One theory gives the honor of first settling America to the adventurous Phoenicians. The sailors of Carthage are also supposed by some writers to have first reached the New World; but, as the exploits of colony and mother-country are spoken of by most writers in the same breath, it will be the simplest plan to combine the two theories here. They are based on the fame of these people as colonizing navigators more than upon any actual resemblance that have been found to exist between them and the Americans. It is argued that their ships sailed beyond the Pillars of Hercules to the Canary Islands, and that such adventurous explorers having reached that point would be sure to seek farther. The records of their voyages and certain passages in the works of several of the writers of antiquity are supposed to show that the ancients knew of a land lying in the far west.
It is said the Phoenicians discovered a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, several days' journey from the coast of Africa. This island abounded in all manner of riches. The soil was exceedingly fertile; the scenery was diversified by rivers, mountains, and forests. It was the custom of the inhabitants to retire during the summer to magnificent country-houses, which stood in the midst of beautiful gardens. Fish and game were found in great abundance. The climate was delicious, and the trees bore fruit at all seasons of the year. The Phoenicians discovered this fortunate island by accident, being driven upon its coast by contrary winds. On their return they gave glowing accounts of its beauty and fertility, and the Tyrians, who were also noted sailors, desired to colonize it.