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Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
#1
Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
So, a few days ago, Večernji List, one of the most respected Croatian newspaper and news website, published a long article arguing that Croatians were one of the first Europeans to settle in the New World, before Christopher Columbo rediscovered it, and that the Native American tribe called Croatans, now living in North Carolina, are the descendants of those Croatians. A short version of that article is available on their website:
https://m-mojahrvatska.vecernji.hr/price...ic-1198233
In short, they point to the similarities of the names "Croatans" and "Croatians". Then they claim that "Croatans" is not a native Croatan word, so much so that the consonant cluster 'cr' doesn't exist in Croatan native words, nor in languages closely related to it. By the way, "Croatian" is also not a native Croatian word, and the mainstream historical linguistics explains it as Croatians once having spoken a language closely related to modern-day Ossetian, in which a similar word means "one who glorifies the sun". The article included a list of Croatan words which they claim are probably inherited from Croatian, though, to be honest, I don't find them very convincing, especially considering quite a few of those words could easily be borrowings from languages related to Spanish in both Croatian and Croatan. The article also claims that there is a Croatan legend that their ancestors came from a far-away land on a ship that sank, so they couldn't return home, and that their ancestors were able to "speak into and from a book", that is, that their ancestors could read and write. They also claim some features of Croatan mythology, such as the belief in the immortal soul and in heaven and hell, come from Christianity.
So, what do you guys here think about it? I think the story is broadly plausible. There is, as far as I know, little or no doubt the Vikings settled America in the Middle Ages, and I see no reason why that can't be true for Croatians. However, I think that's not really the simplest explanation for the name "Croatan". First of all, during the Middle Ages, the Croatian-speaking sailors didn't call themselves Croatians, they called themselves "Ragusians", "Dalmatians" or "Illyrians". Second, the Croatian word for "Croatian" is "Hrvat", "Croatian" is a Latin name borrowed probably from North-East Slavic. The names "Croatan" and "Hrvat" don't really resemble each other much, and it's very hard to explain why those sailors would call themselves with a Latin name for "Croatian". It seems to me at least as likely that the name "Croatan" comes from some extinct Native American language. Such coincidences do happen, and it's important we don't become the victims of the Bongo-Bongo effect.
However, I would like to hear your opinions! I know almost nothing about American history.
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#2
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
Tenuous.
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#3
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
I'll get Peter Falk to look into it and get back to you.

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#4
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
The distribution of native American languages prior to European contact:
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#5
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
blip...
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#6
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
A handful of words that look similar isn't enough to decide that Croats made it to pre-Columbian America.  Human beings all have the same basic larynx, tongue, dentation, etc.  It isn't at all surprising that, by coincidence, a few words in different languages will sound the same.

Boru
'A man is accepted into a church for what he believes.  He is turned out for what he knows.' - Mark Twain
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#7
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
(September 24, 2019 at 11:43 am)FlatAssembler Wrote: There is, as far as I know, little or no doubt the Vikings settled America in the Middle Ages, and I see no reason why that can't be true for Croatians. 

The Vikings largely island and coast hopped from North sea to Iceland to Greenland and then to Labrador coast.  On this route they needed only to make relatively short open ocean traverses of a few days.    


A trip out of Mediterranean to North Americas would requires enormously greater open ocean traverses of many weeks, even if they touched on the furthest island off the coast of Africa.    In addition, the very nature of North Atlantic sailing is a different ball game from Mediterranean sailing.  

Are there any evidence Croatian sailors made any extensive trips outside of the Mediterranean during the period, let along exhibit the ability to stay at sea for weeks on end?
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#8
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
Plenty of people came to America before Columbus. Lies My Teacher Told Me is a great read that talks about this very concept in detail, though the author never mentioned Croatians coming here. But who knows?

I live in Cleveland, and we have a huge population of Croatians here. Plenty of sites claim Ohio has one of the more prominent Croat populations in the country, with I think Pennsylvania being the largest. My best friend growing up was a Croatian dude. Fucking crazy son of a bitch. We don't really talk any more but he's doing well so far as I know.

As far as when Croatians first started settling here? I never looked into it.
If you're frightened of dying, and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.
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#9
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
(September 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm)EgoDeath Wrote: Plenty of people came to America before Columbus. 

Maybe I am wrong, but, I think there is only real firm evidence of for the Vikings and the Inuits, and much more circumstantial evidence for the Polynesians having reached the Americas between end of the ice age about 12,000 years ago the end of the last ice age, and Columbus.  

The other claims all seem to be fringe pet theories with only the most tenuous evidence and almost no mainstream professional genetic, paleontology, archeology and anthropology support.
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#10
RE: Did Croatians settle in America before Columbo?
(September 24, 2019 at 1:51 pm)Anomalocaris Wrote:
(September 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm)EgoDeath Wrote: Plenty of people came to America before Columbus. 

Maybe I am wrong, but, I think there is only real firm evidence of for the Vikings and the Inuits, and much more circumstantial evidence for the Polynesians having reached the Americas between end of the ice age about 12,000 years ago the end of the last ice age, and Columbus.  

The other claims all seem to be fringe pet theories with only the most tenuous evidence and almost no mainstream professional genetic, paleontology, archeology and anthropology support.

Yeah, there are plenty of pet theories about on the subject.

I'm not sure who Loewen cited as having come before Columbus; there were several groups mentioned, among them were the Vikings and I think even a group of African sailors. Though, the main point in that section of Lies My Teacher Told Me seemed to focus more on the fact that Columbus was certainly not here first, which is often what is, or at least was, taught in American schools, hence the title of the book. As for the credibility behind the claims of who did come here, I can't say I ever looked into it at the time, as I was in high school when I read the book and, to be honest, wasn't too concerned with researching the topic.

I think most of us tend to just assume that the experts know what they're talking about. Personally, I don't have much stake in the conversation, as I couldn't really care less. Though the idea of Croatians coming here before Columbus is an interesting one; it's not one I've heard before.
If you're frightened of dying, and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.
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