Copyright 2013 Charlotte Harris Rees
father died, among the books in his library I found a copy of
National Geographic from January 1917. The lead article
in that issue is titled “Our Big Trees Saved.” It is about
the sequoia trees in California , which are native to America.
(That copyright has now expired so here I quote heavily from
article tells that in 1916 the US Congress appropriated
$50,000 for the purchase of land in order to save those trees
which were being harvested for their valued wood. Congress
learned that the owners, though sympathetic to the government
purchase and preservation of the trees:
could not fairly part with
their sequoia trees except on condition that adjacent property
be purchased also, the supplementary lands bringing the price
up to $70,000. [Even that was a generous concession since the
timber on the land was valued at $156,000.]
At that time the US government
received a six month option to complete the purchase of the
property for $70,000. However, late that year:
With the expiration
of the option only three weeks off, and with no prospect of
being able to secure the necessary additional appropriation of
$20,000 from congress during its pre-holiday session, the
Department of the Interior had practically lost all hope of
saving these most highly prized of all trees for the American
In this predicament
one of the officials of the department recalled the splendid
work which has been done for a number of years by the National
Geographic Society in stimulating public interest in the
preservation of the nation’s playgrounds…
In short order the half a
million members of National Geographic Society
provided the needed $20,000.
The purchase was completed and the title
of the Big Trees passed to the U.S.
Government on January 17, 1917.
of that 1917 article goes on to tell of the glories of those
In the scenic heart of the
Sequoia National Park, the only section of the magnificent
160,000 acre playground situated in California which is at the
present time accessible to motor driven and horse-drawn
vehicles, stands a group of trees, the Sequoia
Washingtoniana, known as the Giant Forest, and in this
forest grow the loftiest and most venerable living things that
Nature has produced.
The Sequoia National Park was
constituted a government preserve to safeguard these very
trees, some of which were 2000 years old when the Christian
another section of that article it was stated:
As a hunter keeps a record of
the bears he has killed by the notches in his gunstock, so the
big tree keeps an account of the years it has lived by rings
concealed within its trunk….John Muir [famous naturalist]
counted four thousand rings from the heart out of one fallen
Who could replace them? Not
man, for never yet in all his existence has he had
continuity of purpose enough to plan 2,000 years ahead. The
mutations of time in twenty centuries leave only here and
there a silent monument to speak of the past…
Yet when unnumbered thousand
of Egyptian slaves were laboriously transporting the stones
for Cheops across the Nile Valley these hoary old veterans of
the California mountains were sturdy saplings.
The human progress they must
have witnessed! In their early youth the children of Israel
were wandering through the Wilderness of Sin. When the Star of
Bethlehem shone down over that lowly manger in Judea,
proclaiming the second deliverance of mankind, who knows but
that these monarchs of the California forest which have just
been rescued from the woodman’s axe joined in singing “Glory
to the Highest,” and the winds of the East swept over the
beautiful and emotionally written article inspired me and my
family to visit the Sequoia National Forest a couple of years
ago. It was an awe inspiring visit. However, in addition to
the National Geographic article, I also had other
interests in seeing those majestic trees.
Dave and Charlotte Rees at
the Sequoia National Forest
it has been debated what the Fu Sang tree in ancient Chinese
literature really was. In 2009 after I had spoken at a
university in Rhode Island, a PhD with specialty in
environmental studies came up to ask me about the sequoia tree
on my father’s map. I was shocked by his statement that it was
a sequoia. At that time I realized that the map showed a tree
on the right side. Next to the tree is the caption: “Fu Sang
Tree. The sun and moon rise here.”
realized that the depiction seemed to be of some type of
conifer and that there was a specific layout of the needles,
but other than that did not give it much thought. However,
that day the PhD told me that he had studied in depth and
written papers on the sequoia and he was sure what was tree on
the map was a sequoia.
different Chinese writings describe the enormous trees in the
country of Fu Sang, which we believe to be America. Edward
Payson Vining in his 1885 text An Inglorious Columbus
quoted Chinese author Tong Fan Tso who lived 200 BC.
At the east of the Eastern
Sea, the shores of the country of Fu-sang is found. If, after
landing on these shores, the journey is continued by land
toward the east for a distance of then thousand li, a sea of
blue color is reached, vast, immense and boundless. The
countryof Fu sang extends ten thousand li upon each of its
Great forests are found filled
with trees…similar to that of those which is call chin
(certain coniferous trees). They attain a height of several
times ten thousand cubits, and it takes two thousand people to
reach their arms around one of them. These trees grow two and
two from common roots and mutually sustain each other… their
leaves and their fruit are similar to those of mulberry of
china. The fruit, of exquisite flavor and of reddish colour ,
appears but very rarely…but once in nine thousand years.
The exaggeration of the
proportion of the fu-sang tree is evidently nothing but
hyperbole: but it may be remarked that this tree is described
as resembling the mulberry in its leaves, and chin tree in
its form: this last being a species of conifer of which the
wood is used in the manufacture of arrows. This description,
although not having great botanical precision, reminds one of
the Wellingtonia of California, which may be the last
remains of an immense forest.
The indication of a breadth of
ten thousand li for the country of Fu-sang shows that it was a
true continent; and if we do not believe that this curious
account of another ocean, found to the east, beyond the vast
territory, should be applied to the Atlantic, it still may be
thought that America was better known to the Chinese before
the Christian era.
and I both discussed in our books many other arguments that
the legendary Chinese “Fu Sang” was America. The width of Fu
Sang given thousands of years ago by this Chinese writer is
almost the exact width of North America. However, he also
mentions that Fu Sang is that wide on all sides– surely this
could reference North America. If the Chinese writer was
referring to North America, he is correct that to the east of
the continent is another immense ocean – the Atlantic.
correct in that there is surely hyperbole in the statement
regarding the size of the trees. Numerous Chinese writers
mentioned the enormous trees found in Fu Sang. If the Chinese
did indeed make it to North America at early dates, they
likely saw those enormous trees. Trees of this size are found
nowhere else on earth. This description of the Fu Sang tree
tied with the drawing of it on the oldest maps of this style
still in existence certainly points to sequoia.
Dave, Daniel and Charlotte Rees at
the Sequoia National Forest
writers have tried to make the Fu Sang tree red Indian corn
because of the references to the red fruit. However, note that
Tong Fan Tso said that the fruit came only every 9000 years.
Therefore, he probably never saw the fruit and quite likely
this was another hyperbole indicating that it did not bear
fruit. When I asked about fruit at the park, I was told there
puzzle me how the leaves could look like mulberry leaves and
yet the tree be a conifer –especially when the drawing of the
Fu Sang tree on our map shows needles.
on whether sequoia grew multiple trees from one root as Tong
Fan Tso alleged for the large trees. I learned that a feature
of Coast Redwoods is that they often have multiple shoots
(suckers) growing from their basal roots. Among conifers this
feature is almost unique to redwoods. Tree botanist Philip
Mulholland of the UK stated recently in an e-mail to me. “I
think it is very exciting that Tong Fan Tso was able to
describe this rare and distinctive feature of a conifer tree
native to the Pacific Coast of North America.”
or not you choose to believe that the American sequoia was the
Chinese Fu Sang tree, it should still be on your bucket list
to visit that park.
National Geographic article stated:
Dead indeed must be the soul
of the man whose heart is not quickened, whose spirit is not
moved to reverence, whose thought do not reach out and beyond,
and whose inmost being does not look up through nature to
nature’s God, amid such surroundings as these!
stood there and viewed those magnificent trees, I agreed.
What is the difference between “revisionist history” and
Let me give a personal example.
In 2003 when I started examining the topic of the early
arrival of Chinese to America I returned to read my father’s
long out of print book The Asiatic Fathers of America.
That book was published in Taiwan and indicates “copyright
applied for” but does not give a date of publication. I knew
that the Library of Congress had a copy because I saw it there
in Dr. Hebert’s office on my first visit in 2003. Therefore, I
assumed that it must be copyrighted.
Later I visited the U.S. copyright office (on another floor in
the same building). They had no copyright on file for this
book and initially told me that it would be impossible to get
a copyright because the book was published in Taiwan. A few
weeks later a miracle happened. Someone in the copyright
office remembered my name and called me saying that the laws
had changed and that I could get a copyright.
However, I needed the date that the book was first published
in order to complete the copyright application. I did not have
that so I was told to guess a date. I asked family members and
they did not remember exactly, either. Based on what one of my
siblings had in her copy I chose 1975, which is now the
official date on the copyright.
From time to time I see copies of my father’s original book
for sale on the internet. If the price is low I occasionally
purchase. Just recently I bought one that is stamped by the
Writers Guild of America, “registered December 27, 1973.”
Up until now in everything that I wrote about The Asiatic
Fathers of America I put the publication date as 1975.
However, with this new information I am “revising” it to 1973.
Perhaps now that I have new facts it could be viewed as
“revisionist history” if I continued writing that Father’s
book was published in 1975. “Revisionist history” is when we
adjust actual history to fit our preconceived ideas. “Revising
history” is changing what we say based on new concrete
Is the Library of Congress Hiding Information
by Charlotte Rees
I am certainly in favor of the
Library of Congress publicly displaying old Asian maps. For too
long their collection has been kept in the vault. On January 12,
2010 they started displaying a 1602 map in Chinese
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-002.html. What angers me is that the
Library of Congress is touting this as “The First Map in Chinese
Showing the Americas” - especially when they know better. I
believe that this is part of their effort to hide from the public
that there are pre-Columbian Asian maps of the Americas.
In 2003 and once since then I,
as part of a small group, was shown a map in the vault of the map
division of the Library of Congress. That map has both Asian and
European style writing on it and shows Asia and parts of N.
America including Alaska. The map division told us then that the
map was carbon dated to late 14th century. Despite the
fact that they have owned that map at least 50 years, the Library
of Congress has ignored repeated requests from various sources for
them to either fully verify it or deny its veracity.
Furthermore, my family owns
the Dr. Hendon Harris, Jr. Map Collection. The world maps in our
collection are known as Tian Xia Tu in Chinese or Ch’onhado in
Even in Korean map books, this
style map was produced in Chinese. The maps show both North and
South America. For the past seven years I have researched about
this map. My books are endorsed by prestigious scholars and I
lecture internationally on this topic.
“Tian Xia Tu” is written at
the top and in Chinese literally means “(Everything) Under Heaven
Map” which is understood by Chinese to mean “the whole earth.” “Ch’onhado,”
means in Korean “Chinese Map.”
In late 2007 the Library of
Congress co-authored Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations
and in that book recognized the Ch’onhado as a genuine world map
but dated it 1592. That text does not explain how they arrived at
that date - which ironically is exactly 100 years after Columbus.
It is remarkable that they should be able to arrive at such a
precise date, especially since the History of Cartography
[which the kind people at the Library of Congress told me was the
“Bible” on maps] calls this a “seemingly primitive map” and states
that this map “made a silent and utterly unnoted debut at a date
we cannot pin down even to the century.” That book quotes early
modern commentator, Yi Ik Seup, who stated it was “from time
I had spoken at the Library of
Congress in 2005 and was invited to speak there again in 2008
after the release of my book Secret Maps of the Ancient World.
That speech was advertised on the internet and in Washington, D.C.
newspapers but was suddenly cancelled without explanation. My
inside sources tell me that the cancellation came from “high up.”
(Incidentally, I have since lectured at U. of London; Stanford U.;
U. of Maryland; Simon Fraser U., Vancouver, B. C.; and other
universities - all with good reviews.)
I sent a pleasant e-mail to
the Chief of the Geography and Maps Division, who had previously
answered all my e-mails and to whom I had given personal copies of
my books, asking why in choosing a date for the Ch’onhado in
Cartographia they had ignored the reputable text Old Maps
of Korea by Korean Library Science Research Institute
(which is found in his division). That book states that the
Ch’onhado was old in 1402 when they introduced the Kangnido. (As
stated previously, that map is in Chinese.) In addition, in 1947
Imago Mundi Japanese scholar, Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura,
contended the Ch’onhado was Chinese in origin and was in existence
at least by the 7th century. Furthermore, Dr. Joseph
Needham of Cambridge quoted a Chinese text from the third century
that mentioned an incident involving that style map in the 18th
century B.C. Since then my e-mails to this chief are unanswered.
I have waited years for them
to verify the 14th century map. I brushed off the
cancellation of my speech by thinking that they must have had a
good reason. I also rationalized that since Cartographia:
Mapping Civilizations is about many different maps, the
Library of Congress might have inadvertently missed information in
that text about one. However, now that I have laid the proofs on
their lap and yet they are still presenting this Ricci map as the
“First Map in Chinese Showing the Americas” I cannot help but
conclude that The Library of Congress is purposely hiding
evidence that Asians beat Columbus to America.
I would rather live in peace
than to start a fight – especially with the Library of Congress,
one of the most influential organizations in the world. However,
if I do not bring this to light, who will? Sometimes in the lives
of all of us we must choose truth over peace.