Zheng He and the Exploration of the Americas in the time before Columbus. This Chinese Muslim admiral and explorer sailed massive expeditionary treasure voyages during the Ming Dynasty around the globe and is said to have landed in the Americas decades before Columbus.
Speakers: Dr. Keith Lowe, Dr. Ruifeng Liang, Dr. Bayer Lee
This fascinating documentary examines the mystery surrounding the sailing exploits of the legendary Admiral Zheng and his 30 year command of a gigantic Ming fleet.
The Chinese court burned all records of Admiral Zheng's daring voyages and achievements, and unwittingly created a mystery that tantalizes the world 500 years later.
Could it be that a fearless Chinese admiral actually discovered America nearly a century before Columbus made his historical landing at San Salvador?
Travel back to the year 1421 and follow the legendary Admiral Zheng as he and his formidable Ming fleet travel far and wide to explore little-visited outposts at the behest of Chinese emperor Zhu Di.
Based on theories put forward by noted historian and best-seller Gavin Menzies, this thought-provoking take on conventional history proposes that it was Admiral Zheng who led European explorers to the West a whole 71 years after first setting foot on American soil.
The documentary examines the mystery surrounding China's legendary Zheng He and the spectacular Ming fleet of treasure junks he commanded in the early 15th century. The special provides a history of the known journeys of Zheng He's fleet and an account of new information uncovered by Gavin Menzies, a former British submarine commander who has spent nine years trying to prove that Zheng He reached America decades before Columbus. Menzies, author of the best-selling book 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, has assembled evidence that he believes substantiates his theory.
The first part of the documentary presents 15th-century China as an emerging super-nation with an armada of treasure junks that dominated the Indian Ocean. At the behest of Chinese emperor Zhu Di, Zheng He sailed this fleet to far-flung outposts throughout the eastern hemisphere, established major ports and extended the commercial reach of "the Middle Kingdom" far beyond its previous bounds. The first segment recounts this story through re-enactments, extensive location filming and innovative computer graphics imaging models of the fleet itself.
Could this incredible and intrepid fleet have shown the European explorers the way to the west - reaching America's shores decades before Columbus? Menzies seeks to prove his extraordinary theory by retracing the steps he believes the Chinese took from Africa to Europe to the Caribbean and along the eastern coast of the United States. The program examines the evidence behind his theory, then puts it to the test, drawing together historical accounts, archaeology and information from consultations with contemporary historians, archaeologists and scientists. The results are often dramatic and - like Menzies' theory itself - highly controversial.