The story of a 600-year-old coin found is making world headlines today, as The Epoch News reported this Wednesday, March 13, that the discovery of a 600-year-old Chinese coin deep in a Kenyan island has revealed that there may have been more trade between Africa and China before the arrival of Europeans than previously known.
Under the headline, “600-year-old coin found: Chinese coin is discovered in Kenya”, sources report that some relatively surprising news in world history may be made this week, as the discovery of this ancient coin suggests that there may have been some sort of trade relationship between China and Africa over six centuries ago.
The coin itself is very small and made out of silver and copper, bearing a square hole in the center. The coins themselves were called “Yongle Tongbao”, added the report, and named after the Dynasty Emperor of the time, Emperor Yongle. His rule lasted between 1403 and 1425 in China. He was known for sending Chinese explorers, particularly the Admiral Zheng He, on explorations through the Indian Ocean.
“Zheng He was, in many ways, the Christopher Columbus of China,” noted Dr. Chapurukha M. Kusimba, the curator of African Anthropology at The Field Museum in Chicago. The museum was the locator of the rare coin. “It’s wonderful to have a coin that may ultimately prove he came to Kenya.”
He added that “Chinese currency in East Africa is very, very rare. ”Whether it turns out to be fake it is still extremely exciting. It speaks to the competition going on between merchants, the kind of competition that is still visible today.”
With a 600-year-old coin found, a surprising surge in history searches has also began to trend on the internet this week. Researchers from Africa and the U.S. also took part in the major expedition to the island of Manda, where the coin was originally discovered. They managed to unearth several other ancient artifacts as well as human remains, some of which were even older than the coin.
Investigation into the authenticity of the 600-year-old coin is still ongoing.
“We hope this and future expeditions to Manda will play a crucial role in showing how market-based exchange and urban-centered political economies arise and how they can be studied through biological, linguistic, and historical methodologies,” Kusimba concluded.