1434 the Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance

The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance
Gavin Menzies

Those educated in the Western Hemisphere have been taught that European civilization and culture was the only important history in the world. Everything worth noting was accomplished and discovered by Europeans. I remember learning that the Arabs created our number system, however it was the Europeans that perfected it. This book challenges these Euro-centric assumptions. Menzies claims the Chinese sparked the renaissance and it all began when a huge Chinese fleet of junks sailed to Venice.
From the ambitions of the Chinese Emperor Zhu Di to bring the rest of the world in “Confucian harmony” to the destruction of the Chinese fleet off the coast of New Zealand, Menzies presents a plausible picture of the era proceeding the Renaissance that is at odds with traditional assumptions. Throughout his book he offers proof of his beliefs.
According to Menzies, the Chinese Admiral Zheng He, an explorer , directed a huge fleet of junks to sail around the world mapping areas not yet discovered by the Chinese. The Admiral was charged with collecting and sharing knowledge with the Barbarians. To aid in this he carried many interpreters and an encyclopedia of information known as the Yongle Dadian. This set of
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books included knowledge of astronomy, cartography, agriculture, machines, weapons and mathematics and many other subjects. China having made great strides in printing was able to produce the books required to share this information.
Menzies describes Zheng He’s fleet as magnificent not only because of it’s size but because it carried the great knowledge of the Chinese world. The vision of the Emperor, Zhu Di was to have the rest of the world pay tribute to the Chinese Empire.
The assumption made by Menzies is that the fleet traveled to Italy and sent a delegation to the Council of Venice and then traveled to Florence. We are asked to believe that...