Subject:      Re: Amerindian navigators and Eurocentrism in scholarship
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky 17784)
Date:         1997/09/23
Message-ID:   <608nbu$djl$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology,,

"William R. Belcher" <[20]> wrote on Tue, 23 Sep
1997 05:49:52 -0700 in sci.archaeology in thread:

Re: KRS + Re: precolumbian Amerindian horse?


Please supply the "solid historical sources" for the Inca expedition to the
Pacific Islands. I am unaware of any such sources and would appreciate you
posting the references to these sources.  Thank you in advance.

William Belcher


Dear William,

Not only will I supply the references for you, but I will also supply
whole long relevant passages, since all this has been very helpfully
posted in sci.arch long time ago by our dear friend Larry Elmore. I
suppose a number of people missed it, so they will probably be very glad
to see all this material now...

Also, Larry posted much detail about the ocean going ships (balsa rafts)
Native South Americans built and sailed before the Spanish colonizers came
and destroyed that ancestral tradition. I can provide this as well if
someone is interested.

Be well and prosper,


[begin quote:]

Subject:      Amerindian Navigation
From:         "Larry J. Elmore" <[21]>
Date:         1997/07/22
Message-Id:   <01bc96d0$0c68f3e0$826700cf@ljelmore>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology

All of these references are drawn from the first chapter of "Pyramids of
Tucume" (1995) by Thor Heyerdahl, Daniel H. Sandweiss and Alfredo Narvaez.
Published by Thames and Hudson Inc., New York.


Bartolome de Las Casas recorded that in 1512, the son of a Cuna chief in
Panama told the Spaniards about the existence of another ocean on the
other side of the isthmus and that, 'other peoples navigated there with
ships or vessels a little smaller than ours, using sails and paddles . . .
and he gave much news concerning the peoples and riches of Peru, and the
balsa rafts in which they navigated with paddles and sails.' -- Las Casas,
B. 1994 [1559] "Historia de las Indias". Alianza, Madrid. Chapter XLI.


Pascual de Andagoya, the first Spaniard to explore down the Panamanian
coast towards the northern border of Columbia, wrote about the natives of
coastal Peru and Ecuador: "They go to the sea to fish, and navigate along
the coast in balsas made of light logs, which are so strong that the sea
has much ado to break them. They carry horses and many people, and are
navigated with sails, like ships . . . The inhabitants have a manufactory
where they make cordage of a sort of 'nequen' which is like a carded flax;
the cord is beautiful, and stronger than that of Spain, and their cotton
canvas is excellent."  -- Andagoya, P. 1865 [1541-46] 'Narrative of the
Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila in the Provinces of Tierra Firme or
Catilla del Oro : and of the Discovery of the South Sea and the Coasts of
Peru and Nicaragua'. Hakluyt Society Vol. 34, London.


Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote, "Marching and conquering on the coast of
Manta, and the island of Puna, and Tumbes, there arrived in Tumbes some
merchants who had come by sea from the west, navigating the balsas with
sails. They gave information of the land whence they came, which consisted
of some islands called Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, where there were many
people and much gold." [the Spanish, of course, thought they heard
mentions of 'much gold' in practically any Indian accounts regarding more
distant lands. LJE] Tupac Yupanqui had a large number of balsas
constructed and set sail with 20,000 men to see these islands for himself.
He returned with "black people, gold, a chair of brass, and a skin and
jaw-bone." The expedition took "nine months, others say a year, and, as he
was so long absent, everyone believed he was dead."  -- Sarmiento de
Gamboa 1907 [1572] 'History of the Incas', translated and ed. C. Markham.
Hakluyt Society 2nd ser. Vol. 22, Cambridge. p. 135.

"Father Miguel Cabello Valboa, who worked among the indigenous Peruvians
for 36 years, refers to Inca Tupac's ocean voyage in two of his books. A
copy of the manuscript of his first work, 'Miscelanea Antartica' is
preserved in the New York Public Library and was published in Lima in
1951.  The text includes a reference to Inca Tupac's first encounter with
the Pacific on the jungle coast of Ecuador and of his voyage on a large
number of balsa rafts to the islands in the South Seas. [Cabello Valboa,
M. 1951 [1586] 'Miscelanea Antartica'. Universidad Nacional Mayor de San
Marcos, Lima, Peru. pp. 322-323, Part III, Chapter 17]

        "In his 'History of Peru', Cabello also cites the impressive
travels of Inca Tupac, and includes a chapter on 'His voyage by sea'. He
concludes: 'I dare not confirm this deed, nor determine the islands in
question, but the Indians report that the Inga brought back from this
expedition a great number of prisoners whose skin was black, much gold and
silver, a throne of copper, and skins of animals similar to horses. One is
quite ignorant of where in Peru or the ocean washing its coast he could
have found such things.' [Ibid.]

        When Cabello and Sarmiento recorded these relatively recent events
in Inca oral history, the Europeans had not yet discovered any inhabited
island in the open Pacific, only the uninhabited Galapagos group. These
islands were so [relatively] close to Ecuador that they were regularly
visited by fishermen on balsa rafts from early pre-Inca times [Heyerdahl,
T. and A.  Skjolsvold. 1956 "Archeological Evidence of Pre-Spanish Visits
to the Galapagos Islands". 'American Antiquity' 22 (2, Part 3) pp. 1-71].
into the 17th century [Ringrose, B. 1704 "The Dangerous Voyage, and Bold
Attempts of Capt. Bartholomew Sharp". In 'The History of the Bucaniers of
America Vol. 2', ed. A.O. Exquemelin, Part IV. Printed for Tho.
Newborough ... John Nicholson ... and Benj. Tooke, London. pp. 58, 64] and
even later [Skogman, C.J.A. 1854 'Fregatten Eugenies resa omkring jorden
aren 1851-1853 Vol. I' A Bonnier, Stockholm. p. 164]. Whereas Father
Cabello admitted his ignorance as to where there could be inhabited
islands off the coast of Peru, the navigator Sarmiento decided to find
them. He persuaded the new Viceroy of Peru to organize an expedition, led
by Commander Mendana, in which Sarmiento participated as navigator. He had
obtained exact sailing directions from the learned Inca 'amautas' and the
expedition left Callao in 1567, setting a course west-southwest, directly
for Easter Island. But after 26 days, quarrels with Sarmiento made Mendana
change course to northwest, just before they would have discovered the
island, [then later returned to the original heading just in time to miss
the Marquesas Islands. LJE] and they continued at sea until they landed
among 'black' people in Melanesia. To return against the trade winds and
contrary currents, the Mendana expedition had to sail first far north and
then to Peru by way of the North Pacific and Panama. Tupac's balsa fleet
must have done the same, and thus could have returned with black islanders
and trophies of gold and copper from Central America."

        "Since 1947, when the balsa raft 'Kon Tiki' (ill. 13) sailed from
Callao to Polynesia, 14 manned rafts of balsa logs or totora reeds have
sailed from Peru and Ecuador. Two reached the Galapagos and 12 reached
islands in Polynesia, of which five continued to Melanesia and four
successfully traveled on to Australia. There are strong reasons to suspect
that Inca Tupac Yupanqui's 'Nina-chumbi' or 'Fire-island', was Easter
Island; not only because it fits Sarmiento's information both in direction
and distance [Heyerdahl, T. 1952 'American Indians in the Pacific: The
Theory Behind the Kon-Tiki Expedition'. Allen & Unwin, London. pp.
572-574.] [Heyerdahl, T.  1978 'Early Man and the Ocean'. Allen & Unwin,
London. Chapter 7 (Incas Led the Europeans to Polynesia)], but also
because Easter Island's discoverer (Jacob Roggeveen from Chile in 1722)
and rediscoverer (Felipe Gonzalez from Peru in 1770) both expressly state
that they found the island because the islanders set smoke signals all
along the coast to attract attention when they approached. There can be no
doubt also that the 'Ava-chumbi' of Inca Tupac is the Kava islet in the
Gambier group of Mangareva, the next inhabited island nearest to Peru
after Easter Island. The noted Polynesian anthropologist Sir Peter Buck,
ignorant of Inca history but the leading authority on Polynesian
traditions, quotes an old Polynesian manuscript in his work 'Ethnology of
Mangareva'. This states that a visitor to Mangareva called Tupa sailed to
the island through a passage subsequently named 'Te-Ava-nui-o-Tipa'
(great-channel-of-Tupa). The manuscript also tells how, before Tupa
returned to his own country, 'he told the Mangarevans about a vast land .
. . which contained a large population ruled by powerful kings.' [Buck,
P.H. 1938 'Ethnology of Mangareva'. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 157,
Honolulu, Hawaii. pp. 22-23, p. 453] -- Heyerdahl, 1995, pp. 30-32.

Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [22]

Reality is that which, when you stop believing
in it, doesn't go away -=O=- Philip K. Dick

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