Early Croatian Contacts with America and the Mystery of the Croatans: Were Some Croats Present at the Discovery of America?

Record Number: 
553
Citation: 

Prpic, George J.  “Early Croatian Contacts with America and the Mystery of the Croatans: Were Some Croats Present at the Discovery of America?”  Journal of Croatian Studies 1 (1960): 6-24.

Annotation: 

From Prpic’s dissertation.  Provides historical background on Dubrovnik’s seafaring prowess and gives evidence that Croatian sailors may have been part of Columbus’ crew at the discovery of America.  Relates a Dalmatian legend that a fleet containing refugees fleeing the Turks left Dubrovnik around 1540 and wrecked off the coast of N.C.  Also notes the claim by several Croatian historians that a Croat ship headed for the Indies wrecked off the coast of North Carolina around 1558.  Discusses reports in Hakluyt’s Voyages that Amadas and Barlow, in 1584, found among the friendly Indians in the area of Roanoke Island “children that had very fine auburn and chestnut hair” (p. 16).  Hawks proves that the Indians called themselves Hatteras, not Croatan.  Thus the name Croatan, and the traces of the White race among the Croatan (Hatteras) Indians before the arrival of the first permanent English settlers, might have come from mixture of the Indians with Croatian sailors from wrecked Dubrovnikian ships.  Prpic notes that after the Klan routing, “Croatian papers in America and in Croatia joined the American press in the discussion of the old and still unsolved question on the origin of the first Croatans” (p. 24).

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