Dr. Ivan Gladstone Van Sertima (1935 – 2009) was a Guyanese-born associate professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was best known for his work “They Came before Columbus,” which provided a pyramid of evidence to support the idea that ancient Africans were master shipbuilders who sailed from Africa to the Americas thousands of years before Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, and that the Africans traded with the indigenous people, leaving lasting influences on their cultures. In one example, Van Sertima presents evidence that Emperor Abubakari of Mali used these “almadias” or longboats to make a trip to the Americas during the 1300s.
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