• Sunday, October 20, 2019

Admiral Zheng He discovered Australia befor Captain Cook.

Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by Horus, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Horus

    Horus ADMINISTRATOR

    Messages:
    39,262
    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Ratings:
    +400 / 93,671 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Australia

    It's official: Admiral Zheng beat Cook to Australia

    November 25 2002
    By Peter Fray

    History is littered with what-ifs and wild theories. Most are ignored, but one now being posed by a former British submarine commander could eventually rewrite the accepted history of Australia, America and half the world.

    Gavin Menzies, a 65-year-old self-confessed "outsider", has sparked heated academic debate by claiming the Chinese beat Europeans to the New World by decades, if not centuries.

    If true, his theories would recast the holy trinity of European naval explorers - Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan - as followers in the great wake of 15th century China's Admiral Zheng He and his fleet of colossal, nine-masted teak junks.

    Released earlier this month, Menzies' book, 1421, the Year China Discovered The World, is likely to have a worldwide print run of a million copies. It sits next to Simon Schama's latest on Amazon's best-selling list for history.

    The TV rights have been sold in Britain. On London's Tube, Menzies' first publishing venture is being promoted as the book that's rewriting history.

    In Australia's case, Menzies claims Zheng's vice-admirals, Hong Bao and Zhou Man, beat Cook by almost 350 years. The two men, both eunuchs (as was the custom for captains), arrived in Australia in 1422 - Hong on the west coast, Zhou on the east - and spent several months exploring, landing in several places.

    Their ships were massive - 122 metres long by 27 metres wide - not that much smaller than a modern aircraft carrier and absolute giants compared with those used by Columbus about 70 years later. The captains navigated by the stars.

    Each ship had up to 1000 sailors, who were supplied with fresh vegetables, meat and rice grown on factory ships that accompanied the fleet. Sex was provided by prostitutes who came equipped with sex aids and aphrodisiacs.

    The Chinese were after treasure, mainly minerals. To assist exploration, Menzies says, they built small villages, complete with observation platforms for surveying, near Gympie in Queensland and Eden in New South Wales. They found lead, silver, semi-precious stones and, in the Northern Territory, uranium.

    According to Menzies, some of their men formed lasting sexual partnerships with Aborigines, especially in Arnhem Land, where Zhou's ships stayed for several months.

    "There's stacks of evidence that they were there," he argues. "Wrecks, plants found in Australia by the first Europeans which had come from China, carved stones, kangaroos in the Chinese emperor's zoo, Chinese jade, figurines and ceramics."

    Menzies says their visits were recorded by local Aboriginal people in cave drawings found near Sydney and shipwrecks found off Warrnambool, Perth and Byron Bay.

    "I think it's absolutely impossible to claim Columbus discovered America, Cook discovered Australia, and Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the world," he says. "You'd have to be a crank nowadays to believe that. They are fairytales. Anyone who objectively looked at the evidence can't say that."

    But Menzies' evidence is mainly ancient maps, often hotly disputed charts prepared by 15th and 16th century European cartographers. He says they could only have been based on eyewitness reports of Zheng's journeys between 1421 and 1423, which he says predate those of other adventurers.

    He even identifies the eyewitness, a young and well-connected Venetian called Niccolo da Conti, whose accounts of the Chinese voyages were published on his return to Venice. But Menzies concedes that his research has not uncovered a smoking gun or revealed any single piece of startling new evidence.

    The problem is partly of China's own making. Not long after Zheng's fleet set sail, his great supporter, the Emperor Zhu Di, was overthrown by his son Zhu Gaozhi, who reversed his father's expansionist program and, on return of the fleet, ordered that no more voyages be undertaken. All relevant maps were destroyed. What Chinese settlements may have been left in Australia simply died out or were subsumed into Aboriginal society.

    Faced with the lack of hard evidence from China, Menzies' theory, which has been developing since he saw a mediaeval map of the spheres in Venice 13 years ago, is based on a re-evaluation and reinter-pretation of existing information - a fact that has opened him up to academic criticism.

    The head of the map collection in the British Library, Peter Barber, describes Menzies' theories as potentially dangerous, as they seek to rewrite history from outside the bounds of proper scrutiny and academic rigour. He draws a distinction between Menzies and academically trained populist historians, such as Simon Schama and David Starkey."These theories are not necessarily quite as harmless as people might think," he says."The consequences can be very grave. You get the big lie. I have met serious scholars who are incredulous of his theories and they can't be bothered to argue, which is a real shame."

    Central to Menzies' theories about Australia is a master world map produced in 1542 by Jean Rotz, a French-born cartographer from the Dieppe school, who became map-maker to Henry VIII. The Rotz map, when adjusted for ice and the lack of longitude, accurately shows Australia as Greater Java, Menzies says.But Barber describes the Rotz map as "generally discredited or, at the very least, hotly contested".

    "Nowhere does Menzies give any indication that what he says is fact, is in fact controversial. In order to prove something, you need to come forward with the hard evidence."Another map used by Menzies, drawn by Venetian Fra Mauro in 1459, even fails to accurately depict China, a strange occurrence if the Chinese were the source, Barber says.

    Menzies' views came to light in March this year, when he gave a talk to London's Royal Geographical Society. As luck would have it, the topic sparked interest from Chinese satellite television station Phoenix, which in turn prompted American networks ABC and NBC to report on the theories - and get Chinese feedback. The talks ended up being seen by three million people in China."By an incredible bit of luck we got worldwide coverage. That resulted in a flood of information," Menzies says.

    Soon after that, with the debate raging in Britain and China, his fledgling book on the subject jumped in size from 150 pages to more than 500 pages. He found a publisher and sold the rights for a reported �500,000 ($A1.35 million) to Transworld.But the Royal Geographical Society remains at arm's length from Menzies, despite its obvious opportunity for bragging rights.

    "The society does not endorse his views," spokesman Elliot Robertson says. "People are saying 'interesting theory, but where is your proof?' We'd like to see further information come forward, not just from him."Establishment indifference to his theories will not stop Menzies - who soon plans to promote his take on Columbus to the Americans - but it nonetheless upsets him.

    "It's just balls. It's absolute crap. The establishment has to protect their patch. Nobody who has given us a mauling has read the evidence, read the book."But perhaps the most telling criticisms have come from the Chinese themselves. Admiral Zheng may be virtually unknown in the West, but in China he has been the subject of intense academic scrutiny for centuries.

    According to a report in The Times newspaper earlier this month, Menzies' ideas were politely pooh-poohed by many leading researchers during his recent visit to Nanjing.Professor Luo Zongzheng, from the Nanjing Museum, reportedly told Menzies: "So far, there are too many theories about Zheng He, but there are no relics, no boats or anything concrete. So the theories are not convincing."

    It's official: Admiral Zheng beat Cook to Australia - theage.com.au
     
  2. xdrive

    xdrive SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    2,339
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,358 / -0
    Country:
    Australia
    Location:
    Australia
    A blog post by 1 journalist doesn't make anything official.
     
  3. Chinese-Dragon

    Chinese-Dragon PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

    Messages:
    33,916
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Ratings:
    +52 / 70,878 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    Ships that were almost as big as aircraft carriers? :cheesy:

    Anyway, it is irrelevant since Zheng He (despite the significant military force he brought with him) did not have a mission to colonize any overseas territory. He was an explorer and a diplomat.
     
  4. ahfatzia

    ahfatzia SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    2,521
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Ratings:
    +0 / 2,886 / -0
    [​IMG]


    A statue of Zheng Ho 郑和 1371-1433
     
  5. xdrive

    xdrive SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    2,339
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,358 / -0
    Country:
    Australia
    Location:
    Australia
    im more interested in aeronauts fascination with everything Australian.
     
  6. Cloakedvessel

    Cloakedvessel FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    800
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Ratings:
    +0 / 787 / -0
    The originator of the idea that Chinese discovered Australia seems to be a nut-job:

    Chinese circumnavigation in 1421?

    In 2003, former submarine captain Gavin Menzies published a work that promised to rewrite the history of the ‘Age of Exploration’, 1421: the year China discovered the world. It’s an amusing commentary on American insularity that the edition published in the USA alters the subtitle to The year China discovered America: clearly the rest of the world doesn’t matter to Americans. He claims to have discovered evidence that a Chinese fleet set out in 1421 to explore and map the rest of the world. While Admiral Zheng He is known to have voyaged throughout the Indian Ocean, according to Menzies, groups of ships travelled the world, mapping the Americas, Antarctica, Greenland… but not Europe. We can but wonder why they failed to reach the one civilisation outside the Indian Ocean that would have recorded their visit.

    In the book, Menzies presented evidence that a Chinese admiral, Zhèng Hé (鄭和, 1371–1435, born Ma He, also Cheng Ho) had been sent by the Ming Emperor Yongle (永樂, 1360-1424, born Zhu Di, also Ch’eng Tsu or Yung Lo) on a voyage of discovery. That much is uncontroversial, as Zhèng Hé’s voyages around the Indian Ocean are well documented in contemporary records. Where Menzies departs from academic orthodoxy is in his claim that the fleet went on from the Indian Ocean to discover Australia in the east, Antarctica in the south, the Americas in the west and circumnavigate Greenland in the north. These are astonishing claims and must surely be backed up by good, contemporary evidence.

    Alas, no. The best Menzies can do is throw in the usual (European) maps that Bad Archaeologists are so fond of, some inscribed stones (without reproducing the inscriptions), the odd mystery building (such as the Newport Tower, a seventeenth-century windmill!), unidentified shipwrecks and other very poorly documented discoveries. All his claims have been effectively debunked. Perhaps more than anything else, the failure of the Chinese fleet to reach Europe, where it would have been documented by the literate late medieval societies flourishing throughout the continent, should raise eyebrows.

    So in 2009 he published a new work, 1434: the year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance. The subtitle makes an even more astonishing claim than that of 1421! When does Menzies think that the Renaissance started, for goodness sake? Where is the Italian documentation for the visit of a Chinese fleet? It seems to have been universally panned

    What is the appeal of these two books, derided by the majority of serious historians? There is the expert-bashing aspect, for a start. People always like to see them brought down a peg or two and when it is done by an amateur, it makes them feel that perhaps anyone can do it. But there has been a more insidious aspect to the popularity of Gavin Menzies. Because these books are published as a work of history, they degrade serious historical work. The standards of these books, which are at best wishful thinking and at worst outright fabrication, ought to have prevented any publisher from putting them out as non-fiction or, at the very least, to have ensured that they were marketed as works of speculation. Instead, we see them on the shelves of the history sections of any bookshop, crammed between biographies of Stalin and Hitler (although, I’m relieved to say, 1434 is nowhere near as ubiquitous as 1421). The general public does not know and cannot be expected to know that Menzies works are utter rubbish. They look like history books: Menzies follows Graham Hancock’s trick of stuffing the book with footnotes, which most of his readers will never pursue, thinking that he is quoting genuinely relevant evidence. As far as I know, Hancock was the first to do this, as earlier works of Bad Archaeology are frustratingly without adequate bibliographies, often making it impossible to identify the sites or discoveries for which they are making claims. No, Menzies works look like ‘proper’ history books, stuffed with boring endnotes that somehow prove their academic standing.

    There has been a further, more political repercussion to this work. There are nationalists in China who, echoing the old Soviet craze for ascribing every invention useful to humanity as Russian in origin, are seeking to claim all discoveries for their nation. Having pride in one’s achievements is not in itself a bad thing and it is certainly good for us in the west to realise that Europe is not the source of all civilisation and knowledge. However, when it turns into revisionism of the kind that makes outlandish claims without evidence or suppresses contrary evidence, then we are straying into the realms of social evil. Creating generations of people with an entirely wrong notion of their past is the type of wickedness that one usually associates with religions.

    Chinese circumnavigation in 1421? | Bad Archaeology
     
  7. Sashan

    Sashan SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,293
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Ratings:
    +2 / 4,161 / -0
  8. KingMamba

    KingMamba ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    12,325
    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Ratings:
    +11 / 19,344 / -3
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    If you guys didn't have an isolationist policy you might have discovered much of the world. In High school our textbooks said you guys literally burned most of your ships or perhaps we would all be speaking Chinese today.

    Nobody gives credit to Columbus anymore anyway, it is widely attributed that Amerigo Vespucci was the first to discover the Americas. Hence the name Americas was named after him.
     
  9. Chinese-Dragon

    Chinese-Dragon PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

    Messages:
    33,916
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Ratings:
    +52 / 70,878 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    That's why we are Chinese, not Westerners. When we were a great power we never sought overseas colonies. Instead of expanding outwards into the world, we unfortunately ended up collapsing into ourselves.

    And KingMamba, did you know that Zheng He was a Hui Chinese Muslim?
     
  10. jbond197

    jbond197 SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    7,137
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Ratings:
    +0 / 6,586 / -6
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States
    Ok, that proves to the Chinese that Australia belongs to China. I am sure China is gonna claim it like it said its gonna claim Hawaii.. :lol:
     
  11. Horus

    Horus ADMINISTRATOR

    Messages:
    39,262
    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Ratings:
    +400 / 93,671 / -0
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Australia
    Posting, stuff about Australia is a crime?
     
  12. Sashan

    Sashan SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    4,293
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Ratings:
    +2 / 4,161 / -0
    No - The naming itself is controversial. It was the manipulations of few who tried to take the credit away from Columbus - Read up the background behind its naming.
     
  13. Chinese-Dragon

    Chinese-Dragon PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

    Messages:
    33,916
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Ratings:
    +52 / 70,878 / -0
    Country:
    China
    Location:
    China
    The Manchus and Mongols in China are Chinese now. :lol: There is no country called Manchuria, they are all culturally Chinese nowadays. Same with the Mongols living in China, of which there are more in China than in Mongolia itself.

    Can't say the same for you and the British though. Today, the de facto language of the Indian Government is English, which makes sense since it was the British who created India. Also, the most powerful person in India is a white European Catholic.
     
  14. KingMamba

    KingMamba ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    12,325
    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Ratings:
    +11 / 19,344 / -3
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    Well hindsight is 20/20 you guys didn't choose not to expand because you wanted to spare the rest of the world the agony of colonialism, you did it because your emperors believed isolationism was better for China and I am willing to bet if they could get a second chance they would colonize. Yes, I do know he was a Muslim but his accomplishments need to be applauded regardless of what faith he followed. Chinese Dragon I don't see why you felt the need to point that out, I would not think any less of him if he were an atheist explorer. :P The only reason you see my bringing up religion is because Indians like to spread false information about Islam on this site like they are scholars or something besides that if they never brought up Islam I wouldn't bother either. As for my signature and such that is because I am a proud Muslim, the same reason why I have both American flags because I am a proud American.
     
  15. KingMamba

    KingMamba ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    12,325
    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Ratings:
    +11 / 19,344 / -3
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United States
    Well even if you do not want to give credit to Amerigo the vikings came earlier than Columbus did as well. Nobody likes giving Columbus credit anymore especially when people realized he was a genocidal maniac and a rapist. Some people have been advocating dropping Columbus day as a federal holiday as well. I know in Venezuela they hate Columbus as well and they celebrate "resistance" day instead.

    Trolling on a whim.