If you are the type of person who cannot consider theories that conflict with established mainstream theories, you might find it hard to consider the theory this post suggests. I can only ask that you try to not be offended and to keep an open mind. If you disagree and you have an intelligent reason and a credible source you can share, please, feel free to join the debate. Also, please try to keep the comments respectful. There is no need to be hostile or offensive. This post is going to be a little lengthy and I am going to continually update it as the theory changes and more information is obtained, so it may in time become longer. If you can’t take the time to read all of it then there is no need for you to take the time to post a comment. You can find all of my source documentation at the end of the post.
New World Explorers (1496-1580)
In 1496 the Spanish settled a colony in Santo Domingo where the settlers mined for gold. The local Arawak-Lucayan natives, described as being tall, brown, statuesque people, with long, straight, black hair, were enslaved to work the mines and died of disease and overwork. Pedro de Salazar decided to search surrounding lands for more natives to enslave. Salazar's 1514-1516 voyage landed him between the coast of Georgia and Cape Fear where he found a tribe of "tall Indians". Keep in mind, the Arawaks were already described as tall - these Georgia/Cape Fear natives were being described as taller than the Arawak-Lucayans, though I have yet to come across an actual recorded height for these people. This place was called "the Land of Giants". Salazar was only able to bring back a few of these giant natives to use as slaves but no more than that partly because the Spanish government outlawed raids in these areas. Some people may be (logically) skeptical about a race of giant natives in Georgia in 1515. The notion seems a bit far-fetched, but I ask you to keep in mind that the average European height at the time was probably somewhere around 5.5 feet. That means that if these natives were 7 feet or maybe even 6.5 feet tall, they would still appear to be giants.
Amerigo Vespucci lands on the "Island of Giants". Engraving from c.1592 by Theodor de Bry (Flemish, 1528-1598).
Amerigo Vespucci, around 1499, landed on a South American Island, probably the island of Curacao. He and his men set out looking for fresh water came upon some huts. Inside these huts were giant women who Vespucci decided to kidnap. Then 36 or more giant men showed up so he changed his mind and made for his ship. Vespucci called this place the Island of the Giants.
Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon was a Spanish explorer and one of the first to explore a small region of North America in hopes of establishing a Spanish settlement. In 1526 he landed in what is now South Carolina. Ayllon visited and recorded the customs of many native tribes in the area. One of these was a country called Duhare where the natives were white men. Their hair was brown and hung to their heels. They were governed by a king of gigantic size called Datha whose wife was as large as he was. There were other tribes in the area. Another country close to Duhare was called Xapida. In all of these areas the natives had herds of deer just as we have herds of cattle. They would milk the does and make cheese. All of their kings are of gigantic size. They had herbal doctors and all the natives seemed to be healthy and lived long lives. There is a ritual that they performed when a king would die that seemed to involve fireworks. When they were asked how all of the kings were of such a gigantic size they were given two answers. One: herbs were used to soften the bones of infants and their bones were physically stretched. Two: herbs were given to the future kings during puberty that caused them to grow so tall. I ask you to continue to keep in mind that when these Europeans speak of “giants” they are most likely referring to simply tall people; people who are around 6.5 to 7 feet high. It’s very interesting that only the kings of these tribes were so tall, however, the way in which the kings became so tall is debatable. It is certainly possible that some type of herb was given to them early on in their lives to promote excelled growth, since both explanations involve herbs. One thing we can be confident in is that the kings were chosen at an early age, possibly even infancy. So, how else could they have known these people would grow so tall when observing them at such an early age? Though Ayllon did not find an entire tribe of giants as Salazar did, he did find giant kings. As for his settlement, it was a failure. Of the 500 men who he took with him, only 150 survived and they fled the settlement for Hispaniola, starving, sick and nearly dead.
Patagonian giants with European explorers
During his famous voyage in 1519-1522, Ferdinand Magellan encountered people of giant stature on the coasts of South America. The first was a single man with his face painted red with yellow circles around his eyes. This man was brought on board the ship and given gifts by Magellan. Apparently the Europeans only came up to around his waist. When he was brought back to the shore there were several of these people who were also invited to come aboard Magellan’s ship, which they accepted. Six days later they encountered another man of great stature who resembled the others. Later they encountered four more of these men who allegedly tried to lure them into a trap so Magellan and his men detained them. Magellan decided to keep the two youngest of them. He also decided to try to detain their wives in hopes of bringing a race of giants to Europe. The attempts to do so ended in a hostile encounter where the natives fled and Magellan and his men set fire to their huts. Magellan called these people Patagonians.
Hernando de Soto (left) Tuskaloosa (right)
Explorer Hernando de Soto led the first deep exploration into what we now know as the United States in 1539. He encountered a giant Native American chief by the name of Tuscaloosa with a son just as tall. Apparently, the tallest men’s heads only reached the chest of the chief’s son. This suggests that Tuscaloosa and his son were maybe 1.5 to 2 feet taller than the Europeans, which would make them 7 to 7.5 feet tall. De Soto ended up capturing Tuscaloosa when he refused to supply them with women. Tuscaloosa led de Soto and his men to a village called Malbia where a turn of events ended in a bloody battle. Tuscaloosa was killed along with all of the inhabitants of Malbia as it burned to the ground at the hands of de Soto and his men.
On his voyage of 1540-1542, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado explored New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States. He and his men encountered a province of exceedingly tall and strong men, like giants. They are described as being able to carry hundreds of pounds easily.
Sir Francis Drake Encountered harmless and kind giants on his 1577-1580 voyage. Upon landing ashore, these tall natives saw that Drake and his crew were miserably weather beaten, so they fed them and gave them fresh water.
From 1496 to 1580 (actually into the 1700’s, however I am having trouble finding online sources to present so I have left these out) there were documented interactions between extraordinarily tall people in the Americas with early European explorers. We can rule out these interactions as being nothing more than legends because the documents I have referenced are of first-hand accounts. The documents were written by people who were actually on these voyages. It is possible that these explorers exaggerated the truth, which I personally find quite probable. I don’t think there were people who were twice the size of normal humans, as Magellan stated. I find it much more likely that those people were probably 7-8 feet tall, giving them the illusion of being giants to 5.5 foot tall Europeans.
19th Century Mound Exploration
Now, let’s fast forward to the 1800’s. The United States was expanding; roads, towns and other buildings were being constructed. During this expansion there were many structures discovered called mounds in a large area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains. This is when archaeology in the United States started to become organized. Most of the early American “archaeologists” were untrained people digging and exploring these mounds. Many of the mounds that were explored were ancient burials. Some of the explorations of these mounds by early amateur archaeologists have been referenced to in local county history books. Some people say that these accounts cannot be considered because 19th century local history books cannot be verified. However, these local history books tell of many skeletons being exhumed that measured 6.5-8 feet in length. Not every skeleton was this large and most of the time they were found among many regular sized skeletons. Here are just a few references:
Two skeletons not less than 6 and a half feet tall - "The History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana"
Skeleton of "immense size" & Skeleton of "nearly seven feet" - "The History of Ashland County, Ohio"
Large skeleton who's "jaw-bone was found to fit easily over that of a citizen" - "The History of Morrow County and Ohio"
Graves of variable giants & gigantic skeletons with high cheek bones powerful jaws and massive frames - "The History of Brown County, Ohio"
Skeletons of persons of very large size, 6'3" skeleton exhumed & very large human skeleton - "The History of Licking County, Ohio"
Skeleton over 7 feet tall - "The History of Richland County, Ohio"
Skull of remarkable size - "The The History of Darke County, Ohio"
Skeleton 8 feet tall and others 7 feet tall - "History of Lake County, 1902"
As I said, these are only a few of the accounts in these old books. There are literally hundreds of them in several history books from several different areas. If you are interested in reading more, do some research; they’re easy to find.
Old Newspaper Article
It is worth noting that newspapers of the same time period ran hundreds of articles about giant skeletons being exhumed from ancient mounds. Some people have argued that newspaper articles covered many hoaxes of similar accounts and were not at all reliable. As a result they suggest that because the history books wrote of large skeletons being found they must be as inaccurate as the newspapers, and maybe even borrowed these stories from the newspapers and therefore are not a reliable source. My thoughts on this argument are that there is absolutely no proof that newspaper articles influenced these history books. In fact it seems quite the opposite. The newspapers many times have to do with some amazing discovery of a lost race of giants with six toes and six fingers, double rows of teeth and sometimes even horns. These giants are described as to have been 10, 12, sometimes even 18 feet tall. But, when it comes to the history books, I have yet to find anything remotely as fantastical. In the history books 6.5-8 foot skeletons of otherwise normal people are usually mentioned briefly. Using the similarities in articles in old newspapers with the information in old history books to try and debunk the history books is like saying that giant squid legends were proof enough that the creatures didn’t exist. But we now know that giant squids do exist, just not as they were portrayed in legends. The only thing connecting the newspapers and history books is subject matter.
Where Are The Bones?
Alleged 8 foot mound builder skeleton (left)
The next argument is simply, where are the bones now? There are a few explanations as to where the bones are today. The bones in the mound excavations were so old and rotted that many of them crumbled when touched or exposed to air, which does happen - especially when there are amateurs who don’t know what they are doing. A lot of these remains were damaged or destroyed in this way according to the history books. Many of the amateur archaeologists were antiquarians and the bones were kept in their private collections. These bones were either lost or passed down to people who didn’t realize how important they were. Also, many universities have relics and skeletal remains from old mound excavations. They problem is, they don’t have them on display. You must have the proper credentials to examine these relics; not just anyone can walk in and start rummaging around.
Lastly, there is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) which, because the mound builders were allegedly proven to be the ancestors of Native Americans by Cyrus Thomas, it is illegal to possess these bones. Any time Native American remains are found they are given to their Native American ancestors for re-burial. NAGPRA makes it a criminal offense to traffic in Native American human remains without right of possession or in Native American cultural items obtained in violation of the Act. Penalties for a first offense may reach 12 months imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. Taking this into consideration, it seems logical to come to the conclusion that if someone had possession of some old mound builder skeletons they would either get them back to their Native American legal owners or simply keep them hidden so as not to suffer the penalties.
Mortimer Skeleton of Grumbles Alley
There is at least one alleged large mound builder skeleton that is known to exist. The story goes: it was exhumed by a farmer in the 1800’s who then traded it to a local doctor for medical treatment. Somehow the skeleton fell into possession of a night club owner and finally belongs to the owner of a restaurant next door to the night club. The skeleton supposedly measures somewhere around 7 feet and is on display at the restaurant “Grumbles Alley” in Selma, Alabama. It has recently gotten some media attention and I expect it will be confinscated fairly soon to be transferred back to its Native American ancestors.
Myths, Legends and Non-Credible Information
Though I don’t want to use any myths or legends as a credible source, there are many Native American oral histories that tell of people who were already here when the Native Americans migrated here. Some of these legends actually describe them as giants. Food for thought.
Here’s my theory: there may have been tribes of hereditarily large (7-8 ft) people who inhabited the Americas in the distant past (the original natives perhaps). Early settlers (the ancestors of the people we now call Native Americans) encountered these people. There were conflicts between the “giants” and the early settlers and ultimately the settlers drove the giants off and maybe even killed most of them. However, some of these so called giants were accepted into the settlers’ tribes and passed their genes to their children and so forth. That would explain the large mound builder skeletons among the regular sized ones. It would also explain the large kings and chiefs written about by early European explorers. The Patagonians that Magellan and other explorers encountered may have been what was left of the dying giant tribes who had been drove out of their land.
 Arawak Indians – An Anguillan History
 The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina: 1514-1861, By Lawrence Sanders Rowland
 The Forgotten Centuries: Indians and Europeans in the American South, 1521-1704, edited by Charles M. Hudson, Carmen Chaves Tesser
 Richard Steckel, Ohio State University
 De Orbe Novo: The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr d'Anghera, Volume 2, By Pietro Martire d' Anghier
 Hernando De Soto, By Walter Malone
 Tuskaloosa (Wikipedia)
 To America and Around the World: The Logs of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan, by Christopher Columbus and Antonio Pigafetta
 The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake, By Sir Francis Drake, Francis Fletcher, Francis Pretty, John Cooke, Nuno da Silva, Edward Cliffe, Lopo Vaz
 The Journey of Coronado, 1540-1542 By Pedro de Castañeda de Nájera, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Antonio de Mendoza, Antonio de Mendoza (conde de Tendilla), Juan Camilo Jaramillo
 Mortimer, the Infamous Skeleton of Grumbles Alley by Kristina Killgrove
 Some Observations on the Letters of Amerigo Vespucci By Manning Ferguson Force
 Letters of Amerigo Vespucci, and Other Documents Illustrative of His Career By Amerigo Vespucci