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Green Arrow
01-12-2015, 10:47 PM
I just discovered two new books a few months ago and finally had the funds to purchase both of them. They are 1421: The Year China Discovered America, and 1434: The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance, both by Gavin Menzies. Menzies has a pretty good resume: retired submarine lieutenant-commander in the British Navy. I've read portions of 1434 and the first chapter of 1421, I'm presently reading all the way through 1421.

His information is interesting and he does a good job supporting his hypotheses, but I've done some digging and most historians apparently reject his theories as pseudohistory. Still, they are a fascinating read so far and kind of offer a "what if" look.

Peter1469
01-13-2015, 04:34 AM
Sounds interesting. At what point did the Chinese sink their ships and turn inward?

Mister D
01-13-2015, 07:57 AM
I'm aware of no Chinese connection to the Renaissance but I have heard of the theory that Chinese discovered America. To me, it's just a human interest story. IOW, even if it's true so what? The Spanish discovery, as opposed to that of the Vikings or allegedly the Chinese, is important because it changed the world. It brought the Americas into contact with the rest of the globe.

Green Arrow
01-13-2015, 11:33 AM
Sounds interesting. At what point did the Chinese sink their ships and turn inward?

With the death of Emperor Zhu Di in 1424, though the decline started in late 1421. Zhu Di's son and successor, Zhu Gaozhi, was more aligned with the mandarins who always opposed the voyages. Zhu Gaozhi's son and successor, Zhu Zhanji, expanded his predecessor's policies, and Zhu Zhanji's death in 1435 led to total xenophobia in China.

Polecat
01-13-2015, 11:37 AM
You been keeping a secret relationship with the guy from Australia?

Green Arrow
01-13-2015, 11:40 AM
I'm aware of no Chinese connection to the Renaissance but I have heard of the theory that Chinese discovered America. To me, it's just a human interest story. IOW, even if it's true so what? The Spanish discovery, as opposed to that of the Vikings or allegedly the Chinese, is important because it changed the world. It brought the Americas into contact with the rest of the globe.

According to Menzies, the Chinese voyages changed a lot because the Portuguese, Spanish, and other Europeans eventually used their maps and discoveries to make their own discoveries. Menzies argues that without the Chinese telling of their voyages, the Europeans wouldn't have gone where they did when they did.

Mister D
01-13-2015, 12:46 PM
According to Menzies, the Chinese voyages changed a lot because the Portuguese, Spanish, and other Europeans eventually used their maps and discoveries to make their own discoveries. Menzies argues that without the Chinese telling of their voyages, the Europeans wouldn't have gone where they did when they did.

What is his evidence?

Green Arrow
01-13-2015, 01:03 PM
What is his evidence?

It's mostly circumstantial so far. A lot of it is taking a little thing here and there and using his experience and knowledge of the winds and currents to extrapolate from there. I'm not at home, or I'd tell you exactly what he said.

Mister D
01-13-2015, 01:04 PM
It's mostly circumstantial so far. A lot of it is taking a little thing here and there and using his experience and knowledge of the winds and currents to extrapolate from there. I'm not at home, or I'd tell you exactly what he said.

Post as you come across it. I'm curious.

Green Arrow
01-13-2015, 01:06 PM
Absolutely. Off the top of my head, he references the Kagnido (Kagagnido? I'll look it up later), Pei Ris map (Ottoman), and a Venetian named di Conti.

Mister D
01-13-2015, 01:11 PM
Absolutely. Off the top of my head, he references the Kagnido (Kagagnido? I'll look it up later), Pei Ris map (Ottoman), and a Venetian named di Conti.

I think Venice had a small trading post somewhere

Peter1469
01-13-2015, 03:55 PM
It's mostly circumstantial so far. A lot of it is taking a little thing here and there and using his experience and knowledge of the winds and currents to extrapolate from there. I'm not at home, or I'd tell you exactly what he said.Aren't their maps that the Chinese claim were made from back then that prove their claim? Assuming the maps are authentic of course.

Polecat
01-13-2015, 04:24 PM
Spoiler alert. The end of the book reveals that the Chinese were looking for a short cut to Portugal.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 12:07 AM
Mister D, Peter1469, here's what I've got so far as to Menzies' sources:

- Kangnido, a Chinese/Korean chart. It was presented by the Korean ambassador to Emperor Zhu Di in 1403 after he became emperor. It's a map of the world that shows Africa in startlingly accurate dimensions and shape.

- Fra Mauro, a Venetian cartographer. Fra Mauro drew a map that accurately depicted the Cape of Good Hope thirty years before Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape for the first time. Mauro also drew an accurate image of a Chinese junk and identified it as a ship that rounded the Cape and gave him the information for his map.

- Niccolo da Conti, Venetian merchant and explorer

- Wu Pei Chi, most comprehensive military book in Chinese

- Piri Reis map which accurately describes Patagonia, the Falkland Islands, and the northern tip of Antarctica. It also has accurate drawings of people and creatures exactly where they lived in Patagonia

That's what I got so far.

Mister D
01-14-2015, 07:41 PM
So I did some light reading regarding the Piri Reis map which I picked at random. From what I gather, it's dated to 1513 and, according to its creator, uses a mix of Arab, European, and Indian sources.

Bob
01-14-2015, 07:56 PM
A Chinese ship could have simply sailed east to North America. no need to sail west. We should have found evidence in California.

We are about 6,000 miles from China and on the side of a lot of their major populations. Sail due east and you can have lunch as San Diego. Winds prevail east from China.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 08:16 PM
A Chinese ship could have simply sailed east to North America. no need to sail west. We should have found evidence in California.

We are about 6,000 miles from China and on the side of a lot of their major populations. Sail due east and you can have lunch as San Diego. Winds prevail east from China.

We know that such is possible today, Bob, but that doesn't mean they did back then.

Mister D
01-14-2015, 08:30 PM
We know that such is possible today, Bob, but that doesn't mean they did back then.

What's funny is that there is Chinese debris (e.g. anchors) all over the CA coast from 19th Century fishing boats.

I don't buy this particular revisionist attempt but I'm inspired. It's been a long time since I read a good book about the Age of Exploration. Great adventure stories.

Bob
01-14-2015, 08:37 PM
We know that such is possible today, Bob, but that doesn't mean they did back then.

Figure it out. From China to CA is 6,000 miles. From China to the east coast of the USA has to be a lot more than 18,000 miles.

As to claims of Chinese anchors found on CA coasts, never heard of that.

Mister D
01-14-2015, 08:44 PM
Figure it out. From China to CA is 6,000 miles. From China to the east coast of the USA has to be a lot more than 18,000 miles.

As to claims of Chinese anchors found on CA coasts, never heard of that.

Chinese junks were allowed to fish there.

Bob
01-14-2015, 08:46 PM
Chinese junks were allowed to fish there.


I googled the story. Never found any evidence.

More research and I found a few articles.

This one is good. This was during the Gold Rush days and later

http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/77fall/chinese.htm

Peter1469
01-14-2015, 08:49 PM
Chinese junks were allowed to fish there.

There is lots of evidence of many ancient cultures in North America. Many people ignore it.

Mister D
01-14-2015, 08:52 PM
There is lots of evidence of many ancient cultures in North America. Many people ignore it.

I'm open to it. I just don't see anything convincing yet.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 09:01 PM
What's funny is that there is Chinese debris (e.g. anchors) all over the CA coast from 19th Century fishing boats.

I don't buy this particular revisionist attempt but I'm inspired. It's been a long time since I read a good book about the Age of Exploration. Great adventure stories.

Like I said, most of what I've observed from him is conjecture. The best piece of evidence he has is the Kangnido, but he even admits the original was destroyed and the copy he was going off of was heavily revised after 1420.

Keeping that in mind, it's still a good read though. Just take it with a grain of salt.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 09:13 PM
Figure it out. From China to CA is 6,000 miles. From China to the east coast of the USA has to be a lot more than 18,000 miles.

As to claims of Chinese anchors found on CA coasts, never heard of that.

They had no reason to go east, Bob. They were following their trade routes, which went west.

Bob
01-14-2015, 09:16 PM
They had no reason to go east, Bob. They were following their trade routes, which went west.

As the forum expert on all things Chinese, you must mean.

I need back up of things you claim. A lot of back up.

Mister D
01-14-2015, 09:19 PM
There is lots of evidence of many ancient cultures in North America. Many people ignore it.

I think it was proved that Polynesians came to South America.

PolWatch
01-14-2015, 09:22 PM
I remember how amazing the 'Voyage of the Kon Tiki' was....he went from SA to Polynesia (I think) on a raft. I can't imagine doing that.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 09:24 PM
As the forum expert on all things Chinese, you must mean.

I need back up of things you claim. A lot of back up.

The Chinese had major trade dealings in East Africa, Hormuz/Cairo, and Calicut (modern day Kozhikode, India). All to the west of China.

PolWatch
01-14-2015, 09:26 PM
I've put 1421 on my pending list...sounds interesting....so many books! so little time!

Bob
01-14-2015, 09:34 PM
The Chinese had major trade dealings in East Africa, Hormuz/Cairo, and Calicut (modern day Kozhikode, India). All to the west of China.

I am not disputing that. I simply don't know. but that is one hell of a lot of thousands of miles from America's east coast. As you said, take your book with a grain of salt.

Let me give you the distance from say South China to New York City. Over 18,000 miles. Now take the small Junks of that era, factor in food, water and sanitation and tell me what sort of trip that would amount to?

As you admit the story is full of conjecture and it is smart to take it with a grain of salt. No idea why you defend that book but kerry on.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 10:11 PM
I am not disputing that. I simply don't know. but that is one hell of a lot of thousands of miles from America's east coast. As you said, take your book with a grain of salt.

Let me give you the distance from say South China to New York City. Over 18,000 miles. Now take the small Junks of that era, factor in food, water and sanitation and tell me what sort of trip that would amount to?

As you admit the story is full of conjecture and it is smart to take it with a grain of salt. No idea why you defend that book but kerry on.

I'm not defending it.

Green Arrow
01-14-2015, 11:57 PM
Mister D, I found multiple references to Menzies' sources being on his website, and found the website.

http://www.gavinmenzies.net/

Green Arrow
01-24-2015, 01:02 AM
Holy hell. I just finished this and I gotta say, you could just read the postscript of the book and he makes it impossible to argue with his conclusions, let alone the rest of the book. Dude's even got DNA evidence from native tribes in South, Central, and North America that shows clear Chinese ancestry, particularly in the Maya, for whom the DNA evidence is so strong they could actually be classified as Chinese.

Mind = blown.

Mister D
01-24-2015, 08:51 AM
Holy hell. I just finished this and I gotta say, you could just read the postscript of the book and he makes it impossible to argue with his conclusions, let alone the rest of the book. Dude's even got DNA evidence from native tribes in South, Central, and North America that shows clear Chinese ancestry, particularly in the Maya, for whom the DNA evidence is so strong they could actually be classified as Chinese.

Mind = blown.

As I understand it, you're referring to an entirely separate thesis. The 1421 thesis is that the Chinese "discovered" America and much else. The "DNA evidence" was presented in support of the thesis that the Americas were originally peopled by migrants from Asia who arrived by sea tens of thousands of years ago. I won't weigh in on the latter. The former I still think is weak.

Green Arrow
01-24-2015, 01:38 PM
As I understand it, you're referring to an entirely separate thesis. The 1421 thesis is that the Chinese "discovered" America and much else. The "DNA evidence" was presented in support of the thesis that the Americas were originally peopled by migrants from Asia who arrived by sea tens of thousands of years ago. I won't weigh in on the latter. The former I still think is weak.

The subtitle of the book is actually a bit of a misnomer. He talks about the Chinese discovering America, but it's actually a very small part of the book. It would really be better titled as "How the Chinese Circumnavigated the World."

But, I digress. That "tens of thousands of years ago" is not what the DNA evidence he presented indicated. Plus, there were other factors, such as the existence of Asiatic chickens and plants all over the Americas and a Chinese man buried as a king in a Mayan temple.

Mister D
01-24-2015, 02:55 PM
The subtitle of the book is actually a bit of a misnomer. He talks about the Chinese discovering America, but it's actually a very small part of the book. It would really be better titled as "How the Chinese Circumnavigated the World."

But, I digress. That "tens of thousands of years ago" is not what the DNA evidence he presented indicated. Plus, there were other factors, such as the existence of Asiatic chickens and plants all over the Americas and a Chinese man buried as a king in a Mayan temple.

Regarding Chickens:


The Red Jungle fowl, the ancestor of domestic chickens, is found broadly distributed across the Asian mainland (Beebe 1938; Crawford 1990; Johnsgard 1999). All modern domestic chickens are ultimately derived from animals that lived thousands of years ago in Asia. Thus, the existence of Asian characteristics in particular flocks of chickens cannot be taken as evidence for direct ancestry, as it may instead rlefect an ancestral phenotype inherited from the Asian Red Jungle fowl. Nevertheless, Menzies (2002: 158) claimed that, using the descriptions provided by de Acosta (2002 [1590]), three distinct chicken introductions to South America could be recognized; Frizzle types from China, Black Melanoticstrains from Southeast Asia and China, and Asian Red Jungle fowl from Southeast Asia. De Acosta (2002 [1590]), in fact, commented on the non-Spanish names used by the indigenous South Americans when referring to chickens as evidence for their pre-Columbian origin. On the issue of their physical appearance, he said only “in the Indies there are many species of animals and birds resembling those of Europe, which the Spaniards found there…..” (de Acosta2002 [1590]: 235). Thus, Menzies (2002) could not have derived his conclusions from de Acosta’s account.

http://www.academia.edu/1074480/Pre-Columbian_chickens_of_the_Americas_a_critical_revi ew_of_the_hypotheses_and_evidence_for_their_origin s

This is actually quite interesting. I plan to read it all.


I searched for a while this morning trying to track down the sources for some of these claims. Chinese man buried as a king in a Mayan temple? What does he use as a source?

Green Arrow
01-24-2015, 03:13 PM
I'll search through the appendices tonight when I get home and let you know.

Mister D
01-24-2015, 03:15 PM
I'll search through the appendices tonight when I get home and let you know.

no rush. Take your time. It's pretty fun to discuss history like this. :smiley:

Mister D
01-24-2015, 03:20 PM
Green Arrow my error. It is his thesis but it's from another book.


Greatly expanding on the blockbuster 1421, distinguished historian Gavin Menzies and his co-author, Ian Hudson, uncover the complete untold history of how mankind came to populate the Americas by sea, over several millennia.

Menzies and Hudson offer a revolutionary new alternative to the traditional “Beringia” theory, (which suggests that ancient man crossed a land bridge connecting Asia and North America during the last Ice Age.) The authors here reveal astounding new evidence of an ancient Asian seagoing tradition—most notably the Chinese—that pushes the discovery of the Americas back thousands of years. Columbus was forty thousand years late!




http://www.gavinmenzies.net/america-book/about-who-discovered-america/