PHOENICIANS IN BRAZIL
A study researched, translated and presented by kind courtesy
Mr. Christian da C. Karam, Student of Archaeology, Porto Alegre, Brazil
years ago (9500 B. C.) our planet was hit by a huge cataclysm when a good
part of the Andes Cordillera was raised. The big lake where today the Sahara
desert is dried out, the limits of the Mediterranean sea were altered, and
the very large continent- island that existed in the middle of the Atlantic
ocean, known as Atlantis, sank.
The causes of the catastrophe are
not completely known yet but it is believed that one of its probable causes
was the arrival of a huge mass of a celestial body that might have passed
near Earth provoking tremendous tensions in the internal magma of the planet.
Those real magma "tides" have submitted the thin solid crust of the
planet into stronger pressures than it could support. In many points the soil
became distended and in others it wrinkled. There were furthermore sinking
and rises in some other parts of soil.
Atlantis was the main victim of
those cataclysms that caused the fall of its powerful civilization. It is
enough to say that various ancient texts state that after the continent-
island's sinking, its survivors went on to Africa.
Plato tells us about the fights
that they had with the Egyptians and Greeks and how they finally were
defeated. However, they left indelible marks on the ancient people's culture
such as in the Phoenician civilization that was their successor in the sea
The Phoenicians inhabited the
Mediterranean coasts, the narrow and fertile strip located between the sea
and the mountains of Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon. Their small territory, the
presence of powerful neighbours and the existence of much cedar wood (quite
good for naval construction) in the mountain forests may have been the
additional elements that guided the Phoenician civilization towards the
exploration of the seas.
They built numerous and powerful
fleets. They also visited the north African coasts and all the European
south, traded in Italy, entered the Black Sea and left the Mediterranean Sea
by crossing the Pillars of Hercules (today's Strait of Gibraltar and
previously called the Pillars of Melqart) reaching the Atlantic ocean's
African coast, and finally arrived at the Tin Islands in England. Always
trading, the Phoenicians built marts and warehouses along their routes. When
they could, they stole a little but always trying not to provoke powerful
enemies who they preferred to weaken with gold products, instead of doing it
by the sword or by fighting. The Phoenician agents and diplomats were
familiar with almost every war fought at that time and they used to take
advantage of it. They navigated the African continental coast in order to
follow the opposite way that would be traced by Vasco da Gama much later. And
more evidence seems to confirm that the Phoenicians used to cross the
Atlantic Ocean to visit the "New Continent". The Phoenicians
navigated by using the technique of stars orientation, the sea flows and
through the winds courses. So, by following those factors their captains
covered huge distances with precision. They were already influential about
the year 2000 BC but their power grew with Abibaal's (in 1020 BC) and Hiram's
leadership. Byblos, Sidon and Tyre were successive capitals of a state- city
trading empire, united before anything else by ties of interest, habits and
religion instead of a more rigid political structure.
Phoenicians in Brazil
Brazil is full of vestiges that
corroborate the Phoenician presence in its lands and everything indicates
that they concentrated their occupation in the northeastern region. A little
away from the Longá and Parnaiba rivers' confluence, in Piaui
state, there is a lake where Phoenician shipyards and a harbour with a
place reserved to tie the "Carpássios" (old long traveling
ships) were discovered.
By navigating the Mearim river
up north, in Maranhão state, when arriving in the Pindaré and Grajaú
rivers' confluence we can find the Pensiva lake before known as Maracu.
In that lake's borders there can be found shipyards made of petrified
wood containing thick nails and bronze dowels. Researcher Raimundo Lopes,
born in Maranhão State, excavated that location at the end of the
twenties and discovered typically Phoenician tools.
In Rio Grande do Norte state,
after roaming a 11 km canal, the Phoenician boats used to anchor in the Extremoz
lake. The Austrian professor Mr. Ludwig Schwennhagen studied the place's
subterranean parts and the embankments carefully and also some others that
exist near the village of Touro where the Phoenician navigators
anchored after roaming about 10 km of a canal. The same professor
Schwennhagen tells us that he found Phoenician inscriptions in the Amazon in
which there were references to many kings of Sidon and Tyre (887 to 856 BC).
Schwennhagen believes that the
Phoenicians used Brazil as a base during 800 years at least, leaving here,
besides material evidences, an important linguistic influence among the
In the rivers Camocim (Ceará State),
Parnaiba (Piaui State) and Mearim (Maranhão state) entrance
accesses there are stone and lime walls built by the ancient Phoenicians.
Apollinaire Frot, a French
researcher, traveled all over the Brazilian countryside in order to collect
Phoenician inscriptions in the Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Bahia
sierras. The inscriptions that he put together are so many that "they
would fill uncountable volumes if they were ever published", according
to Frot's statements.
The translation of those
inscriptions refers to Phoenician works in Brazil, to their trade activity
practiced in those distant lands and to the sinking of Atlantis. Some
inscriptions reveal that because of the geological shocks that hit Atlantis,
its survivors went to the north of Africa to found the empire of Egypt and
many other nations of the region known today as the "Middle East".
Those inscriptions still mention the biblical flood that, according to them,
was not a universal catastrophe but only a local cataclysm in the
Mesopotarmia region. This is a fact that scientists accept as veridical
The economic leadership condition,
on whose trade others depended, gave Phoenicia a kind of stability that
allowed its existence to last so long without having strong armed forces.
Phoenicia survived the Egyptian, the Syrian and the Assyrian hegemonies and
even the Persian domination. Finally a strange racial element appeared the
invaders from Europe. Thus Phoenicia trembled, at first under the Greek
invasion headed by Alexander the Great and later under the power of the Roman
With such a war the trading
practices were interrupted and the far away colonies and marts now abandoned,
started to be destroyed by local populations. The inhabitants of those
regions, too far from the metropolis, withdrew into a primitive status.
Although these are just theories, it would explain the blond hair and the
diverse physical constitutions of savages that can be found among some
Brazilian Indian tribes in the Amazon. It would also explain the light skin
and the big number of Phoenician expressions and words used by the Tiriós
Carthage, the largest of the Phoenician colonies, survived and
prospered when it inherited the sea trade from its ancient colonizing cities.
It is Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, who tells us that "the Carthaginian
senate published a decree in order to forbid -under penalty of death -- to
organize or to take trips to the other side of the Atlantic ocean because the
frequent coming of men and resources were emptying the capital".
Finally, there is the
famous inscription in the "Pedra da Gávea" (Gavea's Rock) in
Rio de Janeiro which states: "Here Badezir, King of Tyre,
Jetbaal's oldest son".
There is no scientific or cultural
work in Brazil that has affirmative data about the Phoenician coming to its
territory. However, there are in some foreign material references to the
Phoenecian navigators in Brazilian lands before its European discovery.
Although that information may seem unreal, legendary and fictitious, I want
to believe that it is really true.
Phoenician inscriptions found in
Tyre, known today as Sur (its name in Arabic), are on tombstones, which are
now in London. They mention an expedition of a Phoenician navigator to a
region beyond the Strait of Moloch (today's Gibraltar) where "the sea
penetrated into the land..." a place where there was an abundance of
food and lots of wood.
There still is another --fact: in
excavations that took place in Sidon, French archaeologists found in 1860
many wooden artifacts that only could have been taken from Brazil, according
to archaeological tests. It is the famous "quebracho" or
"quebra machado" (the "ax breaker") as it its
known in the Brazilian countryside. Besides that kind of wood a red coloured
one was found whose denomination today in Arabic remains the same as the one
in Phoenician times: "Shajarat Ahmar" -- known in Portuguese as Pau-
By the way, what is the origin of
the name, which is given to the Amazon River after its source?
The answer to that question is in
the Louvre Museum archives, in the Royal Museum of London and also in Vatican
and Lisbon historic documents that state the Solimões River's name
came from its primitive denomination, which might be "Sulaiman".
So, it would be in honour of the great
King of Israel -- Sulaiman (Salomon) -- given by his vassals who arrived in
those regions guided by the Phoenicians, a few years before the Christian
All the cuneiform inscriptions
discovered in the Amazon region, in the Ararí area, as well as in French
Guyana and Surinam such as hieroglyphs and rock characters demonstrate
clearly its origin from Aramaic, Syriac and even Sanskrit scripts.
In the National Historic Museum
many photographs show us huge inscriptions that are widely spread from the
Solimões River up to the point where its name changes to Amazon River (from Ararí
to Madeira River). Those inscriptions demonstrate just a little of the
greatness of the others that exist all over Brazil.
Someone has already tried to show
in Rio de Janeiro that the Maya people might have written the
Gavea's Rock inscriptions. Nevertheless they are hieroglyphic
inscriptions mixed with the Phoenician alphabet and originally engraved by
Phoenician navigators. Other evidences are four Phoenician characters (signs)
engraved on the peak of a big rock known as "Pão de Açúcar"
(The Sugar Loaf).
There are various confirmations
that say Brazil was already known by many sailors from the Near East even
before its discovery by the Portuguese. The first European navigator to be
familiar with this land was the Roman Severus Pompeus, whose documents
related to that fact is in the Vatican archives. He obtained from a
"Syrian" slave a report and a confirmation of the existence of
others lands. What is ignored is why that navigator did not try to verify
those stories by himself.
The Phoenician explorers were not
interested in lands. They were really interested in its native products. So,
they were not a colonizing people but a trading one.
Columbus, the great navigator from Genoa, had never been to
the lands of which he used to talk so much. However, he had an itinerary, a
map and other real documents concerning those distant lands. How did he get
them? Some ancient historians tell the following tale about that: "One
day, at his house, without anything to do, Columbus realized that in his
residential area there was something buried in the ground. So, he started
digging quickly and he found a rotten wooden box. Inside it there was many human
bones (even a skull) and among those bones Columbus found some papyri
documents. Because he already had some nautical knowledge- he was quite a
good sailor- he became intrigued with the discovery and went to look for
information with an uncle of his whom belonged to a religious institution and
who also was a very respected person in the Spanish Royalty. Columbus gave
his uncle what he had found, and he took them to one of his colleagues. Then
both of them verified that those papers were descriptive maps made by a
sailor from Tripoli (Trabulus) which had been buried many centuries before
the fifteenth century when the place where Columbus' house was had been the
Afterwards, Columbus got an
opinion from a very important cartographer about those exceptional findings.
He declared that region as being a huge territory located beyond the Pillars
of Hercules (Strait of Gibraltar). He also said that its wealth was so great
and there were such valuable treasures kept in that place that he who could
dominate it would be considered "the Lord of the World".
Then from that day on and
protected by his uncle, Columbus started to visit the Portuguese and the
Spanish courts in order to obtain concession, financing and support to be the
"Lord of the World".
It is said that such a report is a
legend but I believe it is true: Columbus came and discovered the American
In the "sambaquís"
spread throughout Brazil many objects and rock inscriptions have been found. Some
writers, based on paleontology material, have been writing that its origin is
Indian. Other paleontologists who searched and penetrated into thousands of
caves, grottos and lime cesspools declared that it its neither possible to
define the exact geological erosion of the Brazilian lands nor to determine
an ancient settlement in Brazil before its European discovery.
Maya, the Toltec and the Aztec civilizations predominated all over the
American continent. Those populations did not spring from the ground and only
two other peoples could be their ancestors: the Phoenicians or the Chinese.
From the Phoenicians, because they dominated the western seas and from the
Chinese because they dominated the Far East seas. However, those basis are uncertain
and imperfect just because until today historians were not able to elucidate
such a vulnerable fact about the American pre-civilization History.
When Baron von Humboldt, at the
end of the eighteenth century, took research trips to explore the Brazilian
countryside, he reached the Orenoco slopes and was surprised by the greatness
that Maya, Inca and Aztec civilizations offered to anyone's eyes and mind. He
verified that the legends about the existence of the Amazon women- whose name
was given to the river- were true.
Beuchat cites the important Inca
influence in the South American civilization as well as the Aztec influence
in Mexico and in Central American societies.
We can still hear about the lost
cities in the Brazilian countryside region, the petrified cities such as the
one known as "Sete Cidades" (Seven Cities) in the state of
Piaui and others in wild zones like the states of Mato Grosso, Goiás
From São Luis dos Cáceres
up to the north in the state of Mato Grosso, there are places that show the
existence of buried cities that are the remains of a millenarian civilization
Dr. Peter W. Lund, a great Danish
scholar, came up with the theory of a precivilization in Brazil and the
Phoenician contribution in its formation.
Indians, known as Carajás and Carajá-ís, have on their names
the etymology of the words whose Phoenician origin can be found in today's
Arabic language. Some other Brazilian Indian tribes such as the Guaranis, the
Tupis, the Guajajaras, the Chambicás, the Anajás, the
Carijós, etc., have in their vocabulary thousands of Arabian words
whose origin is Phoenician.
Maya and Aztec civilizations
differ little from the Phoenicians. Their merchants, governors,
administration, clans and their moral education clearly show us the ethnology
of their civil way of life.
The Indians who deal with oil, in
the north of Brazil, and who still today execute the Marajoaras work
perfectly, adopt the same systems used by the Phoenician workers with oil who
mixed wood and vine ashes with mud (clay) in order to produce ceramics. The
resemblance among these drawings, the pots' shapes, the small statues and
other Indian works and the Phoenician artifacts is noteworthy.
The same Phoenician burial ritual
-- the one that buried the dead with all the objects that belonged to them --
also was adopted by almost all Brazilian Indian tribes.
The Phoenicians had a factory or a
mart in a region, legendarily known as Atlantis that in their language meant
-- according to the Phoenician term "Al- Atlantic"--: huge, large,
extensive, vast, endless. And in Arabic "Al- Atlantic" means giant,
When I went on some trips into the
Brazilian countryside, I saw some coins that had been found in Brazilian
ground whose origin is completely unknown. Making a comparison among these
coins and Paraguayan, Bolivian and Peruvian coins their resemblance to coins
from Sidon and Tyre is very great.
In the Rio de Janeiro National Museum there exist
tombstones with Phoenician, Syriac and Sanskrit inscriptions found in the
Edmund Bleibel, a distinguished
Lebanese historian, in his books "General History of Lebanon", published
in Beirut, states: "when the Phoenicians were established in Africa, and
Gibraltar was the limit of their empire, they planned to cross the huge ocean
towards the unknown".
Then Ilu of Jbail (Byblos) and his
wife Harmonia (Harmony) prepared a big fleet and navigated the enormous sea
looking for the "Eternal Islands" (Canary Islands) but they
disappeared forever. It was said that their souls embodied two serpents,
which meant that their lives had been renewed by god, Baal's will.
Later it was corroborated that they had crossed the huge ocean
and discovered the region where today is South America. So, that happened
3,000 years before Christopher Columbus.
They gave the first new land they
discovered the name of "Barr Ilu" which means "The Continent
of God". When the nation was formed and its administration was
organized, the chosen queen to rule that place was Mirinieh Mirubieh known as
"Queen of the Amazones" which means "Queen of the Warriors".
That queen was sent to Lebanon to save Ilu of Jbail (Byblos) who was in a
The "Queen of the
Amazons" called "The Big Ocean" the ocean known before as
'Mirubi Ocean" which today is the Atlantic Ocean. This last denomination
was in honour of Atlas, the great Phoenician king of Lybia
Cadmus, the great navigator of
Tyre, left his city -- Cadamiat -- on a scientific mission in order to study
the Cuchite language spoken in Brazil.
A few historians have been
investigating the origin of such a language and they found many evidences
that confirm the Phoenician's coming to Brazil bringing with them some Greek
workers before any other people. The historian Deodoro told the way they
might have arrived here. That fact was confirmed by Plutarch and was
mentioned by the great Brazilian historian Rui Barbosa, as well as by other
Brazilian poets who sang on their lyres the Phoenician and their monuments on
the Brazilian soil.
Each fleet that left Sidon, Jbail
and Tyre had 200 or 300 boats that headed to Brazil. The smallest one was
used to bring the members of the crew with their support material and
equipment. They usually stopped to rest and also to buy supplies in Tunis and
at the Canary Islands.
Among the Phoenician civilization
monuments in Brazil there is a city that was called "Airo",
today completely lost in the admirable immensity of this country. Its ancient
inhabitants were proud of belonging to the Phoenician lineage just like the
Irish people. They used to say that they were Tyrian descendants who, during
King Hiram's time, came to take gold. They took this precious metal to Tyre
and to King Salomon of Jerusalem from the land of Ofir, where this mineral
was very abundant. It is located in the Amazon River borders.
Finally, we verify that truth is
clear and positive. I wish the Brazilian honourable governors could help
twentieth century dedicated scientists to research, in the Brazilian
entrails, for its pre- historic reality, the one of its archaic civilization,
and maybe we would have even surpassed the Greek and the Roman civilizations.
livro de: Lisboa, Luiz C. e Andrade, Roberto P. "Grandes Enigmas
da Humanidade " - Capítulo 5: "Os que antecederam Colombo"
páginas 96- 100. Círculo do Livro S.A. Editorial. São Paulo, 1969.
the book by: Lisboa, Luiz C. and Andrade, Roberto P. "Great Enigmas
of Mankind" - Chapter 5: "Columbus antecessors" pages 96-
100. Círculo do Livro Press. São Paulo, 1969.
livro de: Bastaní, Tanus Jorge "0 Líbano e os Libaneses no
Brasil" -Parte oitava: "Indícios da vinda dos Fenícios ao
Brasil" páginas 155- 159. Edição independente. Rio de Janeiro, 1945.
the book by: Bastani, Tanus Jorge "Lebanon and the Lebanese in
Brazil" -- Eighth part: "Traces of the Phoenician arrival in
Brazil" pages 155-159 Independent edition. Rio de Janeiro, 1945.