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Who Really Discovered America?

Madoc Discover's America - Maddox Genealogy Madog

Who Really Discovered America?

"Tremadoc is a Welsh village whose shape suggests that several centuries ago, it hoped, as actually it is, to grow someday into a town.  The main street leads to Port Madoc, a mile away.  Madoc ap Owen Gwynnedd, a prince, was a member of a family of great wealth.  He grew tired of the wrangling of his brothers over their father's domain and determined to seek some new country where peace would rule.  Madoc was evidently as great a navigator as he was a colonist, and sailed westward in search of a new world, about the 11th century.  He was very much pleased with his new home and returned to Wales and carried another party to his new home in the West.  He was never heard of again.

The International Encyclopedia (page 659) gives an interesting account of this Welsh prince.  The land he found was America from reports of a tribe of fair-haired, light-skinned Indians living there.  He may be assumed an ancestor of the Madogs of Llanfydnach, according to Catlin's North American Indians' Stephen's Literature of Kymyr (2nd Edition, page150) and Lincoln's Library of Essential Information (page 298).

Robert Southey, the English poet, chose the name Madoc for his epic poem, written in 1805.

There is an old Welsh Ode which translates:

Madoc am I,
the son of Owain Gwynedd
with stature large and comply grace adorned
No land at home, nor store of wealth
My mind was whole to search the Sea.
Young Prince Madoc of Wales may have discovered America in 1170 or 322 years before Columbus arrived, according to Richard Deacon.  He's a British historian who has written a book, Madoc and the Discovery of America, which states:
  • "Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd son of a king of Wales, was born in 1150 the story goes.  He sailed from Wales and landed hear the present site of Mobile, Alabama.  He returned home, then made another voyage to the continent.  This time he went up the Alabama River and other streams, then disappeared in the wilds of what is now Tennessee.  But a traveler's account of the 1800's tells of fair-skinned Indians in that area who spoke some Welsh words and put sentences together in the way Welsh people do.
  • A Welsh poem of the 15th century tells how Prince Madoc sailed away in 10 ships, and his countrymen long supposed that he discovered America.
  • In his very interesting book, Mr. Deacon gives facts for and against his conclusions, but h seems to believe the evidence is in the Prince's favor.  Mr. Deacon himself served in the British Royal Navy in World War II, and sailed a small flat-bottomed boat from Norfolk, Virginia to North Africa.  He concluded "that if we could cross the Atlantic in a keeless craft, such a voyage was perfectly possible in Madoc's day."
Another account of the claim, in James G. Perry's Kinfolk, puts it this way:

Prince Madoc (son of Owain ab Gwynedd) it is said, sailed to America 300 years before Columbus in 1170 with one ship.  He returned and equipped ten ships and with colonists sailed again for the new world.  It is presumed that he landed at Mobile Bay, Alabama.  Early explorers and pioneers have found evidences of the Welsh influence along the Tennessee and Missouri Rivers, among certain tribes of Indians.
There is no record that the Prince ever returned to the land of his birth.  Peculiar things have been found in America.  It is there are Welsh speaking Indians up the Missouri River called the White Indians.  Also, they fish with coracles, and pull the little skin covered boats with one oar, like a spade.  These boats are used in Wales today.

Website note:  While this account (or myth) of a Madoc Welsh visit to America is not widely known, it was used by Queen Elizabeth I as evidence to British claim to America in its territorial struggles with Spain.

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