Lebanese newspaper: Muslims, not Columbus, discovered America
In an Arabic-language article in the Lebanese newspaper Assafir, Ghassan Rifi puts forward the idea that Muslims discovered America, not Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
Columbus is often credited as the first non-indigenous person to reach the Americas. After he reached the modern-day Bahamas in the Caribbean while sailing for Spain, European exploration and settlement began in the region, thus changing it forever.
Citing the research of historical Nadia Dhafer Shaban, Rifi puts forward the idea that people from Al-Andalus discovered America–al-Andalus being the name for Spain when it was under Muslim rule. According to Rifi, her work says Andalusian Muslims along with Africans reached the Americans some five centuries before Columbus.
The idea that Muslims reached the Americas some time ago is not new, and has been made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, academics and others. The Vikings are generally considered the first people from the Old World to reach the Americas, which was previously inhabited for centuries (and still is) by various indigenous peoples who walked from Asia thousands of years ago.
There are also claims that Chinese people discovered America, as well as other groups.
Given Columbus has named after him a holiday in the US, and a country (Colombia) in South America, it’s unlikely the people of North and South America will start celebrating these Muslim sailors instead any time soon.
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