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How bout a parade for Zeng He day in the US?




How about a parade for Zheng He Day in US?

By Mike Peters (China Daily)

Updated: 2009-10-13 08:04


As the US took a holiday yesterday to observe Columbus Day, a retired British submarine commander and now amateur historian presses on to prove a controversial thesis: That Chinese fleets dispatched "to proceed to the ends of the earth" by a 15th century admiral reached America 70 years before Christopher Columbus.


After 15 years of research, Gavin Menzies published his best-selling book 1421 to considerable fanfare in 2001, stirring plenty of doubt. Besides claiming that Chinese ships beat the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria to the New World, Menzies asserts that the same "treasure fleets" under Admiral Zheng He sailed around the world a century before Magellan and dropped settlers in Australia 350 years before Cook.


Since the book's first publication, evidence to support these claims has mounted - and Menzies has compiled that evidence on his website, www.gavinmenzies.net, hoping to stimulate discussion on the Chinese contribution to global history in the 15th century.


Some results:


In August 2008, Menzies posted photos of possible Chinese shipwrecks in the Carribean Sea, as well as pictures of some wood that has been salvaged.


More than 40 unidentified wrecks off the Pacific Northwest coast of the US may be Chinese vessels, including one that has been corroborated using ground-penetrating radar. Menzies' team has applied for permission to conduct core-sample drilling.


A team in Alaska is chasing reports of an alligator carving from an old site on St. Lawrence Island near the Bering Strait - a creature not known in the Arctic Circle, as well as accounts of Native Americans with the "blue dot" birthmark, a Chinese genetic marker.


DNA tests of Native American peoples have determined that 31 of these 54 peoples have 'Chinese' genes, and the rest are still being tested. "We now have very persuasive information of where the Chinese fleets created settlements in the New World," Menzies writes in a new postscript for the most recent edition of 1421.


In what is now Mexico, the Aztec emperor Montezuma had a floating garden and a zoo with plants and animals from around the world - which the website asserts is "a peculiar collection for someone without any ships." Menzies hopes to show that the creatures and plants came on ships from China.


In June of this year, Xinhua reported that the Nanhai No. 1, a wreck of what appears to be a 13th-century Chinese ship that was salvaged in 2007, would be "excavated" this year. The 30-meter-long vessel "has been soaking in a sealed pool at the Marine Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang, and the removal and study of its contents could take up to five years. In December 2007, television viewers across China watched live as the Nanhai No. 1 was hauled up by a steel cage the height of a three-story building onto a barge, London's Sunday Times reported. "It is hoped," wrote the Times, "that the Nanhai will prove the existence of a marine silk road that linked southern China with Europe as well as Africa and Southeast Asia."


"You can't invent that amount of evidence," Menzies recently told a British television audience. "It must be true."


Not everyone agrees, but the accumulation of evidence is fascinating - especially for an American who grew up on stories of Christopher Columbus. So if you are feeling a little mischievous, get a copy of 1421 and pass it along to an American friend, with (belated) wishes for a happy Columbus Day.


Mike Peters is international news editor at China Daily.


E-mail: michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn


(China Daily 10/13/2009 page11)


Don't know if anyone's actually read Gavin Menzies book 1421, or the newly released sequel 1434, but if your at all interested in maritime history, they make provocative and interesting reading.


His websites are OK too.






What are the implications for the remembrance of Columbus, if any?



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