Were the Irish O’Haras in America Before Columbus?


Spanish documents suggest Irish arrived in America before Columbus

By Kerry O’Shea (@IrishCentral.com)

May 13, 2014

irish indianWhile Christopher Columbus is generally credited with having discovered America in 1492, a 1521 Spanish report provides inklings of evidence that there were, in fact, Irish people settled in America prior to Columbus’ journey.

“Researchers feel certain that there was a colony of Irish folk living in what is now South Carolina, when Christopher Columbus “thought” he had discovered the New World,” writes Richard Thornton for The Examiner.

In 1520, Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, a historian and professor, was appointed by Carlos V to be chronicler for the new Council of the Indies.

Though Martyr died in 1526, his report, founded on several weeks of interviews, was published posthumously in a book named De Orbe Novo (About the New World). The book has been published and translated numerous times in the centuries since then. The passages concerning the land that would become Georgia and the Carolinas were always included, but generally ignored, says Thornton.

While interviewing Spanish colonists, Martyr took note of their vicious treatment of Chicora Indians. However, he also included in his report that the Spanish colonists had a very good relationship with another nearby colony, which Martyr reported to be named Duhare.

Physically, the people of Duhare appeared to be European according to the Spanish colonists in the area. The people of Duhare had red to brown hair, tan skin and gray eyes, and were noticeably taller than the Spanish. According to Spanish accounts, the people of Duhare were Caucasian, though their houses and pottery were similar to those of American Indians.

The king of Duhare was said to be named Datha and was described by the Spanish as being a giant, even when compared to his peers. He had five children and a wife as tall as him. Datha had brightly colored paint or tattoos on his skin that seemed to distinguish him from the commoners.

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