13 Jan 2006

Did China Discover America?

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The BBC reports a story (subscription-only) in the Economist of a map purchased from a Shanghai dealer in 2001, which purports to be 1763 copy of a map originally dated 1418. The original, if established to be authentic, would cause a great deal of revising by Western historians of the chronology of the Age of Discovery, since the Chinese map claims discovery of the New World by China.

The precise number and actual extent of the voyages of Chinese Admiral Zheng He are not reliably known, but the possibility that he may have journeyed as far as the Americas exists and has given rise to considerable argument and speculation.

More Zheng He information here, here, and here.


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