Sonntag, 15. März 2015

The Vikings at the Azores

The Vikings visited the Azores Islands, they left their house mouses there which are a proof of that

They are located in the middle of the Atlantic - the Azores Islands. 1369 kilometers away from Europe, 2342 kilometers away from Newfoundland in Canada. They are small, stormy islands with subtropical climate.

According to a new study (1) they were visited and settled by Vikings from Norway. Genetic studies found house mouses with ancestry from Norway at two islands (1). For the island Madeira (not part of the Azores) genetic studies on house mouses some years ago had confirmed that they were visited by Vikings from Denmark.

200 years ago at the Azores there were detected coins from Carthage of the 4th century b.c..

2006 a genetic study in humans found hints at the Azores of viking ancestry. The islanders have the highest rate of homozygotes for a northern european gene that is a protection against HIV-1. These genetic footprints can be found downwards to the isle São Tomé and Príncipe at the western coast of Africa (Human Biology 2006)!

Some quotes from the new study (1):

“Among the islands of the Azorean archipelago, Santa Maria and Terceira produced the most unexpected results. (…) The mice on Santa Maria are predominantly clade F, which unlike the other highly represented clades in the Azores (clades B, C and D) has not been found in either Portugal or southern Spain, nor in the neighbouring archipelagos of Madeira and the Canaries. Clade F has a geographical range that matches well with the realm of influence of the Norwegian Vikings (coastal Norway, northern and western Scotland, Ireland, Iceland: Jones et al., 2012). Norwegian Vikings were certainly transporting mice of this clade (based on sequencing of Viking Age mouse specimens from Iceland and Greenland: Jones et al., 2012), and were excellent mariners, and crossed enormous water gaps, so it is not inconceivable that they visited the Azores, leaving mice as evidence of that event, as suggested for Danish Vikings and Madeira (Gündüz et al., 2001; Förster et al., 2009). (…)

The first written document with a reference to the peopling of the Azores dates back to 1439, according to which the Portuguese crown ordered “sheep to be released in the seven Azorean islands in preparation for human settlement” (Crosby, 2004).”

The norwegian housemouse were found at the eastern Azores islands Terceira und Santa Maria. And (1):

“Interestingly, based on medieval maps and Scandinavian texts, Kelley (1979) has already speculated that Norwegian Vikings may have found their way to the Azores.”
See: (2). Is this a new argument for the discussions around the Vinland map?
1. Gabriel SI1, Mathias ML, Searle JB: Of mice and the “Age of Discovery” - The complex history of colonization of the Azorean archipelago by the house mouse (Mus musculus) as revealed by mitochondrial DNA variation. J Evol Biol. 2014 Nov 14. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12550
2. Kelley Jr, J.E. 1979. Non-Mediterranean influences that shaped the Atlantic in the early Portolan charts. Imago Mundi, 31: 18–35

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