Leif Erikson Day 2013: Did Chinese Zheng He Beat Americas’ Explorers Like Christopher Columbus?

Leif Erikson Day 2013 is being celebrated today, but did the Chinese beat both Christopher Columbus and the Viking explorer?

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Christopher Columbus may have secretly been Jewish.

A document known as America’s birth certificate was drafted by famous cartographer Martin Waldseemueller in 1507. While not entirely accurate, the famouse document named the new landmass in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian sailor and explorer whom Waldseemueller erroneously credited with the discovery of the New World.

Many historical figures seem to have been given some form of credit for being the “first” to step on North America (never mind the native Americans). In addition to those already mentioned, Christopher Columbus, Leif Erikson, and Juan Ponce de Leon share the title.

Leif Erikson has the distinction of being the first to lead Europeans to North America, creating the first settlement in Vinland, which is now Newfoundland, Canada. On the other side of North American, at the southernmost region, we have Juan Ponce de Leon, who founded St. Augustine in Florida and whose name happens to grace my inlaws’ street address.

But another contender for the honor of being the first to discover America is actually Chinese and is named Zheng He. The Chinese Admiral Zheng He apparently shows a detailed map of America dating back to 1418.

So, apparently, there were several “first” explorers of America. But some argue the first to reach land is a rather pointless accomplishment, so who can actually be credited for settling?

Christopher Columbus is in fact quite behind the game with his first colonizing ship arrived in Hispaniola much after Leif Erikson. However, soon after his entire settlement was slaughtered by the natives and he was banned from returning. The other colony Christopher Columbus founded, Santo Domingo, was also quite unsuccessful, and he was arrested and sent back to Spain.

Juan Ponce deLeon brought the first Spanish colonizing ships to the American mainland in 1521, creating a settlement in Florida.

Leif Erikson settled around 1000, though purportedly even he was not the first to actually land on North America. He is, however, credited with bringing the first European settlement to the continent.

But British historian Gavin Menzies believes the Chinese Ming dynasty might have settled in places like Peru based upon the ancient names of some villages and cities. But his theories are controversial, with some historians claiming he is a fraud.

Do you think Leif Erikson Day 2013 should be joined by a Zheng He Day?