"Gavin Menzies, whose book 1421: the Year China Discovered the World was just released, has spent several years investigating the credibility of the claims about Zheng He, a Muslim eunuch employed by successive Ming emperors. Menzies, a retired British submarine commander, says many acedemics not just in China but also in the US beleive Zheng found North America and Australia during a two year odysessy which began in 1421.
In 1421 Zheng He's fleet of four mighty junks, set sail from Nanjing, the then capital of the Chinese Empire. Each ship was three times the size of Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, and their triple hulls were more advanced than many 19th century warships. Mr. Menzies said so much teak was needed for their construction that the forests of Vietnam had to be raided, leading to a war with the ancient kingdom of Annam.
Mr. Menzies said that although Zheng himself turned back when they got to Sumatra, ho could still lay credit to the exploits of his admirals who he had trained and whose ships he had designed. Zheng He's fleet gradually split up but Mr. Menzies said there was incontrovertible evidence that three of the four ships went ot Arabia, the Cape of Good Hope, the Caribbean, South America the South Pacific, Australia and then the west coast of North America.
He said :'The Chinese set up settlements all along the west coast of North America, form Vancouver Island to New Mexico and inter-married happily with the local Indians. When the first Spanish colonialists arrived in the 16th century they found many Chinese, as well as wrecked junks. But the diseases the European colonialists brought with them wiped out 90% of the Indians, and destroyed the Chinese influence.'
Ironically,after the admirals of Zheng He's fleet returned from their global travels they were not lauded but castigated. The Ming dynasty, beset with keeping at bay the Mongol hordes, began a policy of isolationism which lasted 600 years. The great ships were mothballed, the admirals were pensioned off, the records wre burned and the blueprints for the might ships were destroyed. Now, the interest in the great expedition has been rekindled, and fundraising to recreate the ships and voyages has begun. (BBC, 22 Oct 02)"
From The World Explorer, Vol. 3 No.3, pages 8-9.
Many theories citing the Land Bridge as the only path of humans into the Americas cite the similiar features of American Natives and Asain. While this could explain the similiarities of North Alaskan Natives such as the Inupuik, and the Aleut, it does not explain other similarities found in the American Native population as a whole.
When the Spanish came, they raped, looted, and enslaved. When the English came, they stole the land and kept to themselves. Since the Chinese mixed and interbred with the indigenous people, there was more of a sharing of culture.