Thursday, April 06, 2006

'Ancient' Map Could Prove China Found America First

A centuries-old Chinese map has been unveiled in Beijing; what makes this particular map special is that it is, or purports to be, a 1763 copy of an original from 1418 showing, among other things, North and South America - a pretty good trick given that Columbus only reached the New World in 1492.

The implication, of course, is that the Chinese - probably in the person of Ming-dynasty explorer Zheng He - reached the Americas well before Columbus and that the original 1418 map was based on these explorations. That would be pretty interesting if true, especially since the map shows a degree of understanding of the geography of the Western Hemisphere that wasn't reached for a generation after Columbus's voyages.


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