Explorer May Redraw Map of History
historians and navigation experts are preparing to rewrite the
history books after a British historian pointed to an ancient
chart to prove that Chinese admiral Zheng He had discovered
most parts of the world by the mid-15th century and reached
America 72 years earlier than Columbus|
explorer Christopher Columbus landed in America in
1492, he was 72 years behind a Chinese expeditionary force, which
had already made its way to the area.
And although Captain James Cook was credited with discovering
Australia for the British Empire in 1770, the Chinese had mapped the
island continent 337 years earlier.
Sailing in 1,000-foot-long ships with nine massive junk-style sails,
the Chinese also circumnavigated the world a century before explorer
Ferdinand Magellan's epic journey, and reached South America.
These disclosures are at the centre of findings that British
historian and map expert Gavin Menzies will disclose to the
prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS) at a conference next
The former Royal Navy submarine commander will be speaking to more
than 200 diplomats, historians and academics from around the world,
including from the United States, Australia and South America.
The audience at the March 15 conference will also include top
navigators and chart makers.
An unprecedented 85 per cent of RGS members who have received an
outline of Mr Menzies' findings, which follow 14 years of research,
have already booked their seats.
Mr Menzies said the Chinese discoveries were made by ships of the
Emperor Zhui Di.
The fleet, under the command of top Chinese admiral Zheng He, set
sail in the early 1420s to bring back treasures from foreign lands.
The ships were the best and the fleet the biggest in the world at
At the RGS conference, Mr Menzies will unveil literary and
archaeological evidence that the Chinese ships, using accurate star
charts for navigation, circum-navigated the world.
The evidence includes travel manuscripts, including maps, written in
1434 by Venetian merchant Nicolo da Conti, who was aboard one of the
The Venetian wrote that he sailed from China to a great land mass to
the south - Mr Menzies will present evidence that this was the
continent known today as Australia.
Other maps made by officers on the admiral's ships include those of
America, the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan, which
links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
'The writings and logs of Christopher Columbus, James Cook and
Ferdinand Magellan acknowledge they had and used maps,' Mr Menzies
'The question is: Who drew those maps? The answer is: The Chinese,
who were the first to rule the oceans, with Zheng He's ships, each
crewed by 500 or more men.'