Anthropologists from the Field Museum and the University of Illinois at Chicago recently found a rare 600-year-old Chinese ancient coin on an island of Kenya. The coin proves China traded with African countries before European explorers. The coin was found on Manda, which was home to a sophisticated ancient colony between 200AD to 1430AD. The Manda excavation happened between Dec. 10, 2012 and Feb. 10, 2013.
The coin, called "Yongle Tongbao," is silver and copper. The hole in the center was to keep it on a belt. Issuing the coin was the Ming Dynasty's Emperor Yongle, who ruled from 1403-1425AD and helped construct Beijing's Forbidden City.
On October 2010, Professor Qin Dashu from Peking University and a joint team of Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists found a 15th Century Chinese coin in Mambrui; a tiny, nondescript village just north of Malindi on Kenya's north coast. Professor Qin Dashu validate that coin as "Yongle Tongbao"; the name of the reign that minted the coin some time between 1403 and 1424.
Many expert believe the coins were brought by Zheng He, also known as Cheng Ho; a legendary Chinese admiral who led a vast fleet of between 200 and 300 ships across the Indian Ocean in 1418. It is now believed that China's Zheng He reached East Africa long before any European explorer.
Source: Chicago Sun