According to the academic history, there were not contacts between the people of the Middle East and the Americas before the exploration of Christopher Columbus
, in 1492 A.D.
However, there are many evidences that middle eastern people and also Celtic and megalithic people (Cromlech of Calcoene
), had sporadic contacts with South America, from the time of the Sumerians.
The theory of pre-contact of the Sumerians is supported by both elements of linguistic similarity of the ancient Sumerian language with the Aymara language, still spoken today in Bolivia, and two very special artifacts that were found near Lake Titicaca. The Fuente Magna
and the Monolith of Pokotia
both having Sumerian inscriptions, which were deciphered by American epigraphist Clyde Winters.
The theory of the occasional discovery is supported by the fact that the ancient peoples, in this case the Sumerians, were good sailors and may have circumnavigated Africa starting from the Red Sea and heading first to the Cape of Good Hope. Upon arrival to Cape Verde islands, however, the contrary winds, would have push them to Brazil and so they would have arrived to the Amazon River Basin.
According to this theory the second group of navigators who came occasionally to Brazil were the Phoenicians, but they left in South America many more archaeological evidence and linguistic phonemes into local languages, such as the Tupi Guarani.
One of the first proponents of the theory of the presence of the ancient Phoenicians in Brazil, was the Austrian professor of History Ludwig Schwennhagen (XX century), in his book "Ancient History of Brazil," citing studies of Humphrey IV of Toron (XII century), who described the travels of King Hiram of Tyre (993 a.C.), and King Solomon of Judea (960 a.C.), to the estuary of the Amazon River.
According to Schwennhagen the Tupi Guarani language would have the same origin as the Middle Eastern languages, and in particular would show many similarities with the Sumerian language.
With regard to the archaeological evidence and documents, which prove the arrival and presence of ancient Phoenicians to Brazil, we must consider the issue of Paraiba Stone, which was discovered in 1872 at Pouso Alto (Paraiba).
The stone was broken into four pieces and was never recovered, but the copy of the inscriptions which, according to the discoverers, were carved on it, was sent to Viscount Sapuachay, who was the president of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Initially, the transcript was declared a hoax but later, in 1960, the epigraphist Cyrus Gordon said that the Phoenician text, which was reproduced upon the Paraiba Stone, could not be a fake, because it reported grammatical concepts of the Phoenician language that were still unknown in 1872, when the knowledge of the ancient Middle Eastern language in the world was still very limited. Here is the translation of the Paraiba Stone:
We the people of Canaan, from the city of the king of Sidon merchant. We came to this island far away, a mountainous land. We sacrificed a youth to the celestial Gods and Goddesses in the nineteenth year of our King Hiram and we embarked at Ezion-Geber into the Red Sea. We traveled with ten ships around Africa for two years, so we were separated by the hand of Baal, and already we are with our friends. So we came here, twelve men and three women, the island of iron, a new beach that I, the commander in chief, control. But surely the Gods and Goddesses will favor us.
According to Cyrus Gordon, the name of King Hiram III that is mentioned, would date the inscription to 531 B.C. Also, with the words "hand of Baal", they described the God of storms and this would confirm the thesis of the strong winds that blow from the islands of Cape Verde to Brazil permanently.
There are other sources of documentation on the possible arrival of Phoenician ships to Brazil. For example, Herodotus, in his Histories, mentioned a Phoenician expedition contracted by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II (610 B.C. - 595 B.C), which set out from the Red Sea and arrived three years later to the Straits of Gibraltar.
We must also mention the Carthaginian expedition of the 425.B.C. commanded by Hanno, who was supposed to found colonies in the Gulf of Guinea, during which potentially even the Carthaginians (descendants of the Phoenicians), reached Brazil.
In order to point out the archaeological evidence, we must mention the Gavea Stone and the Ingá Stone.
In the Gavea Stone, located at Barra da Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro, There are some petroglyphs that have been partially deciphered by the scholar Bernardo de Azevedo da Silva Ramos. (Inscrições and Tradições by América Pré-Histórica, 1932).
According to this interpretation the inscription could be transliterated in this way:
Which translated would mean:
Here Badezir, king of Tyre, eldest son of Jetbaal.
The date of the petroglyphs would be therefore the 840 B.C., as Jetbaal reigned up to 847 B.C.
Although according to some orthodox historians even the Gavea Stone is listed as a fake, we have to wonder how it was possible, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the petroglyphs of Gavea Stone were discovered, write a Phoenician inscription, considering that the knowledge of this language was very limited in the world (the same situation as the Paraiba Stone).
The other archaeological evidence of the possible presence of the ancient Phoenicians in Brazil (or maybe the Hittites as claimed by Italo-Brazilian Gabriele D'Annunzio Baraldi), is the mysterious and complex Ingá Stone, that I had the opportunity to study in my recent trip to Brazil.
Analyzing the Ingá Stone, we can see many signs that, according to Baraldi, were made using molds when the entire monolith was a huge piece of molten lava, following the eruption of an ancient volcano.
For example we noticed a sign very similar to the Phoenician Qoph, or a circle with a vertical line at the center, which corresponds to the Latin q.
The latest evidence, of the possible presence of peoples of the Middle East (maybe Carthaginians), in the interior of Brazil is famous Document 512, which I recently translated entirely from the ancient Portuguese.
As you can see the possibility that in ancient times the Phoenicians arrived to Brazil is supported by documents, and archaeological and linguistic evidences. We still have to determine whether they did really settle in South America, and if they could take advantage of some mines, which were possibly used by the Templar Knights in the upcoming centuries, as claimed by some Argentinian researchers.