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America’s Big Trees
Copyright 2013 Charlotte Harris Rees

When my 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 it.)

The 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 people.

          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. Within days:  

The purchase was completed and the title of the Big Trees passed to the U.S.

Government on January 17, 1917.  

The rest of that 1917 article goes on to tell of the glories of those trees.

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 era dawned.

In 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 giant.

The article relates:

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 West!

That 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

For years 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.”

 I 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.

Several 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 sides….

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.

Vining comments:

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. 

My father 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.

Vining is 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

Some 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 was none.

It does 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.

I checked 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.”

Whether 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.

The 1917 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!

As I stood there and viewed those magnificent trees, I agreed.

"New Proofs from The Experts: Native Americans are the Descendants of
Shang Dynasty Chinese"

Read an article that appeared in the Henan Province Commercial News, China on September 3, 2009 saying that Henan province historians believe that the Chinese are ancestors to native Americans and that they arrived in America by 1100 B.C.

The original Chinese version of the article can be read Here.

An English translation of the article and Charlotte's rebuttal to the counterpoints can be read Here.

Revising History
by Charlotte Rees

What is the difference between “revisionist history” and “revising history.”
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 evidence.

Is the Library of Congress Hiding Information
about Chinese Beating Columbus?

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 Korean.

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 immemorial.” 

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.

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