China's Treasure Ships; PART II

Article excerpt

Byline: Floro Mercene

In his book "1421: The Year China Discovered America," which came out in 2002, British writer Gavin Menzies says that four Chinese fleets, comprising 25 to 30 ships and at least 7,000 persons each, visited every part of the world except Europe between 1410 and 1425.

Trained by Zheng He, the famous eunuch-admiral, Chinese captains carried out the orders of Zhu Di, the third Ming emperor, to map coastlines, settle new territories, and establish a global maritime empire.

According to Menzies, proof of the voyage of the Ming fleets to the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Polynesia is overwhelming and indisputable. His index of supporting evidence includes thousands of items from the fields of archaeology, cartography, astronomy, and anthropology.

His footnotes and bibliography include publications in Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Menzies says that Chinese mariners explored the islands of Cape Verde, the Azores, the Bahamas, and the Falklands. They established colonies in Australia, New Zeland, British Columbia, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.

They introduced horses to the Americas, rice to California, chickens to South America, and maize to the Philippines.

In addition, Chinese seamen toured the temples and palaces of the Maya center of Palenque in Mexico, hunted walruses and smelted copper in Greenland, mined for lead and saltpeter in northern Australia, and established trading posts for diamonds along the Amazon and its tributaries. …