mercredi 29 octobre 2014

The discovery of America in the eleventh century - Did the Persian Abu Rehan Al-Birumi discovered America before anyone else!

 
Who really discovered America?

        
Abu Rehan Al-Biruni, a Muslim scholar, may have discovered the New World centuries before Columbus, with the sole power of his calculations.
        
For over a hundred years, scholars, enthusiasts and wacky pose the question: Who really discovered America? Some theories, totally eccentric, suggest the presence of Phoenicians in Rhode Island or in Chinese which was not yet the San Francisco Bay.

And then the Vikings?

        
In 1950, Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian anthropologist and browser colorful, said that Peruvians aboard sailboats balsa, were regularly back and forth between the Americas and Polynesia, long before Columbus takes the Wed.
        
More seriously, the Scandinavian specialists have studied the Norse sagas, in search of evidence of prior discovery of the North American coast by their ancestors. The history of the Vikings splitting the waves aboard their ships to explore and colonize Greenland is now well known. It has been confirmed by archaeological excavations along the Greenland coast.
        
In the early twentieth century, the Norwegian Professor Gustav Storm has also demonstrated that the Northmen had made ​​several trips to Canada, to lands they named Markland (southern Labrador Current) Helluland (The Baffin Island) and Vinland (Nova Scotia).

The merchants of Central Asia.

        
At about the time the Vikings explored Greenland, a discovery of a different kind took place far from any ocean. For thousands of years, merchants from what is now Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan ferrying goods in long caravans in Eurasia. Returned home, these Central Asian merchants recounted their adventures, recording detailed information on the geography and climate of the lands they visited, the stories which were then collected and studied by local scholars.

The Persian explorer Abu Rehan Al-Birumi.

        
The brightest of these scholars was Abu Rehan Al-Biruni (973-1048). Born in Kath, near the Aral Sea, he had in his youth familiar with mathematics, astronomy, mineralogy, geography, cartography, geometry and trigonometry. He spoke Persian, Arabic and Khwarezmian language, the language of the Sunni dynasty that reigned over a large part of Iran. Thereafter, he also learned Sanskrit.
        
At 17, Biruni calculated the latitude and longitude of Kath. Then the help of ancient Greek sources, collection of geographical data in the Mediterranean world, which he began to add the coordinates of other places at the four cardinal points. Having read ancient authors such as Ptolemy (90-168 A.D.), but also drawing on more recent sources and its own field observations, he deduced that the Earth is round. At age 30, he uses the most sophisticated of its time systems to calculate the precise circumference.

His main discovery: the Earth is a sphere!

         He
came to the conclusion that the Earth is a sphere, he began to put on the new world map he draws all the known places in his time.          This is where he realizes that, according to his calculations, the entire Eurasian mass, the westernmost point of Africa's most eastern point of China, is only two-fifths of the globe. What he has on the remaining three fifths? Most geographers of antiquity until the eleventh century, considered the Eurasian continent was surrounded by a "World Ocean". But such a world covered with water does not he may be unbalanced? Biruni concluded that one or more other continents must exist. These lands are they wild deserts or shelter populations they? Plunging into its data on latitudes and longitudes of known places, he finds that the man people a broad north-south strip that runs from Russia to southern India and the heart of Africa.

Biruni’s conclusion: America was really a New World!

        
It is in 1037 that Biruni reaches its historical conclusions about the existence of the New World, based on his research for thirty years. Can we say he discovered America during the first third of the eleventh century? In a sense, no, of course. He never laid eyes on the New World or on land which he speaks in his writings. While the Vikings, they have well and truly arrived in North America just before the year 1000, even if they did not understand at the time what they had found. But Biruni deserves at least as much as they title discoverer of America. Especially as the intellectual process by which he ended up finding a new continent is no less stunning than its conclusions themselves. Because rather than random methods of marine navigation Vikings, he used a clever combination of meticulous observations, carefully collected quantitative data and rigorous logic. It took another five centuries before nearly as rigorous an analysis is applied to the exploration of the world.

The Adventures of Saint Brendan of Clonfert.

        
Al-Biruni beautiful claim the title of "virtual discoverer" of the Americas, the Irish Saint Brendan of Clonfert was, according to some accounts, joined the New World much earlier. Born around 484, the monk Brendan says "Browser" dares to 544 in the Atlantic in search of the Garden of Eden. On his return, he claims to have discovered a similar island paradise.
        
From the year 900, a magical version of the adventures of the holy man travels in Europe. Some scholars believe it could have discovered America.
        
In 1976, the Irish Tim Severin, aboard comparable to those of the sixth century, reached Newfoundland via Iceland craft, demonstrating the feasibility of the journey of St. Brendan.
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Excerpts from the article by S. Frederick Starr, published in December inHistory Today” in London.

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