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Local History > Madog & America

Did the First European to Discover America come from Dolwyddelan?

Ai o Ddolwyddelan Daeth yr Ewropead Cyntaf i Ddarganfod America?

It is generally believed that Columbus was the first European to discover America back in 1492. But was it really discovered by a Welsh prince from Dolwyddelan in the Lledr valley as early as 1170?

It is said that in 1170 Welsh prince Madog ab Owain Gwynedd sailed from Wales in search of new lands and reached America. He then returned to Wales to tell his fellow countrymen of the great wonders that he had found. Many were intrigued by his stories and returned with him to America.

They are believed to have landed at Mobile Bay, Alabama and then travelled up the Alabama river along which there are several forts said by the local Cherokee Indians to have been constructed by "White People". These structures have been dated to several hundred years before Columbus and are of a similar design to Dolwyddelan Castle. Were they built by Madog and his fellow settlers?

Dolwyddelan Castle
Dolwyddelan Castle - Castell Dolwyddelan

An Indian tribe was discovered in the 18th century that seemed different to all the others that had been encountered before. Called the Mandans this tribe were described as white men with forts, towns and permanent villages laid out in streets and squares. They claimed ancestry with the Welsh and spoke a language remarkably similar to it. Were these people the descendants of Madog's settlers?

Unfortunately the tribe was wiped out by a smallpox epidemic introduced by traders in 1837, but they can lay claim to being the only Indian tribe never to have been at war with the United States. A memorial tablet has been erected at Port Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama which reads:

"In memory of Prince Madog, a Welsh explorer, who landed on the shores of Mobile Bay in 1170 and left behind, with the Indians, the Welsh language."

Credir yn gyffredinol mai Columbus oedd yr Ewropead cyntaf i ddarganfod America yn ôl yn 1492. Ond ai gan dywysog Cymraeg o Ddolwyddelan yn Nyffryn Lledr cafodd ei ddarganfod mewn gwirionedd, mor gynnar a 1170?

Yn ôl y sôn, fe hwyliodd y tywysog Cymraeg Madog ab Owain Gwynedd o Gymru yn 1170 i chwilio am diroedd newydd, ac fe gyrrhaeddodd America. Wedyn dychwelodd i Gymru i ddweud wrth ei gydwladwyr am y rhyfeddodau bendigedig a ffeindiodd yno. Roedd llawer wedi eu gwirioni hefo'i storïau, a dychwelon hefo fo i America.


The Welsh FlagThe American Flag


Credir eu bod wedi glanio yn Mobile Bay, Alabama ac wedyn wedi teithio i fyny'r afon Alabama, lle'r gwelir nifer o amddiffynfeydd a ddywedir gan yr Indiaid Cherokee lleol i gael eu hadeiladu gan "Bobl Gwyn". Mae'r adeiladau hyn wedi eu hamseru rhai canrifoedd yn gynt na Columbus ac mae eu cynllun yn debyd iawn i Gastell Dolwyddelan. Ai gan Madog a'i gydwladychwyr adeiladwyd hwy?

Yn y 18fed ganrif darganfu llwyth Indiaidd a oedd yn wahanol i'r holl rai eraill a'u cyfarfu o'r blaen. Y Mandans oedd eu henw, a disgrifiwyd hwy fel pobl gwyn hefo amddiffynfeydd, trefi a phentrefi sefydlog wedi eu gosod allan mewn strydoedd a meysydd. Roeddynt yn hawlio tylwyth â'r Cymry ac yn siarad iaith debyg iawn i'r Gymraeg. Hiliogaeth gwladychwyr Madog oedd y rhain tybed?

Yn anffodus, cafodd y llwyth ei ddinistrio gan bla o'r frech wen a ddwynwyd i mewn gan y masnachwyr yn 1837, ond maent yn gallu hawlio mai nhw oedd yr unig lwyth Indiaidd doedd erioed wedi bod yn rhyfela yn erbyn yr Unol Daleithiau. Mae yna garreg goffa wedi ei chodi yn Port Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama, sydd yn dweud:

"Er cof am y Tywysog Madog, fforiwr Cymraeg, a laniodd ar lannau Mobile Bay yn 1170, a gadawodd ar ôl, gyda'r Indiaid, yr iaith Gymraeg"



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