World

Turkish President Erdogan says Muslims discovered Americas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is claiming that Muslim sailors reached the Americas more than 300 years before explorer Christopher Columbus.

Muslim sailors reached American continent in 1178, Erdogan says

An American portrays Christopher Columbus during a Columbus Day in 2010. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says contact between Islam and Latin America dates to the 12th century. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is claiming that Muslim sailors reached the Americas more than 300 years before explorer Christopher Columbus.

Speaking this weekend at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America, Erdogan said that contact between Islam and Latin America dates to the 12th century.

"It is alleged that the American continent was discovered by Columbus in 1492," Erdogan said. "In fact, Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178."
Erdogan spoke this weekend at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

"In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba," Erdogan said, adding that he'd like to see a mosque built on the hilltop today.

Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus's writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus, an Italian, made his expedition in 1492 on behalf of the Spanish crown.

Who discovered the Americas has long been a controversial issue with various scholars and historians claiming that others arrived before Columbus.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now