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1421 : the year China discovered the world / Gavin Menzies
Bib ID 2224389
Format BookBook
Menzies, Gavin
Description London : Bantam Press, 2002 
xix, 520 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm. 
ISBN 0593050789

"On 8 February 1421 the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, 500 foot long junks made from the finest teak and mahogany, were led by 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 entire globe. When they returned Zhu Di had fallen from power and China was beginning its long, self-imposed isolation from the world it had so recently embraced. The great ships rotted at their moorings 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 has also discovered Antarctica, reached Australia 350 years before Cook and solved the problem of longitude 300 years before the Europeans. Gavin Menzies has spent 15 years tracing the astonishing voyages of the Chinese fleet. In this historical detective story, he shares the account of his discoveries and the incontrovertible evidence to support them. His narrative brings together ancient maps, precise navigational knowledge, astronomy and the surviving accounts by Chinese explorers and the later European navigators. It brings to light the artefacts and inscribed standing stones left behind by the Emperor's fleet, the evidence of sunken junks along its route and the ornate votive offerings left by the Chinese sailors wherever they landed, in thanks to Shao Lin, goddess of the sea." -- BOOK JACKET.

Full contents
  • Introduction
  • Part I. Imperial China: 1. The Emperor's grand plan; 2. A thunderbolt strikes; 3. The fleets set sail
  • Part II. The Guiding Stars: 4. Rounding the cape; 5. The new world
  • Part III. The Voyage of Hong Bao: 6. Voyage to Antarctica and Australia
  • Part IV. The Voyage of Zhou Man: 7. Australia; 8. The Barrier Reef and the Spice Islands; 9. The first colony in the Americas; 10. Colonies in Central America
  • Part V. The Voyage of Zhou Wen: 11. Satan's Island; 12. The treasure fleet runs aground; 13. Settlement in North America; 14. Expedition to the North Pole
  • Part VI. The Voyage of Yang Qing: 15. Solving the riddle
  • Part VII. Portugal inherits the crown: 16. Where the Earth ends; 17. Colonizing the new world; 18. On the shoulders of giants
  • Epilogue. The Chinese legacy
  • Appendices: Chinese circumnavigations of the world, 1421-3; Eyewitness diaries; Key charts; The determination of longitude; Further information on website

Bibliography : pp. 479-504 and index.

Subjects Discoveries in geography -- Chinese.  |  China -- History -- Ming dynasty, 1368-1644.  |  Voyages around the world.
Also Titled

Fourteen twenty-one


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