Thursday, October 11, 2007

Westward Ho! Eastward Ho?

American History is taught in school in a broad westward sweep through time and space across the map. It starts on the eastern seaboard in the colonies and steadily progresses west over the course of the first American century. But before I get into the settlement of Europeans here on San Juan Island it is worth noting that there was an Eastern movement going on as well. Hawaiians, then called Kanakas took advantage of the western sailing ships as soon as they began to harbor in the Sandwich, or Hawaiian Islands, by boarding them as seamen and traveling the world. Many ended up in the Pacific Northwest. Some right here on San Juan Island. It is also highly likely that even before Juan de Fuca sailed into these waters Chinese and Japanese vessels arrived here via the Japanese currant. While his evidence is not conclusive in the book 1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered the World by Gavin Menzies the author creates a compelling case for early Chinese exploration. We have been programmed both by our education and the cultural mythology of the west to think of our history only in the context of the United States. To think instead of our history within the context of the Pacific Rim and its influences throws a slightly different light onto the way we view our past.

"In total, some 34 different lines of evidence have been found to support the theory that the Chinese circumnavigated and charted the globe, a century before the Europeans staked claim to having done so.

1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered the World


  1. Great commentary and good to remember.The United States, and we as Americans, are not the center of the universe. No one is.

  2. Peggy Sue,
    Before lauding Menzies and 1421, please do have a read of the website and especially the transcript of the Australian television program revealing the book as a complete hoax written by a ghost-writer with no evidence


    best wishes

    Geoff Wade


  3. Geoff, thank you for pointing this out. I'd heard he had not done his research hence my "While his evidence is not conclusive" but I will check this out.