The discovery a few years ago of a Ming Dynasty coin in modern Molossia raised the possibility that medieval Chinese mariners and explorers traveled to this remote location 584 years ago, during the year 1421. While it seems farfetched, certain threads of reasoning come together to bear out the possibility of Chinese explorers visiting our nation, long ago.

Before 1421

Of particular interest to Molossians is possible evidence that medieval Chinese mariners visited California. California has long been considered as a possible landfall for Chinese explorers. The Sung Document is a work of a Chinese author circa 1178, and states that Muslim sailors reached a region called "Mu-Lan-Pi", which has been claimed to be some part of the Americas specifically present-day California. In AD 499, a Buddhist missionary, Hoei-Shin, came back from a long voyage and told of a strange people in a strange land -- 20,000 Chinese miles to the east. That would have put him right on the west coast of North America, possibly in the vicinity of modern Mexico. Hoei-Shin named the place Fusang, after a succulent plant he'd found in that arid land. The natives ate its roots and made wine from its sap. From its thick leaves they made cloth, rope, roof-thatch, and even paper. Hoei-Shin wrote about their society and customs -- all very unlike anything Chinese.

The Ming Coin Found in Molossia

Admiral Zheng He
Zheng He

Zheng He was a Muslim eunuch, mariner and explorer who served as a close confidant of the Yongle Emperor of China (reigned 1403-1424), the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. During his lifetime, Zheng He commanded an huge fleet of treasure ships, sent out to explore and spread Chinese influence as far and wide as possible. The number of his voyages vary, but he travelled at least seven times to "The Western Ocean" with his fleet. This fleet comprised 30,000 men and seventy ships at its height.

It is well documented that Zheng He explored Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Java, Ceylon, India, Persia, the Persian Gulf, Arabia, the Red Sea as far north as Egypt, and Africa as far south as the Mozambique Channel. He brought back to China many trophies and envoys from more than thirty kingdoms.

A treasure ship of Admiral Zheng He,
compared to Columbus' Santa Maria


A recent controversial theory put forward by Gavin Menzies in the book 1421, the Year China Discovered America, suggests that the fleets of Zheng He circumnavigated the globe and discovered America in the 15th century, before Ferdinand Magellan and Christopher Columbus did the same. According to Menzies' theory, a portion of Zheng He's fleet, under the command of Admiral Zhou Man detached from the great fleet and followed the Japanese Current current north past Japan, along the Aleutians, south of Alaska, down the west coast of America to California. After a two month voyage, he arrived in the vicinity of San Francisco.


While his book has met with skeptical reviews among scientists and archaeologists, some evidence presented seems to bear out Menzies' idea that Chinese arrived in the California area long before the arrival of the Europeans. For example, a Chinese junk, sunk in Bodega Bay, still disgorges ceramics. In addition, a considerable amount of Chinese porcelain has been found at Drake's Bay, north of San Francisco.

Another piece of evidence is the possible discovery of a medieval Chinese-style junk buried under a sandbank in the Sacramento River near Chico. Rumors of a Chinese ship have circulated in Glenn, California for 70 years, ever since two farmers hand-boring a well said they found some bronze artifacts that someone, somehow, authenticated as Chinese armor. Two local men used a magnetometer, which detects disturbances in Earth's magnetic field, to show the presence of something shaped like an 85-foot-long ship with its bow pointed upstream. Subsequent drilling turned up fragments of wood which have been carbon-dated to 1410 and identified as cut from Keteleeria, a Chinese evergreen tree unknown in America.

Also near Chico, California, the Gallinomero language spoken by Concow people is similar to Chinese. The Concow people may have been descendants of Chinese sailors. They are noted to have celebrated the same festivals of burning paper as the Chinese.

On the eastern side of San Francisco Bay mysterious stone walls may have been built by Chinese. These the strange Californian walls are all up and down the hills behind the East Bay going from San Jose all the way to the Carquinez Straits. They also continue north over by Sonoma mountain up through the wine country. The walls form neither animal pens nor do they appear to be fort-like, but, if must be said, resemble a miniature version of the Great Wall of China. The original land records of the Spanish land owners (Peralta, Vallejo, etc) lay no claim to having built them. In fact they asked the local Indians about them and the tribes there said the walls were there when they got there. The standard story is that the walls were built by the original white settlers in this area to clear fields for grazing and farming. However, these walls run in the most impractical of places as well as along some of the hill tops. Some run up ravines you can hardly walk up, let alone build a wall on. There is no explanation for these mysterious walls, save perhaps that they were built by ancient Chinese visitors.

Even further east, an early Ming bronze plate was discovered buried at Susanville, California.

Molossia Hypothesis

Perhaps, when the Chinese junk ran aground in the Sacramento River in 1421, it was decided to establish a Chinese a trading colony there. The area is fertile, the climate mild and the location ideal for settling. From this colony explorers could have set out, following river courses throughout the central California area. Eventually these explorers could have traveled as far as the Susanville area, and even on from there past Honey Lake and south to the Truckee Meadows area, in present-day Nevada. Moving further south, they might have reached the Carson River, following it east for a while before turning back. Thus medieval Chinese explorers may have reached the present-day location of Molossia. The entire journey would have been about 230 miles one-way, or 460 miles round trip. At a pace of about 10 miles a day, their journey would have taken probably six to eight weeks, and might have included a stop-over of a few days at any given spot along the way. It may have been accomplished over a long period of time, part of a series of expeditions through this area. The lack of extensive evidence in this area precludes an extended stay, but a brief journey through Western Nevada in not beyond the realm of possibility.

Possible? Yes. What else would explain the mysterious coin found here?

As an epilogue, soon after the return of the great fleets from abroad, the Chinese government ceased its officially backed expeditions across the seas. This meant no follow-up visits to the hypothetical colony in California, which would have then either died out completely, or merged with the local Indian tribes, vanishing into the mists of time. Without longevity, the remains of this colony disappeared, and the history of early Chinese voyages to America went with it. Perhaps conclusive evidence remains to this day, buried somewhere in Northern California, waiting to be discovered. Perhaps it is even here in Molossia!

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