Report and translation by Lina Younis
NNA - Despite all what has been published and written in standard books and what we have learned in geography and history that the Italian Explorer Christopher Columbus has discovered America in 1492 AD, the British Retired Sailor and Scholar Captain Phillip Beale challenged such a longstanding historical fact by shedding light on the possibility that our ancestors the Phoenicians have crossed the Atlantic Ocean with their sailing boats and discovered a fourth continent - America.
Is this possible?!
The National News Agency (NNA) met the British Adventurer Captain Philip Beale at the sidelines of his presentation on Friday at "Adnan Kassar Business" Auditorium at the Lebanese American University (LAU) to dwell on his forthcoming expedition across the Atlantic, to further prove such a standpoint, attended by the representative of the Ministers of Information, Culture and Tourism, as well as the representative of the President of the Lebanese - American University George Jabra, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Design Elie Haddad, in addition to the President of the International Association to Save Tyre, UNESCO Ambassador of Goodwill Maha Khalil Shalabi.
In her delivered word, Head of the International Association Shalabi announced the launch of the special project entitled: "Expedition Crossing the Atlantic with Captain Philip Beale", out of the Association's objectives to encourage and endorse all archeological research focusing on the Phoenician culture and heritage.
In reply to a question about the purpose of his visit to Lebanon, Captain Beale told NNA: " I'm currently visiting Lebanon to sign the partnership agreement with the 'International Association to Save Tyre' to work together to promote Phoenician culture and we're using the Project to raise awareness about the Phoenician heritage, culture and studies."
"The second purpose of my visit is to promote the expenditure and seek sponsorship for the Voyage and cover the expenses for more research on Phoenician culture," the former British navy adventurer added.
Captain Beale highlighted during the presentation his upcoming Voyage across the Atlantic in September and spoke about the already available information on such a standpoint and the steps carried out until now. The retired captain explained in pictures and video his recent expedition circumnavigating across Africa in 2008, where he set sail in an ancient Phoenician sailing boat named "Phoenicia."
In 2005, Beary crafted a replica of the ancient Phoenician sailing boat "Phoenicia" with a length of 20 meters in the island of Arwad, using the same kinds of wood and design used by the ancient Phoenicians in the boats' craft industry.
Beale also spoke about a similar expedition which he shall set off in September 2017, and will last from one month to three months, from Gibraltar towards the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the "Phoenicia" sailing boat, with 12 people from his professional team, in addition to researcher Remi Kahwaji from Lebanon,
In reply to a question about his forthcoming expedition, Beary elaborated to NNA that his Voyage aims to prove that the Phoenician sailing boats were capable of crossing the Atlantic ocean and thus reach the New World, and second to collect further scientific evidence and proof of the hypothesis he is currently working on.
"I will write a book on what we have experienced in our Voyage," he told NNA.
According to Beale, the success of the Voyage to cross the Atlantic Ocean could prove that the Phoenicians had the capability to reach America, but it doesn't prove that they did.
"You need to collect more scientific evidence," he stressed.
For her part, Shalabi touched on the advantages which will impact Lebanon if such an assumption has been proven, notably the significant moral benefit placing the Country's name on the global forefront and the focus of foreign and local media.
"This achievement will open the way for archeologists and concerned researchers to conduct extensive and documented studies on the Phoenician civilization," Shalabi said.
With such a hypothesis pending further verification, can we say another achievement could be added to the extensive list of our ancestors, the greatest sailors of ancient times, the Phoenicians, starting from the discovery of the alphabet, the purple dye and blown glass, down to the connection of the three continents of the Mediterranean Basin to the sheer-drop cliffs of southwest England?!.
Pending such verification and further scientific proof on such a hypothesis, can such a thing be indeed conceivable and probable?.>