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BBC News
13-01-06, 14:34
China map lays claim to Americas

A map due to be unveiled in Beijing and London next week may lend weight to a theory a Chinese admiral discovered America before Christopher Columbus.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/world_enl_1137169236/img/1.jpg

The map, which shows North and South America, apparently states that it is a 1763 copy of another map made in 1418.

If true, it could imply Chinese mariners discovered and mapped America decades before Columbus' 1492 arrival.

The map, which is being dated to check it was made in 1763, faces a lot of scepticism from experts.

Chinese characters written beside the map say it was drawn by Mo Yi Tong and copied from a map made in the 16th year of the Emperor Yongle, or 1418.

It clearly shows Africa and Australia, though the UK is not marked.

Controversial claim

The map was bought for about $500 from a Shanghai dealer in 2001 by a Chinese lawyer and collector, Liu Gang.

According to the Economist magazine, Mr Liu only became aware of the map's potential significance after he read a book by British author Gavin Menzies.

The book, 1421: The Year China discovered America, made the controversial claim that a Chinese admiral and eunuch, Zheng He, sailed around the world and discovered America on the way.

Zheng He, a Muslim mariner and explorer, is widely thought to have sailed around South East Asia and India, but the claim he visited America is hotly disputed.

The map is now being tested to check the age of its paper and ink, with the results due to be known in February.

Even if it does prove to have been drawn in 1763, sceptics will point out that we still only have the mapmaker's word that he copied if from a 1418 map, rather than from a more recent one.

But for some, this would still not make the Chinese admiral the first modern discoverer of the Americas, as they believe that Viking Leif Eriksson sailed to north America in the year 1000.

Unregistered
13-01-06, 17:28
China map lays claim to Americas

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/06/world_enl_1137169236/img/1.jpg

Zheng He, a Muslim mariner and explorer, is widely thought to have sailed around South East Asia and India, but the claim he visited America is hotly disputed.

a MUSLIM ?

anyone has any idea what nationality that sailor and explorer might belong to?

Unregistered
13-01-06, 19:09
He was by origin a Central Asian Muslim. Born Ma He, the son of a rural official in a Mongol province. I guess he was most probably Hui or Dungan: mix of Monglian, Arabian or persian, definitely not Chinese.
If interested, you take find information about his voyage from National Geography July 2005.


a MUSLIM ?

anyone has any idea what nationality that sailor and explorer might belong to?

Unregistered
13-01-06, 19:14
Sorry, please read as, you can find information about his voyage from National Geography July 2005.[/QUOTE]