Author: SL Lee
Date: 03-17-12 04:07
My book will be published soon. Here's is the cover and a brief introduction.
Here is an excerpt of a short article I wrote for US China Review:
The most important and irrefutable clue comes from the 1602 map allegedly drawn by Matteo Ricci as a gift to the Chinese emperor Wanli. Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit who came to China in 1584, stayed until his death in Beijing in 1610.
Matteo Ricci's 1602 map is all written in Chinese. In Ricci's own words on the map, he had consulted Chinese sources to add hundreds of names and corrected the geography. Almost 50% of the 1114 names, including those on the American continents, do not have equivalents in European maps. And, Ricci’s map is far more accurate than any other contemporaneous world map.
The absence of Papal State and important names in Renaissance on Ricci's 1602 map is obviously inconsistent with Ricci's status as a Jesuit commissioned to evangelize China. An Italian map without the Papal State and Florence in the 16th century is equivalent to an American map today without Washington DC and New York City. If the Europe on Ricci's map is not drawn by European cartographers, the rest of the map would be even less likely. The first major American cities established in the 16th century by Spanish and Portuguese settlers such as Santa Cruz, Acapulco, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires are notably absent.
The shape of Hudson Bay and the California peninsula are far more accurate on Ricci's map than the contemporaneous European world maps. Hudson Bay was not “discovered” until the year Ricci died. The west of Mississippi, only explored by Lewis and Clark 200 years later, is shown with many names. Names and features that should be on the map are not there, while those shouldn't be are found. That is why Ricci's 1602 map has been characterized as "impossible".
Ricci's map is consistent with the naming of major oceans with cardinal directions using China as the center of reference, while European maps were inconsistent and confused even 200 years later. This mistake is seen on a globe commissioned by the Pope and a map by Ricci's successor Giulio Aleni. This shows the Chinese had prior knowledge of the three largest oceans.
The most important dating clue is a note on the map above Spain clearly stating that the map was drawn "70 some years" after the first official contact of China and Europe. This refers to Pope Benedict XII sending a legation of 50 clergymen to Beijing (1342-47). Seventy some years later would date the map to 1410s-1420s when Zheng He was active in his voyages, which is 160 years before Ricci and 70 years before Columbus. On the other hand, seventy some years prior to Ricci’s visit or the European world maps, China had a maritime ban with no contact with the west. The significance of this statement was left unnoticed by all including Ricci himself, until I deciphered the meaning.
The 1602 map was completed one year after Ricci was allowed to roam in the Forbidden City. This provides a timing witness of where and when he likely had access to information in the imperial archive.
Unless more primary information can be found to support European discovery and survey of these places on Ricci’s map before the map was drawn, the conclusion should be revised that Ricci’s 1602 map is truly a map based on Chinese survey, while the other world maps are copies of an original source done by the Ming Chinese. For Ming Chinese to have drawn this map, they must have circumnavigated and returned safely. It is thus beyond reasonable doubt that Ricci actually uncovered and redrew a Chinese world map around Zheng He's time(1405-1433), proving that Chinese were indeed the first to start the Great Discovery Age.
Ricci’s map is not the only one that contradicts the “history” we have been taught. A map by Waldseemueller 1507 shows the vast Pacific Ocean and the Panama Isthmus before Balboa crossed the isthmus, seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 1513, six years after the dated Waldseemueller map. Out of the thousands of miles of coastline, how did Balboa spot the isthmus so soon after the Columbus’s trips? How did Magellan in 1519 prepare for the long journey across the unknown Pacific and make it successfully in one shot, without any prior information? There used to be 1000 copies of the Waldseemueller map, which obvious served as the guide for Balboa and Magellan. Who else could have the ability to survey the American continent to such details before Columbus?
The only surviving copy of the Waldseemueller map was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2007. The Ricci 1602 map was purchased by University of Minnesota in 2010. Both maps are permanently on displayed in public as witness to all my statements.
The above is only a brief glimpse of the available evidence that Ming Chinese surveyed the world and drew the first world maps that led the Great Discovery Age. The purpose of this article is not to negate European contributions in developing the new continent. However, it is necessary to give proper credit to the deserved and have history reflect the truth. Without the Ming Chinese maritime explorations, the new continents would still be discovered, but at a much later date. It is well recognized that the first settlers of America came from Asia 14,000 years ago. So the friendly relation between peoples of the two continents happened long before China and US were nations by name. ###