while it is very, very, likely that the Norse visited North America long before Columbus arrived - the real issue is that as a result of Columbus's visits, European powers began taking great interest in the 'new world.' This was unfortunate for the pre-Colombian peoples of the western hemisphere.
You are quite right of course. I think one of those big alternate time travel things I would do if I could, would be to go back in time, convince the natives I'm a war spirit here to help them, and make sure I take a bunch of M16s and RPGs with me. I hate what happened to the Native Americans and consider it to be just as bad as the atrocities of WWII and any other blighted parts of our history that has led to genocide.
Again though I have to point out the Vikings, or Norse, or whatever you'd like to call them, did in fact make it to the "North American Continent" (happy Jafo?
) before Columbus. It's not disputed in main stream archeology anymore at all. There are other sources aside from that wiki there if you'd like to dig further but it is indeed proven, I promise you.
It's not your fault for not knowing so don't feel bad. A whole lot of people still don't know because it's not a largely publicized part of science news in the main stream media. It barely made media coverage outside of local communities or in some specific main stream archeology sites or school sites. Of course it made Major News in the Scandinavian community when it was learned even in their main stream media, but in comparison did you see it on American TV media when the people of Iceland threw all their head bankers in jail and successfully rebooted their economy on their own? Nope, not a peep on our TV news about it.
It's not a "hidden fact" or a conspiracy or anything, but really unless you're really into archeology or were a student or a professor or had a job in the field or science you wouldn't know for sure and have to go find the answer on your own.
This is because for years and years there was always talk of, speculation of, and even conspiracies and stories of it long before archeology ever really did a modern investigation into it or anything for proof that it was actually true. Since then there have been a lot of finds of small artifacts and other evidence they were here found by colleges in Canada and here in the US.
However....there Are Still a bunch of flat out "conspiracies" that put out straight misinformation on TV while still trying to pass off some small factoids to retain a tiny bit of legitimacy "America Unearthed" on the History Channel for instance. Also none of the standard school books have been updated to reflect the newest findings either that I'm aware of but I believe some college books have. I think there have even been small, but unsuccessful attempts, of people and small organizations to have movements to have the books updated.
Columbus Day is such a big holiday now though that when coupled with what our children are taught in Elementary school "In 1942, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and the cost of mandating a book change across the nation it's seen as a "non-issue" as long as the information is out there, even if it's not widely publicized. Now if main stream archeology ever finds a vast "Viking" horde of gold here in the US, that might be big enough to do something, but honestly I don't think there are any to be found. Their few one or two tries both ended in either death by sickness or death by not getting along with the Natives, or both.
In 1995 the first exoplanet was discovered. Twenty years later more than a thousand have been found. By that logic Columbus should have discoverd a lot more. What's up with that?
He was histories biggest slacker..lol.
Edit: tried to give you both karma but it's not working atm? Not sure if forums or my iffy web browser.