A Greek historian, Diodorus, reported in 100 BC that the Carthaginians knew of a large island far out
in the Atlantic which had many mountains and large navigable rivers. This island was a great source of
wealth to them but they kept its location secret. The Phoenicians had discovered it by accident when
a ship sailing down the coast of Africa was blown off course by a storm.
In recent times, a geologistand paleontologist who has studied archeology and anthroology by the name of Mark McMenamin claims to have discovered a map of the world on coins made in Carthage in the period 350 - 320 BC. At the bottom of the coin are some unexplained blobs, which McMenamin says show the Mediterranean, with Africa below, Asia to the right and Europe on top Great Britain and Ireland can be seen to the north of Europe. To the left is another continent, which could only be America.
There is some speculation that the Phoenicians may even have colonized the Americas. That the Phoenicians were familiar with Africa now seems to be accepted fact. According to Greek historian Herodotus, in 600 BC, Pharaoh Necho hired a Phoenician fleet to circumnavigate Africa, from the Red Sea around the Cape of Good Hope and up the West African coast to the Mediterranean. The mission took three years. The travelers stopped each autumn to plant crops, which would be harvested before the fleet again set sail. "The new trend is to believe that the African story is true, although there is no direct evidence except in Herodotus," said Sader. "But after discussing the points, all of the information makes sense." This includes a geographically accurate reference to the voyagers watching the southern sunrise on their right as they sailed west around the tip of Africa, a sight Northern Hemisphere sailors never saw.
Given the proximity of the West African and South American coasts and the prevailing ocean currents, which flow in a westerly direction, Diodorus' claim is not impossible.
Carthage funded many expeditions on the sea, and Punic ships (Pun was the other name of the city) reached in the V century BC the British islands. They describe the Albion Island, rich in tin and lead.
More documented is the journey of Hanno the Navigator, around 425 BC. His expedition was made of 60 ships and he navigated along the western coast of Africa till the Gulf of Guinea, describing hippopotamuses, crocodiles and gorillas, which they thought they were primitive people.
They reached even the Azores Islands (Madeira and Canary were already known to the Phoenicians).