Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The White Indians of Panama

I came across a scanned page from a book titled Blond Indians of the Darien Jungle on a blog today.

The blogger didn't know if it was legit or an elaborate hoax though, so I decided to look up more about it.  I came across this blog posting that had more information, apparently using the book mentioned above as the primary source.  Here is an excerpt from it:

When Mr. Marsh began his search he did in fact use two army planes in the process, unfortunately they had only one flight. Upon their return the new Army General in the Canal Zone refused further usage of his planes for such a worthless and dangerous venture.
Up until this time Mr. Marsh was a pure skeptic, he had heard the rumors of White Indians, of course but gave them the same validity as the rumors of a Man-Ape beast in the jungle as well. Eventually he charters a boat and his team travels up the inner river to the town of Yavisa, which consisted of only 50 ramshackle bamboo huts. While he was talking to the head man of Yavisa Mr. Marsh had his paradigm change before his eyes. "Across the narrow clearing were walking three young girls, perhaps fourteen to sixteen years old. They wore nothing but small loin-clothes. And their almost bare bodies were as White as any Scandinavian's. Their hair, falling loosely over their shoulders, was bright gold! Quickly and gracefully they crossed the open space and disappeared into the jungle. I turned to the negro headman in amazement. White Indians! The one tale of Latin America in which no respectable explorer dare to believe! The headman did not seem to to consider the sight unusual. "They come from a tribe which lives in the mountains up the Chucunaque," he said in explanation. "Before this they haven't come so far down the valley. But a little time ago they built a house above our village, and families of them come down to trade with us. Some are white, Some are dark like other Indians."
"Take me to their house," I asked. The negro shook his head with great decision. "No. They would kill me," he said. "They will kill any black man if he goes near their house. But perhaps they will not kill you. You are white. Just follow the trail the girls took."
The blog posting goes on to describe the rest of Mr. Marsh's exploration and subsequent return with scientists and notes that the book indicates that black and white explorers in the area had treated the natives poorly in the past, thus the poor history between them.  Click here if you want to read more.  It also goes into some interesting stuff about hidden modern Mayan cities.

I don't think it is an elaborate hoax.  The Smithsonian has pictures of the Marsh-Darien Expedition here, so it obviously really happened.

I think the bigger question here is are the "white indians" white because of a genetic mutation or because they have European ancestry?  Interestingly, the linguists researching their language indicated the language of the "white indians" was Sanscrit or Aryan in structure, and they discovered over 60 words that were identical with early Norse.  With that information in mind, it would seem there is a strong possibility that there was a Norse presence in Pre-Columbian Panama.  I guess the next questions to ask would be how did they get there and why did they go?  Those questions are harder to answer though.

This isn't the first I've heard of blond haired natives though.  I actually wrote a short post about a video mentioning blond haired people living on different continents around the world back in 2009.


  1. Whar you are describing is a relatively common occurrence among the Guna (kuna) ethnic group. Those are albino indians, their characteristics a genetic disorder caused by close family inbreeding. It happens to one in about 500 indians.

  2. Initially I thought they might be albinos or some sort of genetic mutation, but the linked posting mentions that they found the "white indians" did not have other traits of albinos. And the similarity of their language to old Norse raises the possibility that they have Norse ancestry.

  3. Not related to European DNA Norse or otherwise (Jewish people are not a race).