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Printed From: WorldHistoria Forum
Forum Name: Alternative History
Forum Description: Share alternative historical theories here
Printed Date: 03 Jun 2020 at 02:28
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Topic: '1434'
Posted By: rider
Subject: '1434'
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 07:07
I noticed this impressive writing in the bookstore. So, I went to it and checked the cover. And it said that the Pope met in 1434 in Naples with a Chinese Imperial fleet. And I pretty much put it back and retraced the path which led me there in the first place. LOL
However, for a person (Gavin Mendez is the name, I believe) to write up such a story, he must have something to base it on. So, is it even remotely possible (I'll still say no until you, learned chaps, agree with him)? And what's the facts he is relying on?

Posted By: Majkes
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 07:11
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

I noticed this impressive writing in the bookstore. So, I went to it and checked the cover. And it said that the Pope met in 1434 in Naples with a Chinese Imperial fleet. And I pretty much put it back and retraced the path which led me there in the first place. LOL
However, for a person (Gavin Mendez is the name, I believe) to write up such a story, he must have something to base it on. So, is it even remotely possible (I'll still say no until you, learned chaps, agree with him)? And what's the facts he is relying on?
Yes, this is very interesting. I even read that Renessaince started with Chinese fleet visit in Italy. I found it quite suprising as Renessaince has more to do with ancient culture than Chinese culture.

Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 20:54
Chinese ships were about 5-6 times bigger that the ship of Columbus, e.g. I doubt that if an entire fleet had come to Italy, they would not be remembered.

Posted By: Styrbiorn
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 21:41
Don't tell me he wrote another piece of garbage.

edit: I guess he did. What's wrong with the man?

Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 22:07
Here you can follow Gavin Menzies Fantasy voyages: -
The site has also a rather amuzing forum: -

Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 22:34
When I first heard of 1421, I was fairly sympathetic to Gavin Menzies views. I am on record on AE being moderately reserved but no doubt slightly in favour of his suggestion. It does at least sound possible, before reading the book that is.

After a few chapters of reading 1421, specifically those dealing with the fleets voyage from China into the Indian Ocean, he had me convinced, I was even convinced when he was talking about the fleet reaching Madagascar and rounding the cape. That section of the voyage however is not disputed by anyone. He may not have gone to Madagascar, but I'll give Menzies the 'he may have a point' argument at least.

However, from the minute he rounds the cape the book descends into somewhat of a fantasy realm. He has collect alot of rumours and tidbits of information and connected them all together with a master-theory. Some of those rumours are very interesting in their own right, but most he hasn't research at all, and virtually none of them support his theory.
For example, he was the first that brought my attention to the Mapuche Chicken - the presences of Indonesian-native Chickens in America before Columbus is true, and very interesting. Gavin says the Chinese did it, but there doesn't seem to be any reason that the chinese did do it. It could have been the polynesians, or something else.

I continued reading until he got to the part about Australia and New Zealand. I really just wanted to hear what he said. In short here are the highlights;
> When Europeans first arrived in NZ they found a Maori tribe using a metal ships bell as a cooking pot. The bell had an inscription in Tamil. It said "Bell of the ship of Muhayideen Baksh". That turned out to be true, the Bell is on display in Wellington. According to Menzies this means that Muhayideen Baksh was a tamil trader tagging along with the Chinese fleet and that the fleet went to NZ. A tall leap, all it really proves is that Muhayideen Baksh’s bell got to New Zealand. He may have sold the bell in Indonesia - or Sri Lanka - for all we know. We could even say that there was some trade between NZ and other Islands, but we can't say a great massive Chinese treasure fleet rocked up and left behind a bell that wasn't even in Chinese!
> Apparently, one of the Junks was wreaked off the coast of Victoria. I looked up the case, IIRC, one convict, once reported a shipwreak. Melbourne sent a search & rescue and couldn't find the ship. No-one ever since has ever seen or reported the ship, and there is a very very high probablity that the first report was false. Naturally of course, this non-existant shipwreak is a chinese junk laden with treasure which proves that the Chinese went to Australia.
> The old Whaling station at Eden, which was built by Mr Boyd, has his name written in big letters on it, and the construction of which is in records, is actually a chinese fort built 400 years eariler (yet mysteriously not showing its age). Our mistake!

So all in all his evidence is about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane.

He never even mentioned Mali either. If he was searching for pre-columbian contact, surely you'd at least give a paragraph to a King & his fleet sailing into the Atlantic. Especially since China is oh-so-close to the Atlantic.

Posted By: whalebreath
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2009 at 15:48
Further to the nonsense printed by Menzies he claims that the Chinese built settlements in present day Atlantic Canada, upon examining them local people found natural stone formations nothing else.

There's a more sinister angle to all this though.

The Chinese Communist Govt is a nasty creature much given to mendacity and steeped in the shallowest nationalist chauvinism,  I can easily see them using the flimsiest excuses to expand.

Posted By: rider
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2009 at 18:02
Omar, you don't seem to be too positively thinking of Menzies. :) Can't blame you there though, the fact that the book's back cover brought out in bold that Menzies had done research in 90 countries and 150 university libraries made me suspicious. No one who'd actually know anything would say something like that.
Has he said anything else noteworthy?

Posted By: Sarmat
Date Posted: 25 Aug 2009 at 14:47
Mr. Menzies doesn't know Chinese and his knowledge of Chinese history is very limited. The voyages of Zheng He are very well studied in China. And nobody even seriously makes claims that Chinese could reach America before Columbus. His books are just fantazies.


Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 26 Aug 2009 at 00:36
Hey folks, people have been making mucho bucks for years trading upon the basic ignorance of the general populance. Besides, is there a difference between claims of alien abductions and those of a Chinese embassy to the Pope through Naples in 1434? Perhaps they were interested in attending the Council of Florence so as to ameliorate the Eastern schismEvil Smile

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: AlexInBoston
Date Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 10:35
God, this guy again.  What a tool.

For a nicely told and accurately researched account of Zheng He's mighty treasure fleet, check out Louise Levathes' "When China Ruled The Seas."  There's no decent evidence that they went to the Americas, but what they did do is pretty cool.

Posted By: Pabbicus
Date Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 10:43
Of course the Chinese held a lot of prestige as the "asian naval power" until Japan near completely annihilated their fleets in the first Sino-Japanese war. :D

Posted By: SPQR
Date Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 11:59
Yes is the book any good, I saw it at the library a week or two ago... looked interesting.

I think I'm going to check it out

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

- Albert Einstein

Posted By: Melisende
Date Posted: 12 Aug 2010 at 19:21
Hmm ... skimming through my book on Joanna II of Naples - I find no mention of the Chinese arriving there in 1434 - and considering that at this point in time there was considerable turmoil in Naples with Joanna about to be deposed by Pope Urban VI, their arrival would surely have been notweworthy.

Posted By: AlexInBoston
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 01:12
SPQR: Menzies' book distorts and invents evidence egregiously.  It should not be considered "history" any more than The Da Vinci Code should be.

Posted By: Sarmat
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 05:31
The thread moved to the place where it belongs. Smile


Posted By: AlexInBoston
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 05:43
Nice work, thank you.  :)

Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 06:03
I was wondering how a notification on "Garbage" Menzies made it to my box! Before we had to worry over "little green men" from Space igniting civilization now it is obvious that it was Chinese who taught the Pope all about the wonders of Graeco-Roman civilization and poof, the Renaissance...the next volume will deal with the secret years of Jesus and his visit to Tibet before returning to the Jordan valley.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Posted By: lirelou
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 11:22
My take on Menzies is borrowed from "Frog in a Well" at

These guys know far more about China than I do. Suffice it to say that I have heard of no serious Chinese historian within China who views Menzies as anything other than a crank.  To quote Alan Baumler of FIAW,

"So why does it bother me so much? I normally am not all that concerned with issues of status, but it realy bothers me to see an obvious fraud like Menzies getting exposure and credibility. Soon he will be as solidly lodged in history as George Washington’s cherry tree, Qin Shihuang burying the Confucians, and Francis Bacon as Shakespeare."

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì

Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 13 Aug 2010 at 12:50
The problem is he has collected a whole string of different rumours, some true, some false, and connected them with a single master theory.

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