Ancient Irish Colony in South Carolina

1521 Spanish Report of Irish Indians in American Southeast

A Spanish report from 1521 claims a colony of Celts, possibly Irish people lived in Pre Colombian South Carolina and Georgia. The report, which slipped between the cracks of history were made to the King of Spain in 1521. It details what is described as a Celtic province on the coast of South Carolina. The story was considered bizarre, even for its time and was largely ignored by contemporary scholars.

The report of Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, a historian, and scholar was based on several weeks of interviews of Spanish Colonists. It was published posthumously in a book titled 'About the New World' or 'De Orbe Novo'. Since its initial release 6 Centuries ago, numerous translations have also been published. The sections concerning the region that would later become Georgia and Carolinas were usually ignored and brushed off as too fantasmagorical. It described the colony of the Duhares.

The people of Duhare were European in appearance as per the Spanish colonists in the area. They had red to reddish brown hair, blue to gray eyes and tanned skin. They were also taller than the Spanish. According to Spanish accounts, the inhabitants of Duhare were Caucasian, but their culture and crafts were more akin to the native Americans with few notable exceptions.

Their King or Chief at the time was named Datha and was described by the Spanish as being a giant. 'Giant' would correspond with tales DeSoto and latter Spaniards gave of the chieftains from Florida tribes as being 'giant' even when compared to his peers who were taller than the Spanish colonists [Note 2]. He also had brightly colored paint or tattoos on his skin that distinguished him from common tribesmen.

The story lingered in the refuse pile of Historical oddities only to surface periodically. In the 1920s the Smithsonian published, 'Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors'. It referenced Martyr's mention of Duhare, which were brushed off as being 'obviously errant'. The editor of the Smithsonian publication believed the Spanish were referring to the Cape Fear Indians or another forgotten group of Suionian Indians.

'In 2006, Native American scholars calling themselves 'People of One Fire ' undertook a research project to obtain more detailed and verifiable knowledge of pre colombian history of North America. They were comprised largely of Creeks, the Cherokee who played a pivotal role in regional pre-Colombian history were not represented.

They aspired to translate Native American words that were originally translated by the Spanish. Most of those words were easily traced by modern versions of native languages Creek, Choctaw and other indigenous languages via native dictionaries. However when they came upon the words from the province of Duhare no translations could be ascertained, and no true correlation to known native languages could be determined.

Researchers then began to look into the similarity of Celtic rock carvings to those found in South Carolina. The language of the duhare as recorded by the Spanish were translated using Gaelic dictionaries.

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The word Duhare, was found to mean 'place of the Clan Hare' Basically side stepping several etymological interpretations Du-hare in Gaelic it is strikingly similar to O'hare and most likely from the same root word. An alternative translation would be 'du’hÉir' meaning 'place of the Irish.'

An ancient Irish lullaby 'Bainne nam fiadh' was discovered among the rock carvings- 'On milk of deer I was reared. On milk of deer I was nurtured. On milk of deer beneath the ridge of storms on crest of hill and mountain.' The lullaby can be traced to Ireland and Scotland.

As per Spanish record, the Duhare herded domesticated deer, other native tribes did not, they also made cheese from the deers milk. Deer were corn fed and slaughtered for meat as well. An additional theory put forth by Thornton that the 'deer' described by the Spaniards may actually have been a type of goat, similar to Chamoisee goats of the Alps. [Note 1.]

The word Datha, the name of the King of Duhare was traced to a Medieval Gaelic word that meant 'painted'. Datha of Duhare was remembered for being tattooed or painted as if to separate himself from the commoners – a tradition among Celts dating back to the picts, the forebears of the Scots. The following is an excerpt for a book 'Chronicles of the Picts, chronicles of the Scots'

Datha relates to color in the Gaelic language and could be translated as painted, but could also mean colored, stained or dyed. The root word would be dath which means to stain or dye.

excerpt from chronicles of the picts

Many Rock Carvings found along the coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina and vicinity bare striking similarities to those found in the British Isles, particularly Ireland.

There is a boulder in County Kerry that has the same carvings as the Reinhardt boulder found in South Carolina and is approximately the same size. County Kerry is in the same basic geographic region of Ireland where the O'hare clan can be traced to.

Most of the information gleaned for this article comes from a 2011 article by Richard Thornton and a Rebuttal by Jason Colavito



Note 1

Note on "dairy Deer; 'During the Neolithic Period and Bronze Age, the aboriginal Irish had domesticated and developed a dairy deer! The Gaelic Irish had continued to drink deer milk and make deer cheese until Norman monks introduced dairy cows in the 1200s AD. One ethnic group in southeastern Ireland was particularly noted for raising dairy deer. They were the Osraighe or “Deer People". Their dairy deer differed little in appearance from the Chamoisee goats of the Alps that were developed in to dairy livestock.

All those scholars through the centuries had dissmissed the description of deer milk and deer cheese without ever asking anyone in the Celtic countries about it. There were at one time dairy deer in Scotland and Wales, too.' Richard Thornton

Note 2

Accounts of Spanish Explorers in Southeastern USA

'the chief, described as a man of monstrous proportions, fled into the woods. De Soto and some of his men pursued and captured the giant and brought him in.'

'Tuscaloosa appeared to be about forty years old. His physical measurements, writes Garcilaso de la Vega, who accompanied De Soto, "were like those of his son, for both were more than a half-yard taller than all the others. He appeared to be a giant,'