The oldest written record concerning sailing on the South China Sea dates back to the 2nd century B.C. At the time, the boats were only capable of voyage along the coast. Therefore, the main route was along the coast of China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesia Islands. The sailors dared not voyage far from the coast. In the 3rd century, the Paracel Islands were discovered. In the 5th century, as nautical and navigational skills became more advanced, it became possible to sail directly from Guangzhou to Java island, and then to Borneo in the southern Philippines. In the 7th century, the first voyage from China across the Taiwan Strait to the Reuchieu Island was recorded. During the l0th century, advances were made in the construction of ships. The vessels could now resist stronger waves and sail for further distances, crossing the Taiwan Straits to Penghu (Pescardos), Southern Taiwan, Luzon, the central part of the Philippines and from southern Vietnam through Borneo to East Jaya. In the mid-16th century, the Macclesfield Islands and the Nansha Islands (Spratlys) were discovered. The islands were discovered by crews sailing directly from China or Vietnam to the Philippines or northwest from Luzon to China. At the end of the 15th century, the Pratas Islands were discovered. Researching the early voyages in the South China Sea contributes to our understanding of the movement of people, as well as the trade and the exchange of cultures in this area. Furthermore, there is currently a conflict of sovereignty in the South China Sea. These historical records of the discovery and utilization of the islands in the South China Sea can help with these claims of sovereignty.