Chinese Global Exploration in the Pre-Columbian Era: Evidence from an Ancient World Map (Hardcover)
How early did the Chinese explore the world? Did the Treasure Fleets, led by Admiral Zheng He, discover many parts of the world before Christopher Columbus? While it is known that Christopher Columbus discovered America and Europe ushered in the Age of Discovery, there is an ongoing debate on the "unknown" areas depicted in Western maps from the period and earlier. There is agreement among scholars that certain areas seem to have been mapped out prior to the arrival of Western explorers.
Chinese Global Exploration in the Pre-Columbian Era: Evidence from an Ancient World Map analyses the world's first modern map - known as Kunyu Wanguo Quantu (KWQ) 《坤輿萬國全圖》 in Chinese, translated as the "Complete Geographical Map of All Kingdoms of the World" to demonstrate evidence of Chinese global exploration in the Pre-Columbian era. The map of concern was first printed by Italian missionary, Matteo Ricci in 1602, and has been purported to be of entirely European origin, based on Ricci's former maps which he had brought to China in 1582.
This book, thus, seeks to be transformational in presenting essential new insights on Pre-Columbian world history and Chinese global exploration, moving away from the norm of the studies of geography and cartography by:
- Analysing the histories of all the geographical terms associated with Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, as depicted in the KWQ, thus demonstrating that these areas were most likely explored by the Chinese since Antiquity;
- Performing a comparison of KWQ with major European maps and state-of-the-art archaeological discoveries