This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Chinese Discovered America First?

1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered the World: "In total, some 34 different lines of evidence have been found to support the theory that the Chinese circumnavigated and charted the globe, a century before the Europeans staked claim to having done so. The evidence is overwhelming, and encompasses both physical entities, (such as shipwrecks of Chinese junks in America, Australasia and Indonesia,) and examples such as the carved stones of Africa, the remains of Chinese peoples in South America, and artefacts scattered all over the world, inscribed with Chinese characters, in Chinese styles, and some successfully dated back to before the arrival of the Europeans. There also exists more circumstantial evidence such as the linguistic, ceremonial and spiritual similarities between the Chinese culture and those of other parts of the world in the fifteenth century. The linguistic similarities found between place names in Peru and Chile are heavily supportive of the notion that the Chinese exerted a huge influence there, in pre-Columbian times."

From a review of the 1421 book:

"Traditional historians, who acknowledge the existence of this great fleet of exploration, believe Zheng He's junks only made it to the east coast of Africa, leaving the rest of the western world to be discovered by Europeans. Menzies evidence is strong but whether it stands depends on the outcome of continuing debate.

Menzies contends the Europeans used maps drawn by Venetians who had access to Chinese maps that survived the successor emperor's burning of records. In fact, Menzies says the whole world appeared on charts before Europeans even set sail. He also relates descriptions that some European explorers (Verazzano, Coronado and even Columbus himself) made of Chinese-appearing people discovered in these new lands -- Vancouver Island in present-day British Columbia, several Caribbean islands, the area around present-day Boston and Rhode Island, southern California and a Chinese colony in Peru."

Read more about Zheng He, the mariner who supposedly made it to America before others, on Wikipedia.

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