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Italian Sailors Knew About North America 150 Years Before Columbus 'Discovered' it: Study

While transcribing, the experts realised that one of the paragraphs from the ancient essay refers to a place which is actually North America. (Credits: Shutterstock)

While transcribing, the experts realised that one of the paragraphs from the ancient essay refers to a place which is actually North America. (Credits: Shutterstock)

Experts of Medieval Latin literature from the University of Milan were transcribing a document called Cronica Universalis dating back to 1345 by a friar of Milan, Galvaneus Flamma.

New research has claimed that Italian sailors from the town to which Christopher Columbus belonged already knew about America 150 years before he did. Experts of Medieval Latin literature from the University of Milan were transcribing a document called Cronica Universalis dating back to 1345 by a friar of Milan, Galvaneus Flamma. While transcribing, the experts realised that one of the paragraphs from the ancient essay refers to a place which is actually North America.

This essay which was first found in 2013 suggests that sailors from the town of Genoa were aware of the existence of the land of Marckalada. Through this, the researchers also found the hint that American already had its mention in the Mediterranean region. The Cronica Universalis is preserved as a single manuscript.

According to The Times, one of the researchers who led the research, Paolo Chiesa said that this discovery is the premier evidence known to circulate in the Mediterranean of the American continent. He also mentioned that if Columbus was made aware of the knowledge of the sailors, it would have been easy to complete his journey.

He added that descriptions of the trips were found in early Nordic documents but there is no evidence of the fact that the name of this land had been known to the people of the Mediterranean.

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According to the essay written by Chiesa published in the journalTerrae Incognitae, he speculated, “The Genoese might have brought back to their city scattered news about these lands, some real and some fanciful, that they heard in the northern harbors from Scottish, British, Danish, Norwegian sailors with whom they were trading.”

Columbus had started his voyage in hope of finding Asia on August 3, 1492 from the port of Palos in Spain. Along with around 100 men and three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, Columbus set sail in the diagonally opposite direction to where he was supposed to reach.

The ships made a landfall on October 12, 1492 at the modern day Bahamas, and later in the month, he saw Cuba mistaking it to be mainland China.Two months later, when the ships reached the shore, Columbus thought that place to be Japan.

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first published:October 13, 2021, 14:10 IST