The island of seven cities : where the Chinese settled when they discovered America

by Paul Chiasson

Paper Book, 2006




New York : St. Martin's Press, 2006.


The Island of Seven Cities unveils the first tangible proof that the Chinese settled in the New World before Columbus. In the summer of 2003, architect Paul Chiasson decided to climb a mountain he had never explored on Cape Breton Island, where eight generations of his Acadian family had lived. One of the oldest points of exploration and settlement in the Americas, with a written history dating back to the first days of European discovery, Cape Breton is littered with remnants of old settlements. But that day Chiasson found a road that was unique. Well made and consistently wide, and at one time clearly bordered with stone walls, the road had been a major undertaking. But he could find no record of it. In the two years of detective work that followed, Chiasson systematically surveyed the history of Europeans in North America and came to a stunning conclusion: the ruins he had stumbled upon - an entire townsite on a mountaintop---did not belong to the Portuguese, the French, the English, or the Scots. And they predated John Cabot's 1497 "discovery" of the island. Using aerial and site photographs, maps and drawings, and his own expertise as an architect, Chiasson re-creates how he pieced together the clues to one of the world's great mysteries: a large Chinese colony existed and thrived on Canadian shores well before the European Age of Discovery. He addresses how the ruins had been previously overlooked or misunderstood, and how the colony was abandoned and forgotten, in China and in the New World. And he discovers the traces the colony left in the storytelling and culture of the Mi'kmaq, whose written language, clothing, technical knowledge, religious beliefs, and legends, he argues, expose deep cultural ties to China. A gripping account of an earth-shaking discovery, The Island of Seven Cities will change the way we think about our world.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member iFool
This is a non-fiction that reads like a novel. The author took us on a personal journey of discovery where he played history detective on a ancient ruin the size of a shopping mall located on Cape Breton. Most of his research on the origin of the ruin was done at the Toronto Reference Library. Half of the book is on the early European explorations of the Maritime focusing on Cape Breton. This work contains all the intrigues of a treasure hunt. The book is surprisingly well written from someone that is not a professional writer or historian.… (more)
LibraryThing member jcprowe
The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered America by Paul Chiasson

For so many years, North Americans have been taught that Columbus was the discoverer of "The New World" when this could not be furthest from the truth. Vikings of the ninth century were crossing from Europe to Greenland and Iceland fairly regularly. The Vikings, in fact, established a colony on the northern end of Newfoundland. Chiasson presents his information that the Chinese actually settled on the northern end of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Columbus had known about the Island of Seven Cities twenty years before he "found" the New World" so obviously somebody had been there long before him and his ilk. Chiasson believes that the earliest inhabitants of Cape Breton Island, besides the native Amerindian populations, were Chinese explorers. Gavin Menzies in his book, 1424, comes to the same conclusions about the Chinese; they established colonies in many different parts of the world.

I found this book very exciting and captivating. Chaisson tells this fascinating story with an eye to building suspense and intrigue along the way until he can successfully get the reader to agree that the Chinese cold be responsible for settling in Cape Breton Island.

Anybody looking for some historical detective reading along the sme lines as Menzies would appreciate this book. I found it captivating.

Happy Reading,
… (more)


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