600-Year-Old Rare Coin Found In Kenya May Change History


CCSS NCSS-8 322 Words 3-Minute Listen

Thanks to the discovery numerous Portuguese chronicles, historians have always believed that it was Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese explorer that sailed around Africa to India and back between 1497 and 1499, who first began trading with East Africa. However, the recent discovery of a rare coin in Kenya, may convince them to rethink that theory.

The 600-year old copper and silver disk that has a hole in the center possibly to be worn on a belt, was unearthed in early December 2012, on the very first day of a three-month dig conducted on the island of Manda, Kenya, by Charles Kusimba from Chicago's Field Museum and Sloan R. Williams from the University of Illinois.

Researchers believe that the coin, which was issued between 1403-1425 and bears the name of Emperor Yongle, head of the Ming Dynasty, proves that it was the Chinese, not the Portuguese who were the first to discover and trade with the eastern coast of Africa. They speculate that it may have been Commander Zheng He, who was known to have gone on several voyages to explore the lands bordering the Indian Ocean to try expand Chinese trade and political influence.

However, following Emperor Yongle's death, the relationship came to halt because the new leaders were not as forward thinking and banned all international trading. This, is what paved the way for European explorers like Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus to discover new worlds and trade in goods like ivory and silk.

The coin is currently being authenticated by experts to ensure that it is indeed a genuine coin issued by the Chinese emperor. If it proves to be, the archeologists will head back to the Island at the end of this year, to see what other important information about the trading relationship between Europe and Asia they can dig up at what is believed to be the oldest site in Sub-Saharan Africa.


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  • NoahMonday, May 20, 2019 at 10:53 am
    I have an 1843 penny
    • mangleplayzMonday, December 3, 2018 at 6:53 am
      the disk is so tiny
      • tank loverTuesday, September 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm
        love it love history love tanks.
        • sofiaMonday, August 20, 2018 at 5:18 pm
          i know it changed history!!!!like totaly
          • michaeljackson
            michaeljacksonMonday, August 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm
            I have something like that!!! THAT IS SOO COOL!!! it actually looks like a donut!!!
            • catlover22
              catlover22Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:26 am
              I love donuts!!!!🍩🍩🍩
              • siennald
                siennaldWednesday, September 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm
                yummy :-o
              • eaglegamer
                eaglegamerTuesday, June 5, 2018 at 10:23 am
                • sleepyhead3545Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 11:38 am
                  • I WANT THAT COIThursday, May 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm
                    I WANT THAT COIN well i may have one that is like that still I WANT THAT COIN
                    • pieThursday, April 16, 2015 at 9:51 am
                      so cool
                      • ninjajvt12
                        ninjajvt12Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 8:42 am
                        that is so cool