History Class With Professor Botswana: Who Really Discovered America?

Welcome to History Class with Professor Botswana Meat Commission FC. Art Talk alone couldn’t satisfy my forbidden lust for knowledge, so I’m gonna be all up in the rest of the humanities now. And yes, Professor Botswana has tenure so get ready to have your dick tickled by my numerous learned historical theories and shit.

For this week’s History Class with Professor Botswana, we’re going to solve one of the New World’s most enduring mysteries — who really discovered America first? 

First of all, you probably assume there are two correct answers to this question:

A. Columbus
B. “The Indians who were already living here.”

For you basic bitches who answered Columbus, please stab yourself in the dickhole and go enroll in some other asshole’s history class because I like to arm myself with a little weapon called CRITICAL THINKING. Everyone knows Columbus had syphilis, right?  Well do you know who gave him syphilis? An underage Dominican prostitute gave him syphilis. Did you know that underage Dominican prostitutes were syphilis-free until European contact? BOOM. FACT. Therefore it’s impossible that there wasn’t already cheese-eating, disease-riddled Euro-trash in the Americas when Columbus got there.

As for B… shut up, hippies.

So, mainstream history’s theory of who discovered America is totally fucked. Now let’s discuss a few rock-solid theories that “they” don’t want you to know about. The following explorers are probably obviously who really discovered America:

St. Brendan the Navigator (of Ireland)


St. Brendan the Navigator was an early Irish monastic saint who, according to legend history set sail into the Atlantic on a voyage to the “Isle of the Blessed” (probably latter-day Long Island, haha just kidding Long Island is awful, fuck you Billy Joel). The dude went on a wild adventure, which should not surprise anyone who’s ever been on a boat full of shit-faced-drunk Irish people. His story gets really, really weird. Here’s Wikipedia’s synopsis of various chapters:

  • They find an island with a dog, mysterious hospitality (no people, but food left out), and an Ethiopian devil.
  • They find a gryphon and a bird battle. The gryphon dies.
  • They find an island, but when they light a fire, the island sinks; it is actually a whale.
  • They find Judas sitting unhappily on a cold, wet rock in the middle of the sea, and discover that this is his respite from Hell for Sundays and feast days. Brendan protects Judas from the demons of Hell for one night.
  • They find an island where Paul the Hermit has lived a perfect monastic life for 60 years. He wears nothing but hair and is fed by an otter.

Ethiopian devils, weird loners eating food out of the mouth of an otter, you know, just another typical Saturday night for Brendan the Navigator. This guy was obviously drunk off his tits on cheap whiskey (or possibly high on some sort of medieval jenkem) but in 1977 the scientist Tim Severin actually recreated Brendan’s journey to North America using a “leather-clad boat.” So there you go, what more evidence do you need?

(All ratings on a scale of 0-10)
Level of Badass-ness: 9
Level of Bitchassed-ness: 2 (for hanging out with a hairshirt-wearing hermit weirdo. Not cool.)
Likelihood of Discovering America: 10

Bjarni Herjólfsson (Viking)

Bjarni Herjólfsson, or as I like to call him, Barnie, Son of Herjólfr, was a Norse explorer who definitely found Canada North America in 985, many years before Leif Ericson did. Bjarni was from Norway but liked to visit his father every summer in Greenland. Here’s what happened one fateful summer, according to Wikipedia:

One year he sailed to Iceland to visit his parents as usual, only to find that his father had gone with Eric the Red to Greenland. So he took his crew and set off to find him. But in that summer of 986, Bjarni, who had no map or compass, was blown off course by a storm. He saw a piece of land that was not Greenland. It was covered with trees and mountains and although his crew begged him to, he refused to stop and look around. Since no one in his crew had been to Greenland before, they had to search for it. Although he managed to regain his course, he reported seeing low-lying hills covered with forests some distance farther to the west. The land looked hospitable, but Bjarni was eager to reach Greenland to see his parents and did not land and explore the new lands.

Wait. You spotted North America and were just chillin’ right there and decided to turn around because you were late for dinner with dad or whatever? What a pussy! I hope Herjólfr dick-punched his dipshit son Barnie, Son of Herjólfr just for being such an explorer-cunt (a “cuntistador,” if you will).

Level of Badass-ness: 4
Level of Bitchassed-ness: 8
Likelihood of Discovering America: 10

Prince Madoc (of Wales)
Some Indian canoes looked similar to Welsh designs
Some Indian canoes looked similar to Welsh designs. EVIDENCE.

Madoc is a Welsh prince who, according to folklore history, sailed to the Americas in 1170. His government name was Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, but you can call him Mad Dog or even just “20/20” if you really wanna keep it 100. Madoc was the world’s first gangster explorer (a tradition that would thrive for many centuries to come). Madoc may have sailed his shizz right up into Mobile Bay, where he established the first riverboat Indian casino. But then he kept going up the Mississippi river in order to get him some of that Indian strange. This resulted in literally DOZENS of tribes of Welsh-Indian heritage.

In all, at least thirteen real tribes, five unidentified tribes, and three unnamed tribes have been identified as Welsh Indians. Eventually, the legend settled on identifying the Welsh Indians with the Mandan people, who were said to differ from their neighbors in culture, language, and appearance. The painter George Catlin suggested the Mandans were descendants of Madoc and his fellow voyagers in North American Indians (1841); he found the round Mandan Bull Boat similar to the Welsh coracle, and he thought the advanced architecture of Mandan villages must have been learned from Europeans.

So for hundreds of years historians and other explorers kept looking at Indians all funny like, “damn, you really got Madoc’s chin. Oh your hair is just like Madoc’s. Your ways are just like Madoc’s. Who did you say your daddy was again?” Madoc is basically the Shawn Kemp of early explorers. We should celebrate him today by putting him on our money and replacing all vowels with the letter “y.”

Level of Badass-ness: 9
Level of Bitchassed-ness: 3 (for being a deadbeat dad)
Likelihood of Discovering America: 10

The Zeno Brothers (of Venice)
Artist's depiction
Artist’s depiction

The Zeno Brothers were histrionic Italian aristrocrats (i.e. very trustworthy) who left Venice on a sea voyage in the 1380s and then wrote home a series of letters describing their 100% true and not-at-all-exaggerated exploits. Here’s Wikipedia’s summary of their adventure:

Zichmni then builds a fort on Bres and leaves Nicolò in charge of it. Nicolò makes a voyage to Greenland and finds a monastery with central heating. According to the alternate interpretation cited above, in which the travellers had yet to leave Estlanda, the subsequent destination is in fact Iceland, explaining the presence of geothermal heating and other observations.

Zichmni receives word that a group of lost fisherman from Frislanda have returned after an absence of over twenty-five years. The fisherman describe having made landfall in the far west in unknown countries called Estotiland and Drogeo. The fishermen describe having encountered strange animals as well as cannibals, from whom they escaped only after teaching the cannibals how to fish.

Inspired by the tales of the fishermen, Zichmni undertakes a voyage to the west with Antonio in charge of his fleet. To the west of Frislanda (see Zeno Map), they encounter a large island called Icaria, which does not exist.

According to the letters, the inhabitants of Icaria greet them before they can make landfall. Only one person among the Icarians is able to speak a language that Zichmni understands. The inhabitants state that visitors to the island are not welcome and that they will defend the island to the last man if need be. Zichmni sails along the island looking for a place to make landfall, but the inhabitants chase him and Zichmni abandons the effort.

Sailing west, they make landfall at a promontory called Trin on the southern tip of “Engrouelanda”. Zichmni likes the climate and the soil, but his crew find it inhospitable. The sailors return home with Antonio, while Zichmni stays on to explore the area and build a town.

So obviously many mainstream historians I strongly believe that this “Engrouelanda” is America. But really my favorite part of this entire story is where they take credit for discovering central heating. I fucking LOVE central heating! Thank you, Zeno Brothers. Also, why do so many of my fellow historians have to be such dicks about minor details such as how the Zeno Brothers “claimed to discover islands that did not exist” and how “the entire story of their journey is a hoax.” Fucking histori-douches! I think we should rename America as Engrouelanda. If you don’t agree, you hate history.

Level of Badass-ness: 7
Level of Bitchassed-ness: 4 (didn’t put up a good fight against hostile island savages)
Likelihood of Discovering America: 10

Top image via Flickr. All other images via Wikipedia. 

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