Van Sertima Essay

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Van Sertima’s Main Argument Dr.Ivan Van Sertima was a Guyanese historian who is well known for his book “They Came before Columbus”. This book stemmed from his belief that there was an African presence in the Americas, the New World, before the voyages of discovery carried out by Christopher Columbus under the Spanish crown in 1492. Dr.Van Sertima’s arguments stemmed from a belief that there was African contact with the western world prior to Columbus’s voyages. The main basis of these statements comes from his idea of two visits by Africans to the west. These are the voyage of the Nubian rulers of Egypt in 712-664b.c. and another voyage which was made by a Mandingo emperor of Mali, known as Abu-Bakari II in A.D.1311. The first of these two voyages was explained to have travelled from the Nile delta, across the Mediterranean reaching the coast of North Africa where it was carried by a current that sent it across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. The second of these voyages was to believe to have taken off from an unknown location. However it is believed to have travelled from the western coast of Africa along the Atlantic up into the Gulf of Mexico. This theory states that upon landing Abu- Bakari came into contact with the inhabitants of those lands, the Vera Cruz region and from this interaction an African influence was felt very greatly on the lives of the natives. Another reason for Van Sertima’s belief was the discovering of a particular Olmec head. This particular head found in Mexico possessed, according to Van Sertima, unusually negro-type features. Dr.Van Sertima believed that due to the darkness of the stone used to create this head, that, it represented the tone of Negro skin, and so, the Olmecs that sculpted this head, did so out of respect for their African visitors. Some of the features that made Van Sertima believe that this was a
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