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The Ming Dynasty ship sinks

One documentary I watched while writing Chinese Power in Indian Ocean (2/2) was based on Gavin Menzies’ best selling book  1421: The Year China Discovered America. The thesis of the book was that Zheng He’s fleet had reached America in 1421. But in the documentary, they put Gavin Menzies on camera and contradicted most of his assumptions. Mr. Menzies agreed with the producers that most of his evidence is flimsy, but he still stood by his theory.

To prove that Zheng He’s fleet could have reached America, a replica of the Ming Dynasty ship was built and it set sail to America from Xiamen. The ship made of wood held together with nails docked in San Francisco in October 2008 after a 69 day journey.

But tragedy struck while returning back to Taiwan.

After surviving several storms during its 10-month voyage, the junk broke in two and sank after it was rammed by a freighter just off Taiwan’s coast.

All 11 crew members were rescued after being found adrift on the wreckage.

“We have worked so hard for so many years, but we failed at the last minute, I’m really ashamed,” said Taiwanese captain Liu Ningsheng after being rescued by the coast guard. [BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Ming Dynasty replica junk sinks]

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5 Responses to The Ming Dynasty ship sinks

  1. maddy April 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    jk – i read the book 1421 and saw another documentary on the treasure ships. I am skeptical about the arrival of those ships in American shores, but will not say it is impossible. One thing I agree is that menzies was tenuous in some conclusions.

    also i have never been able to conclude the real reasons behind the treasure ship armada…if we knew that we could figure out why he went to shores as far as American.

    • jk April 30, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

      Maddy, I thought the treasure ships were on a mission like the Star Trek one, to boldly go, establish trading colonies and project power.

  2. Gary April 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    They also docked here in Hawaii in January 2009: http://is.gd/vfH3

  3. maddy May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Jk –

    I thought as well, but then when i saw the list of places in each of the 7 voyages, they were pretty much the same ( that takes out the ‘bold’ part). Also only one trip involved some warfare or show of power (the stealing of buddha’s tooth). so is it indeed a set of voyages of discovery, unless of course Ma Huan & others did not document it correclty or some records are lost?

  4. Vivek May 2, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Offtopic,

    In Today’s Hindu Magazine, Iravtham Mahadevan discusses the Indus Script and claims of literary Indus.
    http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/05/03/stories/2009050350010100.htm

    in the same magazine unde the section reality checks, The Hindu analyses Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi’s premable to BJP Manifesto.
    http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/05/03/stories/2009050350100400.htm

    what interests me is this point raised by unnamed eminent Historians who gave their “brief” comments on the preamble

    “Civilisation is generally defined as having city cultures and that would make Egypt, Mesopotamia and China older. Nor is it the only continuous culture since China has a continuous culture that is older.”

    I had three questions:
    “how can one prove that Vedic civilization was rural?”
    “is it mandatory that civilization is to be defined by city culture? Cant a rural establishment be called civilized? who gave this definition anyway?”
    “if no schools and colleges were present in ancient India, what were the Gurukuls?”

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