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Chinese Explorers 'Discovered America'?

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the native-americans-don't-count dept.

News 822

FLY9999 writes: "According to British historian and map expert Gavin Menzies, Chinese explorers discovered America way before Columbus did. He will disclose his information to the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS) at a conference next week."

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Erm, great. (5, Funny)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129367)

I hope this doesn't mean that they are going to claim us as a "renegade state" now...

FRTTFP (-1, Offtopic)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129376)

First
Reply
To
The
First
Post

... no shit - 'I' know its lame. 'YOU' know that its lame, but hey; chill out - this is slashdot

MOD THIS UP/DOWN (that's guarenteed to get it modded up .. he. he. he.

FRTTFRTTFP (-1, Offtopic)

dryopterix (451852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129505)

First reply to the first reply to the first post. Eat that!

Re:Erm, great. (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129448)

America is not a renegade state. It is part of China
since ts discovery. America will be joined to
its Chinese homeland after the problem of Taiwan
province is solved.

Kubus

well its about time.. (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129368)

.. for a FIRST POST !!!

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129394)

This person is obviously a complete loser
- PLEASE - FOR THE LOVE OF GOD..

MOD
Parent
DOWN

No - MOD PARENT UP (-1)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129424)

has anyone realised how completely stupid I am? Here I am replying to my own nested posts in a vain attempt to reduce my boredom, but I realise that I am actually WASTING SLASHDOTS VALUABLE RESOURSES. Damn - I am just selfish, so ..
.. in the interest of slashdot please mod this comment up so show the other trolls how WASTEFUL they really are.
Thanks for your time - you mod really does count

Re:No - MOD PARENT UP (0, Insightful)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129496)

This I know, & I'll tell to thee.
Slashdot is a place for everyone including "me"
Time spent trolling slashdot is never wasted
You should however take caution however, when you're obviously lambasted!

Telling people how to mod is really rude
Did you buy a Dell dude?
I know smoking crack is all the rage
but it's addictive properties have left you in a cage!

you just don't get it... (-1, Troll)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129371)

the natives "discovered" the place thousands of years before you sux0rs ever dreamt of such a place ;-)

Re:you just don't get it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129383)

There is some evidence that there have been multiple waves of settlers coming to America over the last 20000 years, each exterminating the people that preceded them and each wreaking havoc on the environment. Europeans were following a proud tradition.

Re:you just don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129386)

This explains the indians' obsession with MSG.

Re:you just don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129396)

yes, there were almost all killed thousand of year later though ....

BTW: the vikings did too (2, Interesting)

Interfacer (560564) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129419)

didn't i read somwhere that the vikings and norsemen discovered america some few 100 years before columbus too? and i agree with the original subject: the only 'true' americans are the natives. all the rest: black, white or other are immigrants.

Re:BTW: the vikings did too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129524)

I guess you are not much into the idea that the native Americans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel?

more information on this.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129372)

can be found at (816) 246 6160

Does this mean. . . (2, Funny)

jchawk (127686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129373)

All your Americas are belong to Chinese?

third, nicht turd ! (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129374)

Ich bin ein Berliner [goatse.cx] and you all are my secret admirers !

wouldn't surprise me in the least (2, Funny)

denny_d (454663) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129377)

The greatest Chinese Navigator,Cheng Ho, rocked China's boat so much, they closed the ports...
dgd

Re:wouldn't surprise me in the least (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129400)

The greatest Chinese Navigator,Cheng Ho, rocked China's boat so much, they closed the ports...

The Chinese have historically tended to have an insular society. This is, after all, the nation that spent years (and lots of energy) on a Great Wall to keep outsiders out.

And to this day, China still looks inward as much as outward. For Christ's sake, they don't have an independent navy (it comes under the People's Liberation Army, IIRC).

My experiences in China (-1, Flamebait)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129380)

I'm an American businessman in the import-export business, so as you might guess, my frequent travels take me to many places around the world, on every continent.

Anyhow, I wanted to share my experience in the "great" country of China.

So, I was in Shenzhen China last December for about a week on business. A bit of background: Shenzhen, like Hong Kong and a few other places, is a "Special Economic Zone" that the Chinese government set up to try and give foreigners the illusion that China really ISN'T a drab, decaying fascist state that's economically languishing behind the rest of the world. Here, rules are relaxed and capitalism is encouraged, not surppressed. Well, let me tell you this, if this is China's best, then I'd hate to see the worst.

Anyways, when I stepped off the train from Hong Kong (which was no paradise itself, as that place has gone down the shitter since the Brits left) I was shocked. The whole place smelled like a combination of vomit and dog shit that had been left out in the sun for a day or so. And it was probably BECAUSE there was vomit and dog shit all over. I almost retched, and I've certainly been in some sketchy places in my travels but NOTHING like this.

People spit everywhere. Trash litters the streets. I found myself looking DOWNWARD much more than looking FORWARD when I walked.

Noise pollution is endemic. It doesn't help that their infernal language consists of abrupt rapid fire tones that is a cacophony for any human ear to bear. How do they speak and listen to that shit without going crazy all day long is beyond me.

Anyways, Chinamen stink -- literally. There is no concept of personal hygiene whatsoever. Meetings with even top officials were hourlong sessions of having to endure hot sweaty bodies and rancid breath eminating from mouths missing a few teeth. Geez, at least use deodorant for crying out loud.

The hypocrisy, corruption, and double-standards from the highest levels of government on over are the norm at the same time China opens up to the world. Foreigners get charged as much as five times for transportation, lodging, food, and everything else.

Traffic is horrible. Rules are non-existent except for at traffic lights: red means to go fast, green means to go REALLY REALLY fast.

The Chinese people themselve are pretty apathetic and everyone just wants to get out of that hell hole, so you see smuggling rings shipping people out hidden in truck beds and ships, all too often with tragic results.

The whole country, in my assessment is a lost case. Even the cheap labor can be found in Southeast Asia or Mexico. Same goes for pirated stuff -- SE Asia and Eastern Europe will keep on churning them out.

Anyways, the one redeeming quality were the girls. I paid 100 yuan (about $12 US) for a great fuck, with a 16 year old who seemed quite new and "unblemished" if you get my drift. Boy, was she tight, made all the right noises, sucked and fucked all night long and let me cum all over her. Much better than even the vaunted Thai whores, and worlds apart from anything in Las Vegas or in Europe. Best bargain I have EVER found in my life!

So yeah, screw the hell hole that's China. I'd say nuke the entire damn place and put that whole society out of its misery, and let another country rise up from the ashes, if I were in Bush's seat -- were it not for the girls.

Re:My experiences in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129395)

There are cities in the US with far worse conditions than that.

Re:My experiences in China (4, Funny)

-douggy (316782) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129477)

So, you've been to LA recently :o) *ducks*

Re:My experiences in China (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129401)

Yet another insightful American view...

What about the Vikings? (4, Interesting)

Fred Millington (444639) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129381)

Well, it seems that now scientists think that not only Egyptians and Vikings 'discovered' America, but now Chinese. Well, I wonder how many other sea-faring cultures have landed on these lee shores in search of a land of riches? Sort of brings to mind various historical-fantasy novels.

Re:What about the Vikings? (0, Offtopic)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129409)

Sort of brings to mind various historical- fantasy novels.

How many times did Clive Cussler use the pre-Columbian contact plot point in his Dirk PItt novels.

My God, that author is the most formulaic writer I've ever had the pleasure of reading. But it's good formula. It's put your brain under the seat and relax formula. I like that.

Sorry to be offtopic... I don't know what prompted that...

Re:What about the Vikings? (2)

Ravagin (100668) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129497)

Read American Gods by Neil Gaiman? One of his premises is just that - a lot of the "old gods" we know from Rome, Egypt, etc are in the Americas as a result of theoretical expeditions like that.

Re:What about the Vikings? (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129515)

So, I guess that explains how the Mighty Thor joined the Avengers. :)

Re:What about the Vikings? (0, Troll)

briosa (565000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129520)

It would seem to me that the "Native Americans" were the ones to first "discover" America. Moreover, they also peacefully inhabited the land and had a continental population that was close to that of Europe around 19th century. But we killed most of them, so they don't count right? At least they can live in slums and on their native casinos now. Why do white people always think they come first?

Re:What about the Vikings? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129523)

Eric the Red (Eirikur Raudi) was banished from Iceland as an outlaw and his son Leif the Lucky(Leifur Heppni or Leifur Eiriksson) was the one
to discover Vineland (North America) about 1000 A.D.

And yes contrary to what Disneyworld says Leif the Lucky is Icelandic and not Norweigan!!

here is a website that tells you the whole story and it even mentions the fashionably late Columbus. http://www.dalir.is/leif/

Best regards...
An angry Icelandic Viking named Eric

Discovered? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129382)

One theory is that so-called Native Americans came across the land bridge at what is the the Bering Strait. Weren't these Native Americans already here when Columbus landed on the West Indies in 1492?

It might very well be that the Chinese discovered California for China before Columbus discovered Florida for Spain, but if there were already people living here, well, it would appear the area was already discovered.

hmmm (5, Funny)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129384)

explains a lot................ So, has anyone come up with facts on who DIDNT discover america before Columbus? America is starting to become like my car keys, everyone knows where they are except me.

Re:hmmm (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129407)

"So, has anyone come up with facts on who DIDNT discover america before Columbus?"

Well, it certainly wasn't the natives, thats for sure :)

Eric the Red (1)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129385)

According to the times in the article, this shouldn't change who is noted for discovering America. Isn't it Eric the Red and the Vikings in 1440 A.D.?

Re:Eric the Red (2)

uebernewby (149493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129411)

Eric the Red went to 'Vinland' around 900 AD. So yes, he was first.

Re:Eric the Red (1)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129426)

Correct, I'm sorry, I posted the wrong date.

Re:Eric the Red (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129412)

I don't know about the name (Eric the Red may be correct), but 1) Viking society, per se, didn't even exist anymore in 1440 (Denmark, Sweden and Norway were already existing as modern states) and 2) the year is somewhere near 1000 A.D.

Re:Eric the Red (2, Interesting)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129415)

According to the times in the article, this shouldn't change who is noted for discovering America. Isn't it Eric the Red and the Vikings in 1440 A.D.?

IIRC, Eric discovered Greenland and Iceland. His son Leif made the jump to somewhere between Newfoundland and Virginia.

Of course, there is some evidence that Columbus wasn't even the first Catholic western European to settle North America. Some have speculated that the Knights Templar fled France in 1307 and landed in Massachusetts/Rhode Island.

It's the what-ifs like this that make history so great.

Re:Eric the Red (1)

El Prebso (135671) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129431)

His name was "Leif den Lykkelige" (Leif the Happy)

Re:Eric the Red (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129452)

Ahahah. Vinland. I get it. Han fant a lot of druer. :P

Re:Eric the Red (2, Informative)

Lord Puppet (300347) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129432)

Eric made it as far as Greenland. His son, Leif, most likely made it all the way to the mainland.

Here's details (with maps) [enchantedlearning.com] of some of the early explorations.

Re:Eric the Red (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129518)

Funny how people take history and twist it to nonsense.
Eric the Red (Eirikur Raudi) was banished from Iceland as an outlaw and his son Leif the LUCKY (Leifur Heppni or Leifur Eiriksson) was the one
to discover Vineland (North America). Someone wrongly stated that this happend about 1400 A.D. when it in fact it was about 1000 A.D.

Contrary to another post neither of them discovered Iceland. It was Ingolfur Arnarson or even before him Papean monks about 800 A.D.

And yes contrary to what Disneyworld says Leif the Lucky is Icelandic and not Norweigan!!

here is a website that tells you the whole story and it even mentions the fashionably late Columbus. http://www.dalir.is/leif/

Best regards...
An angry Icelandic Viking named Eric

History lessens (1)

lodn (532801) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129387)

Hmmz does this mean all those historybooks need to be changes? Wow i'm going to buy some stocks ;-)

Re:History lessens (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129429)

Hmmz does this mean all those historybooks need to be changes? Wow i'm going to buy some stocks ;-)

Not much more than a few footnotes. As I noted in another post, there is no evidence that the Chinese did anything with this discovery. Is this world a vastly different place than it would be had the Chinese not landed? If it's not, then the Chinese "discovery," which was at the least some centuries after the Vikings, is somewhat meaningless in the scheme of things.

Re:History lessens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129455)

Read the original article. It suggests that
Columbus used maps drawn by Chinese.
This does change story quite a bit.

Kubus

Ja ! (1)

overlord (5277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129388)

The problem was that at this time, no one had
discovered the chinesse.

OverLord

Re:Ja ! (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129439)

The problem was that at this time, no one had discovered the chinesse.

This was some 300 years after Marco Polo may (or may not have... some of the non-fanciful elements of his accounts seem to have no basis in reality) have been at the court of Kublai Khan.

In addition, there was an active silk trade from Europe to China (that's why cities in Afghanistan and Pakistan are referred to as dating back to the Silk Road).

Re:Ja ! (2)

T-Punkt (90023) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129462)

What about Marco polo and family?
http://www.silk-road.com/artl/marcopolo.s html

No, i don't want to say that Marco polo "discovered" china but that China/Mongolia and Europe had loose contact with each other for quite some time before Zheng He or Columbus have placed their feet on American soil.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129389)

i wonder what's gonna happen to columbus day

how many history books need to go into reprint, time to get some stocks !

So? (5, Insightful)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129393)

The Vikings touched base 400 years prior to the Chinese. The Arabs had the technology and knowledge to do it. The Romans, Phoenicians, and Egyptians may have done it.

But ultimately, none of those is important as Columbus' "discovery". Why? Because what was the end result of Chinese exploration of the Americas? Or of the Vikings? Or of Saint Brendan? It cannot be denied that Columbus had an effect on the history of the world (for better or for worse). Does this lessen the accomplishment of crossing an ocean? No. But exploration is only one side of the coin. There is also what you do with it. It's the difference between pure science and applied science. You can't have the applied without the pure, but the applied has a hell of a lot more bearing on the world.

That said, I am fascinated by all things to do with geography and history. This is an unquestionably cool discovery. But it's not earth shattering.

Vikings (2, Insightful)

proxybyproxy (561395) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129446)

Time Europe article titled The Amazing Vikings [time.com] . It was part of a feature Time did two years ago.

In addition to going to America 500 years before Columbus, they also did trades all the way down in Irak and formed the worlds oldest parliament.

And it seems they did mushrooms [totse.com] to go beserk. Cool guys.

Re:Vikings (2, Funny)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129465)

Vikings rule! That's all I can say!

Thor decides he wants some earth loving. So he turns himself into a dashing young human warrior. He picks up this beautiful princess and they have a wild night. The next morning, Thor decides to reveal himself. "I am Thor," he says. "You're thor," the princess replies, "I'm tho thor, I don't think I can pith."

Re:So? (1)

barryk (101987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129490)

But ultimately, none of those is important as Columbus' "discovery". Why? Because what was the end result of Chinese exploration of the Americas?

Yes, no one else moved in quite as swiftly and raped the entire continent like Columbus and friends.

Re:So? (1, Flamebait)

Ravagin (100668) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129491)

My thoughts exactly, comrade.

Another thing is that neither the Chinese, nor the Vikings, nor anyone else who may have done it initiated a genocide campaign on such a scale as Columbus' (and freends) against the native inhabitants of the continent. Guess that's the way to get famous, then. When we find life on another planet, will we have to kill most of it, too, for the discovery to be significant?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129501)

IMHO the way to look at this news is that
it does not discredit anybody, but remember that world does not resume to europe and america, and that asian and arabs also share the world and have
contributed much.

There's a lot interesting things in asian and arab world/history besides terrorists and communism.

Lots of people beat Columbus (3, Interesting)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129397)

There is strong evidence that people as diverse as the Phoenicians, the Vikings, the Irish, the Welsh, the Chinese, the Japanese and English fisherman were actually in the New World, in some cases, millennia before 1492.

Search internet for lots of sources: One with a short description here [millersville.edu]

Re:Lots of people beat Columbus (2, Funny)

Czarnian (562671) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129442)

Alex Chiu [alexchiu.com] used his time-machine, discovered America 13,000 years ago and was living forever until the magnetic poles flipped and his head exploded.

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129398)

America is meant to be the name of the this whole western piece of land, not just the country U.S. resides.

Just like Americans call their baseball champions the world champions, they also call their land America which is only half correct because there is baseball in japan and cuba, and there is central and south america to account for as well.

columbus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129399)

it has been long established that columbus wasn't the first to discover america - even if you don't count native americans: some northern european guys where there before. and by the way: none of columbuses' boats where called santa maria. this name doesn't emerge until a lot of time after his death.

China didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129406)

the probel with that is that China didn't exist until very recently, I don't recall the exact name of the place, but the english meaning would be something similar to "the heart"; it didn't have boarders, as people who did feal a belonging to others formed a "nation", thus one region could belong to several "nations" simultaniously.

Anyway, it's interesting, the vikings went to the northamerican continent too.
I guess it is important as the similarities between taoism and many native american religions is stunning; and the native americans are quite yellow skinned, similar to their asian friends.

A map? (1)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129408)

The article claims that Columbus used maps created by the Chinese also mentioned in the article. It seems rather silly that anyone ever claimed that Columbus discoverd America in the first place if his journals indicated that he took a map with him.

Re:A map? (1)

marijne (536748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129421)

especially strange considering that Columbus meant to find India, so how could he possibly have a map for finding America

Re:A map? (1)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129436)

You're right, there have got to be errors in the article. Or, possibly, the Chinese thought that they discovered India, as well?

Re:A map? (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129474)

Columbus was looking for contract programmers...

It's somewhere in his logs. I guarantee it.

Re:A map? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129430)

I guess it would be only natural to use Chinese maps, since where Columbus was actually going to was India, not America. That is quite near China, at least broadly in the same waters, so it is likely Chinese would have useful maps.

Why Columbus anyway? (1)

hokanomono (530164) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129410)

It should be obvious to everybody that Columbus' exploration cannot possibly be the first to "discover" america, since there already lived a lot of people when Colubus arrived. His discovery was only new for souther europeans. (with an important influence on the european culture) For the same reason, the chinese were not the first either.

All the kidding about america now being chinese is leaving out the fact that amerika once belongt to the americans.

All of history is biased (3, Insightful)

InfinIT (557535) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129417)

This is a great bit of news. We have know for a long time that the history of a war is written by those winning the war. This simply extends this theory a bit.

It is very interesting that the history of the world is written by the dominant group of the time. All the European discoveries are posed as someone discovering something new. The ver fact that there were people in the USA when Columbous landed proves that he did not "discover" it at all - he simply opened the minds of the dominant group of people of the time (The Europeans)

South African history is an example of this. Up till about 15 years ago, the only known history of South Africa was that it was discovered by Europeans, liberated from the savages and made a civilised country. REcent events have shown the barbarism of the European nations in the colonisation of the country, and has started to show the positive side of the indigenous people.

I think it is great that something like this will shake some of the beliefs of the American people. It is nice to see that places outside the European nations actually did some discovery prior to the Europeans.

On a final note - it is interesting that all the histories of the oriental races I have come across, everytime there is a meeting between the europeans (or other leaders of the known world) the Chinese are seen as very shrewd, civilised people - very few of the other cultured have had this benefit. Does it really surprise me (against this background) that the chinese charted Australia and the Americas before the Europeans? No...

Re:All of history is biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129476)

Ah some facts about south africa such as - for instance - that the Zulus used the Xhosas for slave labour for about 4000 years ?
- Before the whites came to south africa it was - according to western standards - an uncivilized place (even though some traces of civilisation, such as Great Zimbabwe, were evident).
- South Africa have now started the long journey back to chaos like the rest of the countries surrounding it. In 20-30 years we'll have another Mugabe and more of the so-called "african civilisation" (corruption, murder, abuse of power, lawlessness etc.)

It's not a big deal (4, Interesting)

_Ash_ (126458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129425)

According to the article:

When explorer Christopher Columbus landed in America in 1492, he was 72 years behind a Chinese expeditionary force, which had already made its way to the area.

And although Captain James Cook was credited with discovering Australia for the British Empire in 1770, the Chinese had mapped the island continent 337 years earlier.

Sailing in 1,000-foot-long ships with nine massive junk-style sails, the Chinese also circumnavigated the world a century before explorer Ferdinand Magellan's epic journey, and reached South America.


The reason why Columbus, Cook and Magellan get the credit is because they were Europeans. And, in those days, Europe was the center of the world. Western civilization sprung from Europe so to speak. Think about it: most (both north and south) American citizens have ancestors in Europe, so do the citizens in Australia.

For Europeans, America and Australia didn't exist until Columbus and Cook hit their shores (the Vikings did it before Columbus ofcourse but that was forgotten). After that, lots and lots of Europeans emigrated to America and Australia (most of them for economic reasons ofcourse). Contact between them and the homefront was never lost and therefore Columbus, Cook and Magellan deserve some credit. Maybe not for first discovering the continents but for putting them on the map.

Re:It's not a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129484)

No, at that time Europe was not YET the center of the world. They got the credit NOW because Europian nations are now dominant in the World.

Kewl (4, Funny)

l0wland (463243) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129428)

Someday they'll dig up a Chinese skeleton in California, with a Viking-axe stuck in it's skull.

Re:Kewl (1)

marijne (536748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129449)

good one, but the Vikings never made it past "new found land" and I tink they were there around 800-900 AD or something like that

Re:Kewl (1)

l0wland (463243) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129482)

I gave up watching The Discovery Channel after the 3rd Shark-week within the same year. So this one's for you. ;-)

Re:Kewl (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129481)

Someday they'll dig up a Chinese skeleton in California, with a Viking-axe stuck in it's skull.

And he'll be carrying Phoenician coins...

Menzies (0, Offtopic)

hoggy (10971) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129433)

This is almost completely off-topic, but I'm bored and I thought I'd give you a Fun Fact:

"Menzies" is an old scots name and was originally pronounced "Mingies" (soft, throaty "ng"). Still is pronounced that way in Scotland sometimes.

Re:Menzies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129479)

Not that unusual really. Menzies Campbell, the British MP pronounces his name like this. He's quite often found on TV and Radio.

read about that in Scientific American (1)

dario_moreno (263767) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129435)

some time ago. The author stated that tea
made this possible, as opposed to alcohol
for europeans, because water would not
remain drinkable without it. But due
to lack of demographic pressure, no need
for gold or trade, the Chinese did not
exploit those new lands. They even had some
contacts with the Aztecs.

Reminds me of several "Civilization" games
on the real world map...

Sure, but... (2)

bentini (161979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129437)

I'm sure that this is research of the highest caliber. And more importantly, it's the final nail in the coffin for nay-sayers who've refused to believe this. But the headline is misleading. The important point is not that Chinese discovered America, but that we can prove that the Chinese discovered America.
What everyone else has been trying to say, but stumbling across is that, "When Columbus discovered America, it stayed discovered."

Re:Sure, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129458)

When Columbus discovered America, it stayed discovered.

Shame about that.

Re:Sure, but... (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129461)

but that we can prove that the Chinese discovered America.

It's pretty well accepted that the Vikings attempted to colonize North America.

One of the more interesting things, as I get slightly offtopic, is to look at the state of the world in the year 1002. The Arabs, the Chinese, and the Japanese were the superpowers, along with the Aztecs and Incas (if such a term can be used). Europe was the equivalent of a third world continent. I mean, a fading power, the Vikings had them on their knees (why's it called Normandy?).

What happened? The Chinese looked inwards and grew static. The Japanese and Arabs each grew complacent. The Europeans got themselves out of the rut and developed new methods of thought (largely by embracing and extending Arab/Asian thought. Then they got lucky in the Western Hemisphere. The huge economic advantage gained through the exploitation of the Americas caused growth to accelerate. Now a European/North American axis effectively runs the show (the Japanese have, in a possibly more amazing story, joined this axis). China is a borderline third world nation. The formerly Arab world is far behind. The Aztecs and Incas were effectively wiped off the map.

If that's what the last 10^3 years were like, imagine what the world order will be in 3002...

Okay, I'll shut up now...

How... (4, Interesting)

garethwi (118563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129440)

...do you discover a country when there are already people living there?

"Too US-centric" (5, Insightful)

Skwirl (34391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129444)

I dislike cries of "too US-centric" as much as the next Yankee, but come on, the story here isn't that they discovered the American continent first. The wow-that's-incredible part of the story is the idea that Chinese explorers circumnavigated the globe 100 years before Magellan's voyage.

As it has been pointed out, lots of people beat Columbus to the New World, (Vikings and Native Americans to name a couple.) but going all the way around the world is something of an accomplishment. Incidentally, when you sail around the world you're bound to bump into the American continent anyways.

Re:"Too US-centric" (1)

marijne (536748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129450)

accept for those people who accidentally hit Easter iland and stayed there ;-)

Strange Media Coverage (4, Interesting)

green.vervet (565158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129451)

The history books are always slow to change. We know, for instance, that Basque fishermen fished the Grand Banks (off Newfoundland) for at least a hundred years before Columbus sailed. It was a well-kept secret, but it was often argued that Columbus' wife (who was Basque) let him in on the secret. The Viking settlement on Newfoundland lasted a long time, so there was never much of a hiatus in contact between Europe and North America. Indications of trade with Asia on the West Coast of North America are long-standing - Chinese goods reached as far as Mexico. If this presentation is true (and it would be interesting to see what he is actually presenting, as opposed to what is reported) it would be welcome just as a response to those historians who speculate, what would have happened if zheng he had not stopped at East Africa and gone on to Europe? Would we all be speaking Chinese? The answer would be nothing, and no (or not yet, anyway). The difference between the two voyages of discovery was that for the Chinese, their motive was altruistic: to discover the world and share their civilization with others. For the Europeans, their motive was greed. The difference being, when discovery was starting to bankrupt the government in China it was first on the cutback list. Greed showed to be a more durable basis for exploration than altruism.

geee (4, Interesting)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129456)

And I thought the Native Americans, aka Indians would have discovered it since they lived there, silly me!

The chinese couldn't have discovered it first, per our definition Discovering means "found and claimed by a white person with european descent".

*Everybody* discovered America befoer Columbus... (1)

Numen (244707) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129464)

The Celts, the Scandanavians, and now the Chinese... and surely to god the native Indians who got there from Asia.

Culture X, discovered America before Columbus is redundant... lets just say Columbus didnt discover America and leave it at that.

America doesn't even exist. (3, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129466)

All these films about things that happen in America are just a myth. The country doesn't exist. It's just a children's story, like Atlantis. There is no mythical continent across the atlantic. Think about it. If there really is a country there, then surely if you stood at the west coast of Ireland you would be able to see it. You can't. If you can't see something that you're looking at directly then it isn't there.

I'm sure some people will disagree with me. Well, I ask you this - Have you been there? Have you actually seen this place? Why did nobody ever mention it until really quite recently? And I mean the past 100 years or so. I challenge anyone to find a resource more recent than 1900 that indicates that the place exists.

It was clearly an invention of European governments to use as an excuse to devalue their currencies in the 1920's. They didn't want to blame themselves, so they invented another country to blame.

Face it. America is a ridiculous liberal myth.

Re:America doesn't even exist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3129519)

nice troll :P

surely if you stood at the east coast of england you would be able to see the whole european continent. europe must not exist!

Yes, and ... (5, Interesting)

SimonK (7722) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129470)

Henry Sinclair beat the Chinese by another 30 years. When he got there he found people in Nova Scotia speaking a Celtic dialect, He, in turn, was directed there by a couple of Venetians. The Vikings beat him by a few hundred years, and there is plenty of evidence that European fishermen had been sailing across the Atlantic pretty much all through history.

The only thing that makes Columbus different is that by the time he got there the mechanisms and motivation to publicise the discovery and start the process of conquest and colonisation were in place.

Re:Yes, and ... (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129504)

Is this a Sinclair of Rosslyn?

If so, then the Templar connection is very interesting....

Waiting for americans (5, Funny)

chefren (17219) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129471)

Great! Now we are just waiting for (north) americans to discover the rest of the world!

Re:Waiting for americans (2, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129512)

Piri Reis drew an accurate map of the globe way before then, if we are to believe Von Daniken's books and research previous.

We can't blame the Chinese for the bastardisation of European Culture that happened in America, we CAN blame Columbus. So give him the credit. (Flame me if you like, Americans).

We can't blame whoever it was who cultivated tobacco since time immemorial, we can blame Walter Raleigh for bringing it back to Elizabeth I and making it trendy. Did he "discover" tobacco? NO. But in British history, he gets a lot of credit for bringing stuff back, when all he was doing was trying to impress the queen.

We could go on and on.

Umm...what about the Native Americans (2, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129480)

It would seem to me that the "Native Americans" were the ones to first "discover" America.

Moreover, they also peacefully inhabited the land and had a continental population that was close to that of Europe around 19th century. But we killed most of them, so they don't count right? At least they can live in slums and on their native casinos now.

Why do white people always think they come first?

Yeah, but.... (2)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129488)

Yeah, but they didn't bother to slaughter all the natives so they could form their own self-righteous, godly country and escape the evils of their own ;-) ;-)

I have the same problem ... (3, Funny)

dustpuppy (5260) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129495)

When playing Civ 3 starting out in North America, every friggin country discovers me before I discover them ... damn them.

Description of Zheng He's fleet from book (4, Informative)

Anthy (530642) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129500)

If anyone is interested, here is what the book "Thunder from the East" by two winners of the Pulitzer prize wrote about Zhang He's fleet: "Between 1405 and 1433 Zheng He commanded seven major expeditions, involving the largest navel fleet that the world would see for the next five centuries. Not until World War I did the West mount anything comparable. Chinese records show that Zheng He's fleet included 28 000 sailors on 300 ships, the longest of which were 400 feet long. By comparison, Columbus in 1492 had 90 sailors on 3 ships, the biggest of which was 85 feet long. Zheng He's ships also had design elements such as balanced rudders and watertight bulwark compartments that would not be introduced in Europe for another 350 years. The ships sailed as far as East Africa and could have gone around the globe. It is difficult to conceive of their magnificence, for each of the grandest ships-the "treasure ships"-had nine masts,huge red silk sails, 24 bronze cannon, carved wooden animal heads, and painted sides with large "eyes" in front to see the ocean ahead. The treasure ships had luxury cabins with balconies for the top officers and for foreign princes who would be brought home, and these ships were backed by specialized vessels including horse-carriers, troop transports, cargo ships, two kinds of warships, and water tankers carrying drinking water. The crews included 10 translatrors, 5 astronomers, 180 doctors and pharmacologists to treat the sick and gather foreign herbs, and even 2 protocol experts to ensure that the Chinese treated foreigners with just the proper degree of respect. The sophistication of the fleet underscores how far the East used to be ahead of the West. In a broader sense, it indicates the stakes for the entire world as Asia struggles to get back to its feet. The present situation-with Asia making up a minor part of world's economy-is unusual in historical terms. For the great majority of the last few thousand years, Asia has been far wealthier and more advanced and cosmopolitan than any place in Europe. Several ancient Chinese cities had populations of more than one million at their peak, and by some accounts the Tang Dynasty capital of Changan had almost two million taxable residents in the later part of the first millenium. In contrast, as late as 1500 the largest city in Europe was probably Naples, with a total population of 150 000. So ancient Asia was the longtime champion of commerce and technology, and one of the central questions is whether it is now ready to recover a part of what it lost. ..... Chinese records show that Zheng He's fleet reached the Kenyan ports of Malindi and Mombasa. Zheng He knew about Europe from Arab traders, and he could have continued around the Cape of Good Hope and established direct trade with Europe. But Europe was a backwards region with nothing to offer, as the Chinese saw it. China wanted ivory, medicine, spices, exotic woods, even samples of African wildlife, but it had little interest in European products like wool, beads or wine. So China turned up their noses at Europe."

old slashdot archive (5, Funny)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129502)

First Post! (Score: 1, Interesting)
by Leif Ericson in 1001 (http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/07343. html [encyclopedia.com] )

All your women and chattels are belong to us!

yesssss (Score: 0)
by Zheng He in 1420 (http://members.tripod.com/khleo/chengho.ht m [tripod.com] )

too slow to catch me, bitches!
Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? ;)

Frosty Piss! (Score: -1, overrated)
by Christopher Columbus in 1492 (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/ modeng/public/BroTrue.html [virginia.edu] )

I claim this first post in the name of exploring trolls everywhere!

First (Score: -1, redundant)
by Amerigo Vespucci in 1497 (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15384b.htm [newadvent.org] )

suck my cock, Columbus. you're mother goes down on me reel good!

graspee

Re:old slashdot archive (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129507)

That's one of the funniest things I've read in a long while.

The question is, how many moderators aren't going to get the joke and brand it a troll...

But the Vikings were there 500 years earlier (1)

nickos (91443) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129506)

They called it Vinland - apparently it was a good place to make wine...

Ironic (2)

anpe (217106) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129508)

Strangely enough, Americans are still spy^H^Hexploring China nowadays :-)

circumnavigated the world (3, Funny)

epsalon (518482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3129510)

Anybody else read that as "circumvented the world"?
We all know the chinese are real good at that... Why else do they have their own DVD zone?
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