In 2003, Paul Chiasson climbed a mountain he never explored on the island where he grew up. Cape Breton, one of the oldest points of exploration in the Americas, is littered with remnants of old settlements. The road he found that day was unique. Consistently wide and formerly bordered with stone walls, the road had been a major undertaking. For the next two years, he surveyed the history of Europeans in North America, and came to a stunning conclusion: The ruins he came upon did not belong to the Portuguese, French, or English and pre-dated John Cabot's "discovery" of the island in 1497. With aerial and site photographs, maps, drawings and his expertise in the history of architecture, Chiasson pieces together clues to one of the world's great mysteries. The Island of Seven Cities reveals the existence of a large Chinese colony that thrived on Canadian shores well before the European Age of Discovery and unveils the first tangible proof that the Chinese were in the New World before Columbus.
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.