On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. Its mission was to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas" and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony.
When it returned 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 China's long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America 70 years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. Also concealed was how the Chinese colonized America before the Europeans and transplanted in America and other countries the principal economic crops that have fed and clothed the world.
Unveiling incontrovertible evidence of these astonishing voyages, 1421 rewrites our understanding of history. Our knowledge of world exploration as it has been commonly accepted for centuries must now be reconceived due to this landmark work of historical investigation.
©2002 Gavin Menzies (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers
After a great celebration for the completion of the Forbidden City, the Ming Emperor Tzu Di sends out a great armada to return dignitaries to their home countries and gives the order that the fleets of Junks continue onward in exploration and charting.
Where did they go? What much did they document? A great amount was destroyed by a later Emperor, but clues remain behind. Gavin Menzies made it his life's work after retiring from the British Navy to find out.
"The Year China Discovered America" is a nice tease. The book is much more than that. The list of discoveries and technologies are staggering.
I also bought the paperback version of the book to see the illustrations and ancient maps detailed in the narrative.
Also, I would give more stars to the narrator if that were possible. Mr. Vance has tremendous skills in switching effortlessly between Chinese, Latin, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese pronunciations. If it weren't for the audio version, I may have gotten bogged down with all of the unfamiliar names and places if I were reading it. Remember, I bought the paper book for the pictures.
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