Science Voyages – Where are the ships that arrived (and departed) from America before discovery

Before Columbus ended his voyage, ancient sailors came and left the Americas across oceans; these are your boats

What were the ships that arrived in America like? If we ask this question, the image of Christopher Columbus’ three caravels that took him and his crew from Spain to what is now the Bahamas archipelago immediately comes to mind. However, we know that this was not the first sea voyage that humans made to the American continent, and there may even have been other voyages from there to other continents.

But with what ships did the early discoverers cross the ocean to Chaos? Although the original ships are long gone, there are two places in the world where you can visit their reproductions, and interestingly, both are related to a country with a Viking past: Norway.

The Kon Tiki

Kon Tiki

The Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo

In 1947, Norwegian writer and explorer Thor Heyerdahl had a crazy idea. He decided to organize an expedition on a raft, crossing the Pacific Ocean from South America to the islands of Polynesia. He named his ship the Kon-Tiki, which is one of the names of the Inca god Viracocha. It is also the name of the book published by Heyerdahl, and the documentary chronicling his adventures, which won an Oscar in 1950.

Heyerdahl theorized that South Americans arrived in Polynesia by sea in pre-Columbian times. The purpose of the Kon-Tiki expedition was to demonstrate that only with the materials available at the time it was possible to build a ship capable of crossing the Pacific. Kon-Tiki left the coast of Peru in 1947 and sailed through the 6,900 km of the Pacific Ocean, which separated it from the atoll of the Tuamotu archipelago in French Polynesia, where it arrived 101 days later.

Heyerdahl’s hypothesis that Polynesians descended from the inhabitants of South America has little validity today, as it is believed that they actually came from Southeast Asia. However, this does not mean that there was no contact. There is evidence of genes that passed from South America to Easter Island, and from there they may have spread, leaving cultural traces.

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If you want to see Kon-Tiki you will have to go to museum of the same name in OsloNorway, where, in addition to the ship, all the documents of the expedition are kept and a library with more than 8,000 books.

The Draken Harald Harfage

Draken_Harald_Hårfagre

The Draken Harald Hårfagre in Mystic Seaport, CT, USA

We know for sure that in the Middle Ages, the Vikings had advanced maritime technology, which allowed them to conquer territories in the North Sea and even make great voyages. Their ships, called Draken (dragons) were powered by a large lateen sail and oarsmen.

There is solid evidence that the Vikings established settlements in what is now Newfoundland, Canada, in the year 1021. In 2010, construction began on a replica of one of these ships with 25 pairs of oars, or 50 oars in total. The project was financed by Sigurd Aase, a Norwegian businessman in the oil sector.

Each of the oars required the strength of two men, that is, 100 rowers were needed, although with the help of the wind and the ship could sail with a crew of 30 people. This combination of oars and sails made their ships extremely fast and unrivaled in naval battles.

the first expedition by Draken Harald Hårfagre (the dragon of Harald the blond, literally) started in the summer of 2014, completing a three-week trip to England. Two years later, in 2016, the Draken set sail from Norway, once again for Newfoundland, passing through Iceland and Greenland, until reaching the Labrador Peninsula in just over two months.

The best thing is that today you can visit Draken, which is located in Maritime Museum of Porto Místicoin Connecticut, United States.

Science of Quo Travel Section sponsored by hyundai

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