History Podcasts

#52: Did a 6th-Century Irishman Really Reach America?

#52: Did a 6th-Century Irishman Really Reach America?

Archeological evidence proves that Leif Ericsson, the Icelandic Viking, arrived in the New World centuries before Columbus. But what if he was in turn beaten by an Irish monk a full five extra centuries.

St. Brendan the Navigator is celebrate for his legendary journey to the “Island of the Blessed,” described in the ninth-century work Voyage of St Brendan the Navigator. It tells of how he set out onto the Atlantic Ocean with dozens of pilgrims, accidentally camped out on a whale, and may have reached New England.

For centuries historians dismissed his account as fiction. But true accounts sneak here. There are factual descriptions of sheep on the Faroe Islands. Volcanos and icebergs of Iceland are observed. Some archeologists even think there is evidence of a medieval Celtic church in New England.

Find out in this episode if Leif Ericsson has lost his status as the first Westerner to reach the New World.

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