PHOENICIANS IN BRAZIL
A study researched, translated and presented by the kind
Mr. Christian da C. Karam, Student of Archaeology, Porto Alegre, Brazil
11,000 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 located where
today the Sahara desert exists 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
Plato tells us about the conflicts 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 trade.
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
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, besides material evidences, an important
linguistic influence among the natives.
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 nowadays.
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 legions.
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 Indians.
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
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- Brasil.
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 Era.
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
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 sea's border.
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 continent.
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.
Nevertheless, the 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-
Beuchat cites the important Inca influence in the South American
civilization as well as the Aztec influence in Mexico and in Central American
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 and Amazonas.
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 very well.
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.
The Brazilian 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
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, majestic.
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 Brazilian
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
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 critical situation.
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.
from 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.
from 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.