Muslims discovered America, says Turkish president
Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Muslim sailors reached the American continent in 1178 – exactly 314 years before Columbus
Associated Press in Istanbul
The Guardian, Sunday 16 November 2014 14.29 GMT
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has claimed that Muslim sailors reached the Americas more than 300 years before explorer Christopher Columbus.
Speaking on Saturday at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America, Erdogan said contact between Islam and Latin America dated back to the 12th century.
“It is alleged that the American continent was discovered by Columbus in 1492,” Erdogan said. “In fact, Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178.”
“In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba,” Erdogan said, adding that he’d like to see a mosque built on the hilltop today.
Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus’s writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus, an Italian, made his expedition in 1492 on behalf of the Spanish crown.
Who discovered the Americas has long been a controversial issue with various scholars and historians claiming that others arrived before Columbus*1.
*1:See Simon Jenkins “Of course the Chinese didn't discover America. But then nor did Columbus” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jan/20/china.usa
*2:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20081219/1229651651 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110702/1309580556 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110716/1310788722 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20141017/1413485324