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Ancient African Coins Lead Experts To Question Who Discovered Australian Islands.

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According to the records, Australia was first discovered by Dutch explorers in the early 17th century. So how did 1,000-year-old copper coins from a former African sultanate end up on a remote Australian beach?

An Australian anthropologist, Ian McIntosh, is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, which began when five coins were found buried in sand by a soldier patrolling the Wessel Islands off the continent’s north coast in 1944, two years after Darwin was bombed by the Japanese.

Maurie Isenberg, who was manning a radar station on the uninhabited but strategically important islands, stored the coins in a tin, and on coming across them again in 1979, sent them to a museum.

They were identified as originating in the former sultanate of Kilwa, near present-day Tanzania, and dated to as far back as the 900s.

So far, so mysterious, for according to the history books the first outsider to set foot on Australian soil was a Dutchman, Willem Janszoon, who landed in present-day north Queensland in 1606 – more than 160 years before Captain James Cook arrived and claimed the continent for the British throne.

Dr McIntosh believes that the coins, which have apparently been gathering dust in the museum, could rewrite Australian history, indicating that the country was visited long before Europeans arrived.

In July he will lead a team to the Wessels, armed with a map on which Isenberg marked the spot where he found the coins with an “X”.

“This trade route was already very active a very long time ago, and this may [be] evidence of that early exploration by people from East Africa or from the Middle East,” he said.

According to Dr McIntosh, who is currently based at Indiana University in the US, the copper coins were the first produced in sub-Saharan Africa and have only twice been found outside the continent: in Oman in the early 20th century and in Australia by Isenberg, who was fishing off a beach at the time.

Dr McIntosh’s team – comprising Australian and American historians, archaeologists and geomorphologists (scientists who study the shaping of landforms), as well as Aboriginal rangers – has confirmed that the coins date from between the 900s and 1300s.

At the same spot, the young soldier also unearthed four coins originating in the Dutch East India Company, one dating back to 1690.

Janszoon’s visit was followed by that of a fellow Dutch seafarer, Dirk Hartog. But neither man – nor the Spaniard Luiz Vaez de Torres, who discovered the strait between New Guinea and Australia in 1606 – realised they had found terra australis (southern land), the hypothetical continent marked on world maps of the day as a counterweight to the north’s landmasses.

Now a World Heritage ruin, Kilwa was once a flourishing trade port and in the 13th to 16th centuries had links to India. Its trade – in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian stoneware, Persian ceramics and Chinese porcelain – made it one of the most influential towns in East Africa.


*New Rule*

Stop using the word "discover" to describe a place where people were already living. I think "Targeted for annihilation" is more accurate.

Edited by Stylo 2.0
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Interesting. Although, not all that surprising. Non native people reached American shores before the Spanish and English, Vikings for instance no surprise it happened on another continent as well. But, those people never stayed and settled there, so naturally they wouldn't be talked about in history as much. It is however, an interesting part of history.

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It could be definitive proof. Especially when you consider that sub saharan africans were long in contact with Oman due to trade and whatnot even before the Arabic slave trade.

My girlfriend Mariam is an Omani citizen. There seems to be a lot of black people there from what I can gather from her pictures, and they seem to have been there long enough to where there is no mention of their place of origin. Could just be a cultural thing though because it seems to be the story for most of the middle east outside of that racist dump Egypt. Even more weird is her mom, although living in Muscat for most of her adult life, was a part of the same Christian chruch my dad was(Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria). Weird stuff.

They're indistinguishable from north to central east Africans in most cases.


Edited by Forever Julian
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Being serious though, isn't it possible that a Dutch person that landed there had the coins also?

Or earlier middle-eastern or even SE-asian/pacific traders? As Dago mentioned- the Olmec, with drawings of men with apparently African features, are more compelling (though I've seen it argued it could just be stylized drawings of native Mesoamericans). Anyone could've brought currency that was African in origin. It's known the Dutch and Portuguese used east African ports as a "layover" on their voyages to the Pacific.

Anyway, I've always been fascinated with the idea of pre-Columbian contact between the "old" and "new" worlds. Shards of Chinese pottery in Chile, cocaine in Egyptian mummies, etc. There are some strange things that don't jive with the traditional notion of separated ecumenes and it's clear that large portions of early recorded history (and of course prehistory) have been lost or destroyed. Wouldn't surprise me in the least.

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