Sunday, January 15, 2006

New Old Map Creates New Questions on Old Issue

Scandinavians may smirk, American Indians may laugh, but a newly announced map may put Chinese explorers all over the world before the time of Christopher Columbus.

The map's owner claims it to be a 1763 copy of an original 1418 map which depicts the entire world. This would make the map based on the maritime travels Zheng He (aka Cheng Ho). He traveled, at the very least, around the Indian Ocean and even into parts of the Atlantic Ocean on missions for the Chinese Emperor. However, when the Emperor died a new, isolationist regime took over and China put itself in a cocoon which it did not emerge from until the twentieth-century.

The book and program 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America by Gavin Menzies advances the claim He traveled to North America.

There is a problem with the map however. If scientific tests prove the map is not a modern forgery, all that is proven is the fact that the map came from 1763. There is no way of finding out if the 1418 map existed. So for right now the issue of pre-Columbian Chinese travel to America will remain an open issue.

So for the meantime we must be satisfied thinking that the Spanish, or Portuguese fishermen, or Vikings, or Irish Saints, or Indians, or the Kennewick man's people were here first.

On a side note there is one trouble thing I want to point out: Does no one like Baja California? Both the Chinese map and others from the time period show Baja California as an island. It seems like everyone knows and wants to go to cold Hudson Bay but no one likes exploring warm water like the Gulf of California. What's the deal?

1 comment:

Dan tdaxp said...

Simonworld has a good analysis