In the year 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Looking for Indians the wind took him westward, he stumbled on the wrong peoples, whom he then extorted, enslaved and murdered. Was he mistaken for a God or mistakenly welcomed with open arms? Ancient cave paintings in Peru and the Pacific Islands tell the tale of light skinned visitors from across the pond, who grew hair on their faces and were received as Gods or Kings.
In this book, Thor Heyerdahl sets out to prove that neither Columbus nor his Nordic predecessor were the first to ‘discover’ the peoples of America. He built a boat from papyrus with his international team to cross the waters from the edge of Morocco. Significant evidence has been compiled, not fully explored within the book, of an Ancient Egyptian/African presence in South America and the striking similarities between the two ancient cultures. One example is that those in the Pacific Islands all use the word ‘Ra’ to mean sun. Heyerdahl writes fluidly, making his journey very easy to read despite the often orientalist and uncomfortable racial language that litters the book – turning it from a fascinating tale of rediscovery into a fascinating tale of rediscovery a la Laurence of Arabia. The Ra Expeditions is highly recommended to history lovers, anti-colonialists and lovers of adventure.
Have you read this book or heard of this expedition before? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!