Who discovered America?


The conventional wisdom is that Christopher Columbus was the first person to discover the Americas, but we know this wasn’t true for the simple reason that he meet indigenous tribes as soon as he came ashore in 1451. Ancestors of modern day Native Americans travelled from East Siberia to the New World during the Ice Age, aroundn15,000 years ago. Rather than sail, they were able to walk across a land bridge at the Bering Strait, which was later drowned when global sea levels rose.

Columbus wasn’t even the first European to discover America.  The Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson landed in modern day Newfoundland, Canada, half a millennium before Columbus. While much of Erikson’s history is based on Icelandic sagas, there is also hard evidence to back up the legend. In 1960, an international team of archaeologists excavated artefacts of Viking origin dating from around 1000 AD, and the remains of the Norse village are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Furthermore, though Columbus Day is a national holiday in the United States, the explorer never actually set foot in North America. He landed on various Caribbean islands and explored the Central and South American coasts.