by Legrand H. Clegg II

Every October, Americans pause to celebrate Columbus Day. Children are taught that the Italian navigator discovered America. Parades are held in his honor and tributes tell of his skill, courage and perseverance.

Historians, archeologists, anthropologists and other scientists and scholars now know that Columbus did not discover America. Not only were Native Americans present when he reached the New World, but also Africans, Asians and Europeans, among others, had been sailing to America thousands of years before Columbus ventured across the Atlantic.

The Olmec civilization, the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica, is best known for the colossal carved heads in Central Mexico, clearly crafted in the likeness of Africans, that serve as evidence that Africans sailed to the New World before Columbus. The same civilization that created these giant heads was also responsible for introducing written language, arts, sophisticated astronomy and mathematics to Mesoamerican civilization, ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima explains. Other evidence of African presence in and trade with the Americas before Columbus is the discovery of South American cocaine in Egyptian mummies and North American cotton in West Africa.
The Olmec civilization, the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica, is best known for the colossal carved heads in Central Mexico, clearly crafted in the likeness of Africans, that serve as evidence that Africans sailed to the New World before Columbus. The same civilization that created these giant heads was also responsible for introducing written language, arts, sophisticated astronomy and mathematics to Mesoamerican civilization, ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima explains. Other evidence of African presence in and trade with the Americas before Columbus is the discovery of South American cocaine in Egyptian mummies and North American cotton in West Africa.

Of the various people who reached America before Columbus, Black Africans appear to have been the first, to have made the most contacts and to have had the greatest influence. As a matter of fact, in the recent book, “The First Americans Were Africans: Documented Evidence,” David Imhotep proves that Black Africans reached the New World as early as 56,000 years ago!

During the 19th and 20th centuries, several scholars wrote books and articles about this subject and urged the academic establishment to change primary and secondary curricula across the country to reflect the great contributions of African people to early America. Unfortunately, such pleas fell on deaf ears. So again this October our children are being taught the myth that Columbus discovered America.

Of the various people who reached America before Columbus, Black Africans appear to have been the first, to have made the most contacts and to have had the greatest influence.

Several years ago, a group of 13 African Americans participated in a study tour of numerous Mexican archeological sites. Led by the renowned Black historian and architect Mathu Otir and two Mexican guides, we visited numerous museums, temples, pyramids and cities, most of which reflected the genius of the Native American Mayans and Aztecs. Toward the end of the tour, in southern Mexico, we began to see the remains of an ancient Black presence.

Evidence of the early Africans is widespread and varied. Dozens of majestic stone heads have been found at ancient sacred sites, such as La Venta and Tres Zapotes, in southern Mexico. Ranging up to 9 feet and 4 inches in height, with a circumference of 22 feet, and weighing 30 to 40 tons, these colossal statues depict helmeted Black men with large eyes, broad fleshy noses and full lips. They appear to represent priest-kings who ruled vast territories in the ancient New World from provinces near the Gulf of Mexico.

In the holy city of La Venta, dating back to at least 1500 BC, four of these large stone heads were discovered on a ceremonial platform featuring a miniature step pyramid and a conical pyramid – the earliest of such monuments to appear in the Americas.

Evidence of the early Africans is widespread and varied.

Other artwork also serves as evidence of Africans in America before Columbus. For years, the late art historian Alexander Von Wuthenau collected ancient clay figurines that provide clues regarding the diversity of America’s pre-Columbian population.

His remarkable African collection depicts priests, chiefs, dancers, wrestlers, drummers, beautiful women and stately men – a collage of Black people who occupied every stratum of societies from Mexico to South America.

Negroid skulls and skeletons have also been found throughout the New World. Polish professor Andrzej Wiercinski has revealed the discovery of African skulls at Olmec sites in Tlatilco, Cerro de las Mesas and Monte Alban. Furthermore, very ancient African skeletons have been unearthed in California, Mexico, Central and South America.

The best evidence of the Black presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of the “great discoverer” himself. In his journal on his second voyage, Columbus reported that when he reached Haiti, the Native Americans told him that black-skinned people had come from the south and southeast in boats trading in gold-tipped metal spears. At least a dozen other European explorers, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa, also reported seeing or hearing of “Negroes” when they reached the New World.

Nicholas Leon, an eminent Mexican authority, recorded the oral traditions of his people. Some of them reported that “the oldest inhabitants of Mexico were Blacks … [T]he existence of Blacks and giants is commonly believed by nearly all the races of our soil, and in their various languages they had words to designate them.”

Early Mexican scholars were convinced that the impact of the Black explorers on the New World was profound and enduring. One author, J.A. Villacorta, has written: “Any way you view it, Mexican civilization had its origin in Africa.”

Modern excavations throughout Latin America appear to confirm Villacorta’s conclusions. The Olmec civilization, which appears to have been of African origin or to have been dominated by Africans, was the Mother Culture of Mexico. Of this, Michael Coe, the leading American historian on Mexico, has written that, “there is not the slightest doubt that all later civilizations in [Mexico and Central America], rest ultimately on an Olmec base.”

Early Mexican scholars were convinced that the impact of the Black explorers on the New World was profound and enduring. One author, J.A. Villacorta, has written: “Any way you view it, Mexican civilization had its origin in Africa.”

Ivan Van Sertima, the foremost authority on the African presence in ancient America, has built a strong case demonstrating that many Olmec cultural traits were of African origin: “A study of the Olmec civilization reveals elements that so closely parallel ritual traits and techniques in the Egypto-Nubian world of the same period that it is difficult to maintain [that] all these are due to mere coincidence.”

Other scholars believe that Africans introduced a calendar, writing, pyramid and tomb construction, mummification, as well as certain political systems and religious traditions to the Native Americans.

Who were the Africans who sailed to America before Columbus? Indian scholar R.A. Jairazbhoy states that the earliest settlers were ancient Egyptians led by King Ramesis III, during the 19th dynasty. Van Sertima also believes that most of the explorers sailed from Egypt, but during the much later 25th dynasty.

Many other scholars insist that the navigators came from West African nations, such as Ghana, Mali and Songhay.

Whoever these Black people were, they most certainly sailed to America in ancient and medieval times and left a profound imprint on New World soil. As Jairazbhoy notes, “The Black began his career in America not as slave but as master.”

“The Black began his career in America not as slave but as master.”

Our Mexican guides agreed. As we ended our tour and prepared to return to the U.S., one of them proclaimed, “I would like to thank the African people for bringing civilization to the New World.” It is high time for the American media and academic establishment to admit the same.

Legrand H. Clegg II is city attorney emeritus of Compton, Calif., and producer of the documentary, “When Black Men Ruled the World.” He may be reached at legrandhclegg44@gmail.com.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for writing this article, Mr. Legrand H Clegg II. It is the kind of historical analysis that is needed, is well thought out, and takes us on a path to truth in the finest traditions of Ancestor Dr. John Henrik Clarke's "They Came Before Columbus," and of Ancestor Dr. Ivan van Sertima. I have learned of new scholar's and their works to go in search of, and will be looking for your documentary, "When Black Men Ruled the World." I am also interested in those scholars who chronicle the exploits and contributions of Afrikan Women as well as of Afrikan Men, because an entire people have been written out of historic truth, and Afrikan Women must not continue to be unwritten….

  2. If you examine the legends of the Mayas of South and Central America, we find among other names the people of Atlan, or children of Atlantis. Many esoteric teachers like Manly P. Hall claim that most of the refugees of Atlantis went to Central America and are not people from Africa.

  3. Sounds like some people hate to admit that the so called black are the original people’s of almost every continent in the world

    • Yes sir…this could very well be. But they originated out of Africa too, a fact that is obviously demonstrated in their physical features. Opinions are OK, but facts speak for themselves. Opinions? Welll…an opinion is like a you know what…everybody's got one. But an opinion has no researched validity (only guessing), and is predicated only upon what the opinionator wishes for it to be. Research is congruent with science, and deals strictly with what it is. Keep wishing!!

  4. I've been to theese countries, specifically Yucatan in Mexico, and around Peru.

    This smells really like bullshit, there would have to be "real" archelogical evidence : Camps set up by travelers; remains of their "unknown technology". Because unlike the vikings, wich also didn't have writing, we still have real archeological sites.

    • It is no wonder that so many Europeans disdain to the fact that all civilization comes from Africa and the Africans. All of most of the lives of the people of the world, they have been taught that Europeans are the dominate culture, mostly based upon a fictionalized depiction of a false image of a Caucasian Jesus believed to be the son of an obviously Caucasian G_d. When a lie is repeated over and over through seemingly milleniums, it stands to reason the difficulty in changing minds away from this false concept.

    • This article is complete bullshit… Those so called experts that the article mentions like Ivan van sertima have been debunked by real experts…

  5. This article is complete nonsense.. Those so called experts that the article mentions like Ivan van sertima have been debunked by real experts.

  6. Debunking Ivan van Sertima is not really the issue here. There are obvious links between Africa and the Americas, which are hard to explain away with an African slave presence as of 1500s.

    The level of Africanism in place names has always attracted my attention and raised my interest.

    Someone said that place names are a reflection of culture and history…They are a reflection of the wo, what, when, where, and why at the time they were given…

    Concerning Africanism in place names in Latin America, we know the WHO (the Spaniards), the WHAT (African words and names like Mandinga, Guineo, Guinea, Mondongo, Congo etc.), the WHEN (the colonial period or later) and the WHERE (specific geographic locations like rivers, forests, bays, lagoons, lakes, mountains, hills, streams, rocks etc.)

    There are many examples like Mandinga Islands, Congo River, Mondongo Rocks, Lago de Guineo.

    The WHY of Africanism of place names has hardly been addressed.

    Why did the Spaniards use African names or words for specific locations in Latin America where Africans came as cargo on slave ships.

    In addition, how did it happen?

    Another issue has to do with the following:

    How come the Americas are the only continents where Africans came on slave ships ?

    The Kingdom of Kongo had an embassy in Dutch Brazil in the 17 century ? How, then ?

    Finally, the OoA origin of mankind has never been debunked.

    Why are the Americas the only continents where the OoA does not apply?

    Ancient Americas must have been inhabited by black skinned populations aboriginal to tropical and equatorial regions.

    I do believe that the Olmecs were tropically adapted Native Americans. They were not settlers from West Africa.

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