Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

Age of Discovery


 
 
Poem du Jour
 
 

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Return from Forever

When you depart too soon from love that is true

Your heart remains as collateral for return overdue

Warming the body on sleepless nights, teary pillow caresses face

Incubus delivers both message and massage in space

Yearning in forevermore hereafter

Awaiting nights of passionate laughter

As stars and moon direct light

Over path of return from flight

Still nights alone will atone to cry “Welcome Home”

 

R e Hill Baja CA MX 2011©

 

Retorno de Siempre

Cuando se sale antes de tiempo del amor que es verdad

Su corazón permanece como garantía para la devolución vencida

El calentamiento del cuerpo en las noches sin dormir, almohada con lágrimas acaricia la cara

Espíritu ofrece tanto el mensaje y el masaje en el espacio

Anhelo en adelante para siempre

En espera de noches de risas apasionado

Como las estrellas y luz de la luna directa

Sobre la trayectoria de vuelo de retorno

Noches solo se expiar a decir "Bienvenido a Casa"

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Age of Discovery

 

Contemporary history classifies the mid 1400’s thru the 1700’s as the Age of Discovery ---- it should be more appropriately referred to as the Age of European Exploration and Expansion thru Colonization. England, France, Spain, Portugal and belatedly the Dutch explored, discovered, invaded, colonized ---- or pick your own word ---- the so-called New World. Most of the New World had already been explored by Asians and Africans, most notably by the Chinese.

 

Historically obscured Zheng He (a.k.a. Cheng Ho) in seven voyages encompassing thirty plus years was the most prolific explorer in recorded history. His exploits according to  Gavin Menzies, a former submarine commanding officer who has spent 14 years charting the movements of a Chinese expeditionary fleet between 1421 and 1423; Chinese explorers had discovered most parts of the world by the mid-15th century  ---- History books in 23 countries may need to be rewritten in the light of this evidence.  Menzies, an amateur historian expounds his theory ---- backed up by charts, ancient artifacts and anthropological research ----- that when Columbus supposedly discovered America in 1492, he was 72 years too late.  Also Zheng He, in colossal multi-mast ships stuffed with treasure, silks and porcelain made the first circumnavigation of the world a century before the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan. Menzies originally intended to write a book about the significance of the year 1421 around the world. While researching it in Venice, he was shown a planisphere, dated 1459, which included southern Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Yet the Cape was not "discovered" as a sea route by Vasco da Gama until 1497. On the planisphere was a note in medieval Phoenician about a voyage round the Cape to the Cape Verde Islands in 1420 - and a picture of a Chinese junk.

 

Who was Zheng He?

 

Zheng He (1371–1435), was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the travels of "Eunuch Sanbao to the Western Ocean" or "Zheng He to the Western Ocean", from 1405 to 1433. Zheng He also knew how to speak Arabic and Chinese.

 

Zheng He was originally named 'Ma He' and was born in 1371 the second son of a Muslim family which also had four daughters, from Kunyang, present day Jinning, just south of Kunming near the southwest corner of Lake Dian in Yunnan.

 

He was the great great great grandson of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, a Persian who served in the administration of the Mongolian Empire and was appointed governor of Yunnan during the early Yuan Dynasty. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather carried the title of Hajji denoting having made the pilgrimage to Mecca. His great-grandfather was named Bayan and may have been a member of a Mongol garrison in Yunnan.

 

In 1381, the year his father was killed, following the defeat of the Northern Yuan, a Ming army was dispatched to Yunnan to put down the army of the Mongol Yuan loyalist Basalawarmi during the Ming conquest of Yunnan. Ma He, then only eleven years old, was captured by the Ming Muslim troops of Lan Yu and Fu Youde and made a eunuch. He was sent to the Imperial court, where he was called 'San Bao' meaning 'Three Jewels' ----this has to be the all time greatest misnomer. He eventually became a trusted adviser of the Yongle Emperor (1403-1424), assisting him in deposing his predecessor, the Jianwen Emperor. In return for meritorious service, the eunuch received the name Zheng He from the Yongle Emperor.

 

Zheng He was placed as the admiral in control of the fleet and armed forces that undertook these expeditions. Wang Jinghong was appointed his second in command. Zheng He's first voyage consisted of a fleet of 317 ships (other sources say 200 ships) holding almost 28,000 crewmen (each ship housing up to 500 men). Zheng He's fleets visited Arabia, Brunei, East Africa, India, Malay Archipelago and Thailand (at the time called Siam), dispensing and receiving goods along the way. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver, porcelain and silk; in return, China received such novelties as ostriches, zebras, camels, ivory and giraffes. In 1424, the Yongle Emperor died. His successor, the Hongxi Emperor (reigned 1424–1425), decided to stop the voyages during his short reign. Zheng He made one more voyage under the Xuande Emperor (reigned 1426–1435), but after that the voyages of the Chinese treasure ship fleets were ended as China morphed into quasi-isolationism. Zheng He died during the treasure fleet's last voyage. Although he has a tomb in China, it is empty: he was, like many great admirals, buried at sea.

 

The Chinese navigation legacy includes the use of a sophisticated rudder for steering, compartmentalized bulkheads to minimize sinking if the ship was damaged, the 48 point compass and star maps for navigation. These and other Chinese maps are in naval museums in Portugal ---- the center of navigation science where most explorers including Columbus were educated.

 

With the armed massive ships at their disposition China could have re-ordered History had the missions undertaken been aggressive rather than cultural
 
 
See BLOG MENU for article on Black Chinese
 
 
 
 
 

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