Skip to comments.Did Chinese ships discover America?
Posted on 10/21/2009 5:49:35 PM PDT by BGHater
Researcher whose father found old maps posits 2000 BC voyage to west coast
History books tell us that the first Chinese settlers to Canada arrived in Victoria about 150 years ago, but a U.S. researcher says she has solid evidence that they came earlier. Some 4,000 years earlier.
That would be 3,500 years before 1492, when European explorer Christopher "Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
Or 10,000 years after nomadic hunters from Eastern Siberia crossed the frozen Bering Strait during the Ice Age, a migration taken by modern scholars to account for North America's native population.
Charlotte Harris Rees, a retired civil servant from Virginia who came to her role as researcher late in life and rather accidentally, says she has proof the Chinese first sailed to the west coast of North and South America, or more specifically, were carried eastward on Pacific currents in 2,000 BC.
That explains, she says, why a number of placenames in the Americas mean something in Chinese, such as Peru, or "white mist," in Chinese, but not in Spanish.
And why certain symbols associated with Indian drawings found in America are nearly identical to Chinese writing; why native American infants share Asian babies' "Mongolian spots," a birthmark near the base of the spine, as well as Asian bloodlines and jawlines; and why ancient villages in China bear a resemblance to native American settlements, right down to the teepees.
Rees is scheduled to talk about her research in her second book on the subject, Secret Maps of the Ancient World, at Simon Fraser University's downtown campus Tuesday evening. Her major research source was her father, Dr. Hendon M. Harris Jr., a third-generation Chinese-born missionary who came across an ancient Chinese map in an antique shop in Korea in 1972. It showed major land masses such as Asia, India, Africa, Australia and Europe and also included North and South America, inscribed with the Chinese words Fu Sang, which the Chinese have long referred to as a mythical land to the east.
Drawing on these seven map books, which he matched to 23 others in collections around the world, he wrote a book called the Asiatic Fathers of America in 1973. It was largely ignored, and Harris died in 1981.
It wasn't until 2003 that Rees read a bestselling book by Gavin Menzies, a retired submarine commander living in London, and her interest was piqued. It claimed Chinese explorers in multi-storeyed and multi-masted ships beat Columbus to the New World by several decades. "After I read Gavin's book, I thought maybe there was something to what my father said," she said Saturday from Oregon, where she spoke to a packed audience at Portland State University.
Scholars have dismissed Menzies' book which, along with a second, similar book, has sold millions of copies.
But Rees endorses Menzies' work and the support is reciprocal. Rees, who hasn't sold many copies of her book or an earlier one that summarized her dad's research, isn't concerned about those who would pillory their work as fiction. "Any time you try to change history, there are going to be people who are going to resist it," she said.
She admitted she isn't an academic but said she draws on a variety of academic studies to prove her theory, a labour of love that consumes every day of what was supposed to be a quiet retirement. And she notes she has the endorsement of Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, retired chief of the Asian division of the U.S. Library of Congress, who studied her dad's maps.
Here is a higher resolution of the featured map from the Harris Map Collection
Below is a Variation (and Interpretation) of the above map by David Allen Deal
Another BC thread, ping.
This site has some info and a photo of what may be ancient Chinese anchors in California.
Entirely possible. In fact I think the Americas were discovered multiple times.
Maybe, but how does it matter, other than for historical purposes?
I remember when I was visiting Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks many years ago, there was a plaque at one of those parks saying that Sequoia redwood trees only occur in three places on earth. One is central California (Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks), the other is Northern California and Southern Oregon, and the third is some place in China.
I wonder if early visitors to California brought back some cones or small trees to China?
Many people may have come here before Columbus, but he was the one developed permanent trading with the Americas. The world was a vastly different place after 10/12/1492, the same cannot be said of any previous visits from different explorers.
An interesting historical footnote, but that’s about it.
Entirely possible, the amusing thing is to hear from the ego/pride drive opinions that either support or deny these historical theories based on pre-conceived notions. Like the scientists who have the outcome of their experiments preordained in their construction.
Why not. But the Indians watched everybody come and go, come and go, until someone stayed. Chinese, Vikings, Kenyans, hello and goodbye.
We do know that at the time of the first Potrugese ships rounding the tip of africa the Chinese were there as well.
Nonsense. If one is navigating, i.e. traveling to a point represented on a chart or returning to a known location, a chronometer is an extremely valuable tool, but a calendar is useless. Polynesians successfully navigated the entire Pacific using nothing more than “stick maps” and a well developed lore. And to think that the Chinese were ignorant of astronomy and its usefulness is foolish.
Blam isn’t on this thread yet?? Huh??
The Chinese diet did not include hot sauces and peppers until they brought back chili pepeprs from Central American.
Agronomist have shown that while there were/are few cultivated peppers in the New World the Chinese grew and used selection techniques to produce over 500 varieties of hot peppers which were not of the New world but of Chinese invention. This is why much of their Southern cuisine is HOT!
Japan is labeled, 日本, just east of Korea. You can see that most everything is labeled a "country", 国. I'm not sure what the significance is of most of the notations, but along with the pictures of mountains, the character for mountain, 山, is quite prevalent.
How old is this map? The characters seem fairly modern to me.
Ooooh! Thanks BGHater!
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I read a book called 1411 a few years back. Fascinating book on just this subject. These alternate history articles get me thinking.
Ah, you are so right. I was looking up more on this subject this evening and ran into the real title. Thanks!
A few more comments on the notations. The three characters on the margin at the top right are “Heaven Beneath Plan”, which we could just call, “Map of the Earth”, but the name does suggest a cosmological orientation.
Note the extra-marginal labels for the north and south “poles” or extrema. Not sure what they say. The extreme east and west are indicated by actual territory within the map. The notation on the eastern territory leads with the characters on the heading of the “Asiatic Fathers” banner. They mean “Japan”, and in this case I presume “Eastern”, even though Japan ( Ni Hon ) is labeled as an “island” ( It’s one of many such rectangular designations. ) The eastern and western extreme territories both have the characters for the sun and moon, so I presume that these notations state that they are the points of the rising and setting of these bodies.
This seems to have a lot in common with e.g. “The Island of the Hesperides”, which in Roman myth is the “Land of the Setting Sun” ( and to me identifiable with Eden, as it had golden apples. )
Their inclusion as territories on the map mean to me that this is a plan of flat earth cosmology, and very unlikely to incorporate knowledge gained from global exploration. ‘nuf said.
“Maybe, but how does it matter, other than for historical purposes?”
Trick question? Historical purposes is the issue here, along with book sales for the authors.
In regards to your essay on the Chinese discovering North America.
First of all; your thesis states that the Chinese would have been the first to discover North America; not Christopher Columbus; yet it is common knowledge, and even taught in Canadian schools that Columbus was not the first to discover North America. There has been a Viking settlement discovered, L’Anse aux Meadows, at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland, Canada that dates back to sometime in the 10th or 11th century. This is undeniable proof. (1) A scholar of history would not be under the impression that Columbus was considered the first to discover North America. One must consider the credibility of your research.
In your article you mention that such American words mean something in Chinese; such as Peru, or “white mist”, but not seen in Spanish. Since you failed to provide any credible source for this claim; and have provided no means of evidence; it is rather difficult to tell if you have any credibility for this. All translations that I looked up could not find any such word in Mandarin; the Chinese language.
The name of the nation of Peru actually comes from the name Biru, a local ruler who lived near the Bay of San Miguel, Panama, in the early 16th century. (2)
In regards to the similarity of drawings in Native American history and Chinese writing; again; such comparisons have not been found by myself; who has lived among such Native American art my whole life. No research has turned up any such similarities for myself; and again; no evidence has been provided. One cannot take such a claim seriously with not even a shred of evidence to the claim. Any birthmarks and Asian bloodlines: if the historical theory that Native Americans originally travelled across the Bering Straight would also mean such resemblances. Any connection to a certain race elsewhere does not provide proof of how they came to America; just that they did come from that region. To use this as “evidence” of your theory creates more doubt of your credibility.
Native American settlements were broad and diverse; depending on what part of the Americas you were in. To generalize their habitats like the tipi (teepee) is rather inaccurate at best. Again; I cannot find any records of Chinese settlers using anything remotely similar to the tipi; however; the Chum tent from Russian nomadic peoples bears a striking resemblance to the Native American Plains tipi. The Chum was used by nomadic Russian peoples throughout Siberia; and even into parts of northern Mongolia; which could be the habitats that you are mistaking.
The Chum tent, although similar to the tipi; is nearly identical to the Lavvu or Goahti tents used by the Sami people of Scandinavia and Arctic Erasia (including parts of northern Russia). This tent design is identical to the Plains people’s tipi; except it has a wider base; and more slope to cope with the higher winds. (3)
Archaeological excavations have turned up Sami settlements dating from 10,000 BCE; meaning the Lavvu/Goahti is the most likely origin of the tipi. Since this tent was then adopted into Russia and Siberia; it would seem more logical that the tipi is evidence of the crossing of the Bering Strait and not of a Chinese expansion; troubled even more by the fact that no Chinese habitats strike any resemblance to these. (4)
Of course all of this only matters if there was a possibility that the Chinese discovered the Americas in the ancient world. There are two major flaws to this theory:
1. It takes more to cross the ocean than the vast majority of ships can handle. It is not as simple as sailing across it like you would a lake. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Chinese did not possess ships capable of handling the open oceans until the introduction of European Caravels after Christopher Columbus. The only ship in Chinese history that could arguably hold up to the treacherous waters of the ocean would be the Chinese junk ship; built from the 12th to 15th centuries. Of course; even if this ship was capable of such oceanic travel; it would have only succeeded in doing so around the same time frame as Columbus; negating this entire thesis.
When ships travel in the ocean; the large waves cause the ship to twist; thus planks open up and create gaps; leaking water in, eventually sinking the vessel long before it reaches shore. To counter this would require the use of metal work not possessed in the time in which Native Americans settled the Americas. Such a means of travel was impossible.
It was the Norse who first discovered the method of creating a ship that would remain water tight in open ocean travel. To prevent the planks from spreading during twisting; the ship would require to twist and flex as one. Since building a massive ship capable of carrying the number of people and supplies required to cross the ocean far exceeds any ability to create a solid body (before the introduction of modern steel hull ships), the Norse invented a method of overlapping planks and riveting them together; allowing them to flex as one; without spreading and leaking. A tar and fur mixture was used between planks to seal them. This method is known as clinker-building; and the earliest evidence of such ships dates back to Denmark in roughly 320 CE (AD).
2. Archaeological excavations have uncovered human remains in the Americas that date back some 13,000 years ago; or over 9,000 years before this thesis says the Chinese came. If the genealogy of the Native Americans is related to the Chinese; it would mean that the Chinese would have had to have traveled here 9,000 years earlier than this theory claims.
In short; it is not that people are driven by their ego; or have preordained in their construction the outcome of their experiments; it is the fact that such claims and books have been written in the face of overwhelming evidence in their contrary; and have yet to provide evidence to support their claims. If China did in fact discover North America over 4000 years ago; and there are genetic ties to Natives descending from China; one must first provide proof that the archaeological relics from 13,000 years ago are in fact; less than 4000 years; as well as provide undeniable proof that the Chinese had ships capable of crossing the ocean. So far, archaeological evidence; as well as written records from Chinese history provide indisputable proof that the Chinese, at no point in their history, had the technology to build ships capable of this until the influence of Europe. Where the Native peoples of the Americas came from to this day remains 100% unknown; but historical evidence; and archaeological findings confirm that the first people to discover the Americas by sea was the Vikings. Until the evidence required is found in favour of China; this will remain so.
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