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Scientists Find Rare Chinese Coin in Kenya

Update Date: Mar 13, 2013 07:19 PM EDT

Scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago announced Wednesday the discovery of a rare Chinese coin on the island of Manda, off the coast of Kenya.

Issued by the Emperor Yongle of China – the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China, reigning from 1402 to 1424 – the coin is a factual evidence that the African-Chinese ties precede the European expansion in the black continent.

The discovery resulted of a joint expedition by American and Kenyan researchers, led by Chapurukha Kusimba of the museum and Sloan Williams of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“The coin proves trade existed between China and eastern Africa decades before European explorers set sail,” said Kusimba.

Made of copper and silver, the coin is a true rarity. It boasts a square hole in the center so it could be worn on a belt. Researchers believe it was issued by Emperor Yongle of China and his name is written on it.

Researchers from Kenya, Pennsylvania and Ohio participated in the expedition. With the coin they also found human remains and other artifacts predating the coin.

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