Friday, July 27, 2007

1421 (paca)

Many of you may have noticed in your local chain bookstore over the last few years a book that seems to re-appear periodically on a front table called 1421: The Year China Discovered the World (sometimes America). I've always thought it an intriguing book because of my old interest in Chinese history. There's very strong evidence that Chinese fleets had sailed around Southeast Asia, around India, Arabia, and very likely to the eastern coast of Africa before the great European explorations ever began. The 1421 book argues that one of these Chinese fleets sailed to America as well around 1421, 71 years before Columbus (and about 300 years after the Vikings and some unknown number of years after the Polynesians which has now been proven by chicken DNA.) Anyway, that's what I thought the book was about.

However, today, through a long chain, I ended up at the Wikipedia entry for the 1421 hypothesis, which comes from the book. And, boy, does the theory claim a bit more for this 1421 expedition from China. They not only supposedly discovered the New Word, but large chunks of Africa, Antartica, and Australia. Not only did they supposedly visit these places, but they left various colonies all over the world. Moreover, virtually every slightly mysterious structure the man had ever heard of appears to amazingly be a remain from this expedition.

One example is The Newport Tower in Newport, RI. I had never heard of this tower before today. It's quite fascinating reading both of these articles as a study of "conspiracy" theories for lack of a better term. The basic gist is that you take the theory with the most evidence and notice a couple things that may not make total sense. And, instead of realizing that you just can't reconstruct history from 400 or 600 years ago perfectly, just like you may not even agree with your own spouse about who kissed whom first, you make up a new theory and adhere to that, even though the problems in the new theory are vast compared to the old one.

Either way, both of these stories are great for setting the imagination on fire, wondering just how you can pick and choose facts to establish the most bizarre theories. By the way, if you like old maps at all, there are numerous links in the 1421 site to maps from hundreds of years ago that are all fascinating in their own right. I lost way too much time to this this morning.

1 comment:

Geoff Wade said...

Just a short note on your 1421 comments. Mr Menzies, did not pick and choose facts. Rather, the entire 1421 was fabricated in the publishing house Transworld as revealed here:



geoff wade