Episode 05 – The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Navy

We continue looking at migration from the mainland to the islands off eastern China, largely due to shifting politics from the 1100s to the 1400s. With the 15th Century comes the appearance of China’s famous treasure fleet and its voyages to acquire vassal tributes lead by Admiral Zheng He. The sixth voyage has become infamous due to Gavin Menzies’ book 1421: The Year China Discovered the World (published in the USA with the word “World” replaced with “America”). Most Chinese historians seem to disagree with his findings, though he has found some support for his theories.

Essays on Gavin Menzies’ work: (some accessible only with school/univeristy or library log-ins)

JSTOR: Robert Finlay, How not to (re)write world history

George Washington University: Is Gavin Menzies right or wrong?

Daily News: Does this map from 1418 prove… [personally I find problems with this article right off the bat. For starters, Christopher Columbus never discovered the Americas. He potted around a few Caribbean islands convinced he was in the heart of the orient. He never set foot on either the North American continent.

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