At this point, it’s well-known and accepted that Christopher Columbus was not the first explorer to reach the Americas. So who got there before him? There are various opposing arguments as to which European, Asian and African explorers may have reached the Americas prior to that fateful day in 1492. Here are ten of the most notable.
10. Lehi (Reached “Promised Land” About 589 BC)
The first alleged pre-Columbian explorer of the Atlantic Ocean is a prophet from The Book of Mormon. As such, his existence is something that you are only likely to believe in if you happen to be a Mormon.
According to the book, Lehi originally hailed from Jerusalem during King Zedekiah’s reign as the final King of Judah, before the Babylonians destroyed that kingdom and capture Jerusalem. In the aftermath of that destruction, Lehi then traveled down the Arabian Peninsula with his family and friends. They subsequently built a ship capable of traversing the ocean and managed to arrive in the Americas, setting the stage for much of the Mormon theological history of the Americas.
Nevertheless, non-Mormon archaeologists have found many anachronisms and historical errors in the Book of Mormon’s description of American flora and fauna among other things, although Mormon apologists have attempted to refute these criticisms. As such, only a minority of individuals out of the broader world population accept this particular possibility as plausible.