1418 Map or Oldest Map of the World

A Review of the Historical Importance
of Oldest World Map


Gunnar Thompson, PhD


Gunnar Thompson, Ph.D., is Director of the New World Discovery Institute in Port Townsend, Washington. By occupation, he is an anthropologist, a time detective, and a specialist in the study of ancient maps. Part of his graduate training involved surveying archeological sites and reading topographic maps. He is the author of five books on the subject of ancient voyages to the Americas before Columbus.

In December of 2005, British author Gavin Menzies asked Thompson to review a recently disclosed Chinese map that had the potential to sustain the theory that Admiral Zheng He had explored New World shores in the 15th century. Discovery of this map will cause a revolution in the study and interpretation of world history.


Liu Gang, a Chinese attorney, purchased this map from a Shanghai antique dealer about 5 years ago at a cost of nearly $500. A description on the map says that it is a copy of an original 1418 Ming Dynasty Map that the artist Mo Yi-tong copied in 1763.

Is this the most important map in the world? It certainly is the most exciting document that has ever made a serious challenge to the traditional Western version of history. According to most Western scholars, the Chinese gave up the quest for world discovery just when they were getting started in the 15th century. Is this true? Was the famous Chinese Admiral Zheng He restricted to sailing only in the Indian Ocean? That seems to be the strange assumption of Western scholars. Or is Gavin Menzies right in saying that Zheng He led the Ming Navy in voyages round the world?

Let's take a look at the evidence of cartography.

©2006 Gunnar Thompson, PhD 1418 Ming Map