In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered…….America? Well kinda but not exactly. In fact, the more we discover the more it looks like the infamous explorer Columbus was somewhat of a late-comer to the Americas.
We know that those adventurous Vikings were in North America in Newfoundland long before Columbus and there is some speculation that they even sailed through the St Lawrence Seaway down into the Great Lakes and into Minnesota. Some researchers have even theorized that these brave souls even sailed down the Mississippi River and came into the Gulf of Mexico and possibly ended up on the coast of the Yucatan where their encounters with the Natives may not have ended well. But what about their trip back to Scandinavia?
Researchers have speculated that these Viking explorers and colonizers of the New World long before the arrival of Columbus may have taken a few Native American women along with them on their voyage back to Europe. This would have been about 500 years before Columbus returned to Spain with a few captive Native Americans.
We know that these Vikings set up colonies on the shores of North America around 1000 AD. What we don’t know is how a family in Iceland came to acquire a rather surprising genetic marker dating back to that time (1000 AD). That genetic marker is mostly found in Native Americans not Icelanders!
The first Native Americans actually arrived in Europe during the 11th century brought by the Vikings not Columbus. A genetic study led by deCODE Genetics which is a leading genome research lab in Iceland has discovered a unique genetic marker (gene) present in only 4 family lines in Iceland. The gene is named C1e and it is a mitochondrial gene passed down through a female mother. This suggests Native American women either voluntarily or involuntarily came back to Europe with Viking explorers and had children in their new home, Iceland. There are about 80 Icelanders presently who have this distinct genetic marker in their genes.
One problem with this theory is that the C1e genes may have come from some other part of the world and not necessarily from Native Americans. No living Native American population today has the exact DNA lineage as the one found in these 80 Icelanders BUT it may be a case in which those Native Americans brought to Iceland by Vikings simply went extinct which, in my opinion, is most likely the case. Continue Reading