On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." When the fleet returned home in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in the long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. And they colonized America before the Europeans, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.
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Compelling evidence that the Chinese were the first great maritime explorers -- not the Europeans. Rewrite the history books!
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.
Gavin Menzies is the bestselling author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America, 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance, and The Lost Empire of Atlantis: History's Greatest Mystery Revealed. His ideas have been profiled in the New York Times Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, and he has lectured at the Library of Congress, Royal Geographical Society, National Maritime Museum, and other prestigious venues. He served in the Royal Navy between 1953 and 1970. His knowledge of seafaring and navigation sparked his interest in the epic voyages of Chinese Admiral Zheng He. Menzies lives in London.
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