Max GorbachevAll materialsWrite to the authorThe Italian explorer has been dubbed the discoverer of the New World. His transatlantic voyages carried out at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the16th centuries opened the way for European exploration and colonisation of the Americas. Italian sailors knew about the Americas more than 150 years before Christopher Columbus, claims Paolo Chiesa, professor of Medieval Latin Literature. Professor Chiesa says he made the discovery after transcribing and detailing an ancient chronicle, Cronica Universalis, written by an Italian monk named Galvano Fiamma.
Penned around 1340, the document features an account by sailors from Columbus’ hometown Genoa of a land dubbed “Markland” inhabited by “giants”.
"In this land, there are buildings with such huge slabs of stone that nobody could build with them, except huge giants. There are also green trees, animals, and a great quantity of birds", reads the chronicle.
Professor Chiesa described the find as “astonishing”, emphasising that if Columbus was aware of what the sailors knew it might have helped convince him to embark on his legendary voyages.
“Nordic legends describe the trips, but until now there has been no evidence that word of this land spread to the Mediterranean”, he said.
Cronica Universalis was sold for over $14,000 at Christie’s auction house in 1996 to an American collector. According to The Times, there is only one copy of the chronicle, although a public edition of the document is planned.