Book Review: Chinese beat Europeans to Cape Breton, says author
Calgary Herald
Page: A2

CanWest News Service

Step aside, Christopher Columbus. Excuse me, Jean Cabot. Back off, Jacques Cartier.

Make way for an unnamed Chinese explorer who just might have beaten Columbus to the New World by decades. He sailed a huge, Ming Dynasty treasure ship, five times longer and more than 10 times taller than the Santa Maria, the ship in which Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Paul Chiasson, an architect, author and Cape Bretoner, also argues that in the 1400s, the Chinese built a thriving and self-sustaining settlement of more than 1,000 people on his home island. It lasted until political dynastic upheavals summoned everyone home and put an end to Chinese exploration.

How else can you explain the stone walls and the wide, paved roads that wind through the woods on Cape Dauphin on Cape Breton Island, he asks in his book, The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered America? And what of the mysterious platforms there?

What other explanation is there for the strange similarities in dress between the Chinese and the First Nations Mi'kmaq of Cape Breton? The Chinese characters that resemble the writing of the Mi'kmaq, the only North American tribe to possess such a skill? The Mi'kmaq legends that speak of a people who arrived before the Europeans?

The book, due for release next week, has upset traditional historians who dismiss Chiasson's theories as fantasy.

Published: 07.05.2006