Basques in North America before Columbus?

Discussion in 'History' started by mathman, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    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. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Hard to determine since no one then could write or have anything to show that they ever were here before then.
     
  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    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. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    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. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    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. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    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. C C Madam Rouge hissed: "CeCelia?" Valued Senior Member

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    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. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    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: Feb 22, 2012
  9. mathman Valued Senior Member

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  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    This point was also made in Cod, The fish that changed the world (good read)




    http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com/2005/03/kurlansky-codthe-fish-that-changed.html
     
  11. arauca Banned Banned

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    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. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Where are the lingerie pictures?
     
  13. C C Madam Rouge hissed: "CeCelia?" Valued Senior Member

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    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-european-style-stone-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/w...s-from-europe-discovered-america-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. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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  15. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

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    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. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The book I was reading is "The First Frontier". It uses Kurlansky as a reference.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    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. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    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. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    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.
    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.
     

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