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Zheng He

Celebrated Ming dynasty Chinese admiral, a Muslim eunuch also known as Zheng Ma. His fleet of vast treasure ships sailing around Eurasia in the 1400s is now well known. The idea that Zheng He's fleet could have planted colonies and led to an outward-looking Chinese state is now considered an AH Cliche, even though not that many timelines have used it.

Some additional points should be made:

  • All attempts to reconstruct Zheng He's treasure ships have suggested that the size may have been exaggerated, as they tend to collapse under the sea pressure. Only one-quarter-scale models have been successfully built. This has led to a running joke that 'the Chinese invented', as there are similar size controversies on that site about the Star Destroyers in Star Wars.
  • Some bold pseudohistory peddlers (Gavin Menzies, cough) claim that Zheng He discovered California in 1435. However, if this is so, he then evidently decided to turn around and forget about it. Understandable if you've ever been to LA. He did like the Chinese food though.
  • According to Hendryk, if Zheng He was ISOTed to nowadays, he would be banged up in Guantanamo Bay for being a Muslim working for the Chinese government, who had visited Islamic ports across the Indian Ocean, and attempting to map the American coast. Clearly highly suspicious.
  • Ming dynasty China had no interest in European-style overseas colonialism, so the idea of Zheng He or even the emperor at the time just itching to discover a new landmass and start sending eager colonists there goes completely against Chinese politics of that era.

Popular History and Bunkum: The book '1421, The Year China Discovered America' is a fairytale and a fiction - Review of Gavin Menzies' infamous book claiming that Zheng He explored all of the Americas and the Chinese had a knowledge of the entire globe in the 1400s.

Gavin Menzies’ 1421: The year China provided grist for crackpottery - Review of Gavin Menzies' infamous book 1421 by linguist Christopher Culver.

In Fiction

Several timelines on (e.g. Amerindian Arbalists, etc.) poke fun at these pseudohistorical claims, as they often seem to have in-universe fans even in alternate timelines.

alternate_history/zheng_he.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/30 11:43 by petike