An Egyptian scholar, Ibn Fadl Al-Umari, published Masalik ab Absar fi Mamalik al Amsar in Cairo around 1342. In the tenth chapter of this work, there is an account of two large maritime voyages ordered by the predecessor of Mansa Musa, a king who inherited the Malian throne in 1312. This mariner king is not named by Al-Umari, but modern writers identify him as Mansa Abubakari II. According to Al-Umari, this king launched two hundred ships filled with men and a further two hundred ships amply stocked with food, gold and water to last for two years. The ruler sent them with a mission to explore the extremity of the Atlantic Ocean. In time, one ship returned. Its captain told the Malian king of his adventures. "Prince," he said, "we sailed for a long time, up to the moment when we encountered in mid-ocean something like a river with a violent current. My ship was last. The others sailed on, and gradually each of them entered this place, they disappeared and did not come back. We did not know what had happened to them. As for me, I returned to where I was and did not enter the current." The Mansa decided to see for himself. He had two thousand ships prepared, one thousand of which were equipped with provisions. They set sail across the Atlantic with a large party and never returned. Abubakari II left Mansa Musa I in charge of leading the empire.
This account implies that Malians visited the Americas in 1311. This was 181 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" the continent. It is, of course, well known that Columbus himself was fully aware of this important fact. Columbus, to give just one example, reported that he acquired metal goods of West African manufacture from the Native Americans. Other evidence of this African voyage comes from an analysis of maps. Old maps of the Mexico region, drawn by Europeans, show that the Malians renamed places in the region after themselves. Names such as Mandinga Port, Mandinga Bay and Sierre de Mali exist as place names. Moreover, two skeletons of Negro males have been recovered from a grave in Hull Bay near the Danish Virgin Islands. Dated at 1250 AD, this is only 61 years away from the period of the proposed Malian visit. In addition, an old inscription was discovered at the bottom of a waterfall in the Reef Bay Valley, not too far from the African skeletons. This inscription was written in an old African script called Tifinagh. Originally of ancient Libyan origin, a Berber group in Mali used this script at that time. The inscription translates as follows: "Plunge in to cleanse yourself. This is water for purification before prayer." Finally, the scholarly art historian, Count Alexander von Wuthenau, a scholarly art historian, directed attention to fourteenth century carvings that were found in the Americas. These sculptures show men and women, clearly African, wearing turbans. Many have tattoo marks cut into their cheeks. This art may well depict people from Mali.
Link: Abubakari II--the Great African Explorer