Did Black People Arrive in the Americas before Columbus?

Most of us were taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. We were also taught that the first black people to arrive in the Americas were enslaved Africans. What if none of these were true? In fact, there is strong evidence pointing to the fact that Columbus was probably not the first non-native American to set foot in the Americas. So, if Columbus was not first, then who was?

Christopher Columbus first arrived on the American continent in 1492. He left Europe hoping to find a direct route to Asia, and instead stumbled upon the Americas. He became known as the man who discovered the new world of the Americas, and Columbus Day is observed on the second Monday in October each year

First, let me backup and talk about the use of the word discovery for a second. The Oxford dictionary definition of the word is this: an act or the process of finding somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before. 

The question then became, if America was known by the native Americans because they lived there, how can one say that they discovered it? On the other hand, some people claim that the simple definition of discovery is seeing something for the first time. In which case, we all discovered America. I came here in 2008 so I can also claim I discovered America in 2008. 

Note that the term America here refers to the continent America.

Anyway.. This is besides the point of this topic. The point is that contrary to what most people believe, the presence of black people in America may not have begun with slavery.

In fact, evidence shows that West Africans have sailed across the Atlantic ocean to the Americas at least 180 years before Christopher Columbus. 

In particular, let me introduce you to Mansa Abu Bakar II, king of the ancient kingdom of Mali in West Africa. Mansa Abu Bakar was an educated man, who was curious to know  what was behind the Atlantic Ocean. In 1311, he sent some of his men with enough provisions to last them years on 200 ships to explore the limits of the ocean. He ordered them to not return until they find what is behind the Atlantic ocean. 

It is said that only one ship returned and when asked what happened, the captain responded “We traveled for a long time and there appeared in the open sea a river with a powerful current. The other ships went on ahead but when they reached that place, they did not return and no more was seen of them. As for me, I went about it once and did not enter the river”. 

So, king Abu Bakari II decided to assemble even more ships, two thousands to be exact; he equipped them with food, water, livestock, gold, and other provisions, left the throne to his brother Mansa Musa, and went to explore himself. 

They apparently never returned, so the question is: did they ever reach the Americas? Looking at evidence that modern historians, archaeologists, and researchers are now bringing to light, the answer appears to be yes! The evidence and sources I found to support include:

  1. According to Leo Weiner in his book entitled Africa and the Discovery of America, Columbus reported in his journal that the Native Americans confirmed “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.” It appears the native Americans described the spearheads as “guanin”, which means “gold” in the Mandinka language – a language of the Mali Empire.
  2. Columbus also reported seeing mosque-like buildings when he arrived in America. In fact, the people from the Kingdom of Mali were Muslims, so they may have built mosques while there.
  3. African skeletons were discovered in America and studies show that the skeletons are from the 13th century and most likely related to Mansa Abu Bakr’s voyage.
  4. The Garifuna people: I came across an episode from the New York Botanical Garden (linked below), where they invited a group of people known as Garinagu. In explaining how they came about, they mentioned the fusion of Africans from the kingdom of Mali with native Americans. 

The evidence is there. The books are there. The articles are there. The problem is that history is written from a Eurocentric perspective. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that black people have not accomplished anything major in the world, when in fact Black people have done extraordinary things from the very beginning. Otherwise, why is none of this taught in school? Why is it that these historical records never made it to history books being used in schools? 

You know.. when I was first told this by one of my followers, I thought: here goes another one who spreads lies on the internet. I didn’t believe it until I heard the story of the Garifuna people. The presence of the Malians on American soil may also contribute to explaining the presence of African crops in the Americas.

What is still not being argued, based on what I read, is that Columbus did introduce the Americas to much of Europe and facilitated the establishment of European settlements there. From there, colonization, slavery and everything else you know followed.  

What are your thoughts on all of this?

Quick disclaimer. This is not saying that Mansa Abu Bakr and/or his people are the first non-native Americans to travel to the Americas. It is merely saying that there is evidence that shows they traveled to the Americas before Columbus. As a matter of fact, I read that the Vikings, and the Chinese traveled there before Mansa Abu Bakari. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. 



Sources and articles:

Some of these are affiliate links

They Came Before Columbus, by Van Sertima

Africa and the Discovery of America, by Leo Weiner 




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRO1XLRlRhM (you can start around the 17 min mark)


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I hope you enjoyed this read.

Love, M

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3 Responses

  1. if Africans discovered America why didn’t they colonize it? I don’t believe Africans discovered America! it’s all baloney! I don’t believe one bit of your story! No way Africans discovered America! you won’t convince me of that, maybe some ignorant fool will believe you, but not me!

    1. You have your mind made so there no way you would ever research it.no they didn’t discover it nor did Columbus but people believe that he did basically it’s stating that blacks were in America before Columbus.

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