Did the Chinese come to East Africa before the Europeans?

China says yes and, to prove it, Chinese and Kenyan archeologists are now searching the African coast for the fabled wreck of a Ming dynasty junk, an ancient Chinese sailing vessel, from the fleet of legendary 15th-century explorer Zheng He.

 Researchers have identified several shipwrecks of interest off the Kenyan coast near the World Heritage site of Lamu but after years of excitable hype by China’s state media, the underwater archaeologists involved in the search are warning that the newly discovered wrecks could be from any era or country — and even if a sunken Chinese ship is found, it may no longer be intact or even identifiable.

Sea hunt for ancient Chinese ship off African coast - Erin Conway-Smith, GlobalPost.com