Were There Welshmen on the Shores of Mobile Bay 300 Years Before Columbus "Discovered" America?
We find this an intriguing bit of local lore -- and thought you might find it interesting, too.
Ancient Welsh texts tell of Prince Madoc, an illegitimate but much beloved son of an 11th Century King of Wales. According to the historical accounts, Madoc lost a quarrel with his brothers upon the death of his father over his inheritance.
Having nothing to loose, Madoc, according to legend, gathered up a group of fellow adventurers and set sail west from Wales on a venture of discovery. With favorable winds and currents - and a lot of luck - Madoc's group landed on the shores of Mobile Bay in the year 1170.
Leaving most of his party in the new world, Madoc returned to Wales to recruit more colonists for another trip. With amazing stories of this newly discovered land, Madoc had no trouble gathering a large group and outfitting three ships for the return voyage. After sailing from Wales, the group was never heard from again, presumably lost at sea.
Meanwhile, the group that Madoc left in Mobile gradually migrated - or was driven by hostile Indians - up the major river systems of the country. Some historians maintain that the colonists evolved over the next several hundred years into the Mandan Indian Tribe of Missouri, an atypical tribe of "Indians" who used vestigages of the Welsh language and with some members of the tribe having light skin, red hair and blue eyes. In the tribe's sacred ceremonies as witnessed by the Indian painter, George Catlin in the early 1800s, the members of the tribe worshipped a god they referred to as "Madoc."
Other tantalizing clues in America lending credence to this legend are early Welch artifacts found in the Mobile area, a series of ancient fortifications of unknown origin but of peculiar Welsh design along the group's supposed path of migration northward, and the accounts of early explorers of the American interior encountering "White Indians" speaking the Welsh language.
Those interested in further information about this fascinating legend can Google "Prince Madoc" to find many books and articles.