Sung Document

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The Sung Document is a work of a Chinese author around 1178, during the Song dynasty. It states that Muslim sailors reached a region called "Mu-Lan-Pi", which, though normally identified as Spain, has been claimed to be some part of the Americas (specifically, present-day California.)

If the document is authentic, and furthermore if the identification of Mu-Lan-Pi with America is correct, then it is one of the earliest records of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic travel from the Eurasian continent to the Americas. However both the authenticity of the Sung Document and the identification of Mu-Lan-Pi with America are doubtful. The historian Joseph Needham was open to the possibility but doubted that Arabic ships at the time would have been able to withstand a return journey over such a long distance across the Atlantic Ocean and pointed out that a return journey would have been impossible without knowledge of prevailing winds and currents. Needham stated that there is no evidence that these were known five centuries before the Portuguese used them.[1]

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  1. ^ Joseph Needham & Colin A. Ronan (1986). The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-521-31560-3.