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FUSANG: A Chinese in America

This is a magnificent work by Gustavo Vargas Martínez, to which I have referred previously. The author, who incidentally is a good friend of Paul Gallez, is a professor at the Mexican National School of Anthropology and History and has worked in collaboration with the Beijing Language Institute and in the Comuna Popular Puente de Marco Polo.

Vargas Martínez, born in Bucaramanga (Colombia) in 1934, also wrote Atlas antiguo de América (1995); Atlas para la historia del descubrimiento de América (1992); and América en un mapa de 1489 (1996) among other works, as well as more than seventy papers read at international scientific conferences in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

From our point of view, what is most interesting in Vargas's Fusang is the research relating to the French Chinese expert, Joseph de Guignes in 1761 (Récherches sur les navigations des chinois de côté de l'Amérique et sur quelques peuples situés a l'extrémité de l'Asie). And as Paul Gallez says in La Cola del Dragón, page 147, when de Guignes identified Fu-Sang as South America (‘Le Fou-Sang des chinois est-il l'Amerique?' [Memoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, t.28 (1761), Paris, pages 505-525]) his theory has undergone violent attacks by other oriental scholars who think that to look for Fu-Sang in Mexico, Central America or Peru is going too far, though it is also fair to say that there were also those who supported him. However, as we will see later on, de Guignes was perfectly correct.

There is no doubt that de Guignes was the first European to refer to the Chinese origins of the American people. In 1752, when he was documenting himself for his work a General History of the Huns, Turks, Mongols and other Tartars in the West, he apparently came across descriptions in the annals of certain countries in eastern Asia which must refer to America.