Did Spain Discover The New World Twice


When Columbus and his men met Native Americans for the first time in 1492, it was hailed as the greatest voyage of discovery in history. Now, says a recent Vero Beach visitor, it seems likely that Spanish Basques made the same journey thousands of years earlier.

Native people, traditional people like the Hopi who tell of couriers running in both directions across the Bering Straits, believe that they didn’t come from anywhere, that they were always here. Anthropologist Jeffrey Goodman agrees with them, suggesting that the Cro-Magnon, the first truly modern men who displaced the Neanderthals 40,000 years ago, were a pre-Indian people from North America. Paleontologist Florentino Ameghino goes even farther, suggesting that humanity originated not in Africa, but on the banks of the Rio de la Plata in Argentina.

Scenarios are changing faster than the backdrops on a vaudeville stage. Recently, I spent an evening at the Emerson Center with my husband Don amid a lobbyful of Paleolithic artifacts excavated from Vero Beach, including an engraved bone carved with the image of a mastadon, and an audience of 1,000 to hear Dr. Dennis Stanford, director of the Paleo-Indian Project at the Smithsonian, demote the Bering Straits. Not that the curator of archeology of the prestigious museum dismissed the migration of America’s native peoples from eastern Asia – only that he suggested a significant, earlier population had originated from the opposite direction, specifically the Basque areas of coastal France and northern Spain.

Read the entire article in the Summer 2012 issue

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