It is known that at the beginning of XII century BC the Phoenicians had crossed over the Gibraltar Strait and founded the cities of Gades and Utica. They moved southward beyond the Iberian Peninsula on the African Atlantic shore.
Further travels were effected by the Phoenicians in search of precious metals and new markets which were reported about by sources of the time, among which Erodoto has to be especially mentioned: towards the end of VII cenury BC, the Phoenicians followed the road the Pharaoh Necho had showed them to circle Africa from East to West, across the Red Sea.
In 500 BC the Carthaginians had become the unquestioned owners of the Mediterranean sea in the place of Greeks, after the destruction of Tartasso city, very important trade centre on the Spanish coast beyond the Gibraltar Strait. Once the Carthaginians had taken hold of the only link to the Atlantic Ocean, they took possession of the northern route towards Cornwall, the tin land, and founded new colonies along the African Atlantic coast. All this frames the great deed of the Carthaginian Captain Imilcone who, according to Plinio’s and Avieno’s reports, rode out along the European Atalantic coasts for four months and eventually shored on the Brittany’s and the UK’s coasts (570 BC). Moreover, further information coming from classical sources suggest that Imilcone reached the Azores, although it’s not confirmed.
Annone’s deed was also remarkable; according to Polybius, in 470 BC, he was charged to explore the African coast beyond the Gibraltar Strait and to settle new colonies in search of the golden powder. From the account of Annone’s travel it might be inferred that he reached Sierra Leone. Other sources suggest he reached Gabon and Cameroon.