A piece of broken stone was found in Parahyba, Brazil in 1872. A Phoenician inscription was carved into the stone. “The inscription described how 15 persons sailed from the Red Sea, traveled around the coast of Africa, and finally landed in South America after being blown off course by a storm.” (“Inscription Hints Phoenicians Discovered South America 2,000 Years Before Voyage of Columbus”, by John McDonough (UPI). Page 32, Eau Claire Leader (Eau Clair, Wisconsin), June 13, 1968)
Dr. Cyrus Gordon, a Brandeis University archaeologist, determined in the 1960s that the text could not have been a forgery. In 1872, no one knew about certain arcane forms of the Phoenician language found written in the stone. (McDonough, UPI, op. cit.)
Translated, the Phoenician writing reads as follows: “We are sons of Canaan from Sidon, the city of the king. Commerce has cast us upon this distant shore, a land of mountains. We set (sacrificed) a youth for the exalted gods and goddesses in the nineteenth year of Hiram, our mighty king. We embarked from Ezion-Geber into the Red Sea and voyaged with ten ships. We were at sea together for two years around the land belonging to Ham (Africa) but were separated by a storm (literally ‘from the hand of Baal’) and we were no longer with our companions. So we have come here, twelve men and three women, on a new shore which I, the admiral, control. But auspiciously may the exalted gods and goddesses favor us.” (Ibid.)
In this connection, Dr. Gordon pointed to other indications of a “Mediterranean culture” in Mexico and South America which had existed long before the voyages of Christopher Columbus. “Perhaps most impressive is the existence of Qanats – ingenious irrigation systems – in Mexico and South America. These systems abound in the Mediterranean area and consist of tunnels dug to funnel underground rivers to dry regions.” (Ibid.)
Reportedly, it was not until 1939 that a Phoenician text was published containing the expression, “the hand of Baal.” And yet the Brazil stone, found in 1872, contained this same “hand of Baal” expression. (Ibid.)
Of course, as so often happens, Dr. Gordon was being thwarted by what he called “the establishment,” who usually dislike deviation from the status quo. (Ibid.)
Earlier than Dr. Gordon’s assertions, also in the 1960s, Mrs. W.R. Irwin of the faculty of the University of Iowa, had “concluded from extensive research that the Phoenicians beat Columbus to Middle America by about 2,500 years.” (“Writer Says Phoenicians Found America 1000 B.C.” (UPI). Page 2, Yuma Daily Sun (Yuma, Arizona), May 20, 1963)
Mrs. Irwin had published her findings in a book, Fair Gods and Stone Faces (St. Martin’s Press).
Mrs. Irwin did not mean to denigrate the daring of Christopher Columbus. The reason Columbus is remembered and Phoenicians and Vikings are not, as “discoverers” of America, is that Columbus came at a time when the world was ready to expand and to colonize, she explained.
Mrs. Irwin speculated that Phoenicians trading with the west coast of Africa may have been blown off course, and been carried by Atlantic currents to Middle America.