Gavin Menzies, a British author, believed that the Chinese were the first people to discover America. Zheng He, a Muslim eunuch and a close friend of the Ming dynasty’s third emperor who reigned between 1403 and 1424, led to the discovery of America. He was the commander of a huge fleet of ships that explored the world to spread the Chinese influence (Menzies 167). Menzies believed that it is during these explorations by Zheng He and his troops that he discovered America in the 15th century, many decades before Christopher Columbus arrived in America. According to Menzies theory, a group of Zheng He’s fleet led by Admiral Zhou Man, left the main fleet and followed the currents northward past Japan towards the American West Coast to California and arrived in San Francisco (263 ).
Elaborate examples provided by various historians show that Menzies theory is possibly true. At Bodega Bay there are ceramics still disgorged from a Chinese junk that sunk at the area. In sacramental river, a sandbank from a Chinese junk was discovered, and further shows that Chinese explorers visited the region during the period highlighted. At San Francisco Bay, there are mysterious walls, built of stone that are believed to have been erected by the Chinese. These walls resemble the Great Wall of China, and the original owners of the land where the walls are build do not claim to have built the walls, they actually concede to have found the walls there when they settled in the area. Another piece of evidence that supports Menzies’ theory was the discovery of the Ming bronze plate that was discovered at Susanville, California.
These evidences are historically convincing. The wall that only resembles the Great Wall of China is a proof enough of the existence of the Chinese in the area. The Ming bronze plate is another example of Chinese presence in the region. These two examples indisputably show that Menzies assertions are ground on existing proofs.
Opposing View Points
Menzies’ theory has been opposed variously by scholars and historians. For example, one of the canals that Menzies claimed that the Chinese used, through the Red Sea, is believed to have not existed during the historic period that he cited. This was opposition by Peter Rivers, a captain and a master mariner. Another opposing view came from Bill Richardson, a scholar. He claims that Menzies theory of Chinese circumnavigation does not have convincing evidence and it is highly speculative. Dr. Geoff Wade also opposed Menzies theory by insisting that the map provided by Menzies about the Chinese circumnavigation is a fake map. He believed Menzies had it produced by an expert in map production in the 21st century and therefore not a 1763/1418 map as Menzies claims.
Considering all the evidences brought forward, Menzies evidence is more believable as it is built on original evidences. The evidences of Chinese ceramics, junks, Ming bronze plates, and wall design could only have come from the Chinese. The other scholars dwell on disapproving Menzies theory, and their evidences are not very clear. For example, claiming that a map is not legit without sufficient proof shows inadequacies in their assertions to disapprove Menzies theory. The scholar could have shown the real map rather than disregarding the map and not showing the true one. However, critics believe that if the Chinese really discovered America they would have settled here. Chinese would have colonizers of America, and their culture would be spread throughout the US. Other possible colonial powers, such as British, Spanish, French, et cetera, would have followed Chinese. As the first colonial power, Chinese socioeconomic influence would be evident in all corners of the US.
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