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On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." When the fleet returned home in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in the long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. And they colonized America before the Europeans, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.
Gavin Menzies is the bestselling author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America and 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance. His next book, coming in fall 2013, is Who Discovered America? He was born in England and served as a submarine captain in the Royal Navy between 1953 and 1970.
“Menzies’ enthusiasm is infectious and his energy boundless. He has raised important questions and marshaled some fascinating information.”
-Toronto Globe and Mail
“Captivating . . . a historical detective story . . . that adds to our knowledge of the world, past and present.”
“ is likely to be the most fascinating read of 2003.”
“No matter what you think of Menzies’s theories, his enthusiasm is infectious.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“What you’ve done, brilliantly, is to raise many questions that people are debating.”
-Diane Rehm, The Diane Rehm Show
“[Menzies] makes history sound like pure fun...a seductive read.”
-New York Times Magazine