Author(s): Gavin Menzies
Groundbreaking new discovery
As detailed in The Economist and recent headline news, Gavin Menzies (author of 1421: The Year China Discovered The World) has recently uncovered a copy of an 18th century map which definitively records the exploits of a Chinese explorer whose fleets roamed the oceans between 1405 and 1435. The map shows America, South America and other parts of the globe that were supposed to have been discovered decades later by Christopher Columbus. It is the final piece of evidence to underpin Gavin's theory put forward in 1421: The Year China Discovered The World.
In 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, huge junks nearly 500 feet long and built from the finest teak, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last over two years and circle the globe.
When they returned, Zhu Di had lost power and China was beginning its long, self-imposed isolation from the world. The great ships rotted and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America 70 years before Columbus and circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. They had also discovered Antarctica, reached Australia 350 years before Cook, and solved the problem of longitude 300 years before the Europeans.
In this fascinating historical detective story, Gavin Menzies shares the remarkable account of his discoveries and the incontrovertible evidence supporting them.
Born in 1937, Gavin Menzies lived in China for two years before the Second World War. He joined the Royal Navy in 1953 and served in submarines from 1959 to 1970. As a junior officer he sailed the world in the wake of Columbus, Dias, Cabral and Vasco da Gama. When in command of HMS Rorqual (1968-1970), he sailed the routes pioneered by Magellan and Captain Cook. Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has returned to China and the Far East many times, and in the course of researching 1421 he has visited 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries and every major sea port of the late Middle Ages. And he is continuing to investigate China's remarkable circumnavigation of the globe in the 15th century. Gavin Menzies is married with two daughters and lives in North London.