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Forum LockedDid Abubakari II reach America before Columbus?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sundiata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Did Abubakari II reach America before Columbus?
    Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 05:17
This is a story commonly relayed by Arab historians and Mande griots about how a medieval ruler from Mali by the name of Abubakari II set fourth on a trans-Atlantic journey sometime in the early 14th century. This was first documented in 1325 by the Arab writer/historian Al-Umari via Mansa Musa's (emperor who succeeded Abubakari II) testimony. Evidence, as described by Africanist researchers like Ivan Van Sertima and Gaoussou Diawara, point out numerous clues suggesting that Abubakari actually made it. Claims that west African metals were found to even a personal account from Columbus himself claiming to have seen Black traders. I was interested in what people thought about this intriguing case.

Here's some more information:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/1068950.stm


CLICK:
Fast Forward to about 7:25
 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 06:51
Yep, Mali sent two fleets actually, both supposed to have numbers of about 200 ships. Mansa Abu Bakr II lead the second fleet. I don't think there is any record of them, at least in Africa, of what happened to the fleets after they left so whether they got to America or not, and what they did when they got there is just down to guessing.

I would not be surprised if some of the fleet did make it. There are many rumours that could be explained by it, like your African metal one above. Similarly in Columbus diary he mentions a building that he describes as 'looking like a mosque'. Its all circumstantial, but maybe it was a mosque, if some of Abu Bakr's fleet made it that would explain its presence there.

The mere fact that they expended so much effort in the expeditions does show that they must have been pretty convinced that a land existed on the other side. There must have been sporadic, disorganised and unreliable contact between the continents pre-Columbus to create stories, and I'm willing to bet that Columbus knew about the stories too.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 25-Jan-2009 at 06:54
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 06:57
Everybody made it to America before Columbus. Chinese, Basque, Egyptians, Phoenicians, the lost 13th tribe of Israel, Jesus, little green men, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 10:48
No. He didn't. Arabs sailors usually sunk in the middle of the ocean. That was routine ConfusedConfused

Edited by pinguin - 25-Jan-2009 at 10:50
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sundiata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 18:09
^^Abubakari II wasn't Arab Pinguin (he was Mande) so I guess there goes your theory. Arabs never ruled Mali, sorry, you're confused. Besides, saying that a particular people "always sink" is a weird and randomly uninformed statement.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

Yep, Mali sent two fleets actually, both supposed to have numbers of about 200 ships. Mansa Abu Bakr II lead the second fleet. I don't think there is any record of them, at least in Africa, of what happened to the fleets after they left so whether they got to America or not, and what they did when they got there is just down to guessing.

I would not be surprised if some of the fleet did make it. There are many rumours that could be explained by it, like your African metal one above. Similarly in Columbus diary he mentions a building that he describes as 'looking like a mosque'. Its all circumstantial, but maybe it was a mosque, if some of Abu Bakr's fleet made it that would explain its presence there.

The mere fact that they expended so much effort in the expeditions does show that they must have been pretty convinced that a land existed on the other side. There must have been sporadic, disorganised and unreliable contact between the continents pre-Columbus to create stories, and I'm willing to bet that Columbus knew about the stories too.
That's actually a good point that I hadn't considered. Most Europeans believed that the only "end" to the Atlantic ocean was the edge of the earth. The Malians must have obviously been privy to some knowledge suggesting that there was an entirely different continent on the other side. I've heard about the old Olmec theories where some propose an even more ancient African presence in pre-Columbian America, though there was of course no indigenous account of any expeditions coinciding with that time period.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 19:48
Sundiata, of which afrocentric club you came to colonize "All Empires"?
Malians didn't know how to build boats before muslims came... gimme a break.
And old black olmec "theories" are pure child-tales for mentally retarded people.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sundiata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 20:17
Only a Eurocentric non-historian who doesn;t study west African archaeology would say anything of the sort considering that forty foot boats have been excavated in west Africa that are over 1,000 years old. Arab Muslims were actually subordinate to the Malian rulers and were even persecuted by Sonni Ali Ber of Songhay. It's funny how ignorance loves company. Claims with out data only prove to make the person who makes the said claim look naive and uninformed which doesn't at all reflect upon the Malians. The Arab historian who conveyed the message seen no issue with the account so obviously it was seen as a given. Some obscure loner on a random history forum does little to contradict medieval testimony. As for the Olmecs, that's a straw you just threw in there as I never advanced that argument or posed that question. Cynicism and selective prejudice is no substitute for scholarship.


Edited by Sundiata - 25-Jan-2009 at 23:58
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 23:08
Originally posted by Sundiata

Only a Eurocentric non-historian who doesn;t study west African archaeology would say anything of the sort considering that forty foot boats have been excavated in west Africa that are over 1,000 years old. Arab Muslims were actually subordinate to the Malian rulers are were even persecuted by Sonni Ali Ber of Songhay. It's funny how ignorance loves company. Claims with out data only prove to make the person who makes the said claim look naive and uninformed which doesn't at all reflect upon the Malians. The Arab historian who conveyed the message seen no issue with the account so obviously it was seen as a given. Some obscure loner on a random history forum does little to contradict medieval testimony. As for the Olmecs, that's a straw you just through in there as I never advanced that argument or posed that question. Cynicism and selective prejudice is no substitute for scholarship.



The last thing that Pinguin would be is Eurocentric. LOL. That's what happens when you join and think you know everyone's personality just because they disagree with what you think.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2009 at 23:44
Originally posted by Sundiata

That's actually a good point that I hadn't considered. Most Europeans believed that the only "end" to the Atlantic ocean was the edge of the earth. The Malians must have obviously been privy to some knowledge suggesting that there was an entirely different continent on the other side. I've heard about the old Olmec theories where some propose an even more ancient African presence in pre-Columbian America, though there was of course no indigenous account of any expeditions coinciding with that time period.

No I think the Europeans were aware of exactly the same legends. There is a clear knowledge pathway from west africa to Europe through muslim Spain, and the various accounts I'm sure would have travelled.
Originally posted by Pinguin

Malians didn't know how to build boats before muslims came... gimme a break.

Totally wrong.
The only muslims the Malinke (or other Mande) came into contact with travelled across the Sahara to get there. They would not have been people educated in ship building, at best they could have taught the Malinke some of their navigation techniques. Berbers do not live near the sea, nor need it to get to the Niger so why would they know how to build ships? Secondly, the Niger is a river that has always needed boats to cross, and has had the timber to build them. The Malinke had river boats long before recorded history, and certainly didn't learn how to build Ocean going boats from the Arabs or Berbers. (Because Mali was a muslim state remember!)
Originally posted by Sundiata

Arab Muslims were actually subordinate to the Malian rulers are were even persecuted by Sonni Ali Ber of Songhay.

Sunni Ali wasn't Malinke remember, he was Songhai, and fought against the Malinke. He was also muslim, albeit not very religious. I don't think we can really say he persecuted Arabs, he just got a very bad wrap from the historians because he destroyed their home (Timbuktu) and was not religious. The scholarly establishment of Timbuktu while they wrote in Arabic, weren't Arabs, or weren't all Arabs at least. There were attracted from all the neighbouring ethnic groups.
Originally posted by Penguin

No. He didn't.

Prove it.
Originally posted by edgewaters

Everybody made it to America before Columbus. Chinese, Basque, Egyptians, Phoenicians, the lost 13th tribe of Israel, Jesus, little green men, etc.

This isn't ethnocentric claims edgewaters. This is a recorded historical fact. One of the worlds most powerful empires sent two fleets of 200 ships including their Mansa (Sultan) to the Americas. So far there is no record of them since.

Edited by Omar al Hashim - 25-Jan-2009 at 23:45
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sundiata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 00:02
Originally posted by es_bih

Originally posted by Sundiata

Only a Eurocentric non-historian who doesn;t study west African archaeology would say anything of the sort considering that forty foot boats have been excavated in west Africa that are over 1,000 years old. Arab Muslims were actually subordinate to the Malian rulers are were even persecuted by Sonni Ali Ber of Songhay. It's funny how ignorance loves company. Claims with out data only prove to make the person who makes the said claim look naive and uninformed which doesn't at all reflect upon the Malians. The Arab historian who conveyed the message seen no issue with the account so obviously it was seen as a given. Some obscure loner on a random history forum does little to contradict medieval testimony. As for the Olmecs, that's a straw you just through in there as I never advanced that argument or posed that question. Cynicism and selective prejudice is no substitute for scholarship.



The last thing that Pinguin would be is Eurocentric. LOL. That's what happens when you join and think you know everyone's personality just because they disagree with what you think.

Of course this suggests a double standard since he doesn't know me yet refers to me as Afrocentric because I dare state that Africans had boats. LOL!! Your bias is evident though I AM new so believe me, I understand and don't condemn you for it. I'm here in a spirit of cooperation.Big smile

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim
Sunni Ali wasn't Malinke remember, he was Songhai, and fought against the Malinke. He was also muslim, albeit not very religious. I don't think we can really say he persecuted Arabs, he just got a very bad wrap from the historians because he destroyed their home (Timbuktu) and was not religious. The scholarly establishment of Timbuktu while they wrote in Arabic, weren't Arabs, or weren't all Arabs at least. There were attracted from all the neighbouring ethnic groups.


Yea, I know that he was Songhai (hence, the "Songhay" empire), though he was still a Malian from Gao. As for Timbuktu, you are correct. As a matter of fact, many of the inhabitants were Arab settlers and traders, but most of the scholars (identified by name) came mostly from Djenne, Walata, and Timbuktu its self. They were mostly Mande, Fula, Songhay, and Tuareg (again, as indicated by their names). Many of them had the moniker of al-Sudane which was an idicator of ethnicity as it meant "the Black". The most famous scholar, Ahmed Baba al-Sudane being the best example.


Edited by Sundiata - 26-Jan-2009 at 00:10
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 00:09
Originally posted by es_bih

The last thing that Pinguin would be is Eurocentric. LOL. That's what happens when you join and think you know everyone's personality just because they disagree with what you think.

I missed that! Oh, the irony!

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

This isn't ethnocentric claims edgewaters. This is a recorded historical fact. One of the worlds most powerful empires sent two fleets of 200 ships including their Mansa (Sultan) to the Americas. So far there is no record of them since.

Granted, its not being presented as a certain claim in terms of arrival, and I do not think it is really in the same category of dubiousness as the Phoenician claims and certainly not the little green men. That was unfair of me.

But ... don't most of the histories of Mali from that period (early 14th century) come from oral traditions of the griots (which I understand to be similar to Celtic bards)? How reliable are they on particular events such as this?

Why would they send such a huge fleet out, not just into unexplored territory, but into the open sea where there was no guarantee of finding land before provisions ran out, or safe shelter if a storm occurred? With the Mansa onboard, no less? Such a fleet would constitute a mega-project, and it seems a little curious that they would just float such a major national investment off into the blue like that. Unless it was for religious reasons, the way the Pyramids were built for no practical purpose.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sundiata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 00:18
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by es_bih

The last thing that Pinguin would be is Eurocentric. LOL. That's what happens when you join and think you know everyone's personality just because they disagree with what you think.

I missed that! Oh, the irony!

Haha!! That's what I just said. What kind of game of circular reasoning/reverse psychology is this? Afrocentric, Eurocentric, who cares? They're meaningless labels that don't describe anything.

Originally posted by

But ... don't most of the histories of Mali from that period (early 14th century) come from oral traditions of the griots (which I understand to be similar to Celtic bards)? How reliable are they on particular events such as this?

Why would they send such a huge fleet out, not just into unexplored territory, but into the open sea where there was no guarantee of finding land before provisions ran out, or safe shelter if a storm occurred? With the Mansa onboard, no less? Such a fleet would constitute a mega-project, and it seems a little curious that they would just float such a major national investment off into the blue like that. Unless it was for religious reasons, the way the Pyramids were built for no practical purpose.

btw Thanx Omar, so far you seem to be among the minority who doesn't blatantly appeal to political expediency as opposed to examination of actual claims. The above approach is not critical, it is lazy and a cop-out. It's a secure place to be for the ignorant who parrot old consesus and convention.

Hey edgewater.. Actually, this expedition was written down and recorded by the Arab historian al-Umari in 1325. Oral history only validates him.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 00:41
No, he didn't. But Norwegians did.

Haw haw haw.

Yeah I can be lame-o-centric too, and with far better evidence than "it's possible because we don't know anything".
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 01:03
Originally posted by edgwaters

But ... don't most of the histories of Mali from that period (early 14th century) come from oral traditions of the griots (which I understand to be similar to Celtic bards)? How reliable are they on particular events such as this?

As Sundiata says, this particular part of history was recorded by the Arab historian al Umari in the reign of Abu Bakrs II successor, Musa, and corrobrated by the Griots. It appears I had my numbers wrong though, al Umari says the first fleet consisted of 200 passenger ships and 200 supply ships, and that the second fleet of 2000 passenger ships and 1000 supply ships.
Even though the numbers look like clear exaggerations, I'm confident that the expidition did take place.
Why would they send such a huge fleet out, not just into unexplored territory, but into the open sea where there was no guarantee of finding land before provisions ran out, or safe shelter if a storm occurred? With the Mansa onboard, no less? Such a fleet would constitute a mega-project, and it seems a little curious that they would just float such a major national investment off into the blue like that.

Yes exactly. That same question leads me to believe that the Malinke had a suspicion that there was something out there. Certainly there does appear to be enough evidence around that there were legends of America before Colombus opened a reliable route. al-Umari says it was an exploration fleet and we do know Kings do not always act with the best cost-benefit analysis in mind. But I really do wonder about why they did it, and what people thought of it at the time.
Unless it was for religious reasons, the way the Pyramids were built for no practical purpose.

All the rulers were muslim, so it wasn't a religious reason.
Originally posted by Sundiata

btw Thanx Omar, so far you seem to be among the minority who doesn't blatantly appeal to political expediency as opposed to examination of actual claims.

Welcome . I think I'm one of the few who actually knows something about this period of history , even if I know alot more about Songhai than I do of Mali.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 01:59
Originally posted by Sundiata

The above approach is not critical, it is lazy and a cop-out.  

Questions are never a bad thing.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

As Sundiata says, this particular part of history was recorded by the Arab historian al Umari in the reign of Abu Bakrs II successor, Musa, and corrobrated by the Griots. It appears I had my numbers wrong though, al Umari says the first fleet consisted of 200 passenger ships and 200 supply ships, and that the second fleet of 2000 passenger ships and 1000 supply ships.
Even though the numbers look like clear exaggerations, I'm confident that the expidition did take place.

Cautiously, I'm inclined to agree, especially if it's corroborated by the Griots. I don't like it! But it seems to conform to standards sufficiently that, if there isn't any contradictory evidence, it can be presumed that some sort of expedition - perhaps not one quite so large - took place.

Where it was bound and whether it ever made it there are another matter, though. Precolumbian history simply doesn't support the notion of any precolumbian contact, except in two locations: Alaska, where cultures like the Thule (proto-Inuit) crossed the Bering Strait into Alaska as late as 1000 AD to replace the Dorsets, and the area of Newfoundland/Labrador/Upper North Shore which saw some limited Scandinavian contact at about that date.

That same question leads me to believe that the Malinke had a suspicion that there was something out there. Certainly there does appear to be enough evidence around that there were legends of America before Colombus opened a reliable route.

I think alot of these are likely less fantastic  than they seem. The Scandinavians did indeed reach North America, and clearly did not forget the fact (since it is even today preserved in the sagas). Subsequently, Scandinavian presence was felt all over Europe, throughout the Meditteranean and Black Seas, and even into the Middle East, so ... Occam's Razor ... there's no reason to presume these legends do not have some other source but Norse myths which were heard in places they went and passed around by word of mouth, arriving in corrupted forms as legends like the land of Bacalao. The Malinese could have heard of these, through their trade routes.  Certainly, the story of Bacalao would not be unknown to them.

al-Umari says it was an exploration fleet and we do know Kings do not always act with the best cost-benefit analysis in mind. But I really do wonder about why they did it, and what people thought of it at the time.

Keeping in mind that the actual size of the fleet might be exaggerated, a much smaller fleet might be something they'd do. Then it isn't a mega-project. The investment in manpower and production is alot less, raising the risk threshold considerably. Then it's just an adventurous king struck by some kind of wanderlust and hearing distant tales about a land across the ocean. There's no record of him on the other side, and no record of him returning, so I think it is also safe to assume the worst.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 02:09

I just will say there is no evidence whatsoever of muslims reaching the Americas, neither from Iberia or Mali.

Just a suggestion? Before talking about contacts to the Americas please study the development of the Americas first.

Thanks
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 06:08
Originally posted by edgewaters

I think alot of these are likely less fantastic  than they seem. The Scandinavians did indeed reach North America, and clearly did not forget the fact (since it is even today preserved in the sagas). Subsequently, Scandinavian presence was felt all over Europe, throughout the Meditteranean and Black Seas, and even into the Middle East, so ... Occam's Razor ... there's no reason to presume these legends do not have some other source but Norse myths which were heard in places they went and passed around by word of mouth, arriving in corrupted forms as legends like the land of Bacalao. The Malinese could have heard of these, through their trade routes.  Certainly, the story of Bacalao would not be unknown to them.

Yes, that is exactly what I had in mind as to the origins of such legends. In addition I wouldn't be surprise if occasionally a fisherman swept out to sea by shear luck surived until he hit the next continent. If that happened less than once every 200 years it would be enough to start stories without any serious historian every recording it. (They like us now probably thought it was bogus fairytales for the imaginative)
Keeping in mind that the actual size of the fleet might be exaggerated, a much smaller fleet might be something they'd do. Then it isn't a mega-project. The investment in manpower and production is alot less, raising the risk threshold considerably. Then it's just an adventurous king struck by some kind of wanderlust and hearing distant tales about a land across the ocean. There's no record of him on the other side, and no record of him returning, so I think it is also safe to assume the worst.

The only thing I am confident about in the numbers of ships is that in the first fleet there were 'lots' of ships, and in the second there were more, perhaps many times more. We don't know anything about the type or size of ship, the abilities of the sailors, their propulsion or anything.

The first fleet by Umari's own account was wrecked except for one that made it back to Mali
"Their absence extended over a long period, and, at last, only one boat returned. On our questioning, the captain said: 'Prince, we have navigated for a long time, until we saw in the midst of the ocean as if a big river was flowing violently. My boat was the last one; others were ahead of me. As soon as any of them reached this place, it drowned in the whirlpool and never came out. I sailed backwards to escape this current.'"
the second fleet was never heard of. It would be logical to assume that it too was wrecked.

The only contact situation that I'd consider plausable would be if the majority of the second fleet was wrecked, and only a handful of survivors made it to the Americas. That group would have completely integrated into the native population, and no evidence would remain. In much the same way that Dutch sailors were wrecked on the coast of western Australia.

Nevertheless there is something to be said about the fact that they tried it. Both in terms of pre-contact legends, and in terms of the wealth and ability of medieval Mali.
Originally posted by pinguin

I just will say there is no evidence whatsoever of muslims reaching the Americas, neither from Iberia or Mali.

Of course there is . Its just all post-colombian
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 09:45
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

Of course there is . Its just all post-colombian


Quite, which is why the discussion was moot to begin with. A more interesting, non-speculative take on Abubakari II's expedition would be to look at what can actually be learned from the sources, rather than what cannot.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 13:22
There's absolutely no reason to suppose that any such expedition would demonstrate that the organisers knew - or even suspected - there was an undiscovered continent "on the other side".
 
Assuming Malian knowledge was roughly on a par with everyone else's at the time, it would have been known the earth was round and it would have been known that by sailing west you could reach the east (i.e. what we still call the Far East). Why would anyone think there was something in between?
 
However, the most likely source for legends that there were lands worth looking for in the Atlantic would simply be the existence of actual islands like the Canaries, the Azores and Cap Verde.
 
And 2,000 ships is ridiculous. That's double the size of the Royal Navy at its peak.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 13:42

There are quite a bit of sources about the theoretical expeditions of muslims across the Atlantic. Most of them started from Muslim Spain since the 8th century AD. Perhaps a good start to take a look at that literature, for seeing it in the RIGHT context is the following:


http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199203/pillars.of.hercules.sea.of.darkness.htm

 

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