Evidence of vikings and African presence before 1492

Read Summary

The debate over the Nordic and West African presence in the Americas before Columbus’ arrival in 1492 is still ongoing. While evidence such as oral sagas, artifacts, and skeletal remains have been found to suggest that both groups may have been present, there is still controversy surrounding their actual presence. The Norse, also known as the Vikings, were originally from Scandinavian countries and were believed to have come to the Americas for various reasons, including exploration and access to salt for preserving goods. The evidence surrounding their presence is mixed, with some proven and some unproven. In contrast, the African presence is indicated by stone heads, skeletons, inscriptions, and documented history, among other data. Columbus himself wrote about black-skinned people who came in boats to trade metals and spears, which were proven to be identical to those in Guinea, Africa.

Table of Content

Before Columbus arrived in 1492, historians have suggested that both Nordic and West African people were present in the Americas. Evidence supporting their possible presence, such as oral sagas, documented routes, artifacts, and skeletal remains, has been uncovered. However, debates continue regarding the authenticity of their arrival. Some argue that the evidence for Nordic presence is more credible than that for West Africans.

The Norse, also known as Vikings, got their name from their spoken language called ‘Old Norse’ and originated from Scandinavian countries. Renowned explorers seeking abundant salt reserves to preserve their goods, they believed venturing to the New World was worthwhile. Their home country Greenland faced overpopulation and a severe famine in 975 which further motivated them to journey. Additionally, political unrest may have influenced their decision to explore beyond Northern Europe.

There is strong evidence of the African presence in the Americas before 1492. This evidence includes stone heads, terra cottas, skeletons, inscriptions, oral tradition, documented history, botanical data, linguistic data, and cultural data. Similarly, there is also evidence of Viking presence in the Americas before 1492. Assessing the evidence for both these presence can provide insights into the history of the Americas.

2.  The Norse people from Scandinavia, also known as Scandinavians, embarked on trading and raiding expeditions along shorelines. They possessed a unique ship featuring a fearsome dragon figurehead that instilled terror in others.

3. The evidence surrounding the presence of Norse people in the Americas is controversial. The range of evidence includes both proven and unproven instances. One Nordic site, L’Anse aux Meadows, was discovered by Anne Ingstad. The buildings at this site were similar to the Norse Style. However, a stone found at the site was later determined to be a fake after examination.

4. The inscription could not be traced. Research who Eric the Red was, what the Vineland Saga were, and when the Norse people arrived and started colonization.

5. Africans also embarked on ships for the purpose of trading. However, instead, they arrived in the Americas, where they experienced shipwrecks and were subsequently incorporated into indigenous communities. Columbus acknowledged the presence of these Africans in his writings, in which he recounted how Haitians informed him about the arrival of dark-skinned individuals who traded metal spears. The authenticity of these spears was confirmed through testing, as they were found to be identical to those used in Guinea, Africa.

Cite this page

Evidence of vikings and African presence before 1492. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront