THE BOOK: Did Ancient Chinese Explore America? My Journey Through the Rocky Mountains to Find Answers.
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2013
AUTHOR: Charlotte Harris Rees
EDITOR: Dr. Cyclone Covey
PUBLISHER: Torch Flame Books, Durham, NC
SUMMARY: A Chinese classic, the Shan Hai Jing, reportedly from 2000 BC, claimed travels to the ends of the earth. However, today many, while accepting the antiquity of this account, believe it was just mythology. But was it?
Testing the hypothesis that the Shan Hai Jing described actual surveys of North America, Charlotte Harris Rees, author of books about early Chinese exploration, followed an alleged 1100 miles Chinese trek along the eastern slope of the US Rocky Mountains. The possible early Chinese connection to this area should have been easy to disprove.
In the travelogue Did Ancient Chinese Explore America? Rees candidly shares her doubts then her search and discoveries. She weaves together history, subtle humor, academic studies, and many photographs to tell a compelling story.
BACK STORY: In 1972 Charlotte’s father, Dr. Hendon Harris, Jr., a China born Baptist missionary found in an antique shop in Korea an ancient Asian map which he immediately recognized was tied to the Shan Hai Jing. The map shows the legendary Fu Sang (beautiful land to the east) on the American coastline. For years some scholars had suspected that Fu Sang referred to America but here was proof on a map. Harris did a lot of research, collected more maps, and published a book titled The Asiatic Fathers of America. However, at that time Charlotte and her siblings were disinterested and/or skeptical. Harris died in 1981 and for years his maps were under his son’s bed.
In 2003 after reading another book stating that Chinese arrived in the Americas before Columbus, Charlotte decided to pick up her father’s research to learn for herself whether he could possibly have been right. She and her brother took the map collection to the Library of Congress where it stayed for 3 years while being
studied. Charlotte was invited to present her finding at the Library of Congress in 2005 and since then at many prestigious universities around the globe. In 2006 Charlotte published an abridgement of her father’s book then in 2008 published Secret Maps of the Ancient World which gives many more indications of the Chinese/Native American connection. In 2011 she published the first edition of what is now titled New World Secrets on Ancient Asian Maps. That book explains the Harris map collection and other related maps.
The next step in Rees’s research was to compare the described Shan Hai Jing journeys to actual locations in the US.
In 1953 Chicago attorney Henriette Mertz, had compared topographical world maps to Shan Hai Jing descriptions. This ancient Chinese writing was quoted down through Chinese history. Mertz stated that the descriptions of the Eastern Mountains fit nowhere else in the world other than North America. The Shan Hai Jing says: “Go so far and then you will see…” then tells how the rivers flow, minerals, plants and animals, some native only to the Americas and each in its correct habitat. From that she charted maps. However Mertz was older when she wrote about this and never went herself to test the thesis, and neither did anyone else before now.
This book traces one of the four journeys Mertz charted in North America. It covers 1100 miles from Casper, Wyoming to Chinati Peak, TX on the border between Texas and Mexico. Along the way Charlotte was able to validate over 90% of what the ancient Chinese reported that they had seen. Some of what they reported is long extinct in those locations but was there in the past. She also found many other indications that Chinese had been there at a very early date.
“The travelogue by Ms. Rees is of great significance in that it was the first of such an attempt to follow the footsteps of the Chinese travelers as described in Shan Hai Jing and look for sufficient evidence such as geography, plants, animals, minerals, and petroglyphs. Although there have been many doubts in the past about the accuracy and reliability of the Shan Hai Jing, Mrs. Rees’s observations and findings are convincing and will undoubtedly lead to even further studies by open-minded researchers.” — Hwa –Wei Lee, PhD, Former Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress
“You should earn several prizes for this book. The writing is precise and understandable to anyone who reads English. The photos are magnificent, the quality of paper is beautiful and pleasant to feel as one turns the exciting pages of careful, logical research. The maps make the narrative understandable to those of us who are unfamiliar with the areas of North America that you wrote about.” — K. J. Prestidge, TV host, New york.
“I wholeheartedly recommend every Rees book – engaging in style and consistently advancing knowledge. Charlotte Harris Rees is intrepid, matchless authority on ancient maps, author of pioneer expanding books, possessed of all sterling qualities required for original scientific erudition, which she fearlessly resumes.” — Cyclone Covey, PhD in History from Stanford University
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlotte Harris Rees has appeared on television and National Public Radio in the United States and Canada and in numerous international news articles. She has given many presentations including at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC); The National Library of China (Beijing); La Trobe University, Australia; Stanford University; the University of London; Tsinghua and Peking Universities (Beijing); University of British Columbia; Zheng He Symposiums (Melaka, Malaysia, Washington, DC, and Shanghai); Macau University; the University of Maryland; Seton Hall University; the Chinese Historical Society (Los Angeles); Switzerland; and Royal Geographical Societies (London and Hong Kong) about her family’s old maps and her research concerning the early arrival of Chinese to America.
Mrs. Rees is an independent researcher and a graduate of Columbia International University. In1972 her father, Dr. Hendon Harris, Jr. (1916-1981), found in an antique shop in Korea an ancient Asian map which led him to write a book of almost 800 pages that contended early arrival of Chinese to America by sea. In 2003 Mrs. Rees and her brother took the Harris Map Collection to the Library of Congress where it remained for three years while being studied. Dr. Cyclone Covey, History Professor Emeritus, Wake Forest University, (PhD from Stanford), who for over 60 years has studied the early history of America and the Chinese connection, has been her research mentor.
Rees’s father, Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr., a third generation Baptist missionary, was born in Kaifeng, China. As a child Rees lived for four years in Taiwan then later in Hong Kong where her parents served. In recent years she made several trips to China. Her home is in Virginia. Her web site is http://www.AsiaticFathers.com.
LOCAL OUTLETS: Givens Books, Lynchburg, VA Where else to buy it: Author’s website http://www.AsiaticFathers.com , and many other sites on the internet including as an e-book.
PRICE: Soft cover $19.99
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: HarrisMaps@msn.com