First part on the "Phoenician" inscriptions found in Brazil.
See Index on all my posts on Phoenicians in America.
In the southern part of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, right beside the beach, there is a steep mountain that rises 842 m (2,760 ft.) above sea level. It has a sheer rock face and is known as Pedra de Gávea (“topsail” rock, in Portuguese).
Besides being a beautiful sight, with rugged face and its base covered with lush tropical vegetation, it is also intriguing, because it has some strange marks on its face that have been said to be man-made inscriptions.
This is just one of the many alleged pre-Hispanic inscriptions found in Brazil. Today’s post will review them with a critical eye.
In 1839, Januário da Cunha Barbosa and Araújo Porto-Alegre published a paper in the Intituto Histórico e Gegráfico Brasileiro (IHGB) journal on the possible existence of ancient inscriptions on the Pedra da Gavea.
In their article (Relatório sobre a Inscricao da Gávea”, RIHGB (1): 77-81), they concluded that after an “in loco” inspection that their were not sure if these inscriptions were real or not, and suggested that the Institute should undertake a deeper investigation.
Neary one century later, in 1920 the matter was taken up again by a "scholar", actually a retired industrial magnate (who of humble origins, and became an orphan at a young age, later made his fortune as a natural rubber tapper) named Bernardo Azevedo Silva Ramos (1858-1931).
Silva Ramos was a self educated archaeologist and historian, president of the Instituto Geografico de Manaos. Living in Manaos, in the Amazon, he compiled several hundreds of “Phoenician inscriptions” from that region, which 
He published, with government support a book on the native inscriptions in Amreica: “ Inscricoes e Tradicoes da America Prehistorica — Especialmente do Brasil”, in two volumes ( R. de Janeiro, 1930-39), in which he dealt with Gavea's inscriptions. Below is an image of these inscriptions and their translation according to Silva Ramos:
Ramos interpreted the inscriptions (which, by the way, the Brazilian government and most scholars consider the work of erosion and natural weathering of the mountain's rock face) as follows:
LAABHTEJ - RAB - RIZDAB - NAISINEOF - RUZT
And, considering that the Phoenicians wrote from right to left (like modern Hebrew, the opposite to the way Western languages are written), he inverted the phrase:
TZUR - FOENISIAN - BADZIR – RAB - JETHBAAL
Which, he translated as:
Tyro Phoenicia, Firstborn Jethbaal”.
A cryptic phrase which has a historical backing: Badezir ruled Phoenicia from 855 to 850 BC, and he was the son of Jehtbaal, who ruled from 887 to 856 BC.
This would be so neat and nice if, (there is always an if!) it had said “Canaan” instead of “Phoenicia”, because, “Phoenicians” is a name given to them by the Greeks, and as Western science derives from Greece, we use their words as our own. But, real Phoenicians didn’t call themselves that way. They used the name “Canaan”.
This may hint at (if the "letters" were not formed by natural weathering) a "forced" interpretation of symbols.
You may expect that Badezir was some name made up by Silva Ramos, and therefore lacking evidence to back it up. However, the name is true and it exists, in a list of the “Kings that had reigned at Tyre” published by Romano-Jewish historian Josephus (37 – c.100 AD), and he in turn cites a Phoenician author of the second century BC, Menander of Ephesus:
...Pheles who took the kingdom and reigned but eight months though he lived fifty years he was slain by Ithobalus the priest of Astarte who reigned thirty two ye ars and lived sixty eight years he was succeeded by his son Badezorus who lived forty five years and reigned six years he was succeeded by Matgenus his son...
Where Ithobalus is Jethbaal and Badezorus is Badezir (by the way, I have seen in the Internet an outlandish comment suggesting that the name Brazil comes from Badezorus!).
By the way, the biblical Jezebel is the daughter of Jethbaal (she married the King of Israel Ahab, and led him astray from Jehova inducing him to tolerate the cult of Baal - 1 kings 16:31).
As I said above, the marks according to most "reliable" sources are natural. And I tend to believe the same thing. Why would the Phoenicians climb up a sheer rock face to carve a strange phrase there?.
Then we have the use of the word "Phoenician" instead of "Canaan". It is as if an American expedition after reaching the Moon would have left a plaque there and signed it "Gringos" instead of "Americans".
The historical / biblical part of the translation is coherent, and neat (too neat in fact), which makes me wonder if the symbols were interpreted with the intention of finding what was in fact found: the name of Jethbaal, father of Jezebel and Badezir (aka "Brazil").
It is wishful thinking. Not the work of Phoenicians.
Next post will deal with some other inscriptions and, the famous Paraíba (or Parahyba) inscription.
 Manoel Luiz Lima Salgado Guimarães, Carlos Fico, (2006). Estudos sobre a escrita da história: anais do Encontro de Historiografia e História Política : 10 e 11 de outubro de 2005. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Programa de Pós-Graduação em História Social. 7 Letras , pp 103
 Stone inscriptions and escutcheons. American Anthropologist vol. 22. pp. 388+
 Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, (1810). The genuine works of Flavius Josephus: containing five books of the Antiquities of the Jews : to which are prefixed three dissertations, Volume 6. Printed for Evert Duyckinck, John Tiebout, and M. & W. Ward pp. 216
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall ©