Is Gavin Menzies Right or Wrong?





Mr. Furnish, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor, World History, Georgia Perimeter College.

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Every college world history textbook discusses the early 15th c. CE Chinese naval expeditions, commissioned by the Ming Emperor Zhu Di and commanded by the legendary admiral Zheng He, that sailed as far as East Africa and the Red Sea. Indeed, one of the favorite themes of the history subgenre known as alternative history is: why didn't these Chinese flotillas beat the Portuguese and Spanish to the New World--and what if they had?

Gavin Menzies, a former British Royal Navy officer, argues in the bestseller 1421: The Year China Discovered America, that squadrons from Zheng He's fleets, between 1421 and 1423, did indeed get to the Americas first--as well as to Greenland, Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately for supporters of this theory, he offers no proof, only a great deal of circumstantial evidence marred by questionable scholarship.

Menzies has no "smoking gun" that proves his theory-- because the xenophobic Confucian officials who advised the later Ming emperors destroyed all records of these sea voyages. So he relies upon three types of evidence. First, Menzies claims that Chinese maps from as early as 1428, allegedly showing parts of North and South America and some Atlantic islands, were used by European explorers (including Columbus) when they started their own voyages decades later. Second, he adduces allegedly tangible evidence of pre-Columbian contact between Asia and the Americas, such as: flora and fauna (maize, sweet potatoes, Asiatic chickens, coconuts) that must have been transported by humans; "DNA evidence" that links American Indians to the Chinese; wrecks of Chinese ships and medieval Chinese anchors found in California. Third, Menzies relies upon, and constantly reminds the reader of, his own naval expertise which gives him a mystical understanding that landlubbers lack; for example, "if I was able to state with confidence the course a Chinese fleet had taken, it was because...my own knowledge of the winds, currents, and sea conditions they faced told me the route as surely as if there had been a written record of it" (p. 83).

Authors that aim to rewrite 500 years of accepted history should rely less on subjective claims and more on hard evidence. And this is where Menzies ultimately fails to persuade. First, he does not read Chinese and thus cites no primary sources--a problem even if one accepts that the records were all destroyed. Even more fatal to his argument, Menzies often fails to provide corroborating data for many of his claims. To cite just four examples, he: never provides the DNA evidence supposedly linking the American Indians and Chinese; fails to document the discovery of Chinese anchors off the coast of California; appeals to unspecified "local experts," as when arguing that remains of 15th century Chinese shipwrecks have been found in New Zealand; and says that a Taiwanese museum's copy of a Chinese map allegedly showing Australia and Tasmania "unfortunately...has been lost." Questionable speculative leaps are also Menzies's stock-in-trade, as when claiming that the inscription on a stone column in the Cape Verde Islands (off Africa's western coast) is in Maylayam, a language of South India, and that this proves the Chinese were there. Yet why would a Chinese fleet admiral order a message inscribed in a language other than Chinese? And sometimes Menzies just plain contradicts himself, as when he asserts that "sea levels in 1421 were lower than today" (p. 257) because of modern global warming, but then later claims "Greenland was circumnavigable in 1421-2, for...the climate...was far warmer than it is today" (p. 306).

As I tell my college world history students, the most likely candidate for future world domination in1400 certainly would have been China, with its huge oceangoing ships backed up by a sophisticated, prosperous and powerful state. However, that did not come to pass. Even if Menzies were right about the Chinese discovery of the New World--and there are tantalizing aspects to his thesis, such as the strangely accurate pre-Columbian maps of parts of the Atlantic, as well as the biological evidence of pre-Columbian Old and New World contacts--that would not change the fact that it was the Europeans who colonized the new lands and came to dominate the globe. Ultimately, however, Menzies's presentation in 1421 is much like that delivered at the United Nations recently by Secretary of State Powell regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: convincing only to true believers and leaving others at best, in the words of the old hymn, "almost persuaded."


This article first appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and is reprinted with permission.


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More Comments:


Savoya Jeaneele Dillard - 3/1/2010

No he is not wrong because they are crazy for drinking the water after other people.


Carrie Jean Richardson - 12/5/2006

I'm sorry, but where are the backups to your claims he is a debunker? (Very professional word.)

Clearly he read the book-

"And sometimes Menzies just plain contradicts himself, as when he asserts that "sea levels in 1421 were lower than today" (p. 257)"

(That's called a citation, they are all over the article. Also very professional.)

I suggest that you have some backing before you get your knickers in a twist and go around name calling. (Because that's not very professional.)



Hugh Agricola Bowman - 8/27/2005

"Furnish's challenges to this book were quite clear. I don't get the objections at all. Sure DNA evidence is good evidence. But Menzies only claims there is such evidence. He doesn's state the published report in which this evidence can be found."
-- Steve Weatherbe

here is a short and vastly incomplete part of his DNA evidence off of his website that I invite you to view since you complain of his lack of evidence (http://www.1421.tv/pages/evidence/index.asp)

1. Gabriel Novick -- ‘Polymorphic Alu Insertions and the Asian Origin of Native American Populations’ in Human Biology, Vol 70 No. 1, p. 23. 1988

2. J Bruges-Armas -- ‘HLA in the Azores Archipelago: possible presence of mongoloid genes’ in Tissue Antigens Vol 54, 1999.

3. Noah A. Rosenberg -- ‘Genetic structure of human populations’ in Science Vol 298 20 December 2002.

4. R Yanagihara -- ‘JC Virus Genotypes in the Western Pacific suggest Asian mainland relationships and virus association with early population movements’ in Human Biology Vol 74 No. 3, June 2002.

5. Theodore G Schurr -- in American Journal of Human Genetics 46: 6-3-623 1990. ‘Amerindian mitochondrial DNA''s have rare Asian mutations at high frequencies, suggesting they derived from four primary maternal lineages.’

6. Felipe Vilchis --‘HLA genes and the origin of the Amerindians’ in Genética Biomedicina Molecular 200 Resume GY E02, Monterey, Mexico (trans. Ian Hudson).

7. Matthew E Hurles -- ‘Native American Y chromosomes in Polynesia: The genetic impact of the Polynesian slave trade’ American Journal of Human Genetics. 72, 1282-1287, 2003.

8. Geoffrey K Chambers -- As published in BBC News , August 11 1998: ‘World: Asia-Pacific Maoris may have come from China. Using genes to reconstruct human history in Polynesia.’

9. Antonio Torroni and colleagues -- “Mt DNA variation of aboriginal Siberians reveals distinct genetic affinities with native Americans.’ In American Journal of Human Genetics 53: 591-608, 1993.

10. Antonio Torroni -- ‘Asian affinities and continental radiation of the four founding native American mt DNA''s.’ In American Journal of Human Genetics 1993 Sept 53(3) 563-90.

those are 10 examples, i can provide you with quotes from the studies if you would like.









Likewise, Furnish challenges Menzies on the claim that another piece of evidence in the form of a map has been lost from a Taiwanese museum. If the map's been lost, where is the documentation proving it existed? Likewise, where is the documented evidence of the alleged anchors off California?

Someone in this string asserts that history is just guesswork. Oh hogwash. The historical method rests on documentation or archeological evidence. It is not guesswork.
What Menzies is doing is guesswork. If he has no documentation he is just blowing hot air.

Who he reminds me of is Erich Von Daniken. His method of "proving" his thesis is very close to Von Daniken's so-called proof that space travelling aliens instigated the building of ancient pyramids, roads and stutuary.


Hugh Agricola Bowman - 8/27/2005

"Furnish's challenges to this book were quite clear. I don't get the objections at all. Sure DNA evidence is good evidence. But Menzies only claims there is such evidence. He doesn's state the published report in which this evidence can be found."
-- Steve Weatherbe

here is a short and vastly incomplete part of his DNA evidence off of his website that I invite you to view since you complain of his lack of evidence (http://www.1421.tv/pages/evidence/index.asp)

1. Gabriel Novick -- ‘Polymorphic Alu Insertions and the Asian Origin of Native American Populations’ in Human Biology, Vol 70 No. 1, p. 23. 1988

2. J Bruges-Armas -- ‘HLA in the Azores Archipelago: possible presence of mongoloid genes’ in Tissue Antigens Vol 54, 1999.

3. Noah A. Rosenberg -- ‘Genetic structure of human populations’ in Science Vol 298 20 December 2002.

4. R Yanagihara -- ‘JC Virus Genotypes in the Western Pacific suggest Asian mainland relationships and virus association with early population movements’ in Human Biology Vol 74 No. 3, June 2002.

5. Theodore G Schurr -- in American Journal of Human Genetics 46: 6-3-623 1990. ‘Amerindian mitochondrial DNA''s have rare Asian mutations at high frequencies, suggesting they derived from four primary maternal lineages.’

6. Felipe Vilchis --‘HLA genes and the origin of the Amerindians’ in Genética Biomedicina Molecular 200 Resume GY E02, Monterey, Mexico (trans. Ian Hudson).

7. Matthew E Hurles -- ‘Native American Y chromosomes in Polynesia: The genetic impact of the Polynesian slave trade’ American Journal of Human Genetics. 72, 1282-1287, 2003.

8. Geoffrey K Chambers -- As published in BBC News , August 11 1998: ‘World: Asia-Pacific Maoris may have come from China. Using genes to reconstruct human history in Polynesia.’

9. Antonio Torroni and colleagues -- “Mt DNA variation of aboriginal Siberians reveals distinct genetic affinities with native Americans.’ In American Journal of Human Genetics 53: 591-608, 1993.

10. Antonio Torroni -- ‘Asian affinities and continental radiation of the four founding native American mt DNA''s.’ In American Journal of Human Genetics 1993 Sept 53(3) 563-90.

those are 10 examples, i can provide you with quotes from the studies if you would like.









Likewise, Furnish challenges Menzies on the claim that another piece of evidence in the form of a map has been lost from a Taiwanese museum. If the map's been lost, where is the documentation proving it existed? Likewise, where is the documented evidence of the alleged anchors off California?

Someone in this string asserts that history is just guesswork. Oh hogwash. The historical method rests on documentation or archeological evidence. It is not guesswork.
What Menzies is doing is guesswork. If he has no documentation he is just blowing hot air.

Who he reminds me of is Erich Von Daniken. His method of "proving" his thesis is very close to Von Daniken's so-called proof that space travelling aliens instigated the building of ancient pyramids, roads and stutuary.


Hugh Agricola Bowman - 8/27/2005

"And what does whether or not I speak or read Chinese have to do with anything? Menzies doesn't." -- Mr Furnish

To my knowledge, Menzies lived in China for several years before and during the course of his research for the book and does speak Chinese... though i do agree with you that it doesn't really mean anything.


Para Listas - 7/26/2005

Señores y señoras:
Hoy "descubrí" su lista de discusión.
Lo voy a anunciar a mis compatriotas.
Los declaro "descubiertos".
Firma: El Descubridor
P.S.: ¿Les suena ridículo? - A mí también, como cuando escriben sobre el "descubrimiento" de América


James F Fowler - 7/26/2005

Mr. Colonna - That's a pretty good analysis of the book '1421' -
(P.S. - Your English is good - I wish that '1421' could have made as much sense.)

best regards - J. Fowler


Ulysse Alexandre Colonna - 7/26/2005

(Porto, Portugal), Hello.
I feel a bite stupid talking about a debate that is already passed but what do you want, we have to admit that in Europe we are always slightly late...
I'm a student in La Sorbonne, Paris, in modern Europe history. I've just red the book in question. It is for sure a lot of work, no one can deny. First I'd like to underline what seems to me a very important issue, M. Menzies' book doesn't fallow usually a very "scientific" method to prove his claims (which doesn't mean that he's always wrong). No big deal as long as the subject in question is "the honour of Chinese seamen" dead for a loooong time. But, what if this method was to be apply to much more problematic subject, such as the Shoa...
After, this unpleasant remark let's turn back to the book.
Two things first. Before even bringing any argument M Menzies has two phenomena against him:
1) Is there one earth one people who have ever pretended to have found America before Columbus? Except pygmies I don't think so.
2) China is the new hyper power. It's sad to say but it's a fairly nationalistic country as well. After, being the other birthplace of humanity, now they found America... Simple coincidence??? Trend???
More seriously, one could spend his next fourteen years stressing all the mistakes of the book. I would like to present one that should be obvious. The fleets came back in October 1423... and in 1424, in Portugal a map is made with the new "discoveries". This is a miracle. In that time (according to Fernand Braudel) crossing the Mediterranean would take from Egypt to Spain normally at least two months. Thus, this map is much more than proof of the Zheng He's trip it's a true proof of the existence of god (I'm sarcastic and I shouldn't). Here it may be useful to remind to M Menzies that the ocean of the early XVth century has nothing to do with the one he knew with his sub.
Here then three main argument against his claim. Although, even if they convinced me, they are not proving anything. They are just theoretical assumptions.
1) How strange. Why the hell, these Chinese who went all over the world avoid so carefully Europe and the Mediterranean? No doubt thought that if they had any relationship with the Arabs they'd have know the existence of the continent... and would have leave some precious records.
2) Bad luck? A few plant nothing more? Why the hell, the Chinese who went to America didn't left more than a few clues about these very important things that are rice, horses and gunpowder? But did leave a lot of luxury objects??? In comparison, only 40 years after Columbus potatoes where well known in Italy.
3) Last but far from being least. In the XVIth century between 20 and 50 millions Native Americans died of the "biological chock". Very simple diseases for old world's inhabitant killed more people than Genghis Khan. A few lost seamen where maybe not enough to start epidemics on the western coast, but it is very unlikely that the small population of the Caribbean could have resist to a single flu.
Many other things to say but for another time maybe...
Thanks to those who had the courage to read it and sorry for my awful english.


James F Fowler - 7/17/2005

To Mr. Tsang - greetings

I think you may be missing the main point. (again!)

Chinese seafarers certainly did have the technical skill and knowledge to make long voyages of exploration but they would not have done that in the foolish ways which are described in the book 1421. Chinese seamen were much better than that !

The 1492 expedition which you mentioned was neither foolish nor suicidal.
It was a good example of the usual compact probing expedition - using small handy ships which could go almost anywhere with a high chance of survival. Equally important is the fact that, if they were unlucky and they didn't survive, then the loss of lives and resources might have been tragic but it wouldn't have been a huge disaster.
Small probing expeditions. That was the logical way exploration was done by all maritime cultures - from the Inuit or the Northmen in the Northern seas - to the Polynesians in the Southern seas. There's no reason to believe that Chinese seafarers would have been any less logical in their seamanship.
The idea of sending a huge expensive fleet of sailing ships into the unknown is obviously silly. The main point is that the dangers were unknown. It doesn't require any technical knowledge to see the difficulties. Imagine what it would be like on a foggy night with no wind. The tides or currents could easily sweep a hundred ships onto uncharted reefs or sandbars, the expedition would be lost and all those resources would be wasted for nothing!
Any competent seamen would know that it would be reckless to do things in that way and that is why the book 1421 is a failure as a historical proposition.

JF


joseph tsang - 7/12/2005

dimwitted, foolish, suicidal, competence.
seamanship, navigation and oceanography

in the year 1492, three ships allegedly dimwitted, foolish and possibly suicidal ventured forth for the ... east indies. six decades earlier, under the mandate of a powerful emperor, it would definitely have been foolish and suicidal to refuse the assignment.

as competence and excellence in sailing go, are we assessing these traits based on our current knowledge or theirs, which may or may not be complete given the destruction of some records of that knowledge?

odd trivia: in duncan j watts "six degrees", he mentioned that the black plague in the late fourteenth century that originated in southern italy may have been imported from china by ship??!!


James F Fowler - 7/5/2005

To KMS

It's been said before but it's worth repeating. Chinese seafarers may very possibly have undertaken long voyages of exploration across uncharted seas but they most definitely would not have done that in the dimwitted fashion which is described in the book. Chinese seamen were neither foolish nor suicidal and the assertions in the book that they would have organised their exploratory expeditions in that way is an insult to their competence. It isn't so difficult for an objective reader to identify the many flaws and distortions in the author's ideas - especially where seamanship, navigation and oceanography are concerned. If the seamanship and navigation aren't watertight then the book has sunk - long before it reaches the Americas or anywhere else!
If it was done, then it was done in a much more competent manner than the theories described in 1421. We must wait for a reliable reasearcher to find the evidence.


Kristi maureen Sadler - 7/4/2005

How can one scientific community say as proof that Chinese rescources were in America, and then say this man is wrong?
Anyone with knowledge of Hemp would know that it was found established in the New World. Hemp is a Chinese product. Used by China for paper, cloth, oil and many other uses, it's history dates back to 1000 B.C. - 1883 A.D.
Historical records show Hemp was already in the new world when the first European colonist arrived, thought to have been introduced from China by explorers, migrating birds from across the Bering Strait, or possibly drifting shipwrecks.
How can this fact of world history be accepted, and printed and anyone to try to prove it be considered wrong?
I think that history has already proved the facts stated by Mr. Menzies. Someone linked them together long before Mr. Menzies, and it was accepted. What he says is only an extention of knowledge already stated. Unless there are other "hacks" out there as well. Then his case indeed had solid historical proof. I think that it deserves more research and less critisism.
KMS


Chris m. Kieffer - 1/30/2005

So far I find the book to be very plausible however on page 323 on the soft back I simply don’t understand why he claims to have found sea snakes on the coning towers of his sub when they simply aren’t found in this region what so ever. I have been searching for a way to reach him on this question, this is absolutely false.


Chris m. Kieffer - 1/30/2005

So far I find the book to be very plausible however on page 323 on the soft back I simply don’t understand why he claims to have found sea snakes on the coning towers of his sub when they simply aren’t found in this region what so ever. I have been searching for a way to reach him on this question, this is absolutely false.


Tom Egan - 1/18/2005

First, let me state I WANT to be a believer in Mr. (or is it Capt.) Menzies theories. I look forward to serious scholars testing every one of his hypotheses. Just because someone is an enthusiastic amateur doesn't mean he's wrong. However, as an recreational sailor I can tell you that sailing vessels avoid sailing DIRECTLY downwind. Multi-mast ships - like squareriggers and junks - sail 30 to 45 degrees either side of downwind, otherwise the aftmost sail blocks the wind from reaching the others. Far greater speed is obtained sailing at oblique angles to the wind.

Having said that, it is true that if a capitain truely desire to sail the same direction as the wind, he could jibe (zig-zag) down wind and achieve greater speed. Jibing a 400 foot junk would be a lot of work to do every few hours for three years.

te


James F Fowler - 6/22/2004

Mr. Poon: - The ocean currents which have been deleted from the map of the south Atlantic refers to the map in chapter 4 (page 95 of the hard cover edition) and not to the Piri Reis map. My apologies if I didn't make that clear. As I said before, you may want to ask yourself the reason why important data on that map (and in many other parts of the book) was deleted or distorted. Was that done to enlighten the reader or was it done to deceive the reader? (In other words - a hoax.)

With regard to the Piri Reis map, it is exactly what it says it is. It is a compilation of data from older maps and records which was commissioned by Admiral Piri (and his nephew) for presentation to the Sultan of the Turkish Empire.
It's worth noting that Charles Hapgood and other writers all make the same mistake when they analyse these old maps. They assume that maps and charts had to originate from an 'official' source with an 'official' system of records - and maybe that could even mean that some ancient civilisation first started making these maps thousands of years ago!
Perhaps that's a natural mistake to make because we live in an era where there are a lot of government controls on everything and nowadays maps are commissioned and controlled by governments. However, that's only something that has happened recently. In the past there were a lot more 'unofficial' explorers who searched around the seas to make a profit for themselves. Nowadays, we think of the sea as a barrier - in the past they thought of the sea as a highway. Most of them didn't keep official records - everything had to be secret because they didn't want to share their profits with kings or emperors or anyone else! Those freebooters were the ones who gathered the original data about the Americas and many other places, but it's unlikely that we will ever know who most of them were because they didn't advertise what they were doing! The secret data they collected, eventually leaked out in lots of different ways at different times and gradually became incorporated into the official maps. Although that's much less intriguing than the idea of lost ancient civilisations it's much more realistic as an explanation.
Good luck with your research!


vincent poon - 6/22/2004

Mr. Fowler, I see your point. However to further my analysis of the Piri Reis map, I've scanned the one in the book, then super impose it on top of the one I've found on the website, the only discrepancy I found was some notes that was enclosed in a frame to the right. Other then that, I can't really see the missing currents that you've pointed out. To be honest, I’m not so sure if those wave-like patterns are indication of currents and not hand written notes.


James F Fowler - 6/21/2004

Mr. Poon : - Hoaxes are sometimes harmless but not in this case. The book is condescending and it insults the competence of Chinese seafarers. Chinese seamen may well have undertaken long voyages of exploration in uncharted seas but they would never have done that in the foolish and suicidal ways that are described in this book. Chinese seamen were much more competent and better organised than that!

Examine the maps in chapter 5 more closely and read the author's words carefully (in the parts where he refers to the Falkland islands). The real distance from the Falkland islands to the Guinea coast of Africa is about twelve times the distance from the Falkland islands to the coast of Argentina. It is obvious - just by looking at the maps - that the South Atlantic compass rose on the Piri Reis map (which is stated in the book to mark the position of the Falkland islands) does not really mark the true position of the Falkland islands.

You may also want to look closely at some of the other sketch maps in the book which show ocean currents. In the map showing south Atlantic currents - two large important currents have been deleted from the map. (The Guinea current and the Falkland current.) The missing currents move in the opposite direction to the other currents which are shown. Those particular currents would make it very difficult for sailing ships to travel on the routes described by the author and you must ask yourself the reason why they have been deleted from the book.
In the map showing North Atlantic ocean currents the very important Labrador current has also been deleted and you may also want to ask yourself why this was done?

There are many more examples where the navigational and oceanographic facts have not been assessed correctly. If the navigation and seamanship is not watertight then the book sinks, long before it reaches America - or anywhere else!


vincent poon - 6/19/2004

Actually, I've been doing some more reasearch on the Pirri Resi Map, and all the images that I have found of the map are exactly the same as the one in his book. http://www.btinternet.com/~meirionhughes/Pub/download.htm Let's not argue about this.


vincent poon - 6/19/2004

Sometimes a third person's perspective is most important. Interestingly, after reading 1421, I've started to do some research myself. I've interviewed a few of my friends, one Turkish, one Mexican and one Peruvian. My Turkish friend believes that the Ancient Chinese and Turks shared the same blood line and have had long history of good relationships. My Mexican and Peruvian friend believes that their ancestors may have been of Chinese descent as well. Lets all be open minded about this, and do our own research.


vincent poon - 6/19/2004

1421 is a fascinating piece of work! Inspiring and breathtaking! I am now up to chapter 16, but I couldn’t help but started to do my own research. Interestingly, I’ve stumbled upon this site http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_1.htm which spoke about the mysteries of the Piri Reis map of 1513. Here is a quote from the website.

“Hapggod made a disclosure which amazingly lead further on this road: he found out a cartographic document copied by an older source carved on a rock column, China, year 1137. It showed the same high level of technology of the other western charts, the same grid method, the same use of spheroid trigonometry. It has so many common points with the western ones that it makes think more than reasonably, that there had to be a common source: could it be a lost civilization, maybe the same one which has been chased by thousands years so far?”

Have you seen this before? If so, what do you think?


Edwin F. Guyon - 3/31/2004

Interesting comments in page 306/8 regarding map of northern greenland. Author indicates a 1 degree 40 minute change in the axis of the earth [occuring between 1420 and 1450] is a proximate cause of the beginning of a mini ice age. Result is that ice covers northern greenland and climate changes.

What might have caused this shift in axis and what evidence is there of this event? [other than the reading of two maps by author]


Jim F - 12/6/2003

To Mr. Furnish and all respondents. Re 1421 hoax.

It’s a strange world where feeble fiction can be mistaken for solid fact.

Perhaps some hoaxers do have a capacity for hoaxing themselves- as well as others, but it really isn’t plausible that the author could be so confused about the basics of seamanship and navigation.

JF


Tim Furnish - 12/5/2003

Ah, Mr. Weatherbe, at last SOMEONE here gets it!!!!
Thanks.


Amy - 12/5/2003

The 1421 paperback version is due this January in the U.S. with revisions, corrections, updated and new information. The 1421 website (subject line above)is fascinating, full of thought provoking information and evidence. Recently posted: an asteroid impact in 1422 created a huge tsunami, wrecking several ships of the Chinese fleet, slamming them into New Zealand. Some wreckage still exists, along with huge rounded ballast rocks that have baffled geologists for years. The asteroid has been officially dated by scientists not involved with the 1421 project. Science and history should never presume to have all the answers, rather, the two fields should be critically analytical and continually evolving.


DeJUNKer - 12/4/2003

Hi there. Thanks for your reply.

After all is said and done, I'll just like to say this: to each his own, Mr Furnish. :-)

There's an Oriental thought that I'd just like to share, before disappearing from this place for good:-

'If one is to point his or her finger to a fully-rounded moon, though the person may not be perfect, it doesn't stop the moon from being so.'

Simply said, though Mr Menzies may indeed have lots of errors and mistakes in him, as well as in his book, it doesn't stop people from believing him. Why? Because they're not just believing in him, which may be faulty and imperfect, but in the history that he have painted out, which holds the possibility of the existence of Truth.

Thus leaving only one thing left undone. The world has it that there are two great authors: one is Time, and the other, History. Both recorded events of this world with utmost objectivity, and all is written down with great accuracy. Ultimately, they shall reveal, in Time to come, the true History which we are all arguing about.

Time will tell, and History shall then speak.

Take care and goodbye.


Jim F - 11/29/2003

To DeJUNKer and all…

Greetings…

I can only repeat what I said previously.

Look carefully at the Piri Reis maps and sketches in chapter 5 of the book. There has been a crude attempt to distort the details of the maps so that they appear to confirm the author’s assertions.
This is not a ‘mistake’. By your own definition, which you have kindly provided, this is an act intended to deceive or trick. In other words it is a hoax.

Read the author’s words about the Cantino map in chapter 15. He states that ‘the coast of East Africa is depicted with such accuracy that it appears to be drawn with the aid of satellite navigation.’ Compare the Cantino map with the map in a modern school atlas and note all the errors. Is the modern atlas wrong or were the author’s words ‘intended to deceive or trick’?

There are many other examples but it would be wearisome to note them all.

With regard to seamanship - For obvious reasons, competent seamen did not plan exploration voyages in the way that the author describes. It would have been reckless folly to send large fleets of sailing vessels blundering into uncharted waters and into unknown hazards.
The everyday problems of maintaining communications and control of a large sailing fleet – especially during darkness or in poor visibility or bad weather - would have created multiple additional difficulties and delays for the explorers. That is why it was never done in that way.
Sensible explorers planned their voyages with compact proficiency in mind. They used small handy ships, which gave them maximum flexibility to go almost anywhere with minimum risk. They did not carry excess baggage in the shape of giant floating palaces- nor did they encumber themselves with thousands of useless mouths to be fed on the voyage.
If diplomatic trade missions were considered necessary by the governments of the day, then these were arranged later – after the experts had returned with all the details of the safe routes and the safe havens.

Credit is only due if a book has quality. Quantity alone is no substitute for quality.

JF


DeJUNKer - 11/29/2003

As defined in The Americal Heritage Dictionary (Second Eidtion), the word 'hoax' is defined as: 1. An act intended to decieve or trick. 2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.

Who on earth would, after retirement, and most probably with a handsome sum of money, to around the globe umpteen times, dig and shove around, just to publish a book with the INTENTION to deceive or trick the world?

There are criticisms about: 1) Gavin Menzies's basic seamanship and navigation skills. Has the critic ever thought of a simple fact - to declare to the world that he is the ex-Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy Submarine, and then to have no claims from the Royal Navy side that he is a Fraud, that itself speaks volume of his experience. Would he be as so confused as the critic have said, he would have the submarine sunk aeons ago. My bottomline? Give credit where it is due, even if there are mistakes in the book;

2)some points concerning the long-lost map, and the guesswork for history. There are one thousand and one points in the book, from the Maize to the chickens and horses, from the wall drawings to folk tales, from the Asian physical features to cultural practices, and we onlysee people coming up and asking 'Where is the map? Where is map?' This is PURE childishness.

With regard to guessworks, I ask: If the Pyramid has no archaelogical evidence left of its construction, are we to call ALL analytical studies, Presumptions, Assumptions, and finally Intelligent Guesses, 'Hoax'? All research and guesses, for all historical events, are to be respected for, BEFORE the real evidence surfaces. If there isn't any, then who are to call which a hoax? Especially so for if the author has done so much research before declaring, and not just sit in the office shaking his leg before coming up with a totally groundless imaginary idea. THAT, is not an 'intelligent guess'. By and large, you don't need a professor to realise that some critics are just trying to find holes to dig and explore, so as to satisfy their own egos.


Steve Weatherbe - 11/28/2003

Furnish's challenges to this book were quite clear. I don't get the objections at all. Sure DNA evidence is good evidence. But Menzies only claims there is such evidence. He doesn's state the published report in which this evidence can be found. Likewise, Furnish challenges Menzies on the claim that another piece of evidence in the form of a map has been lost from a Taiwanese museum. If the map's been lost, where is the documentation proving it existed? Likewise, where is the documented evidence of the alleged anchors off California?

Someone in this string asserts that history is just guesswork. Oh hogwash. The historical method rests on documentation or archeological evidence. It is not guesswork.
What Menzies is doing is guesswork. If he has no documentation he is just blowing hot air.

Who he reminds me of is Erich Von Daniken. His method of "proving" his thesis is very close to Von Daniken's so-called proof that space travelling aliens instigated the building of ancient pyramids, roads and stutuary.


DeJUNKer - NEWS - 11/27/2003

As copied from the Singapore's 27/11/2003 Newspaper. Again, dispute over ink crystals' age, BUT carbon-14 dating PROVES map's authencity of claim - made around 1434.
______________________________________________________________


NEW HAVEN (Connecticut) - The latest scientific analysis of a disputed map of the mediaeval New World supports the theory that it was drawn 50 years before Christopher Columbus set sail.

The study examined the ink used to draw the Vinland Map, which belongs to Yale University in the United States.

The map is valued at US$20 million (S$35 million) - if it is real and not a clever, modern-day forgery.

A study last year said the ink on the parchment map was made in the 20th century.

But chemist Jacqueline Olin, a retired researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said on Tuesday her analysis shows the ink was made in mediaeval times.

'There is no evidence this is a forged titanium dioxide ink,' said Ms Olin, whose paper appears in the December issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

The authenticity of the map has been debated since the 1960s, when philanthropist Paul Mellon gave it to Yale. The university has not taken a position on its authenticity.

The map depicts the world, including the north Atlantic coast of North America. It includes text in mediaeval Latin and a legend that describes how Leif Eiriksson, a Norseman, found the new land called Vinland around the year 1000.

The map has been dated to around 1440.

Some scholars have speculated that Columbus could have used the map to find the New World in 1492.

Last summer, Ms Olin and other researchers announced that carbon-14 dating of the parchment showed it was made around 1434 - exactly the right time for the map to be genuine.

However, researchers from University College in London examined the ink on the map and announced last summer that it cannot be more than 500 years old.

Tests in the 1970s by Mr Walter McCrone - who also had disputed the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin - found the ink contained anatase, a form of titanium dioxide that is common in inks made after 1920. Anatase is found in nature, but the crystals of anatase were too regular-shaped to have been natural, Mr McCrone said.

Ms Olin's study looked at various minerals found in the ink, including aluminium, copper and zinc. All these minerals, she said, would have been byproducts of the mediaeval ink manufacturing process.

Also, she said that anatase could have ended up in the ink because of the manufacturing process, and its crystal size and shape could have changed over time.

Research is continuing into the Latin writing on the map. -- AP
________________________________________________________________


Jim Fowler - 11/27/2003

'1421' has certainly generated some entertaining debates between critics and fans but isn't it time that both groups realized that the book is merely a complicated hoax?
One of the more obvious clues is the crude attempt to distort details on the Piri Reis maps which can be seen in chapter 5.
(reference pages 117 and 121 in the hardback edition).

The book has to be some kind of hoax because it isn't credible that the author could be so confused about basic seamanship and navigation.
(If junior cadets wrote that kind of nonsense they would be given a spell of bilge cleaning duty to focus their minds!)

JF


DeJUNKer - 11/27/2003

"First, Menzies claims that Chinese maps from as early as 1428, allegedly showing parts of North and South America and some Atlantic islands, were used by European explorers (including Columbus) when they started their own voyages decades later."

- Full stop. (?) What's wrong with his claim? You never actually tell us Which part has gone wrong.

"Second, he adduces allegedly tangible evidence of pre-Columbian contact between Asia and the Americas, such as: flora and fauna (maize, sweet potatoes, Asiatic chickens, coconuts) that must have been transported by humans; "DNA evidence" that links American Indians to the Chinese; wrecks of Chinese ships and medieval Chinese anchors found in California."

- Again, Full-stop. Now (again), what's wrong with this claim? Where do you find a better choice of scientific determination, as to which type of living/ non-living beings are related to each other, than a DNA evidential link?

"Third, Menzies relies upon, and constantly reminds the reader of, his own naval expertise which gives him a mystical understanding that landlubbers lack; for example, "if I was able to state with confidence the course a Chinese fleet had taken, it was because...my own knowledge of the winds, currents, and sea conditions they faced told me the route as surely as if there had been a written record of it" (p. 83). "

- This, as pointed out other objective readers, have most probably 'enlightened' you that 'history is really nothing but an accumulation of intelligent scientific GUESSES'. Where on earth can you show 'REAL evidence' of, say a thousand years' old civilisation, if DNA and carbon-dating aren't even your top choice for evidence and history-writting? Build a time machine, duh.

"As I tell my college world history students, the most likely candidate for future world domination in 1400 certainly would have been China, with its huge oceangoing ships backed up by a sophisticated, prosperous and powerful state."

- I Presume you're a college teacher, Me Furnish. If so, then let me explain a simple fact: there is a vast difference between a college history teacher and an experienced sailor. And further, there is an EVEN wider gulf between an experienced sailor and a Commander of a Royal Navy. There are things that will changed overtime, some in split seconds. History can be re-written and re-made, but stars don't. The sunny and starry skies don't. And certianly not the Earth, which includes her seasonal winds, currents, magnetic fields and poles, the horizon, and many many others. Tides come and go, but there are Laws to everything single thing that happens in nature. That is also WHY a retired Commander can speak with so much a confidence, while a college teacher can only come so far as to 'tell his students'.

"However, that did not come to pass. Even if Menzies were right about the Chinese discovery of the New World--and there are tantalizing aspects to his thesis, such as the strangely accurate pre-Columbian maps of parts of the Atlantic, as well as the biological evidence of pre-Columbian Old and New World contacts--that would not change the fact that it was the Europeans who colonized the new lands and came to dominate the globe."

- A really sad statement, if not a SOUR one, to think that it may come out from a college teacher's mouth. What on earth has gotten into you, Mr Furnish? Haven't you, as you claimed, read the entire book well enough? Mr Menzies has already wrote so specifically THAT, if and ever if, the Chinese were the ones who ruled the world, it would certainly have come to be a much much more pleasant and peaceful place to live in, for from the Emperor right down to the commoners, everyone in that era were eager to learn, and willing to share and trade. Not once did China, if you would so willingly to agree on her wealth, power and influence then, invaded or INtended to invade, any other country in that period. As compared to the bloodsheds and humans lives lost in the later EUROPEAN invasions, China was like an angel then.

"Ultimately, however, Menzies's presentation in 1421 is much like that delivered at the United Nations recently by Secretary of State Powell regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: convincing only to true believers and leaving others at best, in the words of the old hymn, "almost persuaded." "

- A bad comparison. There is this great man who lived in the post-war Japan, Josei Toda, who pointed out there are two grave mistakes the modern human beings have made, and one of them is the mixed-up of Fact and Truth. E.g.: the sun rises from the East is a fact; the Truth? The Earth revolving around the Sun. This simple example also carries the lives of Galilleo, Copernicus and other 'truthful' scientists. What Mr Menzies is interested in IS the establishing of Truth, not facts. And this is one simple thing the White House will never give you and I.


kristina - 11/19/2003

Dear Dr Furnish,
as a historian you clearly know a great deal about how to conduct scientific research and some of the critical points you made about "1421" seem justified. Since you made a number of notes while reading the book, I wonder if you could also give some examples where Gavin Menzies claims can be backed up by other scientific research. I read the book - not as i would read a scientific paper - I doubt it was intended to be one- and found the whole idea fascinating and fairly convincing. So for me and hopefully others a scientific review that includes praise for well researched facts as well as criticism on leaps of imagination would be quite helpful.
I wish there where more people with the time, ambitions and not the least the financial resources to try and rewrite bits of history - Gavin Menzies book certainly made a far more interesting read than say the "DaVinci Code".
So if you have a spare hour, why don't you write a introduction to "1421" from an historian's point of view.

Thanks
Kerstin


Andrew Jenkins - 11/19/2003

Well,

As a former student of Professor Owen Lattimore at the Chinese Studies Department, Leeds University, and as a former surveyor, I am finding 1421 very absorbing to say the least!

After feeling a certain creeping scepticism I was also happy to find Tim's interesting criticism. I think he makes some good points and is probably right.

Having said that, Menzies is making some really fascinating leaps of faith and raising all kinds of interesting ideas, especially about the longitude. We are so used to using accurate time-keeping for its calculation, we have almost forgotten the possible astronomical alternatives (at least one of which was developed and promoted at Greenwich in the 18th century).

So... perhaps we need both scholarly historians and inspired amateurs with big ideas to shake things up a bit. By the way, does anyone know why Menzies retired from the Navy at the rather young age of 33? Does it have any connection with the collision of his submarine with the USS Endurance in the Phillipines in 1969? If he has been working on this book for 14 years what did he do for the 20 years before that? He has made me curious about himself as well as Chinese navigation!

Finally, if anyone has become interested in the history of applied maths as a result of this book, there is a brilliant exhibition on the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India: "The Great Arc - 200 Years", just finished at the Atlantis Gallery, Brick Lane, London and shortly to move to Manchester. This story is undoubtedly true and just as incredible in its own way. You can find details at http://www.teamworkfilms.com

Here's to great explorers and mathematicians! Let's celebrate them all!

Andrew.



Jarrod Haines - 11/12/2003

Given his other comments made on this site, Dr. Furnish's tone is understandable.

He wrote:
Only a naif about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism could find his/her weltanschaaung changed by 9/11...oh, wait, come to think of it, that describes most of the folks in my field.


Tom Burkowski - 11/12/2003

Maybe not "bitter," but definitely condenscending.
Eg:
Third, Menzies relies upon, and constantly reminds the reader of, his own naval expertise which gives him a mystical understanding that landlubbers lack.
--> Constantly? Really? And why did you chose "mystical" as your modifier of choice, save to imply to your reader than Menzies is a loon. Same with "landlubbers."

Menzies often fails to provide corroborating data for many of his claims.
--> Often, but is that most of the time or just the four that you cite? Are the four examples that you list the crux of the argument, or just four at random? "Often" does not help your reader make any sort of assessment whatsoever.

Questionable speculative leaps are also Menzies's stock-in-trade.
--> Yet you only give one example?

Interesting work, but as similarly unconvincing as Menzie's work is proclaimed to be.


ray e. horst - 10/10/2003

In Tikal, a Maya ruin of the Classic era, one sees an "altar stone" from around 600 AD on which is a human figure wearing a conical hat similar to those worn today in southeastern Asia. Have Maya scholars translated the Maya glyphs on this stone? Do they allude to a visit to Tikal by a Chinese dignitary?


Amy - 10/9/2003

Absolutely! Anyone who knows how to sail knows there's a lot of intuition needed to be a good sailor. Menzies not only has the right to his assertion but the experience to back it up. I used to live in the Caribbean - many of my co-workers had considerable sailing experience and owned yachts or catamarans. They used to say something along the lines that a sailor without good intuition is sunk! Accurate intuition has been the muse to scientists, artists, explorers, athletes, writers and many others - even historians.


Amy - 10/8/2003

Shrill? Can you hear me now...I think you're a closet case Menzies supporter by getting us lowly plebians all riled up! Have you read the book word for word, cover to cover? Some of his evidence hasn't quite convinced me(I'm not a big fan of the Rhode Island tower connection)but the clincher for me was/is the huge, laid out stones in Bimini that some reputed scholars implied somehow "Atlantis" related. I believe these were ballast from the Chinese ships constructed into docks/piers for repairs just as Menzies explains in greater detail. I've been curious about these mysterious stones for years - 1421's theory makes the most sense. - A


Tim Furnish - 9/23/2003

Amazing how people can only see what they want to see. Amy, please tell me just which of my comments were "bitter," and how so. I don't care whether Menzies is right or wrong. I simply lay out, as a historian, the flaws in his arguments. If you wish to critique my critique, please make it logically substantive and not simply shrill emoting.


Tim Furnish - 9/23/2003

Mr. Hayabusa,
In fact I read the entire Menzies book and took copious notes. And what does whether or not I speak or read Chinese have to do with anything? Menzies doesn't. (I speak, read and write Arabic and I some Turkish, Persian and Ottoman Turkish, if you must know. But none of this is relevant, either.) Please stop the ad hominem attacks and tell me just exactly WHERE I am wrong in my criticisms.


Amy - 9/14/2003

Stubborn, close-minded academia rears its bitter head yet again in review written by Furnish. (Or are you inciting us to respond? It worked.) You guys are supposed to be fascinated with possible revelations about history. Arguments about the Vikings still rage on when we know they were in North America well before 1421. Did the Chinese get any maps from Nordic sources? (Interesting the Finnish language is structurally similar to Korean) But I give credit where credit is due - the Chinese were/are amazing, and Menzies is right. Sail on!


Joanne Mendes - 9/3/2003

ufiuij[cfomx3pq'ixfpoqw;jkxp[m,q'wokx,eihmfpoxd;wfogk4h2qgeawa


carlos Carasa - 8/24/2003

Es un gran herror afirmsr que los catalanes eran buenos marinos..
se puede decir que fueron notables dentro del mediterraneo,pero nada mas,exceptuando algun individual.
Los que fueron realmente marinos de oceano fueron los vascos,ya sea como cazadores de ballenas como de exploradores.
Se debe de corregir en el libro de 1941,el año que china descubrio' el mundo.


mario - 8/20/2003

I'm a reserve Navy officer and I like reading history books.

I have just read the book and at the beginning I was very perplexed about Menzies's thesis.
When I've read about half the book I had changed my mind. Many "evidences" were obviously naives but others were really interesting , i.e. the reference to Magellano and Colombo already knowing details of the route that they intended to "discover", or to the original inscriptions in Calicut language over the stones in Africa.

Of course I had no possibility to check the vericidity of these evidences (I was in holiday far from my books and my internet access) but most of these evidences matched with the informations that I rememembered by heart.

THEN, Menzies started the analysis of Waldseemüller map. That map was included in the book.
Menzies says that America west coast is clearly marked and he can recognize many spots... but in that map there is no west coast. There is only a line to mark the end of the land by then already explored. There is even the statement in latin "after this line nothing is known"!

So who is Menzies? is he an honest researcher or he is only somebody that has found a good way for earning much money?

I would like to know if it's true that Magellano knwwhis references to

Anyway I like Furnish comments.


Hayabusa - 8/20/2003

Mr. Furnish, do you speak or read Chinese?

Have you read all of Mr. Menzies' book? Have you read all the evidence and references that he includes in his book and the website? Obviously the answer is no.

Mr. Furnish is nothing more than a debunker with an agenda. Very unprofessional to say the least.


J. Tsang - 5/13/2003

The Chinese, then and most likely even now, are superstitious. They feared the wrath of their elders and of the long-dead ancestors. Every flood, storm, typhoon and earthquake is an act of vengeance wreaked by some entity they have offended somehow.

So, it is no surprise that, after a lightning storm had destroyed a good sized portion of the rebuilt Forbidden City, and after thousands of its citizens had perished from the ensuing fire, the governing officials would see that the endeavors the emperor had undertaken with the shipbuilding and naval exploring had indeed offended someone real badly. Thus, their gods had spoken and they must cease and desist.

The author briefly mentioned this in his narration of the storm and the destruction.


There is no right and wrong- but a new angle to look into Hi - 5/10/2003

To my fellow Americans and Chinese readers regarding this voyage of Zheng He. The questions have been rasised regarding

1. If the Chinese had discovered America would they have been as territorial as the Westerner.



My assumption and "guess" estimate were that - the culture of the Chinese at that time or even into the Qing Dynasty has been a policy to look inward. This in part is not "good" by the western standard. But from a Chinese perspective. We all have known how many herbal formulas, martial art knowldge and even "culinary" arts that are and still well concealed. That is just part of the culture to protect oneself , than the family , then the clan - Very Confucian indeed. As in the Chinese saying. "one sweeps the snow infront of our house, let alone the icycles of your neighbors " . I live in North America and I have often found that in our German/Scandinavia state of Wisconsin. One minds owns business - We have a restaurant owner here who had kept is "pancake" formula for over 50 years :) What about Coca Cola and Pepsi cola. Cola companies still count their own syrup bags upon deliver to the "bottling companies".



That Chinese mindset, many blame Confucian value, when it is over done becomes counter productive, the law and order of China often as I now express in my formulation of cross cultural studies of China and in that interpreation of the Chinese "law" and "order". When Confucian values is the law...there is the balance of the "Tao-Dao" and the future cultural fusion of Buddhism and Dao - the "Chan-Zen" , or "Zen-Chan"...I am starting to attache the Zen (Japanese) and Chan (Mandarin Chinese) and yet I grew up with the sound of the Cantonese as "sym" or the same phonetic sound in our Cantonese dialect of "cicada" . I like that much better, for "sym" also come closer being "syn" or being Kind.



Most law makers bows to the King, bows to the elder family member - but deep in them, they also exercise the "yellow" and "green" , or Huang Lu, the symbolism of Dao.



Thus, in what Chinese have created the use of gunpowder in the use of firework for festivities. And had yet converted the gunpowerders into the cannons made by the West later.



This has to link in part to the "thinking" process as well as to most of us - is in part of the Chinese "wisdom". I have try to take claims that there are two way of thinking, " rationalizing " and "Reasons". While reason and wisdom seems to have its own association. "Rationalizing" often seem to be reactionary or reacting, or counter from some we can call "phenomenon". While I defend the more "whole" or more comphrensive in the reasoning process versus the reactionary thinking process of "rationalizing". I am also making the attemp to give "reasoning" a higher form of thinking and in that , also its association to "Wisdom" .



While rational thinking is more of an reaction to an event or phenomenon, rational thinking where I am also making this association toward the word "intelligent" or intelligence. Men are basically the highest form of intelligent living specie and we are intelligent most of time, in our problem solving skills on a regualr and daily basis - based upon our reaction to a given situation.



In that intelligence is a common fact, of course, there the the many levels of intelligence with all the complexity and all the subject matters world and in ou universe.



But when we compare the Western intellilgence and in the past 500 years, the West in their expansionistic power, in the use of gun powder, war, colonization and global " logistics" that means, moving vessels, people, troops, commanding regional subjects - Have we not seen how the English had commanded the Gurkkas and in the use of Asian forces to fight or to guard borders in Hong Kong and these Gurkkas are all loyal to ther British commands ? And the sihks? In British uniforms? and in those Scotish plaids ? War, military, mobilizaing of forces, use of weapons, ballistics.. have made the West strong, powerful and followed by now the Economics..the trade, the currency control and wrold bank. yes, we have give credit to the development of global intelligence of the West and their expansion. But could there be a form of reaction from their "black death" in the Middle Ages ? Could there be the lack of land where landlords and feudalism had caused the rise of the cit-states, the free slaves, the rise of the industrial revolution and the individual rights ? these just the chain of reaction in the Western world. But prior to that, in what the Arabs and their caravans via the silk route whom had brought the West the niceties of the Orient ? The numerals, the silk, the spicies had all altered the flavor, the sound, the science in Europe, along with that, the enhancement of Europe by revival of the classics - again, the Greeks, in the importation of Renaissance ?



The West were always curious of the goods from Asia, the production sources...and when silk were taxed in Constantinople in excess of 1000 %. Could all these taxation and payments to the warlords had the Europeans motivated for their navigation ? This is my pretext for the voyages of the Europeans .. Could there be the Italians travellers , journeys made by Polo had them inspired ? Were not the riches of the king Ferdinand and Isabel from Spain had easier access from the seas of Medtarranean (Portugal and Spain were practical a kingdom of their own) and the possible booties , or fortune promised to the voyagers and their captains could have been far more attractive then they could have gotten in Venice? Italy and all the warring dukes, kings and all ?





I do not mean to be drifting away from the subject matter of intelligence and wisdom. In that, the wisdom of the Chinese, I am still hypothesizing, had often the Chinese sensed in what damages that can be done by human intelligence. Have we not heard of in Chinese in that saying as " Intelligence will be wronged by intelligence" Can ths mindset was where the king of Ming had all the data of Zheng He destroyed when the kingdom had chosen to seal themselves ? Is this not part of the Chinese psyche where we create goods for "good" purpose? Is that naive to think the Chinese instead to use the manpower that had made the "Great wall" to battle and to conquer the West instead to "conceal" themselves in this land of the "Center" ? Or in part , they lack the horses as the Mongols had in Gobi or beyond ? Was that part of the bad logistics ?



Thus, in my hypothesis, many Chinese had indirectly stopped many of the possible scientific advances - for the Chinese new discoveries were aiming to make the human life enjoyable - and they have stopped from that point.. or the intellectuals realized that beyond the practical use of gunpowder can be "damaging" and that may go against the "grains" of Confucian ethics ? Even in Zhong Zi saying and in Daoist sayings " don't be excessive in joy, nor in grief". Are these cultures had impeded the advancement of their science ? Or Chinese had been far more pragmatic to try to not to use "intelligence" for war, conquest and grab land ? Unlike the Westerners ..until modern day China- Sea farers to all corners of the world meant to come home.. Home is that land of the center of the "Chinese" To go far, but not to conquer, but to make a living, earning and come home to ones ancestor hall and pay respect ( often with looted, or ill gains , but that is oked, this is also part of the twisted Chinese value - I am saying that with all bias ) .





I am responding to these historians, academicians, scholars n the West, not to debate their continuing "ignorance" of China in ther own "expansionistic" mindsets and in part as a Chinese who had lived in the West for over 40 years- almost on a daily basis, we observed, watched and evaluated in those diminuitive differences in how we define accomplishment and glory in the West in these past 500 years. Almost at that same period the Chinese had started their own decline by late Ming, than the invasion of the Qings – China was not defeated and was invaded by foreign forces, China was humiliated -----their own land, defeated both internally inside China. China was defeated by their self imposed arrogance along with ignorance.



Traditionally, most of the invading forces into China were from the Northwest as the cold wind from the desert and China had been most alert to that fact, where in history past, Kings had married or reward the Northwest Huns and other nomadic groups their daughters as the “bargaining chips” for peace.



This oversight by the “northern” rulers of the Ming and the distrust of the naval forces of their own from the Southeast – later repeated by the Manchurian Qing dynasty had suffered under the British - Never had China thought of the eventual naval encounter by the British and by their imposition of a maritime law, had not only colonized Chinese land with the illegal treaty which had led to lease of the territories of Kowlon and the possession of Hong Kong.



Subsequently, a low level eunuch like Zheng He- a formidable sea admiral, his expeditions, discoveries were all "dispell" by the stroke of an emperor upon his return as Ming had started to fade away from the land beyond China.



This is how Zheng He’s story and accomplishment had been buried by the ignorance of the Ming court and later repeated by the Manchurian Qing dynasty again – the same fear of the Southen Barbarians, the ignorance of the sea power and the naval forces and the eventual Opium war.



If only Zheng He could have continued his naval voyages with all the discoveries to be shared by the empire what then would have become the Chinese and with their new contacts ? The naval power of Ming could have continued and maybe flourished and new ideas may have enriched China as did in the arrival of the Italian missionaries into the Chinese court and how that have influenced in the color use in China. But that is the mindset of the Chinese then, Can we blame Confucius ? by not exerting the power of knowledge instead to utilized the knowledge of Zheng He ‘s navigation skills and exploration agility, Ming had let the naval influence decline and almost in the same fashion parelel with the invention of gun poweder.



Many Europeans and Westerners glorify their "first" expeditions and explorations and later their military and kings and queens also “exploited” those new discoveries even to destroy other cultures as in the Spanish conquest into the Americas.



Ironically, these self centered explorers had their audiences with their audacities and venturesome spirit as we have witnessed those westerners take claim of climbin Everest in the Himalayas- no credit ever given to the natives, to the Nepalses assistants...only the name of the explorers well , maybe I am being a bit of a revisionist and biased in what I am now cherishing the audacity of Gavin Menzies book but in actuality, I am here to make the new “confirmation” to test and to re-authenticate Menzies hypothesis by way of added cultural anthropological evidence along the substantiation Menzies had found in the research of the DNA traints in all over the Americas today.



Be that of the European ethnicentrism or “hero” worship of the audacious explorers and adventurers. We all remember the most brutal pirate of the Carribeans – Cook, was knighted by the Queen of England by his loot of the booties from Spain ? But then what difference could that have been as the former US Defense Secretary knelt before the queen to have receieved his “knighthood” for his contribution, the US aerial recognaissance in the war of the Malvinas ( for historical reasons, I am siding with the Argentinians in the dispute of those islands what Brits called Falklands ).



As we speak , the Eurpeans and the Americans are repeatedly medalling and honoring one and another as Blair will be receiving medals from the US and Blair and Bush both have been named for the Nobel Prize for being “successful” invaders and intruders into Iraq. Funny how history does repeat itself.



I am not here to show you our cultural “chauvnism” but I salute Gavin Menzies imagination, audacities or even if there is the element of being a “machievellian” prince for he is got the right time, the right moment and the right subject matter to rally all of Geographic societies to “rethink” of the discoveries in America.



One more time, my salute to Gavin Menzies – for his imagination, research and we will join him to retest of his “hypothesis” even with the DNA evidence in when the Chinese had come to the Americas. Maybe beyond Gavin Menzies, many had suggested in Shang dynasty- Chinese had already reached into the Americas. But unlike the West, maybe those were refugees they do not have the financial interests for the Columbus, Diaz, Magalhes, Gabral, Da Gama. They were just seeking shelters in distant land to survive.



Victors do write histories…and may Gavin Menzies be the victor of our time !!!!!!!

(Unedited and to be posted also in Asiawind.com )


Tim Furnish - 3/15/2003

Dear Ecumenius, look again at what Menzies says:
"my own knowledge [of sailing/navigating] told me the route AS SURE AS IF THERE HAD BEEN A WRITTEN RECORD OF IT?" Menzies unquestioned knowlege of transoceanic travel is tantamount to written proof that the Chinese did so? No, it gives him insight into HOW the Chinese (or, for that matter, Ottomans or Arabs or Omanis) MIGHT have done it....not THAT they indeed DID it!


Ecumenius - 3/14/2003

"Third, Menzies relies upon, and constantly reminds the reader of, his own naval expertise which gives him a mystical understanding that landlubbers lack; for example, "if I was able to state with confidence the course a Chinese fleet had taken, it was because...my own knowledge of the winds, currents, and sea conditions they faced told me the route as surely as if there had been a written record of it" (p. 83)"

What's wrong with this? Modern history is replete with examples where the author had no knowledge of the actual practice of how something was done, and consequently bolluxes the story up accordingly. If Menzies can bring practical experience to the questions about sailing across great oceans, then why is this a factor against him?

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