The President of Turkey recently made a statement saying that he believes Muslim explorers discovered the Americas prior to Christopher Columbus’ voyage in 1492.
According to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Muslims had visited the Americas a couple of hundred years before Columbus.
Erdogan is quoted as saying: “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus.”
The claim is based on an article written in 1996, where the historian Youssef Mroueh wrote that in Columbus’ diary he mentions the existence of a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
Some experts say that this reference was metaphorical to describe the landscape, and there is no evidence that Islam was being practiced in America at this time.
Erdogan made the statement at a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders that took place in Istanbul.
He also mentioned that he would like to discuss building a mosque in the location described in the diary of Columbus.
The first people to arrive in America are widely believed to have done so 15 thousand years ago by crossing the Bering Strait.
It’s also thought by many that the first Europeans to visit the shores of North America landed 500 years prior to Columbus and were Norse sailors.
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