MADRID – The first Americans reached Europe 500 years before Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, a team of Spanish researchers claims.

The team, from Pompeu Fabra university in Spain, examined genes from an Icelandic family and found genetic links to Native Americans.

They said the woman would have landed in Europe in the 10th century — 500 years before Columbus’s expedition.

“As Iceland was practically isolated from the 10th century onwards, the most probable hypothesis is that these genes correspond to an Amerindian woman who was taken from America by the Vikings some time around the year 1000,” Carles Lalueza-Fox, of the university team, said.