norse presence was long doubted. There are examples of pre-Clovis arrowheads that some experts have said appear to be of a style used by Solutrean cultures...and Solutreans were located in what would (much later) be Basque regions of Spain.

    If the conjecture is correct, they would have come to the new world long before the Basques were in the same region (circa 20,000 - 15,000 BC, whereas the Basques have been there for the last 2,000-4,000 years, as I understand it), but I wander if there might not have been some confusion that led to the identification of the Basques. The Solutreans would then have been the cultural predecessors to what we know as Clovis culture.

    The Solutrean hypothesis is a valid (if minority) one.
    Before ships were first built (Egyptians, Sumerians ??) there is no way to get from Europe to America across the Atlantic. Any connection between Europeans or others with native Americans (for the dates mentioned) would have had to come via the Siberia to Alaska route.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Other than Norsemen around 1000 AD and somewhat after, is there any evidence of contact between Europeans and American natives?
    Kennewick Man is the well-preserved, nearly complete skeleton of an incontrovertibly European man, around 50 years old, who died approximately 9,000 years ago, 250 miles/400km inland from the Pacific Ocean in what is now the state of Washington in the northwestern United States.

    This is a puzzle that no one has solved.

  7. #7
    Madam Rouge hissed: "CeCelia?" C C's Avatar
    Posts
    964
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Before ships were first built (Egyptians, Sumerians ??) there is no way to get from Europe to America across the Atlantic. Any connection between Europeans or others with native Americans (for the dates mentioned) would have had to come via the Siberia to Alaska route.
    Supposedly they would have traveled along an Atlantic ice sheet with vessels and skills perhaps similar to what the Saqqaq people (proto-Inuit) had when they migrated to Greenland 4,500 years ago. One alternative for the standard Solutrean hypothesis is that these paleolithic Europeans were descended from an earlier group which had a second branch populating the northern fringe of Eurasia. And it was the latter then who (in this variation) took a more traditional Siberian route to North America, accounting for the "assumed" technology resemblances with later Clovis culture.

  8. #8
    Valued Senior Member Pandaemoni's Avatar
    Posts
    3,631
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Before ships were first built (Egyptians, Sumerians ??) there is no way to get from Europe to America across the Atlantic. Any connection between Europeans or others with native Americans (for the dates mentioned) would have had to come via the Siberia to Alaska route.
    There were boat-using seal, tuna and walrus hunters in that period, including the Solutreans. As I understand the conjecture the thought is that at some stage there would have been persistent ice floes teeming with marine mammals during the ice age between Europe and Greenland and the Solutreans could have simply lived out of their boats hoping between ice floes to make their way over, hunting as they went.

    It's all conjecture based on technological similarities, so far as I understand it, but it's conjecture that some take very seriously. It's not proven by any means, but it's not a completely a crackpot conjecture: http://www.livescience.com/7043-americans-european.html

    Edit: Forgot to mention that the Solutreans had boats, so my post made it sound as if they simply walked!
    Last edited by Pandaemoni; 02-22-12 at 05:54 AM.

  9. #9
    Valued Senior Member
    Posts
    1,134
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean_hypothesis

    Above is a thorough discussion of this subject, including strong doubts about the possibility of any Atlantic crossing.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Other than Norsemen around 1000 AD and somewhat after, is there any evidence of contact between Europeans and American natives?

    In a book I am reading, the author asserts (I don't see any proof) that, for at least 100 years before Columbus, European (mainly Basque) fishermen were fishing and also whaling off the coast of North America from Maine to Newfoundland. I checked (Google) various sources - they mention this possibility, but with great skepticism. Basque fishermen did operate in the area from about 1500 onward, but there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence of earlier operations.
    This point was also made in Cod, The fish that changed the world (good read)




    Cod begins with the mysterious medieval source of the codfish, in the fishing vessels of an equally mysterious people, the Basque. Cod was sometimes caught closer to the Continent, but never in such vast numbers as the Basque supplied.

    Catholicism gave the Basques their great opportunity. The medieval church imposed fast days in which sexual intercourse and the eating of flesh were forbidden, but eating "cold foods" was permitted... In total, meat was forbidden for almost half the days of the year, and those lean days became salt cod days...The Basques were getting richer every Friday. But where was all this cod coming from? The Basques, who had never even said where they came from, kept their secret.

    To follow the Basque to their secret source of cod became a goal of money-seeking adventurers. In 1475, following the successful attempt by the Hanseatic League to cut Bristol off from Icelandic cod, Thomas Croft went into partnership with John Jay to find the island in the Atlantic called Hy-Brasil, believed to be the source of Basque cod. They found enough (although they never revealed where) to leave them uninterested when the Hanseatics tried to negotiate to reopen the Iceland trade with Bristol in 1490.

    Interestingly, their cod ...arrived in Bristol dried, and drying cannot be done on a ship deck.... a letter has recently been discovered...sent to Christopher Columbus, a decade after the Croft affair in Bristol... [The letter] alleged that [Columbus] knew perfectly well they had been to America already... Fishermen were keeping their secrets, while explorers were telling the world.

    Not to miss this point, Kurlansky cites two other explorers who "claimed" shores in the New World for various governments. John Cabot (nee Giovanni Caboto, of Genoa), claimed "New Found Land" for Henry VII, and reported as part of its wealth rocky coastlines suitable for drying the cod that teamed in its waters. When Jacques Cartier "discovered" the mouth of the St. Lawrence and claimed the Gaspé Peninsula for France, he found 1000 Basque fishing vessels already there.

    But the Basques, wanting to keep a good secret, had never claimed it for anyone.
    http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com/200...t-changed.html

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Other than Norsemen around 1000 AD and somewhat after, is there any evidence of contact between Europeans and American natives?

    In a book I am reading, the author asserts (I don't see any proof) that, for at least 100 years before Columbus, European (mainly Basque) fishermen were fishing and also whaling off the coast of North America from Maine to Newfoundland. I checked (Google) various sources - they mention this possibility, but with great skepticism. Basque fishermen did operate in the area from about 1500 onward, but there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence of earlier operations.

    Why not the Egyptian they build pyramids , so did the Maya in Central America , There was a Swedish fellow who sailed a papaysus boat in the 1950 ? to Central America with a boat" RA "

  12. #12
    All aboard, me Hearties! Captain Kremmen's Avatar
    Posts
    11,649
    Where are the lingerie pictures?

  13. #13
    Madam Rouge hissed: "CeCelia?" C C's Avatar
    Posts
    964
    Apparently this topic aroused the sleeping gods of the Solutrean enough that they prodded some breaking-news to burp forth and update the situation.

    European style stone tools suggest Stone Age people actually discovered America: http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-...tools-age.html

    "...it appears Europeans might have been first to arrive on the scene after all. Stone tools found recently in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia in the eastern United States, all appear to bear a striking resemblance to tools used by Stone Age peoples in early Europe, and have been dated to a time between 19,000 and 26,000 years ago, a period during which Stone Age people were making such tools, and long before the early Asians arrived."

    New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...a-7447152.html

    "The similarity between other later east coast US and European Stone Age stone tool technologies has been noted before. But all the US European-style tools, unearthed before the discovery or dating of the recently found or dated US east coast sites, were from around 15,000 years ago - long after Stone Age Europeans (the Solutrean cultures of France and Iberia) had ceased making such artefacts. Most archaeologists had therefore rejected any possibility of a connection. But the newly-discovered and recently-dated early Maryland and other US east coast Stone Age tools are from between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago - and are therefore contemporary with the virtually identical western European material. What’s more, chemical analysis carried out last year on a European-style stone knife found in Virginia back in 1971 revealed that it was made of French-originating flint."

  14. #14
    Valued Senior Member Pandaemoni's Avatar
    Posts
    3,631
    An interesting article on the Solutrean Hypothesis that happens to have come out yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/7sd3lwq

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Other than Norsemen around 1000 AD and somewhat after, is there any evidence of contact between Europeans and American natives?

    In a book I am reading, the author asserts (I don't see any proof) that, for at least 100 years before Columbus, European (mainly Basque) fishermen were fishing and also whaling off the coast of North America from Maine to Newfoundland. I checked (Google) various sources - they mention this possibility, but with great skepticism. Basque fishermen did operate in the area from about 1500 onward, but there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence of earlier operations.
    I'll bet it's Mark Kurlansky's The Basque History of The World. I read it too, and it was very interesting and quite convincing, but who am I to say if he is correct?

    What I could not understand was what made Mr. Kurlansky 'gush' so about the Basque. I am sure they are fine people, but Kurlansky had such a h*rd on for them that I thought that if I looked at the back cover's inside I would find an advertisement: Order your Basque now! Only $999 plus shipping and delivery. Don't Delay!

  16. #16
    Valued Senior Member
    Posts
    1,134
    The book I was reading is "The First Frontier". It uses Kurlansky as a reference.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Epictetus View Post
    What I could not understand was what made Mr. Kurlansky 'gush' so about the Basque. I am sure they are fine people . . . .
    The Basques are probably descended from the Cro-Magnons. This would make them the only surviving members of the first group of H. sapiens to migrate into Europe.

    Most of the modern European populations are descended from the Indo-European tribes who migrated out of the Pontic Steppe, 5,000 years ago at the absolute earliest and probably much later than that. Exceptions include a few groups on the very edge of the region such as the Estonians, Sami, Hungarians and Turks; the Jews who were run out of their homeland and wound up practically everywhere; and of course modern-era migrants from Africa, Asia and everywhere else.

    This does make the Basques rather special, if you ask me. Their ancestors have been there for something like 25,000 years.

    There were a few other surviving European peoples during recorded antiquity who were not Indo-Europeans, notably the Etruscans and (perhaps) the Picts. Unfortunately that survival came to an end, probably by assimilation, so today we have no DNA to analyze. They may have been cousins of the Basques, also great-great-etc.-grandchildren of the Cro-Magnons.

  18. #18
    Valued Senior Member
    Posts
    1,134
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraggle Rocker View Post
    The Basques are probably descended from the Cro-Magnons. This would make them the only surviving members of the first group of H. sapiens to migrate into Europe.

    Most of the modern European populations are descended from the Indo-European tribes who migrated out of the Pontic Steppe, 5,000 years ago at the absolute earliest and probably much later than that. Exceptions include a few groups on the very edge of the region such as the Estonians, Sami, Hungarians and Turks; the Jews who were run out of their homeland and wound up practically everywhere; and of course modern-era migrants from Africa, Asia and everywhere else.

    This does make the Basques rather special, if you ask me. Their ancestors have been there for something like 25,000 years.

    There were a few other surviving European peoples during recorded antiquity who were not Indo-Europeans, notably the Etruscans and (perhaps) the Picts. Unfortunately that survival came to an end, probably by assimilation, so today we have no DNA to analyze. They may have been cousins of the Basques, also great-great-etc.-grandchildren of the Cro-Magnons.
    Is there any DNA evidence to support the idea that the Basque are that different from other Europeans? As for Picts and Etruscans, presumably their descendants are included with present day Scottish highlanders (Picts) or inhabitants of Tuscany (Etruscans). DNA might show if there are any connections.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Is there any DNA evidence to support the idea that the Basque are that different from other Europeans?
    The Wikipedia article on the subject seems to cover all the bases. According to this writer, they cannot be descendants of the Cro-Magnon because they arrived in the Neolithic Era or the Mesolithic (and I wasn't aware that there were any Mesolithic settlements in Europe), not the Paleolithic. Nonetheless, they do seem to be clearly different from the other Europeans, so they might represent a hitherto unidentified wave of immigration after the Cro-Magnon but before the Indo-Europeans.
    As for Picts and Etruscans, presumably their descendants are included with present day Scottish highlanders (Picts) or inhabitants of Tuscany (Etruscans). DNA might show if there are any connections.
    I know that scholars have been wrestling with the ethnicity of the Picts for a long time and gotten nowhere. By now they should have examined enough DNA from Scotland and the border country to have identified any traces of pre-Celtic ancestry. This suggests to me that the Picts were merely another Celtic tribe. Unfortunately this leaves us completely clueless about who built Stonehenge roughly a thousand years before the first Celts arrived on Britannia.

    As for the Etruscans, they're just as big a mystery. Remember, these were a civilized people who were eclipsed first by Greek civilization and then by Roman. All civilizations become melting pots. By the time this one was absorbed by its successors, it was probably already as much of a genetic riot as the modern nations of the New World.

Similar Threads

  1. By Orleander in forum Human Science
    Last Post: 10-06-11, 05:31 PM
    Replies: 15
  2. By EmptyForceOfChi in forum World Events
    Last Post: 05-21-11, 02:34 PM
    Replies: 131
  3. By jmpet in forum World Events
    Last Post: 09-14-10, 10:32 PM
    Replies: 16
  4. By jmpet in forum World Events
    Last Post: 05-30-09, 08:29 AM
    Replies: 40
  5. By wanneszinnig in forum The Cesspool
    Last Post: 05-28-09, 09:40 AM
    Replies: 439

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •