Phoenicians

Some years ago whilst working in the Sultanate of Oman, it was necessary from time to time to visit the local Gulf airline offices in Muscat, to arrange for a return air flight to the United Kingdom. It was on one of these visits that having first pronounced my surname, I proceeded to spell out CARBIS, at which point the young lady on the other side of the counter, said something to the effect that ‘It was not necessary, as this old family name, was also in use by the Lebanese’.

When one starts to consider a little more the possible course of events of the early Bronze Age and the requirements for access to high-grade tin and copper, there is a possible connection. It should also be borne in mind that in this period the Phoenicians, who were renowned travellers and merchant traders, had founded Carthage on the north coast of Africa. Thus, it may be assumed that in those early days, some adventurous merchant traders sailed out from the Mediterranean, following no doubt a route, which may have been taken by the Greek explorer Pytheus in about 300BC, who first discovered the ‘Tin Islands’.

Following the west coast of Hispania [Spain and Portugal] and then Gaul [France] having stopped off at Venti in Armorica [situated on the south coast of the Brittany peninsular] or Vannes, as it is known today, before venturing the crossing of the west end of the English Channel. Rounding Lands End between the Scilly Islands and then reaching further still around the north coast of Domnonia [Cornwall] to make a final landing in the general area of what is today St.Ives, Carbis Bay and Hayle, known as the Red River, due to the discolouration from the residual washings from tin ores. Then one, who having decided to settle, went on in some small way to assist in developing the trade in tin from Cornwall on to the Continent

It is of course a very charming story, however, there are some today who will wish to disagree with that statement. Nevertheless, it is pointed out that in general, this period of history, has been distorted by so many different writers in the past, that it has become more than a little difficult to determine the exact truth of past events, especially those so far back in the Cornish history.