via South China Morning Post, 27 and 28 January 2024: A book by Sheng-Wei Wang’s presents a provocative hypothesis that the Ming Dynasty’s Treasure Fleet might have reached the Americas before Columbus accordng to her analysis of the ancient Kunyu Wanguo Quantu map. The premise is similar to the pseudohistorical claims made by Gavin Menzies in 1421 and faces considerable skepticism. Historians question its empirical foundation, citing a lack of direct evidence and the speculative nature of the claims. Wang’s expertise also lies outside traditional historical scholarship. It’s amazing that the SCMP devoted two pages to these claims, taking most of them at face value.
“The general consensus is his fleet reached the east coast of Africa,” Schutz said. He noted that some had claimed otherwise, but they had been “definitively refuted” by historians.
One of those people was British submarine commander Gavin Menzies, who believed that the Chinese had reached the Americas in 1421. He wrote a controversial book on the subject in 2002, titled 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, which historians have rejected as “pseudohistory”.
Pieces of historical evidence, including navigation charts published in 1628 that are thought to have belonged to Zheng He, do indeed suggest the mariners stayed within the boundary of the east coast of Africa.
However in her book, while analysing a major world map published a quarter of a century earlier than He’s charts, Wang leads the reader through a reimagined history of Chinese exploration that suggests they made it much further than the scholarly consensus.