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Did the Chinese Discover America?

Cool map and historic speculation of whether the Chinese explored America circa 1421.  The map, which is a later copy of a purported 15th century map, may be a little too accurate for credibility, particularly on the Atlantic side.

Posted on July 28, 2007 at 05:54 PM | Permalink

Comments

Nah, it was the Vikings. But it was the rediscoverer who mattered.

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 29, 2007 7:30:03 AM

I actually attended a talk by an ex-navy sailor who wrote a book debunking the Zheng He idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1421_hypothesis

Posted by: Scott | Jul 29, 2007 10:18:50 PM

Fake. Maybe authentically 18th century, but if so it's based on European explorations, not Chinese. What tipped me right away was the depiction of Hudson's Bay. It's badly distorted and way too far west, but how did they discover it existed at all? Europeans discovered it because they were trying to find a "Northwest passage", a sailing-ship route around the Americans to the north. It would have been worth risking their ships against icebergs, if it had existed - and as it was, Hudson, hoping he was at the entrance to a strait rather than a bay, pressed his explorations so far his crew mutinied, and marooned him in the Arctic. If Chinese explorers reached North America at all, they would have reached the west coast first, and would have satisfied themselves that they couldn't get around it to the north before exploring in other directions.

Second, California is shown as an island - not a mistake someone sailing south down the coast would have made, but it is a mistake European explorers made for a while, since they sailed from the south and saw the end of the Baja peninsula first.

Third, the European coast is drawn in great detail, while large features closer to China such as the Malaysian peninsula are missing.

Posted by: markm | Jul 30, 2007 9:12:24 AM

Its amazing how western society can't accept the fact that another civilization was centuries ahead of their own....

Posted by: bill | Jul 20, 2008 8:35:27 AM

Its amazing how western society can't accept the fact that another civilization was centuries ahead of their own....

Posted by: bill | Jul 20, 2008 8:35:44 AM

no columbus found the americas

Posted by: amber | Sep 30, 2008 11:56:54 AM

Its amazing how non-Indians can't accept the fact that American Indians didn't need foreign influences to develop their societies...

Posted by: L | Jul 8, 2009 1:08:06 PM

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