Monday, April 14, 2008

Did the Welsh Discover America?

I stumbled upon a possible revisionist site today. It is titled Madoc: Where the Welsh the First European Americans? It is by an amateur historian Howard Kimberley. It tells the legend of Welsh prince Madoc colonizing the New World and settling eventually in Missouri. The Mandan Tribe took in the Welsh and eventually had both cultural and genetic traits of the Europeans.

I find the site speculative at best. If this is true, why did the Mandans get his so hard by Small Pox in 1781 when 40,000 were reduced to 2,000? I imagine European descendants would have more immunity than that. Even if this theory is correct, the Welsh would not have been the first Europeans. The Norse were in North America before 1170. I guess this is a creative use of legends. If this story is true, DNA testing ought to be able to prove it.

From the site:

The story of MADOC, a Welsh prince, who is reputed to have discovered America in 1170, over 300 years before Columbus, has fascinated me for many years.

It is said that he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Wales, a small country on the western side of the British mainland, which together with Ireland, Scotland and England, make up the British Isles.

Many believe that he and his followers initially settled in the Georgia/Tennessee/Kentucky area, eventually moving to the Upper Missouri, where they were assimilated into a tribe called the Mandans. New evidence is also emerging about a small band of MADOC's followers who remained in the Ohio area and are called 'White Madoc'.


Anonymous said...


A plaque placed in 1953 by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Mobile, Alabama commemorating the voyage by the Welsh Prince Madoc to the America's has been removed and placed in storage by the Alabama State Parks Department.

Many people feel that this is a bit of a slight to the memory of generations of Welsh immigrants and Americans of Welsh descent who helped to build this country.

Over 1,200 people from the US, Canada, Wales and elsewhere around the world have signed the petition so far and we are looking for more people to sign to illustrate the depth of the Welsh feeling on this matter.

We feel that this plaque is an important part of both Welsh and American history and are hoping that you might be interested in signing the petition and helping us get this memorial reinstated to its rightful home.

The petition can be found at:

Thank you very much for your time.

Dave Parry
The Chicago Tafia Welsh Society

Anonymous said...

The site is down - perhaps for good.
I've never heard of this before although there is credible evidence that Basque fishermen stumbled across America before Columbus ever did.
See Mark Kurlansky: The Basque History of the World

Anonymous said...

It has been proven by history that different sub groups of Europeans can have different resistances to certain diseases, for example, following the years of the Saxon incursions into post Roman Britain a disease swepted through the land that killed 7 out of 10 native Britons but only 1 in ten of Saxons.

Dave Baeckelandt said...

The historical evidence is slight but there is a real possibility. For example, Willem of Bruges, a Flemish canon of the cathedral at Kortryk (in West Flanders) apparently was well-known to the Flemish settlers in Wales (Pembrokeshire) and wrote (a now lost) record (ca 1250) of Madoc's visit to America. In Flanders he was referred to as "Willem who wrote about Madoc".

Anonymous said...

According to Alan Wilson, who has spend decades researching this, the correct date is 562, not 1170. He uses various ancient birth records, bardic literature and more so it's not just single-source crap however tenuous it may be.