A copy of a 600-year-old map found in a second-hand book shop is the key to proving that the Chinese, not Christopher Columbus, were the first to discover the New World, a controversial British historian claims.
The document is purportedly an 18th century copy of a 1418 map charted by Chinese Admiral Zheng He, which appears to show the New World in some detail.
This purported evidence that a Chinese sailor mapped the Western Hemisphere more than seven decades before Columbus is just one of Earth-shattering claims that author Gavin Menzies makes in his new book ‘Who Discovered America?’ - out today, just in time for the Columbus Day holiday.
‘The traditional story of Columbus discovering the New World is absolute fantasy, it’s fairy tales,’ Mr Menzies told MailOnline.
Among Menzies other claims are that the first inhabitants of the Western hemisphere didn’t come over land from the Bering Strait, but instead were Chinese sailors who first crossed the Pacific Ocean 40,000 years ago.
He also writes that DNA markers prove American Indians and other natives are the descendants of several waves of Asian settlers.
Furthermore, he says a majestic fleet of Chinese ships, commanded by Zheng He, sailed around the continent of South America – 100 years before Ferdinand Megellan supposedly became the first the undertake the task.
Columbus features heavily in the book – insofar as Menzies has devoted the last 20 years to finding and laying out evidence that Columbus not only didn’t discover America – he was 40 millenia late.
Mr Menzies believes that Columbus actually had a map of the world that was plotted by the Chinese Admiral Zheng He, who created the map when he sailed to the New World in 1421, more than seven decades before Columbus.