Did Ancient Egyptians Trade Nicotine and Cocaine With the New World?
It has long been said that Christopher Columbus was not the first foreigner to step foot in the Americas by the time he reached there in 1492. Among the theories put forward is that the Vikings, Chinese, Greeks, and Italians may have all reached the New World before Columbus. Now new evidence suggests that the ancient Egyptians had been to the Americas as early as 1,000 BC, and for a surprising reason.
German scientist Dr Svetla Balabanova was studying the mummified remains of Lady Henut Taui, a member of the ruling class, when she made a surprising discovery – the mummy contained traces of nicotine and cocaine. Disbelief in the findings led to alternative hypotheses, for example, that the tests were contaminated or the mummies were fakes, but these ideas were disproved and the mummy and the test results were found to be authentic.
The results were particularly surprising considering that tobacco and coca plants, which were only found in the Americas at the time, were not exported overseas until the Victorian era in the 19th century. Could it be that the ancient Egyptians had made it all the way to America 3,000 years ago?
A number of archaeological discoveries have certainly suggested that the Egyptians were masters of the seas. In around 1477 BC, Queen Hatshepsut funded a mysterious overseas expedition to the Land of Punt, which is depicted in a relief at Deir el-Bahri (in modern day Luxor). It shows five ships, each measuring about 70 feet long, carrying 210 men and loaded with gold, trees and exotic animals which can only be found along the coast of Africa and Arabian Peninsula, indicating that the Egyptians were able to undertake fairly large scale oceanic voyages.
Then, in 2011, a series of remarkable discoveries on a stretch of the Red Sea coast proved the Egyptian’s seafaring abilities. Archaeologists excavating a dried-up lagoon, known as Mersa Gawasis, unearthed traces of an ancient harbour that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut’s onto the open ocean. Inside a series of man-made caves they found timber, rigging, limestone anchors, steering oars, reed mats, cedar planks, and the remains of the oldest seagoing ships ever discovered, which offers hard proof of the Egyptians’ nautical roots.
Further evidence of an Egyptian journey to the Americas comes from an intriguing but unverified discovery in the Marble Region of the Grand Canyon. According to the Arizona Gazette, on 5th April, 1909, two Smithsonian-funded explorers found a variety of Egyptian-like artefacts including tablets with hieroglyphics inside caves. However, the Smithsonian Institute has no current records of the finding. Such a discovery would have offered hard evidence of an Egyptian journey to Americas but perhaps it is just too inconvenient to rewrite the history books and alter long-held traditions such as the Columbus Day celebrations.
Source of article comes from Epoch Times.