Protohistoric, prehistoric and ancient Negritic Africans were masters of the lands as well as the oceans. They were the first shipbuilders on earth and had to have used watercraft to cross from South East Asia to Australia about 60,000 years ago and from the West Africa/Sahara inland seas region to the Americas. The fact of the northern portion of Africa now known as a vast desert wasteland being a place of large lakes, rivers and fertile regions with the most ancient of civilizations is a fact that has been verified, (see African Presence in Early America, edt. Ivan Van Sertima and Runoko Rashidi, Transaction Publishers, New Bruinswick, NJ “The Principle of Polarity,” by Wayne Chandler: 1994.)
From that region of Africa as well as East Africa, diffusions of Blacks towards the Americas as early as 30,000 B.C. are believed to have occurred based on findings in a region from Mexico to Brazil which show that American indians in the region include Negritic types (eg. Olmecs, Afro-Darienite, Black Californians, Chuarras, Garifunas and others). Much earlier journeys occurred by land sometime before 75,000 B.C. according to the Gladwin Thesis written by C.S. Gladwin. This migration occurred on the Pacific side of the Americas and was began by Africans with Affinities similar to the people of New Guinea, Tasmania, Solomon Islands and Australia. The earliest migrations of African Blacks through Asia then to the Americas seemed to have occurred exactly during the period that the Australian Aborigines and the proto-African ancestors of the Aborigines, Oceanic Negroids (Fijians, Solomon Islanders, Papua-New Guineans,and so on) and other Blacks spread throughout East Asia and the Pacific Islands about one hundred thousand years ago. The fact that these same Blacks are still among the world’s seafaring cultures and still regard the sea as sacred and as a place of sustinence is evidence of their ancient dependance on the sea for travel and exploration as well as for commerce and trade. Therefore, they would have had to build sea-worthy ships and boats to take them across the vast expanses of ocean, including the Atlantic, Indian Ocean (both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans were called the Ethiopean Sea, in the Middle Ages) and the Pacific Ocean.
During the historic period close to the early bronze or copper using period of world history (6000 B.C. to 4000 B.C. migrations of Africans from the Mende regions of West Africa and the Sahara across the Atlantic to the Americas may have occurred. In fact, the Mende agricultural culture was well established in West Africa and the Sahara during that period. Boats still criss-crossed the Sahara, as they had been doing for over ten thousand years previously. The ancient peoples of the Sahara, as rock paintings clearly show, were using boats and may have sailed from West Africa and the Sahara to the Americas, including the Washitaw territories of the Midwestern and Southern U.S. Moreover, it is believed by the aboriginal Black people of the former Washitaw Empire who still live in the Southern U.S., that about 6000 B.C., there was a great population shift from the region of Africa and the Pacific ocean, which led to the migrations of their ancestors to the Americas to join the Blacks who had been there previously.
As for the use of ships, ancient Negritic peoples and the original Negroid peoples of the earth may have began using boats very early in human history. Moreover, whatever boats were used did not have to be sophisticated or of huge size. In fact, the small, seaworthy “outrigger” canoe may have been spread from East Africa to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific by the earliest African migrants to Asia and the Pacific regions. Boats of papyrus, skin, sewed plank, log and hollowed logs were used by ancient Africans on their trips to various parts of the world.