We all know the history: In 1492, Christopher Columbus became the first explorer to arrive in the Americas, right? Wrong. Here are five explorers who saw the Americas with their own eyes long before Columbus, but turned back and went home because of a dog barking along the shore.
One of the most overlooked explorers in history, Leif Erikson led the Vikings on numerous sea voyages in search of the unknown. In 1000 A.D., he and his crew landed in the Americas, only to find a huge dog barking right thereon the shore. Erikson and his crew spent hours kind of sailing up and down the shoreline looking for an open place to dock, but the dog just trotted alongside them, barking at them the entire time. It was big as hell and didn’t have a collar on or anything, so eventually Leif Erikson and his crew had no choice but to turn around and go back to Iceland.
Zheng He’s legacy as an explorer lives on as one of the most daring and relentless in history. His most successful voyage came in the 13th century when he sailed right up to the shores of today’s San Diego, where an absolute goliath of a greyhound, or maybe a Doberman, was barking like a maniac onshore. Zheng had his crew collect up as much salt pork as they could find on the ship and toss it to the dog as an olive branch, but the dog just wolfed it down crazy-fast then started barking even louder. Finally, Zheng decided to just leave the Americas alone.
Henry Sinclair, one of Scotland’s highest-ranking political figures in the late 12th century in his role as Admiral of the Seas, departed for the New World in 1394. In 1399, he and his crew finally laid eyes on the Americas, along with a big-ass rottweiler totally losing its mind on the beach. Sinclair sent a few sailors in a smaller boat to try to calm the dog down, but the dog was going completely apeshit the closer they got, so they decided to just bail on the whole thing.
From about a mile off of the coast of Virginia during his early 12th-century voyage, African explorer Abu Bakr’s lookout shouted from the crow’s nest that there was a dog on the beach and that he had “gotten bit pretty bad by a dog once.” The captain immediately turned the fleet around and went home.
When Prince Madoc set out to discover the new continent in 1171, he had no way of knowing that he’d be lucky enough to find it, and unlucky enough to find a barking dog right where he was trying to dock. According to Madoc’s private records, the dog on shore “had to be a Siberian husky or, like, a German shepherd, and looked ready to take someone’s face off.” Madoc circled around the area a few times to see if the dog would think they were leaving for good, but every time he came back, the dog would hop up from lying on its back and start barking again. After yelling “Sit!” a few times at the dog, Madoc gave up and returned to Wales, opening the door for Christopher Columbus to settle the Americas hundreds of years later and get all the credit.