To the second difficulty, M. du Hamel says, that the Scripture calls Ophir all the East Coast of Africa, and particularly the country of Sophala; where we find at this day very ancient edifices, built of great stones, like those of Solomon’s House. The inhabitants of Sopbala adore only one God, and hate idols. All the East Coast of Africa abounds in gold, but there is much more brought from Sophala, than from other places. The Indians, Persians, Arabians and Portuguese, that trade there, return always laden with this precious metal. We may add, that the Seventy, and Josephus, instead of Ophir, say Sophir and Sophira, names that do not much differ from that of Sophala. In short, it was an easy matter to sail from the straits of the Red Sea to Sophala; and ‘tis certain, that in ancient times they did not undertake any voyages that obliged them to lose sight of land. This last argument overthrows the opinion of those authors that place Ophir to the Indies.
History of the Works of the Learned, 1706