America was ‘discovered’ four times before Columbus

Raymond Meester
3 min readOct 11, 2020


Go home” and “Are you legal” were some accusations Native Americans heard from Trump supporters. Most of them, like Trump, were probably descendants from North-European countries like Ireland, England or Germany. This led to the ironic situation where someone is asked to leave his home by someone who just walks through the door.

Trump’s ancestor, a 16-year-old German, went to America to escape three years of compulsory German military service. He was a typical American immigrant. He was far from the first to arrive to America. Often the discovery of America is attributed to Christopher Columbus. The Italian explorer who in service of the Spanish crown sailed to America.

Columbus was surely not the first in the Americas. We all know that the Native Americans already lived there for thousands of years. It’s commonly known that they arrived through the Bering street. What is lesser know, is that recent research shows that America was discovered not once, but multiple times, even before Columbus.

New Research

Stone age

A recent find at the Chiquihuite Cave in northern Mexico found stone tools more than 30.000 old. Though no human remains or DNA have been found, the 1900 tools and other plants and animals, are a clear indication that humans used the cave. This is 15,000 years earlier than previously thought when the Clovis people start inhabiting the Americas. Little is known about these people, but there are continually more finds from the period before 15.000 years ago.

Clovis (Paleo-Indians)

More than 12000 years ago, there was a land bridge between Eurasia and America. It is believed that hunter-gatherers crossed this land bridge. Based on DNA, blood types and linguistic factors they are probably descended of a Siberian population. The Clovis culture, named after the stone tools they used, spread around 14000 years fast over the North American continent.


Research from Stanford University made another interesting link. There have been voyaging contact between prehistoric Polynesians and Native Americans. People of the South Americas (descendants of the Clovis people) are unrelated to the Polynesians (descendants of South-East Asians). The study however found DNA of Polynesians in present day Native Americans in Colombia:

“Our analyses suggest strongly that a single contact event occurred in eastern Polynesia, before the settlement of Rapa Nui, between Polynesian individuals and a Native American group most closely related to the indigenous inhabitants of present-day Colombia.”


Around 400 years before Columbus Norsemen explored and settled areas of the North America. The settlement in present day Canada didn’t last very long, but the Norsemen settled in Greenland for more than 500 years. It is unclear why the settlements in North America did not become permanent. It is assumed that may have hostile relations with the Native Americans. Still there is also evidence found of trade relations between them.


Alexander Ioannidis scientist lead of the Stanford study says:

“If you think about how history is told for this time period, it’s almost always a story of European conquest, and you never really hear about everybody else,”

These finding shows once again that in science one always need to leave the door open.



Raymond Meester