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|Do you believe that Chinese circumnavigated the world in 1421?
|Mar 23, 2007 22:47
|I saw a book recently called "1421" , theorizing that the Chinese navy, (lead by the eunuch Zheng He) in 1421, early Ming Dynasty, actually reached North America. It's already known that Zheng He led the navy to Eastern Africa by 1421, but do you think that theory holds that the Chinese discovered North America before Columbus? It's a very intriguing idea!! His theory is that the Chinese traveled as far as the east coast of Canada and U.S., New Zealand (where Chinese ship wrecks were found), and left Asian seeds and animals in those places. He does have interesting evidence. Has anyone read the book?
|Mar 24, 2007 01:02
|I haven't read the book, but at the same time I've never heard of a respected historian accepting Gavin Menzies' claims. The evidence for his claims is tenuous at best.
And having grown up in New Zealand, I can tell you this: I have never heard of any Chinese shipwrecks in New Zealand waters. Nor have I heard of any Asian seeds or animals having arrived in New Zealand prior to the European discovery and settlement (unless, of course, you consider plants and animals brought by ancient Polynesians to be Asian, which is a claim as tenuous as those of Gavin Menzies).
Zheng He's achievements are great enough to stand on their own merits without the fancy embellishments of a retired submariner.
|Mar 24, 2007 04:41
I recommend you have a read of the book if you get the chance to find a copy. It is quite compelling.
Also, a few years ago when I was in NZ there was some stuff in the newspapers about a boat that was being unearthed somewhere south of Christchurch. Maybe around Ashburton way...can't really remember. The speculation then was that it was an old Chinese sailing ship.
Might be worth checking out.
|Mar 24, 2007 11:19
I was having a chat about that book and Zhang He this evening and I would be interested in reading it. The museum in Penglai has some well preserved Chinese Naval vessels from about that era and itis highly likely that they where able to 'discover' other continents.
I am puzzled by the strinking resemblance of the 'dingo', a wild breed of 'native' dog in Australia and that of domestic dogs in China????
Just where did each originate?????
Let's hear more on this interesting subject.
|Mar 25, 2007 04:18
I feel that it is quite possible that Zheng He's sailors did sail to most parts of the world. The vessels were certainly seaworthy enough, and there is no reason to doubt that the men who sailed on them were great seamen. Try to get a copy of the book, it is worth the effort.
Also, current DNA sampling across the pacific seems to suggest that the Maori people of NZ were a mix of Taiwanese, Indonesian and Philippino. Apparently the movement started in Taiwan? However I have not done much research on that so its just hearsay.
As to the dingo..if you go to www.iprimus.com.au/readman/dingo you will see that one of the two theories for the dingo's arrival in Australia says that the dingo "may have been related to the semi wild dogs found throughout SE Asia and brought to Australia by seafarers for trade and/or eating."
|Mar 25, 2007 04:31
|This is a pic of my friends dog (and cat!) near Du An (In the Nanning area) It is a very dingo like animal which does tend to support the theory I outlined in my last reply.
|Mar 25, 2007 05:07
|It's been fairly well established that thousands of years ago proto-Austronesian people moved southwards from Taiwan through the Phillipines into Malaysia and Indonesia, thence eastwards through Melanesia into Austronesia. The genetic and linguistic relationship between the Maori and the Gaoshan (aboriginal) people of Taiwan has nothing to do with Zheng He nor do they provide any evidence to back up Gavin Menzies' claims.
Sure, it's entirely possible for Zheng He and his men to have sailed all around the world, but possibility does not constitute proof, and it's the proof that seems to be lacking. Take this for example:
On that page Michael King, a New Zealand historian, is quoted extensively punching huge holes in Gavin Menzies' "proof" that the Chinese discovered New Zealand before Cook (and, one would assume, before Tasman). To sum it up, the shipwrecks Menzies uses as proof are neither old enough to have been a part of Zheng He's fleet nor from China. In fact, one of them was made of totara, a native New Zealand tree. Also Michael King demonstrates that Menzies clearly knows very little about New Zealand- people living in Dusky Sound? No. The one Maori family Cook met there in 1770 had left already when Cook returned in 1773. Torei Palma beach? That's obviously not a New Zealand place name. The quality of Menzies' "scholarship" speaks for itself. Sorry, but I can't believe his claims, not when people who really do know their subject can so easily shoot such huge holes in his book.
|Mar 25, 2007 06:53
|Having read the article by Michael King, I also read the next attached article which seems to allow for a much more open minded approach to this topic.
I see that Menzies is slated as a "Retired Submariner" as if such a thing precluded the man from having anything worthwhile to contribute! Let me remind you that Albert Einstein was a humble clerk working in a patents office. I fail to see the connection between an individuals working environment and their ability to test the perceived wisdom of "Historians" and many others who have got so many things wrong in the past, but who have defended their positions to their dying breath even after irrefutable evidence contrary to their particular beliefs has been substantiated.
I do not say that Menzies is right or wrong. I simply say that much of what he has to say has an inkling of possibility and should be welcomed as a new theatre for investigation in an otherwise rather boring and predictable perspective on the movement of peoples around the world.
The recent discovery of a totally new human species on the island of Flores in Indonesia (The so called "Hobbits") should be a warning against taking hard and fast stands against new ideas. Even if they do seem far fetched.
|Mar 25, 2007 21:31
|I'm not taking a hard and fast stand against new ideas. I'm just saying that there is a lack of proof for Menzies' claims and that a lot of what he has claimed is evidence is not. On balance I have to consider him less than credible.
The Hobbits of Flores are not a good analogy. There's still a lot of debate over the significance of the finds, and the research is being done by the experts, not by amateurs.
As for Einstein, he may have been a mere clerk, but he was also academically rigorous. He could prove his claims without resorting to any kind of trickery. That's the key. Sure, a submariner should know a thing or two about navigation, and I'm sure Menzies put his expertise to good use, but when he goes dabbling in history he'd better be prepared to back up his claims. If he can provide solid evidence, fine, but as the example of the shipwrecks in New Zealand shows, he has failed to provide that evidence. Sure, amateurs can, and perhaps should, get involved in all areas of study, but if they're to be taken seriously they need to perform up to a professional standard.
|Mar 26, 2007 01:13
|Haha, interesting thread. 2005 is the 600 anniversary of Zhenghe's great achievement and many celebrations were held all over China.
|Mar 26, 2007 01:32
|See the model of Zheng He's Bao Chuan(Treasure Boat).
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