Chinese Explorers of Ancient America

Chinese Colonies of Ancient America

By R.A. Rajotte

Columbus Was Not The First

Cherokee Hebrews
Irish Indians

Japanese fishermen landed in Peru ca. 3000 B.C.E., Irish monks reached America in a curragh, a boat made of skins , some time in the sixth century, Leif Eriksson visited Newfoundland and Nova Scotia circa 1000 AD and other Vikings probably made repeated landfalls as well.

Ancient Phoenicians were shipwrecked in South America in biblical times, Roman Hebrew-Christians settled in Arizona Ca. 775 AD and Chinese Buddhists may have reached the western coast of North America 900 years before Columbus.

Fusang The Chinese Colony in Ancient America

Pale Ink: Two Ancient Records of Chinese Exploration in America

Joseph de Guignes 1721 - 1800 , a French orientalist , sinologist and scholar centuries ahead of his time in his sometimes bizarre theories brought to the Western World the Chinese Classics account of Fusang.

De Guignes speculated that Fu-sang was actually Mexico. [*1]

"De Guignes was a scholar. He devoted much of his life to a study of the early Chinese, particularly to that which concerned navigation. During his course of study of the Classics, he came across a story, retold by Ma Twan-lin, in his "Antiquarian Researches" published in 1321, of a Buddhist priest, Hwui Shan by name, who, in the fifth century, reported having been to a far country to the east of China. After translating the account, de Guignes believed that he recognized the country described by Hwui Shan to be that of Mexico." [*2]

Selected Excerpts

 Hwui Shans account of his Journey.

In the year 499, a Buddhist priest named Hwui Shan [Hui Shen] , came to China and told about a country called Fu-sang. Fu-sang is 20,000 Chinese miles to the east of the Great Han country. It is also situated east of the Middle Kingdom (China). [There is no mention in Hwui Shan's journey as to how he got there, how he got back to China, how long he was away or where he came from originally]

....Formerly this country had no knowledge of the Buddhist religion but, during the Sung Dynasty, in the second year of the period called the "Great Brightness" (458 A.D.) five priests, or Pi-k’iu, from the country of Ki-pin (Kabul) journeyed to that country taking with them their Buddhist religious books and images and taught the people their Buddhist doctrine and to forsake their rude customs and thus reformed them. " 

Hwui Shan claimed that he had established contact with a people  having a high degree of civilization, a significant distance to the east of China, These people had a written language, woven clothing, and paper. The people were not war like and their cities had no walls.  They had a criminal justice system as criminals were punished according to an established principle, They had formal marriage and burial customs. They had a King or leader who was the "Chief of the Multitudes" and lesser nobles called "Tui-lu."

Significantly Hwui Shan doesn't claim to be the first and states the "five priests, or Pi-k’iu, from the country of Ki-pin [Kabul Present day Afghanistan] journeyed to that country

..These people had a writing; woven clothing; some kind of paper; they had a valuable tree or plant that had a pear-shaped fruit, reddish in color, that was edible, that was preserved without spoiling, and that looked like bamboo shoots—the country derived its name from this plant. "  [The plant that gave the country its name was ... the century plant, a cactus-like agave commonly used for food and clothing in ancient Mexico.] - The Chinese of America.The Chinese of America: From the Beginnings to the Present Paperback, 1980 , Jack Chen 1980, pp. 5, 6)

The account of Fusang presented by the Buddhist priest Hwui Shan was somewhat discredited by an additional story he told of "The Kingdom of Women"  where the men had dog-like heads and barked . The Kingdom as per Hwui Shan was situated to the west of the country Tsan-yai and to the south of the Kingdom of Dogs. The rabbits of this country are white and as large as horses, ...  birds which produce human babies... The males born of these birds do not survive. The daughters only are raised with care by their fathers, who carry them with their beaks or upon their wings.

In another translation of a related tale [Book of Liangi by Yao Sialian 7th century] the following was added  "The attendants of the Court were much amused at these stories. They all laughed and clapped their hands, and said that better stories had never been told."

The translator [The Marquis d’Hervey] commented on the above passage : "This curious fragment shows that the Chinese of the Sixth Century were not as credulous as might be believed; that they knew how to distinguish between the true and the improbable; and that the extravagancies of their story-tellers, at which they were the first to laugh, does not diminish the merit of the writers that they respected.[*3]


Fusang in the Pacific Northwest

Over the past 200 years numerous scholars have researched the Hwui Shan text. Some have declared it a fraud or fiction, while others have embraced the idea that the Chinese not only visited America, but maintained an active back and forth communication and possible colonization.

Ancient artifacts such as  Chinese coins, anchors , and assorted relics have been discovered along the Pacific coast some dating back many Centuries.  Hwui Shan’s descriptions somewhat describe what we know of the area in the timeframe in question,[450 AD].  Some scholars and documentation place the location of Fusang further up the coast in the Pacific Northwest rather than Mexico.

18th Century map showing a Chinese colony in the Pacific Northwest USA
Book  Who Discovered America

The adventures of Hwui Shan are further described in the 7th century Book of Liang by Yao Sialian [*4], which describes his voyage in both known and unchartered lands. He traveled to the coasts of China, to Japan, Korea, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and then to Fusang. Fusang, he reports is some 20,000 Chinese Li (about 9,000 km) east of Kamchatka, which would place it somewhere in current day British Columbia or the U.S. Pacific Northwest , roughly where the Zatta map [Above] shows the colony of Fusang [Fou-Sang].


Chinese Artifacts in the New World

Chinese Sword in Georgia - In Georgia of all places, on the East Coast of the USA far from the hypothetical Chinese fusang colony, a sword believed to be of ancient Chinese origin was found. The sword is about 30 centimetres, which is just shy of a foot long. See - Chinese Pre-Colombian Sword found in Georgia. The region in which it was found was originally Cherokee Land, the Cherokee have several legends of "Slant Eyed" people, and slant eyed giants.

Chinese Stone Anchors in California - James R. Moriarty of the University of San Diego, California, has unearthed Chinese stone anchors near Palos Verdes Peninsula and off Point Mendocino. In the latter  case, the anchor was encrusted with manganese, which showed that it had been lying on the seabed for 2,000 or 3,000 years (San Francisco Chronicle, November 25, 1979 [*4]

Stone Anchors unearthed in California Believed to be of Chinese origin. - or- Giant Fossilized Donuts.

Elephants in Central America


so called elephant statues in South America hailed as evidence of Chinese Pre Colombian contact.

Elephants are not native to the Americas, they are indigenous to Africa and Asia. There are however depictions of creatures quite similar to elephants in some mesoamerican art. The depictions are controversial and open to interpretation.

"If we were to carry out a survey among ordinary people', says Jaime Errázuriz, ‘I am sure that practically everybody would think that the engraving [Below] depicted the heads of two elephants, complete with their turbaned riders; however, strangely enough, among the archaeological elite this interpretation has been distorted, under the influence of the prejudiced doubts of the isolationists, who think that it would have been common to find anyone in pre-Columbian America capable of drawing an elephant, since this would mean the recognition of there having been direct contact between the two continents. Therefore they have preferred to see parrots or even tortoises rather than admit this possibility.'[*5]

Jade in Meso-America

Jade is most commonly identified with Asia, China in particular. In Meso-America it seems out of place.

Even though it is not common to find Jade in Central America, it is not impossible, so the notion that the Jade artwork was exclusively from China lost a portion of its credibility based on the Ridinger expedition findings.[*8]

Jade artwork from Mesoamerica depicting what can be interpreted as Oriental, Asian people

However - much of the artwork such as those pictured on this page, as well as the Jade sword found in Georgia bare Orientalisms not expected in ancient America. The features of the people are Asian and some of the cultural norms, such as the Georgia sword are also Asiatic.

Figurative works in jade were being made by 1000 B.C. by the Olmec peoples of the Mexican Gulf Coast. Professionally excavated in important burials and caches.

Jade is most common in oriental art, it is rare elsewhere in the ancient World. "The archaeological search for the Mesoamerican jade sources, which were largely lost at the time of the Maya collapse, began in 1799 when Alexander von Humboldt started his geological research in the New World .... The first discovery of in-situ jade quarries was made by Archeologist Mary Lou Ridinger in 1974. [*8]

Chinese Writing - South America

Similarities Chinese and Ancient American Writing

Five years ago, Xu happened upon an Olmec exhibit in Mexico and noticed markings inscribed into many of the pieces. Though he was no expert in the ancient pieces of pottery, jade or carved bones, the Shanghai native knew what he saw. [*6]

I said to myself, I am certain what I see; these look like Chinese characters." [*7]


Footnotes and References

1. Investigation of the Navigation of the Chinese to the Coast of America, and as to some Tribes situated at the Eastern Extremity of Asia - Joseph de Guignes

2. Pale Ink Henriette Mertz - Chptr. 2

3. An inglorious Columbus, or, Evidence that Hwui Shan and a party of Buddhist monks from Afghanistan discovered America in the fifth century A.D Search Result Based Shopping Link Pg. 226

4. Book of Liang - Contains the history of the Liang dynasty, and various descriptions of countries to the east of China. One of its best-known passages is the description by the monk Hui Shen of the country of Fusang. - Wikipedia

4.1 The Chinese of America. by Jack ChenThe Chinese of America: From the Beginnings to the Present 1980 Paperback

5. Henricus Martellus's map - By Nito Verdera

6. TCU Magazine

7. A Sea link between Olmecs and Shang Chinese

8. A Mayan Past, A Latin Present In Guatemala NY Times

9. Wikipedia - Jade use in Mesoamerica