I've not read the book "1421" but I did see the documentary based on it a
few years ago, which from memory included interviews with the author.
The first part was good discussing the Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean in the 15th
century which is well documented from numerous sources if not widely known in Western
society. Where I feel the author and the documentary went off on a tangent, is when they
started speculating that the Chinese navigators had sailed up the coast in the Atlantic on
the west side of Africa. The Chinese certainly had the technical capability. However
this is at the same period of history as or very shortly before the Portuguese who were
slowly exploring this same coastline. The Canary Islands were known about 14th in the
century, the Portuguese discovered the Azores in 1427 , and reached Senegal and the Cape
Verde Islands in 1445, and finally rounding the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. Even if the
Portuguese were a generation after the Chinese, I'm sure that they would have learned
something of it through the oral history of the local African tribes with whom they
However, the Chinese would have probably received information about Western Europe, North
Africa and the Atlantic from people like Muhammad ibn Battuta (1304-ca. 1368) from
Tangiers who in travels reached China via the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, travelling all up
much further than Marco Polo. (Being a Moslem medieval traveller, he doesn't have a
high profile in the West).
Tim Severin has also not only proven that the Arab Dhows could reach China by sailing one,
built in traditional 9th century style with the planking sewn together, from Oman to
Canton, "The Sinbad Voyage" but also that the legends regarding the Irish monk
St Brendan (must have an Irish link in this post!!!) are potentially true by sailing a
Currach from Ireland to Newfoundland via Scotland, The Faroe Islands and Iceland.
As regards the Beothuks, it was largely the Micmacs with French encouragement who did the
"hunting", but it's not politically correct to have one Native Canadian
people exterminating another one, so the Europeans get most of the blame.
----- Original Message -----
From: Carl Maguire
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2013 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: FERMANAGH-GOLD SO...Who discovered America?? Vikings?? Cabot??Maybe even an
IRISHMAN?? A HALL??
I'm wading through a book called "1421, The Year China Discovered the
World". Interesting theory that a Chinese fleet made some pretty amazing voyages,
backed by quite a lot of archaeological evidence.
Oh, as a depressing aside: The Beothuk in Newfoundland had no concept of
"property". So they took things and were therefore hunted to extinction by
Europeans. Probably oversimplified, but that's the gist of it.
Cheers. Or not. Sorry.