It has long been the belief that Chris did not discover America, but he did make a lasting impression. What would we do without Columbus Day?
Spanish treasure that predates the arrival of Columbus by 200 years has been found in a US national park. The two coins, one minted in Madrid in 1660 and the other made around the 1200s, were found lying on the floor at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Their presence in the desert remains unexplained and no information has been released about whether they were found with other artifacts. Spanish explorers arrived in Mexico in the 1500s and began exploring north, although there is no record of them being in America at the time the coins were made.
Left by settlers or explorers
This is the most exciting theory as it suggests Spanish settlers could have been in the area as much as 500 years earlier than currently known. However it is regarded by experts as extremely unlikely, while Spain controlled large swathes of the Southern and Western United States until the 19th century they did not establish a serious presence until 1519 onwards. Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas in 1492. At present the first presence is recorded in 1765 with the Spanish expedition led by Juan Antonio de Rivera. However, the coins could record a previously undocumented earlier expedition as one dates back to the 1200s
Traded with a native American tribe
There is also a suggestion that the coins may have been traded with a native American tribe that then transported them to the area. Christopher Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, although other explorers had arrived in the Caribbean beforehand. It is possible the coins were traded with a native American tribe which traded them with others before they were transported to, and eventually lost, in Utah.
Brought to America long after they were minted
It is also possible that the old coins were actually brought to the Americas long after they were minted. Despite both being made in Spain, one in the 1660s and the second in the 1200s, it is possible they were kept in Spain and transported to the new colonies much later. After Columbus arrived in 1492, Spaniard settlers began to arrive. When moving to the Americas they took all their possessions with them including – quite possibly – these coins.
Dropped by a tourist?
Archaeologists also aren’t ruling out the theory that the coins were dropped by a tourist – as they were found among litter. This could be the more plausible theory as old coins were a favored souvenir for soldiers returning from the Middle East and in the two World Wars. With such different minting dates it also seems unlikely that they were in circulation in Spain at the same time