Monday, December 26, 2005

1421 - The year the Chinese discovered the world

1421 - The year the Chinese discovered the world.

When I first read about this, it piqued my interest (I've always
found history interesting) so I read every piece of article that
came my way, including the book. I also subscribed to their
newsletter that keeps subscribers informed of their latest
discoveries and so forth.

The "1421 exhibition" is going around the world and the last stop
was in Singapore. It was a walk-in, larger than life showcase of
Zheng He's travels, and helped to raise awareness of the importance
of these voyages.

For Malaysians who miss the exhibition in Singapore, there is good
news as the exhibition has now moved to the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum
in historic Malacca. It is hoped that it will from there travel the
world in the wake of Zheng He.

This year, the book has been published in Finland, Estonia and
Mainland China. A French edition is expected in Spring 2006.

There will be a film made and Warner Brothers has acquired
the motion picture rights to 1421, and are aiming to produce two
films, the first of which it is hoped will be released in 2008.

The 1421 team will be busy in 2006 with the notification of
"Zheng He's Integrated Map of the World, 1418."

The map, drawn decades before Columbus, da Gama and Magellan set sail, shows the whole world with extraordinary accuracy. Each continent of the world has remarkable geographical features with near correct general contours and position. All oceans of the world are displayed, as are many major rivers and innumerable islands. The map will be made public on January 17th 2006, so please watch this space!

See if these fascinate you too:

Urn found in Nevada

Coin dug out of an embankment at Ocean Park, BC

Chinese cast brass artefact found in Northwestern Australia.
It was found with Chinese pottery and an opium pipe.

Painting of Chinese Junk in California

Cave paintings of Chinese junks in Thailand

Chinese figures on Spanish Church

Get a glimpse of voyages and maps here:
Info on New World discoveries


  1. this is intersting...

    i've read a brief prolougue about this somewhere months earlier.

    the travel was dated far earlier than columbus or marco polo? <-- this is what interest me as it defines new meaning in history.

    if im not mistaken, some nat.geo. guys are compiling the facts for their feature series as well.

  2. Hi Jellyfish, the 1421 team that's doing the research and compiling the findings is based in London and they travel worldwide to verify new findings.

  3. Wow...THAT'S impressive...not to mention mind-boggling...

  4. wah, nice stuff, do u own them?

  5. Kelly, thanks for visiting.

    MM, yeah, I thought so too.

    Robin, I wish. hehehe...
    I used to own some Straits Settlement coins and some old Chinese square coins (among others) but they were taken when thieves broke into my home. Sob! Sob!

  6. Interesting theory, and very controversial. I have read some harsh critiques of this book. What ever the truth regarding Menzies book turns out to be, there is no doubt of the outstanding achievements Zheng He who explored far and wide with ships far superior to his European counterparts.

    Something I found interesting about these Chinese expeditions was that they brought large amounts of food and even earth in huge pots on the decks of the ships for growing their own food in case food in the countries they discovered was not suitable for them. They brought a lot of items to trade and even Muslim (Zheng was a Muslim) and Buddhist priests to help bridge cultural and religious divides. This in contrast to the Europeans who took guns and soldiers with them. The Chinese apparently wanted to establish trade, the Europeans to conquer.

    Interesting post. Cool pics. Thanks.

  7. any post that has got anything vaguely to do with water and has a character with the name "Ho" in it is a cool post! ;o)

  8. Zheng Ho is a very interesting figure whom i m still trying to 'decipher'...

    btw, last year when i got the 1421 book in london, it was on a bargain of GBP3.00 for a hardcover. I should have got more copies and give out as gifts to friends. such a bargain!

    will come back with more comments and opinions. right now i m so sleeeepy.....


  9. Anonymous9:44 AM

    God ... my weakest subject is HISTORY!

  10. 2005 - The year A Chinese discoverd everyone here...

  11. Pandabonium, yes, I've read some conflicting theories too from other quarters but I agree that Zheng He has left a lasting legacy for China and the world.

    Your keen observation of the difference between the Chinese and the European expeditions is indeed commendable.

    On a different note, up to today, there is still a debate as to who invented spaghetti and the pizza. Did Marco Polo bring them from Italy to China or was it the other way around - whether he brought them back to Italy from China.

    FH2o, am glad you found it cool. I shall remember to include those two elements (H2O and Ho) in future posts. Thanks for the reminder. ;)

    Hey, come to think of it, you and/or YD may be related to Zheng He or perhaps share the same roots.
    Food for thought, eh?

    YD, for GBP3.00, it's a steal! Over here in Malaysia, it costs much more. In fact, books here are so expensive ever since the value of the Ringgit fell. Looking forward to more of your wisdom.

    louyau-mike, now is the time for some history lessons then. haha...

    Hey Low, good to find you here.

  12. I wonder if I should point out that there is very thought-provoking evidence of Japanese landing in what is now Peru a few thousand years ago.

    Oops...I guess I just did!

  13. MM, I'm not surprised. Researchers are making new discoveries all the time.

    In fact, Peru does have a sizeable number of Japanese living there.