Very profound article back in 1975
Bad News for Columbus, Perhaps
By Ivan van Sertima
Dec. 4, 1975
Credit…The New York Times Archives
December 4, 1975, Page 41
HIGHLAND PARK, N. J. — Last February, a Smithsonian Institution team reported finding two “Negro male skeletons”—the men died in their late 30’s—in a grave in the United States Virgin Islands. This grave had been used and abandoned by native Indians long before the coming of Columbus. Soil from the earth layers in which the skeletons were found was dated to A.D. 1250.
A study of the teeth showed a type of “dental mutilation characteristic of early African cultures,” and clamped around the wrist of one of the skeletons was a clay vessel of pre‐Columbian Indian design.
This is no isolated find. Skulls that, according to the physical anthropologist Ernest Hooton, “closely resemble crania of Negro groups coming from parts of Africa” have been found in pre‐Columbian layers in the valley of the Pecos River, in northern Mexico and Texas, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
The historian Frederick Peterson, in his study of ancient Mexico, emphasized “the strong Negroid substratum that intermingled with the [Olmec] magicians.” The Olmecs were an American people who inhabited the Gulf Coast in the first millenium before Jesus.
In September 1974, a Polish craniologist, Andrzej Wiercinski, disclosed to the Congress of Americanists that skulls from Olmec and other preChristian sites in Mexico (Tlatilco, Cerro de las Mesas and Monte Albán “show a clear prevalence of the total Negroid pattern.”
In 1957, three professors released radiocarbon datings for an Olmec ceremonial center at La yenta, Mexico. Within this center, near the Atlantic, stood four colossal stone heads, with military‐type helmets, weighing 30 to 40 tons each. They were described by their discoverer, the archeologist Matthew Stirling, as “amazingly negroid.” Samples of wood charcoal taken from the first construction phase of the center associated with the heads gave an average reading of 814 B.C., plus or minus 134 years.
This period, taken at both ends of the carbon datings, coincides with the rise of the Negro‐Nubian military as a decisive factor in the power politics of Egypt, and continues to the total conquest and rule of Egypt by NegroNubian pharoahs in the 25th dynasty.
In this period, Negro‐Nubian kings became conspirators with their allies, the Phoenicians, against their common enemy, the Assyrians.
With black supervision and military protection, the Phoenicians, through Assyrian vassals, continued their maritime trade, which took them out into the Atlantic.
Eleven colossal Negroid stone heads have been uncovered in Mexico along the Gulf coast. Numerous Negroid portraits and masks accompany them.
Prof. Alexander von Wuthenau, an art historian, has brought to public attention numerous Negroid portraits in clay, gold, copper and copal from ancient and medieval Central and South America.
These portraits capture not only the dense close curl and kink of Negroid hair, the occasional goatee beard (unknown to the American‐Indian chin), projecting jaws, coloration, broad noses and full‐fleshed lips, but also African ear pendants, headdresses, coiffures, facial tattoos and scarification.
These discoveries have posed riddles to many anthropologists. They ask, how could Africans who knew nothing of the sea cross the 1,500 Atlantic miles to America?
Africans, however, were no strangers to the sea. Irish pre‐Christian history records how the Firbourges were “disturbed in their possession of Ireland by the descent and depredations of African sea‐rovers, the Fomorians, who had a main stronghold on Torrey Island.”
A division of Negroid sea captains and mariners are reported to have been in the Egyptian navy of the 19th dynasty.
Central Africans from Lake Chad built, along ancient Egyptian lines, the papyrus boat Ra I, which Thor Heyerdahl sailed from North Africa to the vicinity of Barbados in 1969.
Continue reading the main story
The Arab historian Ibn Fadl Allah al‐Omari records two Atlantic expeditions by Mali in the early 14th century. The Mali King Abu Bakari II headed the secofid expedition, which set out from the Senegambia coast, the western border of an empire that dwarfed in power, size and wealth the Roman Empire.
Mali supported foreign embassies, universities (Timbuktu), a high level of metallurgical and medical technology (eye surgery), and a swift postal and transport system on land and water. The historian E. W. Bovill’s study of the West African caravan trade mentions the use of compasses and nautical intruments to navigate the desert.
The botanist Karl Schwerin has presented evidence for even earlier links between Africans and Americans (circa 4000 B.C.). Simple watercraft manned by ancient Africans transported an African cultivated cotton that we now know is an ancestor of American hybrid cottons. Hannes Lindemann — a German doctor who was in Liberia—in a dugout, feeding only on the ocean, proved that even in that early phase an accident involving African fishermen could have led to a successful drift journey to America.
Currents, which Mali oral tradition call “rivers in the middle of the sea,” move like conveyor belts from Africa to America. By design and by accident, in several historical periods, Africans traveled to America on those currents. Along the seaboard of Central and South America where they terminate, the anthropologist Alphonse de Quatrefages has written that “small black populations” had been mapped by a French sea captain.
© 2021 The New York Times