"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
It's a rhyme that every schoolchild knows. Christopher Columbus, after all, was the first European to cross the Atlantic and discover the Americas. Or was he? Archaeological evidence now suggests that the Vikings settled there in the 10th century A.D. Or was it, as legend has it, St. Brendan in his traditional Irish currach who first made the crossing in the 6th century?
"The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it," wrote Oscar Wilde. In 2019, ex-Royal Navy Officer, Philip Beale, took Wilde at his word and put his maxim into practice. In his ship, Phoenicia, a reconstruction of a 6th century B.C. wooden sailing ship, he sailed with his crew from Carthage (Modern-day Tunis) across the Atlantic towards Florida.
Their mission? To show that in all likelihood it was actually the Phoenicians, an ancient Mediterranean civilization renowned for their maritime skills, who were the first to discover America 2000 years before Columbus.