Australian Theory (Mendes Correa): Foundations, Route, Proofs


australian theory

It was the name given to the theory of the settlement of the American continent sustained by the Portuguese anthropologist António Mendes Correa. According to him, America was populated by a migratory stream from Australia that entered the continent through the southernmost part of the American continent (Tierra del Fuego).

However, the Australian theory was not supported by findings of archaeological remains. However, it presented a possible settlement route. The delineation of this route was based on physical similarities and linguistic and cultural similarities found between American and Australian settlers.

Land of Fire. By Andres Rojas [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, the researcher proposed that this migratory flow could have materialized taking advantage of favorable climatic conditions known as ”

optimus climaticum

”(Optimal climate). Indeed, in the historical climatological records these conditions are observed during the period from 700 BC to 1200 BC.

António Mendes Correa argued that the route followed by indigenous migrants could have skirted the Antarctic continent. To specify the route, they would have crossed in small rafts the Drake Passage (the point of separation between South America and the Antarctic bloc).

According to the Australian theory, some islands located in the Drake Pass could be used as timescales and transit bridges. Once settled in South American lands, they would have created, among others, the ethnic groups of Onas, Alacalufes and Tehuelches in Patagonia.

Article index

  • one

    Foundations of Australian Theory

    • 1.1


    • 1.2


    • 1.3


    • 1.4


  • two


  • 3


    • 3.1

      New findings

  • 4


Foundations of Australian Theory


First, Antonio Méndez raised in his migratory theory that the group of islands located to the south of Australia were used as a natural bridge to complete the first phase of the trip. In this first phase, the Australian aborigines covered the distance between Australia and Antarctica.

Later, after having arrived in the Antarctic block, the group entered the southern part of the American continent through Cape Horn. Finally, in the last part of their journey, they traveled to Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.


Another of the supporting grounds used by Méndez to develop his Australian theory was the racial similarities between the Australoids and the South American aborigines. The Lusitanian anthropologist located these similarities between the American tribes of Fueguinos, Patagones, Tehuelches and Alacalufes, among others.

Among these similarities, the blood groups, the dolichocephalic (elongated) cranial shape and the abundant body and facial hairiness stood out. Matches were also found in curly or wavy black hair and its resistance to cold (adaptability to extreme climates).


In the course of his research associated with the development of Australian theory, António Mendes Correa found groups of similar words to denote the same objects.

Specifically, he found more than 93 similar words between the Australian dialects and the aboriginal languages ​​of South America.


This foundation stems from the discovery of common objects between the ethnic groups of Australia and America. The use of boomerangs and stone axes as offensive weapons was another common feature used to justify the theory.

Also, there were overlapping religious rites and common musical instruments that were used for the same purpose.


In the course of the investigations that led to his theory, the Portuguese Méndez discovered that Australian immigration could not have been done directly.

The geographical positions of Australia and Patagonia prevented this possibility. As he deepened his inquiries, he realized that the route used must necessarily be to the south.

Specifically, they had to follow the path across a bridge made up of the islands of Tasmania, Auckland, and Campbell. In this way they would circumvent the distance between Australia and the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Later, they would cross the sea of ​​Hoces in the Drake passage and reach Tierra del Fuego (south-western Chile) and Patagonia (south-eastern Argentina).


As mentioned above, there were no archaeological finds to support the Australian theory. All the investigations carried out by Méndez were based on similarities that he observed between indigenous South Americans and indigenous Australians. From that point on, he set about finding the most feasible route used by Australians.

Having found that route, he assured that the origin of the American aboriginal was in a single place: Australia. However, later anthropological studies determined that other American groups with different characteristics from both South Americans and Australians existed towards the North of America.

From that moment on, the researchers handled the hypothesis of multiethnicity in the origin of American man. According to this, the migrations that populated America could have occurred from Australia, but also from Polynesia and Siberia.

This served to explain the different archaeological novelties that were found later. It was also the basis of the migratory or alloctonist theory. The latter is one of the two most accepted theories to explain the origin of the American man.

New findings

Over the last decade, all kinds of unexpected archaeological discoveries have been made. These have led many experts to question much of what was assumed to be fact.

In this sense, hundreds of skeletal remains have recently been found on the American continent that look like Australian aborigines. These are an indication that the first immigrations most likely occurred from Australia.

In 2011, Jacqui Hayes presented a compelling morphological case supporting an original Australian presence in America. According to Hayes, the original settlement of the Americas began at an indeterminate time before the second migration of people who had distinctive Mongoloid features.

Likewise, Hayes says surprising new findings suggest that the first people from Australia arrived in South America more than 11,000 years ago. This somehow rescues the Australian theory of António Mendes.


  1. García Vallejo, F. (2004). The molecular nomad: the molecular history of type human lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1). Cali: University of the Valley.
  2. Cotino, J. (2016, March 06). Get to know the Drake Passage: the most dangerous sea in the world. Taken from
  3. First hour. (2017, February 02). Theories of how America was populated. Taken from
  4. Rodríguez Nigro, JC (s / f). The first settlers of America. Taken from
  5. Pedagogical Folder. (s / f). Australian theory (Mendes Correa). Taken from
  6. Niño, F. (1996). The church in the city. Rome: Gregorian Biblical BookShop.
  7. Strong, S. and Strong, E. (2017). Out of Australia: Aborigines, the Dreamtime, and the Dawn of the Human Race. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads Publishing.

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