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Lecture 5

ANT210H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Gavin Menzies, John Cabot, Zheng He


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT210H5
Professor
Gary Crawford
Lecture
5

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ANT210 LECTURE 5: WHO DISCOVERED THE AMERICAS? (02-13-19)
Gavin Menzies
Argued that Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s fleet extended its trip to North America
North/South American Indigenous Groups
Statistics show that 90% of Indigenous groups died after encounters with Europeans
Ancestry: mtDNA and Language Families
o MtDNA = mitochondrial DNA, traces, matrilineages (female lines)
o Haplogroups: long-existing genetic sequence variants that correlate with geographic
origins of populations (ancestry)
o Shows us genetic makeup of people in North and South America in past vs. present
First Contact: Europeans in the Americas (including Canada)
Norse: ca. AD 985-1000
Columbus in Carribean: 1492
John Cabot (Giovanni Coboto) landed in Newfoundland and Cape Breton: 1497, would have seen
Beothuk/Mi-maq people
1530-1600 Basque fishermen and whalers in Red Bay (Labrador)
Jacques Cartier 1534-1542 (Gaspe and St. Lawrence)
o By 1550, “Canada” starts appearing on maps
Does Archaeology Contribute to the Issue of Contact?
Archaeology discovers stuff that populations have left behind, which tells us about their
cultures, behaviours, ways of living, etc.
o People leave trail of evidencearchaeology shows us where to look and how to find it
By showing how Indigenous and European people were affected by first contact
Archaeology’s Message
Research is active
Evidence for both culture and human biology converges on a clear picture
There are still debates among specialists about some issue
Asian Connection Confusion: An Example of a Misrepresentation
Zheng He’s Voyages from China in 1405 to 1433
Made 7 exploratory voyages from China around the world
Question of “could he have reached America (before Columbus)”
o Via “Kelp Highway” from Asia straight down alongside North and then South America
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