Ancient Romans Visited South America

Samuel Reason - May 11th, 2020

The Roman Empire had a sizable naval fleet and regularly spent time exploring the surrounding oceans, not to mention that they were always on the lookout for finding new land. But could anyone have thought that an ancient Roman vessel could have made it to South America? Probably not. Some will tell you that such a vessel does exist and may actually be sitting at the bottom of Guanabara Bay of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

This would mean that the ship and its crew would have been well over five thousand miles away from their homeland, most likely, they would have been completely blown off course. With the ship being damaged maybe they were not able to sail back to Rome, and if they hit a rock then they may have sunk in the bay. In the middle of Guanabara Bay, there is a massive rock, that depending on the tide can be pretty much entirely submerged. If you didn’t know it was there, well you would be in for a nasty surprise. It is called the Xareu Rock, named by local fishermen who have called it after the fish that swim there.

There has been an ancient ship that sank due to this rock, it appears to have hit the rock and split in two, sinking 75 feet down to the ocean floor. Found during the 1970s, fishermen snagged a couple of ancient large ceramic jars in their nets. The fishermen believed they were macumba jars, jars that are used for local voodoo magic, so they would immediately smash them to pieces. Later a diver found some jars and took them home, he tried to sell 8 of them and was arrested for selling ancient artifacts.

After testing it was confirmed the large ceramic jars were an Amphora, which is the type of jars the ancient people of the Mediterranean would use to store and transport food or wine. A deep-sea diver named Roberto Teixeira signed a partnership with the Brazilian government to search the site after finding evidence of an ancient shipwreck, however, it was extremely difficult due to the amount of pollution in the bay.

In 1982, he left Brazil to acquire the necessary equipment to search the site, only to find when he came back the government had changed their mind and would not allow him to search the site. They had dumped sand on the shipwreck, they saw the discovery as a threat to the entirety of Brazilian history. Italians in Brazil tried to speak up, advising they should get free citizenship as they had discovered Brazil. This was quickly shut down by the government and they covered up anything to do with the jars or the shipwreck.

It seems we will never know the truth as the Brazilian government has not yet decided they want to face the facts.

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