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Essay by   •  March 20, 2011  •  507 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,145 Views

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Whenever something we have been taught all our lives as being true is challenged, it is always met with some resistance and doubt. More so when it is historical than scientific it seems. History is usually based on human events that have taken place. Those events are written into books and passed down through people in stories. But just like a scientific breakthrough, history is all about research and discovery as well.

Of course growing up in your typical American education system, all of the glamorized folklore about pilgrims and Indians and the European discovery of America have been drilled into my head from the 1st grade. So I found the arguments in "1421: The Year China Discovered The World" extremely interesting as it challenged traditional thought.

It goes without saying that Gavin Menzies' book has been quite controversial and disputed by many. But anyone who takes the time to read the book with an open mind cannot dispute the fact that it is deeply researched and highly thought provoking.

One of the main themes in Menzies' book is the idea of Chinese superiority. It seems to have always been somewhat central in varying ways to the history of the country. It is especially important in "1421" because it is part of why the Chinese began their voyages in the first place.

It has been made clear that the main reasoning for the Zheng He expeditions is so that the Chinese could further fuel their claimed superiority by reaching other unexplored lands and adding them to the list of states that "bowed" to China. There were definitely economic benefits from the voyages, as the Chinese imported and exported goods from their destinations. Quality porcelain and silk were exchanged with various foreign goods such as spices. But despite these benefits, the true motive behind the expeditions remain true.

There are many examples Menzies provides



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