During the early years of West African trade with the Americas, commercial seafarers made frequent voyages across the Atlantic. In fact, the oral history of a tradition of seafaring between the Americas and Africa is part of the history of the Washitaw People, an aboriginal Black nation who were the original inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley region, the former Louisiana Territories and parts of the Southern United States. According to their oral traditions, their ancient ships criss-crossed the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Americas on missions of trade and commerce.. Some of the ships used during the ancient times, perhaps earlier than 7000 B.C. (which is the date given for cave paintings of the drawings and paintings of boats in the now dried up Sahara desert) are similar to ships used in parts of Africa today. These ships were either made of papyrus or planks lashed with rope, or hollowed out tree trunks. These ancient vessels were loaded with all type of trade goods and not only did they criss-cross the Atlantic but they traded out in the Pacific and settled there as well all the way to California. In fact, the tradition of Black seafarers crossing the Pacific back and forth to California is much older than the actual divulgance of that fact to the first Spanish explorers who were told by the American Indians that Black men with curly hair made trips from California's shores to the Pacific on missions of trade.