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Did China Discover The World??

Rowan Gavin Paton Menzies has written many books promoting claims that the Chinese sailed to America before Columbus.

Gavin Menzies (a British author and retired submarine lieutenant-commander) claims Chinese Admiral Zheng has set up colonies and sailed round South America before Columbus. In his books titled Who Discovered America and 1421: The Year China Discovered, he claims the Chinese have been sailing to the New World since 40,000 BC across the Pacific Ocean. In his books, he also said that the famed Chinese sailor Admiral Zheng He, who is known to have reached Europe and Africa, also crossed the Pacific Ocean to the Western Hemisphere.

   Gavin Menzies, 76, has been arguing for more than a decade that the Chinese and other Asians discovered the Ne World. 'Who Discovered America? is his fourth book on the topic


Gavin Menzies claims that the evidence proving that the Chinese, not Christopher Columbus, were the first to discover the New World, is a copy of a 600-year-old map found in a second-hand book shop in China.

Gavin Menzies believes that this portion of the map depicts the Chinese mapping of North and South America in 1418 - showing major rivers.


Menzies backs his claim by a map found in a second-hand bookshop by attorney Liu Gang in Beijing. He says:

The document, he says, is an 18th century copy of Admiral Zheng He's 1417 map. Mr Menzies argues that it clearly shows North American rivers and coasts, as well as the continent of South America.

Mr Menzie's assertion about Zheng He's voyage to the New World isn't new - he first wrote about it in 2002 - but the map is.

Mr Liu had the map authenticated by an appraiser from Christie's Auctions, who said that the document was 'very old' and was not a newly-made fake.

After Mr Liu brought the map forward, Menzies also had a team of historians analyze every word on it. He concluded that it was originally written in the Ming Dynasty - a Chinese period that lasted from 1368 to 1644. 

Gavin Menzies believes that this portion of the map depicts the Chinese mapping of North and South America in 1418 - showing major rivers

The map features some unique perspectives:

  • Some Peruvian towns are marked on it.

  • It's a dual-hemisphere map, which is a cartographic tradition almost exclusively European.

  • Cheng He is referred to as Ma San-Bao. No one would have used his original name given that the emperor assigned him the surname Zheng.

  • The non-coastal details indicate that these maps couldn't have been produced by maritime voyageurs. The map clearly shows distinct waterways.

  • In this map, the Himalayas are marked as the highest mountains in the world which wouldn't be proved fact by mainstream geography until the 19th century. 

Gavin Menzies claims that Zheng He not only reached the New World, he left colonies there. His fleet also sailed around the tip of South America - through the Strait of Megellan around the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi. 

There is evidence, both archaeological and genetic, Menzies says, that Zheng He left his mark in California, Florida, Virginia and even the Outer Banks of North Carolina.                    

       

Menzies say this map of the Ancash province of Peru shows numerous Chinese names of villages. Each of these dots represents a Peruvian town that reportedly has a Chinese name. It is claimed this is evidence of Chinese colonization before Columbus

Who is Admiral Zheng He?
Zheng He was born in what is now Jinning County, Kunming City of Yunnan Province in 1371, the fourth year of the Hongwu reign period (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty.

Raised a Muslim, Zheng He started to study the teachings of Islam at an early age. Both Zheng He's father and grandfather had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and so were quite familiar with distant lands. Under the influence of his father and grandfather, the young Zheng He developed a consuming curiosity about the outside world. Zheng He's father's direct character and altruistic nature also made a lasting impression on the boy. 

      

Explorer: Chinese Admiral Zheng He is known to have sailed the to Europe and Africa with a massive fleet of ships. Historian Gavin Menzies says he also reached the New World


Over a period of almost three decades in the early fifteenth century, Ming China sent out a fleet the likes of which the world had never seen. These enormous treasure junks were commanded by the great admiral, Zheng He.  Zheng He and his armada made seven epic voyages from the port at Nanjing to India, Arabia, and even East Africa.

 

1405-1407
In July the fleet left Nanjing with silks, porcelain, and spices for trade. This well-armed floating city defeated pirates in the Strait of Malacca and reached Sumatra, Ceylon, and India.

 

1407-1409
The fleet returned foreign ambassadors from Sumatra, India, and elsewhere who had traveled to China on the first voyage. The expeditions firmly established the Ming dynasty's Indian Ocean trade links.

 

1409-1411
Although notable for the imperial fleet's only major foreign land battle, the voyage was also marked by Muslim Zheng's offering of gifts to a Buddhist temple, one of many examples of his ecumenism.

 

1413-1415
In this voyage's wake, the first to travel beyond India and cross the Arabian Sea, an estimated 18 states sent tribute and envoys to China, underscoring the Ming emperor's influence overseas.

 

1417-1419
Zheng's Treasure Fleet visited the Arabian Peninsula and, for the first time, Africa. In Aden the sultan presented exotic gifts such as zebras, lions, and ostriches.

 

1421-1422
Zheng He's fleet continued the emperor's version of shuttle diplomacy, returning ambassadors to their native countries after stays of several years, while bringing other foreign dignitaries back to China.

 

1431-1433
The last voyage, to Africa's Swahili coast, with a side trip to Mecca, marked the end of China's golden age of exploration and of Zheng He's life. He presumably died en route home and was buried at sea.


An important advance in shipbuilding used since the second century in China was the construction of double hulls divided into separate watertight compartments. This saved ships from sinking if rammed, but it also offered a method of carrying water for passengers and animals, as well as tanks for keeping fish catches fresh. Crucial to navigation was another Chinese invention of the first century, the sternpost rudder, fastened to the outside rear of a ship which could be raised and lowered according to the depth of the water, and used to navigate close to shore, in crowded harbors and narrow channels. Both these inventions were commonplace in China 1,000 years before their introduction to Europe

In 1405 Zheng He along with his crew cross the ocean by ships measuring 144 meters in comparison with the ship brought by Columbus to America in 1492 of only 33 meters.

China had been extending its power out to sea for 300 years. To satisfy growing Chinese demand for special spices, medicinal herbs, and raw materials, Chinese merchants cooperated with Moslem and Indian traders to develop a rich network of trade that reached beyond island southeast Asia to the fringes of the Indian Ocean.

In 1403, the Yongle Emperor ordered the construction of a huge fleet of ships capable of travel around the Indian Ocean.  


How truthful are these claims?
In 'Who Discovered America?' Menzies focuses on theories that Asians also made it to North and South America by sea long before even Zheng He. 'It appears certain that man reached the Americas by sea at least forty thousands years ago,' Menzies writes. 

Gavin Menzies theories are widely not accepted by academia and he has been labeled a 'pseudo-historian', even by Wikipedia. In 2008, University of London history professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto told the Daily Telegraph that his books are 'the historical equivalent of stories about Elvis Presley in (the supermarket) and close encounters with alien hamsters.' 

Is it really hard to believe that the Chinese were the ones who reached America’s long before Columbus?   

         

 

Not really!! Looking at the ancient history, Chinese civilization was always a step ahead along with other Eastern ones such as the Islamic Arabic and Indian civilization. For example the four discoveries Compass, Gunpowder, PapermakinPrinting had a large impact on the development of civilization throughout the world along with other Chinese discoveries such as Silk, tea, Porcelain, Paper, Plants, Minerals, Medicines, Lacquer, Amusements [card playing, dominoes, kites, shadow figures] and other contributions [goldfish, folding umbrella, sedanchair]. 

 
 

So based on these discoveries, is it really hard to believe that the Chinese wer e the ones who reached America’s long before Columbus?  It's worth noting that Pacific Islanders may have reached South America even before Columbus, based on a recent genetic analysis of an indigenous Brazilian tribe called the Botocudos has revealed traces of Polynesian DNA.

1875- Indigenous Brazilian tribe Botocudos 

When it comes to History, it tends to be written by the winners (at least on the military and economic battlefields). And there is no reason to believe that it would be any different in the research sector where the stakes over scientific priority can be high. 

And so it happens that the History of Science narrative– largely fashioned by westerners- occasionally 'forgot' some major figures from the East along the way.

For instance: 

  • the Indian mathematician Baudhayana Sutra whose theorem on right angle triangles was rediscovered 100 years later by the Greek Pythagoras ... to whom it is still attributed; 
 
  • the Bengali Jagadish Bose, the first to receive and emit radio waves ... some years prior to Marconi, and who anticipated the existence of semi-conductors by 60 years.


Gavin Menzies calls the story that Christopher Columbus' discovered America in 1492 a 'fairy tale' - saying he was not only not the first explorer - he was 40,000 years late


So based on these statements, is it really hard to believe that the Chinese were the ones who reached America’s long before Columbus?  As Gavin states, 'There’s nothing terribly remarkable about. Man has been seafaring for vastly longer than convention credit has given them credit for.'

           

 

Sources: 

Does this map from 1418 prove historian's controversial claim that the New World was discovered by the CHINESE 70 years before Columbus?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2449265/Who-Discovered-America--Controversial-historian-Gavin-Menzies-claims-Chinese-reached-New-World-first.html#ixzz3vYMdFv3O 

Does this map prove that China discovered America before Columbus?
http://io9.gizmodo.com/certainly-people-discovered-the-american-continents-so-1443261878

Did Pacific Islanders reach South America before Columbus?
http://io9.gizmodo.com/did-pacific-islanders-reach-south-america-before-columb-465444995

Voyages of Zheng He
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0507/feature2/map.html" target="_blank">http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0507/feature2/map.html 

Admiral Zheng He – China’s Treasure Fleet
http://www.southbaysail.com/admiral-zheng---chinas-treasure-fleet.html

China's Gifts to the West
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/readings/inventions_gifts.htm#paper