View Full Version : Did the Chinese discover America before Columbus?

February 3rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
I would rather they do not re-write the history books - we'd have to change Columbus Day to He Day.


Gavin Menzies, author of the bestseller "1421: the Year China Discovered America," says Adm. Zheng He led a fleet of 30,000 men aboard 300 ships to the American continent in the 15th century to expand Ming China's influence.
"This map embodies information I believe will help us understand Zheng He's seventh voyage," Liu, who bought the map for $500, told a news conference.
"The map shows us the Chinese explorer has been to America years before Columbus. The map also shows us the Chinese understanding of the entire world."


Some say the map is a fake (including some Chinese it seems):

Experts, however, have dismissed the Chinese map as a fake. They say the map resembles a 17th century French world map, depicting California as an island. Moreover, the fact that China is not shown in the centre also suggests the Chinese did not draw it. Historians also dismiss the idea that Zheng, an admiral in the Ming dynasty's imperial navy, sailed to America. http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=232211&cat=Science

Map may show Chinese explorer discovered America
13/01/2006 - 10:12:51

An ancient map unveiled next week may prove that it was a Chinese eunuch who discovered America and not Christopher Columbus, it was revealed today.

Schoolchildren are taught that Columbus found the New World in 1492, but the copy of a map dated 1418, to be made public in Beijing on Monday and London a day later, could show that it was in fact Admiral Zheng He who got there first - more than 70 years earlier.

If proved to be genuine, the clear depiction of the Americas, Africa and Europe will bolster his case significantly, according to the Economist.

It said five academic experts on ancient charts believe it is authentic.

Gunnar Thompson, a specialist on old maps and early explorers, told the magazine: "It will revolutionise our thinking about 15th century world history."

The exploits of Zheng He, whose fleets roamed the oceans between 1405 and 1435, were described in a book which appeared in China around 1418 called The Marvellous Visions of the Star Raft, and are well documented in Chinese historical records.

The 1763 copy of the map contains notes that “substantially match” the descriptions in the book, the magazine said.

Six Chinese characters in the upper right-hand corner of the map say it is a “general chart of the integrated world”.

The commentary, written in clear Chinese characters, includes a description of the people of the west coast of America reading: “The skin of the race in this area is black-red, and feathers are wrapped around their heads and waists.”

There are also several mistakes: the British Isles do not appear and California is an island.

But it is the precision, rather than the errors, that is more likely to make critics question the authenticity of the map.

Zheng He has long been considered one of the pioneers of marine exploration in China, but he was virtually unheard of in the West until 2002.

That year retired British submarine commander Gavin Menzies published a controversial book claiming he circumnavigated the world in a two-year odyssey which began in 1421, discovering America on the way.

It was when the map’s owner, eminent Chinese lawyer Liu Gang, read the book that he realised what he might have on his hands.

He had bought the map for about 500 dollars from a small Shanghai dealer in 2001 to add to his art and cartography collection.

Mr Liu says he knew the map was significant, but thought it might be a modern fake until he read the book. But he insists he does not want to sell his precious find, saying: “The map is part of my life.”

Now the map is being tested at Waikato University in New Zealand, with the results due in February, although they can only prove the date of the copyist’s paper and inks.

Experts said the map puts together information that was available piecemeal in China from earlier nautical maps.

“The format of the map is totally consistent with the level of knowledge that we should expect of royal Chinese geographers following the voyages of Zheng He,” Mr Thompson said.

Other experts dispute the claim however, with many of the fiercest critics in China itself.

Wang Tai-Peng, a scholarly journalist in Vancouver, doubts that Zheng He’s ships landed in North America.

He also claims that his navigation maps were drawn in a totally different Chinese map-making tradition.

“Until the 1418 map is scientifically authenticated, we still have to take it with a grain of salt,” he said.

The map will be unveiled at Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum on Tuesday.

Experts say map of 'Chinese Columbus' is fake
Washington | January 27, 2006 1:15:06 PM IST

A recently unveiled map purporting to show that a Chinese explorer discovered America in 1418 -- before Christopher Columbus -- has failed to impress cartographers and historians.

The map, released by antiquities collector Liu Gang in Beijing last week, depicts all of the continents, including Australia, North America and Antarctica, in rough outline.
The map, which is reportedly titled a "general chart of the integrated world", is dated 1763 and an inscription on it says it is a copy of an original drawn in 1418.
Liu claimed it proved that Chinese seafarer Zheng He had discovered America more than 70 years before Columbus set foot in the New World. Columbus landed in America in 1492.
Experts, however, have dismissed the Chinese map as a fake. They say the map resembles a 17th century French world map, depicting California as an island. Moreover, the fact that China is not shown in the centre also suggests the Chinese did not draw it.
Historians also dismiss the idea that Zheng, an admiral in the Ming dynasty's imperial navy, sailed to America.
"There's absolutely no evidence that Zheng He's voyages went anywhere past the east coast of Africa," Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, a history professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, told National Geographic.
Liu, a Chinese lawyer, said he realised the significance of the map after reading a book by retired British naval officer Gavin Menzies.
The book, "1421: the Year China Discovered America", argues that Zheng led a fleet of 300 ships to America in the early 15th century to expand Ming China's influence.
Scholars, however, say it is difficult to prove what really happened as China burned the records of Zheng's expeditions.
Available historical records show that between 1405 and 1433, Zheng led China's imperial Star Fleet on seven voyages, but he only reached as far as the southern coast of Africa.
While a lab in New Zealand is radiocarbon-dating a scrap of the map's bamboo paper to determine its age, there is no way to verify if it indeed is a copy of a 1418 map.
Experts have also questioned the style of the map.
"If this is a 1418 map, it's a whole style very much different than any 1418 map that I've seen," John Hébert, the chief of the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., was quoted as saying.


February 3rd, 2006, 11:59 AM
This was interesting:

The greatest seafarer in China's history was raised in the mountainous heart of Asia, several weeks' travel from the closest port. More improbable yet, Zheng was not even Chinese—he was by origin a Central Asian Muslim. Born Ma He, the son of a rural official in the Mongol province of Yunnan, he had been taken captive as an invading Chinese army overthrew the Mongols in 1382. Ritually castrated, he was trained as an imperial eunuch and assigned to the court of Zhu Di, the bellicose Prince of Yan. http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0507/feature2/index.html

This isn't the first time a tale of preColumbian discovery has captured the popular imagination. Thor Heyerdahl's 1950 book "Kon-Tiki" claimed that ancient Peruvians crossed the Pacific by raft - and documented his own attempt to emulate them. Then there was Harvard marine biologist Barry Fell, who translated scratches on rocks as ogham script, claiming evidence of Asian, African, and Celtic exploration. And many an Irishman insists the first person to reach America was none other than Brendan the Navigator, a 6th-century Irish monk. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0129/p03s01-ussc.html

February 3rd, 2006, 12:10 PM
Snoop, you should read American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

February 3rd, 2006, 12:11 PM
The Chinese also invented golf :dunno: :no:

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=480 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=artHeadline colSpan=2>Golf: the royal and ancient Chinese game</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=1>http://www.theherald.co.uk/images/space.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD class=artByline>BRIAN DONNELLY</TD><TD class=artDate align=right>January 11 2006</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>http://www.theherald.co.uk/images/space.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>YOU may fondly imagine that Scotland is the home of golf. But the Chinese want to knock that theory out of bounds.
A Chinese academic claims that the royal and ancient game was played behind the Bamboo Curtain in the tenth century, 500 years before a club was ever swung at St Andrews.
Professor Ling Hongling, of Lanzhou University, has uncovered evidence of golf being played in China as long ago as AD945 in a book called the Dongxuan Records, written during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
He said the book makes clear reference to a prominent magistrate of the Nantang Dynasty (937-975) instructing his daughter "to dig goals in the ground so that he might drive a ball into them with a purposely crafted stick".
The game described in the book is called Chuiwan: chui meaning to hit and wan meaning ball. It also contains sketches showing "a game in which you hit a ball with a stick while walking".
According to Professor Hongling, Chuiwan was clearly the predecessor of modern golf and was exported to Europe by Mongolian travellers in the late Middle Ages.
Chuiwan was played with 10 clubs, including a flat-surfaced cuanbang, the equivalent of a modern driver; a pubang, a brassie or two-wood; and a spoon-shaped shaobang, or three-wood.
The claim that China is the real home of golf is certain to add fuel to fierce international controversy about who invented the sport, now played by 50 million people.
For centuries, Scots have claimed golf as one of their greatest inventions. History records that on March 6, 1457, King James II decreed that football and "golfe be utterly cryed down" because the distractions were preventing his subjects from practising their military skills such as archery.
This was said to be the earliest known reference to golf and one of the main foundations for the claim that the game originated in Scotland. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Mary Queen of Scots and her son, James I of England and VI of Scotland, were also reputed to be keen golfers.
The first surviving written reference to golf in St Andrews is contained in Archbishop Hamilton's Charter of 1552. This reserves the right of the people of the Fife town to use the linksland "for golff, futball, schuteing and all gamis". By 1691, the town was known as the metropolis of golfing.
Professor Hongling's evidence that golf originated in China pre-dates all other claims by several hundred years. He said: "When golf was introduced into China most people had not heard of Chuiwan. They naturally assumed that golf was a foreign game.
"In fact, this is contrary to the historical facts and, now that the whole truth has been clarified, this misunderstanding can be corrected. Golf, as we know it today, clearly originated in China."
The latest theory emerges at a time when China is fast becoming a world force in professional golf. This year the European Tour will host six top-rated tournaments in China, compared with only three in Scotland.
But the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the sport's ruling body, said that, despite the new evidence, Scotland would always be recognised as the home of golf.
An R&A spokesman said: "Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland."


February 3rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
I looked up the distance between China and California, and then the distance between Portugal and New York - the European route is much shorter. I say the Vikings were first.

<DT>Distance (http://www.indo.com/distance/distance-details.html) between Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, City of, California, United States, as the crow flies: <DD>
7233 miles (11640 km) (6285 nautical miles)
<DT>Initial heading from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, City of: <DD>northeast (43.3 degrees) <DT>Initial heading from Los Angeles, City of to Hong Kong: <DD>northwest (309.7 degrees) </DD>

<DT>Distance (http://www.indo.com/distance/distance-details.html) between Lisbon, Portugal and New York, New York, United States, as the crow flies: <DD>
3379 miles (5438 km) (2936 nautical miles)
<DT>Initial heading from Lisbon to New York: <DD>west-northwest (294.1 degrees) <DT>Initial heading from New York to Lisbon: <DD>east-northeast (69.9 degrees) </DD>

February 3rd, 2006, 12:55 PM
Well, technically, the Native peoples discovered America before anyone else.

February 3rd, 2006, 04:48 PM
It was Leif Ericson:

Who Really DIscovered America, Eh? By Ronald Swearinger
(Ronald Swearinger was a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He was the speaker at the first meeting of the Half-Norwegian (on the Mother's Side) American Bar Assn., on May 22, 1989, proclaiming his affinity for Norwegians "having been raised on the great fjord that is Puget Sound in a city called Seattle, Wash." The photo above was taken on that occasion. Later in the association's seminal year — on Oct. 25, 1989 — he participated in a Columbus Day program staged by the Italian American Lawyers Assn., with participation by the Half-Norwegian (on the Mother's Side) American Bar Assn. With wit and humor, he provided a discourse on the discovery of America by Leif Ericson and his crew nearly 500 years before Columbus. The text of his remarks appears below. Judge Swearinger died in 1992, five days after his 66th birthday.)

... I am prepared to and do at this time emphatically declare that Columbus did not discover America and that a Norwegian Viking by the name of Leif Erickson did and did so in the late tenth century.
You Italian American lawyers are all wet. All wet in the sense that you have allowed yourselves to be lulled by the conventional and convenient wisdom, always a mistake.
... So, before I embark upon my remarks tonight--remarks that may tee you off, remember that I am a grand friend of Italy and Italians. I have tarried long in that bountiful land and I once shook hands with Gina Lollabrigida, an experience that left me totally debilitated; using up as it did all the adrenalin that was then in me. I still feel a little faint, whenever I think about it.
I am here tonight on serious business. Historical truth crushed to earth is not, a good thing. For a particular reason as will appear hereafter, I feel that I must make Leif Erickson's case for him, suspecting that he would ask me to do so if there were a telephone line from Valhalla or if old Leif could get a telex or a FAX through to me at the courthouse. It is likely that Leif has been smoldering with resentment for almost five hundred years now up in Valhalla and that the Valkyries, those Bella Ragazza of Nordic myth, stay out of his way on and around October 12th of each year, and leave him to his brooding, entirely celibate. Leif Erickson has a lot to be sore about for conventional history has treated him badly. He did, after all, discover America. In fact, this organization should really be called the Italian-Ericksonian Lawyers' Association.
Trevelyan, dean of modern historians, says that if we are to proclaim history, we must present proofs. Let us proceed to our proofs. We go back in time to the year 1492. Columbus, persuaded by some erratic trigonometry and some terrible calculus that China was to be found somewhere relatively near to the west of Spain and close enough to be visited by the frail craft of the time, talked Queen Isabella into hocking her jewels, as the legend goes, to outfit three small ships for an expedition to Cathay, a land of untold riches, according to Marco Polo. After 40 sailing days and 40 nights, Columbus bumped into the island of Hispaniola, half of which is now the Dominican Republic, the other half being Haiti. And, based upon what Marco Polo had written, Columbus was puzzled. Not a chop suey joint in sight. No Won Ton soup. No Dim Sum joints. No firecrackers. No lovely Mandarin ladies in finely embroidered silk garments. No delegation eager to get a mah jong game going. No laundries.
Columbus might have been puzzled, but he was sure as hell not dissuaded. He was in China and he went back to Spain and so advised the few who had paid any attention to his claims and to his voyage. Eventually, as we know, he was clapped in jail. We do not know why. Isabella was not pleased, apparently.
Now, let us go further back into the past towards the end of the Tenth Century. No one disputes that Norwegian Vikings were living on the west coast of Greenland then; that there were many settlements; that the land was ruled by a red-headed Viking gentleman who was named, appropriately, Eric the Red. Eric had a son; a rash, belligerent young fellow named Leif who did not get along with his dad and was sick and tired of the terrible climate in Greenland. Leif had a buddy named Lars Almvig. Lars was a great teller of tales. These were called ''sagas'' in the Norse tradition. Everyone recited sagas from memory because few could read and write. One tantalizing tale, cast in the form of a saga, spoke of a land far to the west that had been seen through a mist by a Viking band that had been badly blown off-course. Egged on by Lars Almvig and anxious to get out of the shadow of the old man, Leif organized a voyage, borrowed a ''Long Ship'' and headed west on a fine summer day in about 990 A.D. We know this because it is proclaimed in many of the Norse sagas of the time. These sagas survive. They have been compiled by a thoughtful anthropologist by the name of Snorri Sturleson in a book called ''Prose Edda.'' They are also found scattered throughout the literature of the Vikings.
... Now, may I seemingly digress for a moment. Around 1250 A. D., Pope Innocent the Fourth sent a lively Italian fellow named Carpini on a mission to the Tartars. The Tartars were a wild, nomadic people who were just then invading Eastern Europe. Carpini was a hell of a guy; an adventurer in the tradition of the later Marco Polo. Carpini, incidentally, was 63 years of age when he set out on his expedition to the east. Not bad, eh?
Carpini got there in one piece and had a damned good time hanging around with the head Tartar, who told him all about the history and traditions of the Tartars. En route home, Carpini wrote a history and description of the Tartars. Why is this footnote to history important to our discussion? We shall see.
Somebody in a monastery thereupon took a copy of Carpini's history of the Tartars, copied it on fine vellum and then bound it into the manuscript of Vincent of Beauvois ''Spectrum Historial,'' which manuscript contained, as noted, the Vinland Map. The binding job is magnificent. The entire manuscript survives. It is at the Yale University Library, having passed through various hands over the centuries.
Yale thinks enough of the manuscript to have published a large book in 1965 called ''The Vinland Map and the Tartar relation'' which verifies the whole business and gives the Vinland Map credibility among scholars as being a 13th Century document. And, what do we see on the I3th Century Vinland Map? Aha, we see all of Western Europe in pretty good scale and description. We do see England and Ireland, as well as Iceland in considerable detail. We see Greenland rather grandly depicted and on a scale better than Mercator's and to the west of Greenland we see Newfoundland! North America! It appears exactly where it actually is at the present time and the scale is pretty good as is the configuration of the coastline. Remember that we are talking about a 13th Century map. That means twelve something or other. And, what do we find in the upper left corner of the map, just above Newfoundland? We find a legend in Latin that says ''Vinland, discovered by Bjarne and Leif in company.'' Bjarne? Who the hell was Bjarne? I did some research. Bjarne was Bjarne Herjolfson. He was the guy who owned the boat Leif borrowed. He did not go on the voyage but got first dibs on the wine Leif brought back! And, apparently wiggled himself into the act somehow.
The Vinland Map plus the boiled down Norse sagas make the case for the discovery of America by Leif Erickson late in the 10th Century on any fair view of the matter. Parenthetically, there are numerous other circumstantial proofs, such as the foundations of a pre-Columbian Norse town at L'anse Aux Meadow in Newfoundland, and Runic stones are found all over that area. A Runic stone is a stone inscribed with Norse Runic writing, commemorating an event. I hold aloft a sample Runic stone. But, since you do not have all night, nor do I, I desist from other profuse and miscellaneous proofs and will not digress. I rest my case. ''Hogwash'' you say. Go ahead and say it. Hogwash, Hogwash, Hogwash! Hogwash, like evil is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, and a willing suspension of disbelief in the presence of puzzling facts contrary to the conventional wisdom is a necessary ingredient to any search for truth. Did Columbus know of the voyages of Leif Erickson?
Some say yes, but that may be of a coarse, libel. Remember that about five hundred years elapsed between the respective voyages. What do any of you highly literate and well read folks gathered here tonight know of minor events of five hundred years ago in remote parts of the world. Nothing!
Now, let us return to the relative present. It is a hot, muggy day in the rather decrepit city of Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic on an island which is known as Hispaniola. The date is October 12th, Columbus Day; a certain obscure jurist has, against a travel agent's advice, taken a cheap cruise of the Caribbean on a rather shaggy vessel that has broken down in Santo Domingo harbor. What is there to see in Santo Domingo, he asks a taxi driver. "Ah, se&#241;or, there is a revolution in process and one can go to watch the sniping and the executions." Naw! "Ah se&#241;or, there is the tomb of Christopher Columbus," says the taxi driver, offering an alternative. What a fine way to observe Columbus Day proceed forthwith, the obscure jurist directs. It is there, right in the middle of town. A grand edifice in concept, but rather shabby in execution. And in the center is the sarcophagus containing the remains of Christopher Columbus, the great Admiral of the Ocean Sea, the guy who proved that the world was round. ''The discoverer of America,'' says a huge inscription over the central arch.
''Hmmmmm,'' speculates the obscure jurist. He has heard of the controversy and of the claims regarding Leif Erickson. ''I wonder,'' he says aloud. As he continues to speculate and muse and stare at the inscription on the great arch, there is a strange crackle in the air. It suddenly turns cold. Ominous clouds quickly gather over the mausoleum; dark, ugly clouds, loaded with moisture. And then comes a clap of thunder and a dazzling lightning bolt streaks down through a jagged opening in what is now a boiling, swirling mass of sky. And then there is a sudden shaft of brilliant sunlight and the obscure jurist peers aloft into a grand chasm in the sky, brilliantly lit. The entrance to Valhalla, domain of the souls of the Vikings? The final destination of Leif Erickson? And then a violent gust of wind careens down from on high, carrying with it a great stentorian utterance. Hogwash is the utterance. The accent is ancient and emphatically Nordic.
I take my license here tonight from that mystical occurrence for I was the obscure jurist. So Leif, what do you say? Did I straighten these folks out? Listen! [Hand to ear looking aloft.] Listen! Did you hear him? He said, ''Mange takk.'' That means ''many thanks'' in Norwegian.
I do not mean by this harangue to dishonor the memory of Christopher Columbus, and since October 9th, Columbus Day, is a very welcome court holiday, I am reluctant to tread further on treacherous ground. Governor Deukmejian may hear this and he is not much in favor of court holidays, feeling that we should all work harder and reduce the backlog. So, let us be pragmatic and may Columbus Day always be a court holiday and may there be many grand Columbus Day celebrations as the years go by on the part of the Italian American Lawyers Association, and may they always invite me to eat the mustacciola and chicken and drink the fine wines and enjoy the speechifying. For it is a grand and lively organization. Thank you for your kind attention. ''Mange takk.''


February 3rd, 2006, 08:46 PM
Snoop - I thought the ancestors of the Native Americans discovered 'America' when they migrated there after the last Ice Age. I 'presume' that there were people living there even before the last Ice Age as well who were aware of it's existence.

February 3rd, 2006, 08:54 PM
Really, Christopher Columbus shouldn't get the credit for it no matter who discovered America...be it Zheng He or the Natives. One way or another, it wasn't Columbus.

I took a World History class last semester and my research project assignment was about Zheng He. Fascinating man, really. And Menzies' writings were actually a huge portion of my sources. They're very compelling. While I'm in no way whatsoever claiming early exploration as my area of expertise, I do believe that Zheng He and his crew discovered America along their journeys. Either way, the history does need to be rewritten, IMO, to release Columbus of the title "Discoverer of America".

February 4th, 2006, 01:34 AM
There are persistent legends about the Vikings and St. Brendan reaching parts of North America, possibly Newfoundland, possibly the mainland; but it seems that at least three groups of people sailed to North America before Columbus. 50yrs. before Columbus there was Zhang He, 500yrs. before Columbus there was Leif and the Vikings, and 900yrs. before Columbus it seems highly plausable that St. Brendan and other Irish adventurers/traders made it to the New World.

You pays your money and makes your choice. In all cases there seems to be archaeological and saga/legend backing:


Regarding Lief and his fellow navigators:

In the years following the Lindisfarne incident, Norwegian Vikings dominated parts of northern England, Scotland and Ireland, while the southern English coasts were harassed by Vikings based in Denmark. Dublin and York became important Viking trade centers.

It was only natural that after settling in the British Isles these explorers would travel to other areas, always in search of new lands. Thus, sailing to the northwest, Vikings discovered, and permanently settled, Iceland.

Around the year 980 Erik Thorvaldsson, better known as Erik the Red, having been temporarily exiled from Iceland for the murder of two fellow Vikings, sailed west along with his family. He searched for an unexplored island someone had seen in the past. He found it, named it Greenland, and promptly built a farm in an area he called Bratthalid, near present day Julianehab. He remained there for three seasons and upon returning to Iceland told his fellow Vikings about the discovery. He described endless rolling green pastures, perfect for raising cattle, as well as an abundance of fish, whales and seals. Hundreds of fellow Vikings went back with him and settled there.

In the year 1000, a Viking traveling from Iceland to Greenland was thrown off course by a storm. He ended up in the vicinity of an unknown land farther west. When he finally arrived in Greenland he narrated his ordeal and described the territory he had seen. Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, decided to explore this new land. He took a ship and a crew of 35 men and sailed west. Following the directions previously given to him, he found this new land and traveled down along the coast. He named three areas according to their predominant elements: Helluland (Rocky land), Markland (Land of forests) and Vinland (Land of grapes). He disembarked in this last area and settled there temporarily. A large house and a few other structures were built by Leif and his men. According to the Sagas this land was fertile, had good weather and plenty of wildlife. Its rivers and lakes were teeming with salmon and other species of fish.

Shortly Leif and his men returned home, with their ship loaded with wood, which was scarce in Greenland. A year later his father, Erik the Red, died. Leif took over the administration of the farm, and was never able to return to Vinland. Two years later his brother, Thorvald, organized a second expedition to the newly discovered land. He and his men spent two years exploring the coasts of the surrounding area. They also constructed more dwellings. On one occasion they stumbled upon a group of natives, which the Vikings named skraeling, and a skirmish ensued. Thorvald was mortally wounded and became the first European to be buried in America. His men shortly returned to Greenland carrying a full load of wood and grapes.

A third expedition was later organized by another of Erik the Red's sons, Thorstein. Sadly, their ship was thrown off course by a storm and all on board, except for a woman, perished.

A fourth expedition was organized by another Viking by the name of Thorfinn Karlsefni. Traveling in two ships, this group stayed for three years in the same dwellings Leif Eriksson and his crew had built. In one occasion they were approached by natives who attempted to exchange furs for Viking swords. Apparently the Vikings refused and had some problems as a result, although not as severe as in Thorvald's case. During their stay in Vinland, Snorri, son of Thorfinn and his wife Grudrid, was born. This is the first documented birth of a European in America. Later, Thorfinn and his group returned to Greenland, again with their respective cargo of wood.

The fifth and last documented voyage to Vinland was organized by Freydis, Leif's sister. They traveled in two ships, one carrying Vikings from Greenland, the other from Iceland. Their one-year stay was not disturbed by the visit of natives, although it was far from uneventful. Apparently Freydis created a hostile climate between Greenlanders and Icelanders. Quarrels over unimportant issues between the two groups were common. In the end she convinced her husband and crew to get rid of the Greenlanders. According to the Sagas she single-handedly took care of the opposing group's women, chopping them to pieces with an axe. They then took both ships, with their complement of wood, and returned to Greenland.

Apparently, the Vikings never returned to America after the fifth voyage. The era of Viking expansionism was at an end. Their pillaging incursions became less frequent; the fact that Christianity and its ideals quickly enveloped the Viking culture may be an important factor in this change of attitude. Trading centers in England and Ireland were abandoned, along with the settlements in Greenland. Many of the early invaders settled in parts of France, Finland, and Russia, mixing with the local population. Most of their pagan culture and language were forgotten in time. Only in Iceland, where the Sagas are still read without requiring translation, does the original Nordic language survive.

The Archaeological Discoveries
Through archaeology we are still learning many things about the Viking culture. Evidence of settlements has been discovered in their homelands, as well as England, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. Remains of dwellings and everyday objects have been found in numerous sites. But the most exciting discoveries are the remains of buried ships.

In 1867 the remains of a twenty-meter long ship were unearthed in Tune, Norway. According to recent analysis it was built around 890. In 1880 the remains of another ship were found in Gokstad, Norway. It was also built in 890 and measured twenty-four meters in length. The year 1906 saw the discovery of another ship in Oseberg, Norway. It measured 22 meters in length, was built around the year 820 and apparently buried in 834. Coins, weapons and other valuable objects were found inside the ships, confirming the tales of Viking funerals.

In 1960 a group of Norwegian archaeologists discovered the remains of eight long houses on the Canadian island of L'anse aux Meadows. They were proven to be of Nordic design. Other typical Viking objects were also found, such as pins, stone lamps, and some carved wooden pieces believed to be ship fittings.

Further excavations -- from 1973 to 1976 -- uncovered even more utensils and about 2000 pieces of worked wood. It was mostly debris from smoothing and trimming logs, as the Vikings prepared wood to be taken back to Greenland. The Canadian Government reconstructed three of the Viking buildings, and the locale was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

February 4th, 2006, 10:27 AM
OK - If the Asians were first across the land bridge to North America, and the Chinese are Asians, then the Chinese were first - right?

The Bering Strait Land Bridge theory

Based on anthropological (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropological) and genetic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics) evidence, most scientists believe that most Native Americans descend from people who migrated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrated) from Siberia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberia) across the Bering Land Bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Land_Bridge) between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago, where the Bering Strait (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait) is today.
The exact epoch and route is still a matter of controversy.
It should be noted, however, that many Native Americans reject theories of modern anthropology, having their own traditional stories that offer accounts to their origins, which are seen only as folklore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folklore) by the scientific community.
The primarily Siberian origin is widely regarded as the most likely, consisting of at least three separate migrations from Siberia to the Americas:

The first wave, during the late Pleistocene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene), would be the forerunners of the Clovis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_culture) and Folsom cultures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsom_culture), both hunting the abundant large mammals of the virgin continent. This wave eventually spread over the entire hemisphere, as far south as Tierra del Fuego (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tierra_del_Fuego) and is believed to have reached the New World no later than 11,000 years ago.
The second migration brought the ancestors of the Na-Dene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na-Dene) peoples. They lived in Alaska (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska) and western Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada), but some migrated as far south as the Pacific Northwestern U.S. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) and the American Southwest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Southwest), and would be ancestral to the Dene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dene), Apaches (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_Tribe) and Navajos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo_Nation). This group is believed to have reached North America between 6,000 to 8,000 years ago.
The third wave brought the ancestors of the Inuit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit), Yupik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yupik) and Aleut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleut) peoples. They may have come by sea over the Bering Strait, after the land bridge had disappeared. They are believed to have reached Alaska (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska) as late as 3,000 years ago.In recent years, molecular genetics studies have suggested as many as four distinct migrations from Asia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia). These studies also provide surprising evidence of smaller-scale, contemporaneous migrations from Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe), possibly by peoples who had adopted a lifestyle resembling that of Inuits and Yupiks during the last ice age.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_%28U.S.%29#The_Bering_Strait_Land_ Bridge_theory

February 10th, 2006, 03:06 PM
In one article I also found this issue,

The article also comparing Zheng He's ship with Columbus ship

Compare to Zheng He ship Columbus look like tiny tug boat compare with Zheng He's Mother ship (Zheng He's ship look like Noah craft to me), I think it's the 1st mother ship size water craft that ever made.

I don't really know which one the 1st discoverer Zheng or Columbus, for me Native Indian is the 1st one discover this continent, why they are the 1st , coz they are the 1st colony and according to paleontologist America are not a frontier in civilization.

It's possible for history tobe re-write since before all the historian only focused at European history coz they lack of knowledge in Oriental History.

Now world become global community so there will be cross check between 2 great history I think the expert still working on it.