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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29526 times)
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weezo
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« Reply #795 on: August 24, 2007, 02:50:36 PM »

Dzimas,

It seems that the fact that there was a large flotilla of Chinese Junks is not in question. That seems to be agreed upon. The ambassadors who attended the ceremonies at the Forbidden City rode home on these luxury liners. The evidence in in the records of the passenger's histories.

It is where the junks went after they dropped off the ambassadors that may be speculative. And, I think it likely they explored the Pacific. I think it likely they knew Australia and America existed and where they were. I think it highly likely that the Chinese figured out latitude and longitude long before the Europeans were successful at it.

I hope the next book we read on this discussion is the Farfarers, so we can continue the comparison of the two styles used by Mowat and by Menzies.
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #796 on: August 24, 2007, 03:59:12 PM »

I hope the next book we read on this discussion is the Farfarers, so we can continue the comparison of the two styles used by Mowat and by Menzies.


If you don't mind me saying so, I do not share your hope.  There is entirely too much speculation in these books and much of the emphasis in on European history. It is virtually impossible to make any cross reference reading or research to corroborate or to debunk the theories posited by the authors. This forum section is, after all, about American history and we should stick with this only as we can readily make cross reference research and/or debunk any speculation made the authors.

A reminder that there is a section here dealing with mythology and discussions on speculative history should properly be there rather than here. {At least I would think so.}
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« Reply #797 on: August 24, 2007, 04:04:25 PM »

I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?
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madupont
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« Reply #798 on: August 24, 2007, 08:37:50 PM »

I need to recap about here. Are we saying that the putative discovery, according to title by Menzies, is 1421? And they arrived  back in Bejing when?

That ambassadors were welcomed to celebrate this (and probably offered tribute)?
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madupont
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« Reply #799 on: August 24, 2007, 09:02:38 PM »

Dzimas,

When this topic started, I had a brief reminder to myself that yes, I had seen lithographs of "Junks" in the oddest place. On-line at the USPS.com
amidst what they call the card store. At one time, The New York Times had the identical service.

I decided that I ought to look them up and see if they were still around with the US Postal Service, because my earlier impression was that they were decorative art possibly during the English tea-trade. I  guess that I was not far wrong. Except that they are steel engraving.

Description: "Fort Victoria, Kow-Loon" by THOMAS ALLOM Steel Engraving, from "China Illustrated," 1843

Description: "Festival of the Dragon-Boat, 5th day of 5th Moon" by THOMAS ALLOM Steel Engraving, 1843

Unfortunately, using the links above the  enlargements does not do a thing but throw you into a hodge podge known as CastleFineArts that sells on-line  where you have to go through an excess of material page by page to happenstance locate the prints; while the links  do not transfer from viewing on one computer to allow for viewing of the prints on another computer.  But if you have any luck locating www.usps.com, go to card shop, you begin to find at least four  Chinese  topical prints from the British point of view; two of which display large Junks.  I remember that I thought at the time that this is peculiar, the boats are very large, was the artist merely making the Chinese vessels resemble European ships in size and outfitting in order to give the viewers scenic and colorful diversion?

I must at any rate suggest that Thomas Needham is not some fly by night speculative dreamer but is firmly an academic historian of Science and Technological advancement. A little bit like a latter day Diderot with his encyclopedia but, concentration on what discoveries or improvements did the Chinese originate and contribute to the world's inventive ideas and material.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #800 on: August 25, 2007, 06:36:41 AM »

Weezo, I share your fascination in early American explorations, but they are purely speculative.  Not much unlike Thor Hyerdahl's Ra and Kon Tiki voyages.  As such I would hope that the next history book we read together will be grounded in a more objective past, as fun as it is to speculate on our past.

According to a China History Forum website,

1421-1422: The sixth Zheng He expedition, with 41 ships, returned envoys from Hormuz and elsewhere. It probably visited Melaka, Aru, Semudera, Lambri, Coimbatore, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Dhofar, Aden, Mogadishu, Brava and Thailand.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.14, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.151.


1419-1444: Venetian nobleman Nicolò de Conti left Italy in 1419, lived for a time in Damascus, travelled in South Asia, returned home in 1444, and dictated an account to the papal secretary. He describes five-masted, triple-planked ships 'of twoo thousande Tunnes' with watertight compartments. 
J.V.G. Mills, introduction to Ma Huan, 'Ying-yai Sheng Lan' (The overall survey of the Ocean's shores), p.64-66.

http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t3182.html

But, then I guess Mills has a more conservative view of the extent of the Chinese explorations.
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Bob
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« Reply #801 on: August 25, 2007, 07:04:45 AM »

Dzimas: I saw your reference above to Boorstin and, not being able to find my copy of the DISCOVERERS, went to the library to  get theirs. Boorstin gives a brief rendition of the age of the Treasure Fleet but nowhere in that section does he even allude to trips East to America. But in another section, on page 158 after getting through with the Portuguese, he  says
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It is possible, too, that in pre-Columbian times a Chinese or Japanese junk may have been driven off course alll the way to the shores of America. But these acts and accidents that produced no feedback spoke only to the wind

In the same paragraph he talks about the ability to come home again "if a people were to enrich, embellish, and enlighten themselves from far off places."

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In a later age  this would be called feedback" It was crucial to the discoverer, and helps explain why going to sea, why the opening of the oceans, would mark a grand epoch for humankind. In one after another human enterprise, the act without the feedback was of little consequence. The capacity to enjoy and profit from feedback was a prime human power.Seafaring ventures, and even their one way success, were  themselves of small consequence and left little record in history. Getting there was not enough. The internourishment of the peoples of the earth required the ability to get back, to return to the voyaging source and transform the stay at homes by the commodities and the knowledge that the voyagers had found over there.

He then mentions  voyages where this was not done, including early Viking voyages to America, but coming right after discussing Portugal, the same rational may be applied to the situation of the Portuguese found in Puerto Rico.

(See Boorstin, THE DISCOVERERS, at page 158)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 07:11:24 AM by Bob » Logged
Bob
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« Reply #802 on: August 25, 2007, 07:13:42 AM »

Please be aware I modified my last post in my last post to have the first sentence in the last paragraph to read

He then mentions  voyages where this was not done...

I left out the word NOT in my original post.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #803 on: August 25, 2007, 08:20:54 AM »

Mowat cites the reason for the Albans, who were European by the way, venturing toward America being their search for walruses. This is what initially led to them Iceland.  At the time walrus ivory was very much in demand.  Without riches to show for their efforts such missions would have been considered failures, and probably would have gone unreported, as you note Bob. 
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weezo
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« Reply #804 on: August 25, 2007, 08:27:51 AM »

Bob,

I have just ordered some books to read over the coming months including Boorstein's The Discoveres, and A Cross of Iron by Michael Hogan. I had hoped to get the book on Contrad Weiser by Paul Wallace, but it was unavailabe at a decent price from Amazon. I'm not going to pay "collectables" prices for my reading. I also ordered: A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States by Timothy Henderson.

It will be interesting to see what books others are interested in reading next, and I will begin taking suggestions for the next poll.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #805 on: August 25, 2007, 08:38:16 AM »

I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?

Heyerdahl probably made the most daring proposition by claiming Egyptians reached South America using boats made from papyrus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl

Heyerdahl seemed to feel that the Mayans and Aztecs simply couldn't have built their pyramids on their own.  I think his Kon-Tiki voyage had more merit to it, although it is a pretty long stretch from the easternmost Polynesian island to the mainland of South America.
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madupont
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« Reply #806 on: August 25, 2007, 10:52:07 AM »

Dzimas,

I am far more concerned -- that when you get to the bottom few inches of the scroll-down in your China History link(above) that the explanation is there for how Menzie's evidence of Chinese arriving on the West Coast of the America's,  namely the porcelains, really got there. What we have been overlooking all along is something so obvious , it almost annoyed me that I'd gone all the way down that scroll.  In my life, it seems to be East Timor, or Timor L'estre, that always gets me into real trouble at forums of choice while they still existed

Timor, the site of massacres in recent times, following the Nixon administration, is a Portuguese colony in the East Indies, where the  intermarriage rates were high and sanctified Christian; as such, they come under attack from Malaysia as this part of Indonesia was supplied with weapons by the US. Possible further rights to oil and natural gas in the immediate area off the Australian shelf would seem to be the cause.

For our purposes, however, those bottom inches of your link tell us that the Portuguese went on to Hirado in Japan, and we should have thought of this immediately when Portuguese Catholic missions went to China.  They develop a commercial port at Macao. When doing so, they of course sail by the Philippines. The Philippines became a Spanish possession long before the US was ever involved. We then discover that a Spanish vessel or two shipwreck on our western shores, one taken by an English vessel named Sir Francis Drake which should give some ideas on the date, and the area mentioned is from Baja peninsula on down into the South American continent.  What are they carrying in trade  to their colonies? Porcelain among other things.                 
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Dzimas
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« Reply #807 on: August 25, 2007, 03:19:42 PM »

The only problem in regard to Menzies' thesis is that these events took place 158 years later,

1579: The English seafarer Francis Drake and his ship Golden Hind spent 36 days at Drake's Bay, 50km north of San Francisco, with porcelain on board after the capture of a Spanish ship. Shards of blue-and-white porcelain found at Drake's Bay have been identified with 77 bowls, plates, cups and bottles from this stay.
Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001.


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madupont
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« Reply #808 on: August 25, 2007, 05:40:51 PM »

Dzimas,

Now, I am confused. Are you saying that Menzies mentioned this? Or, are you quoting something else?

http://www.activehistory.co.uk/Miscellaneous/free_stuff/google_earth/drake/index.htm

I'm going for the point that the Portuguese and the Spanish could have readily done this route or are you making the point as to previous comment that the Portuguese would not have stuck their neck out on a voyage prior to the Straits of Magellan being navigated since they might not be able to re-outfit for the return voyage?
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #809 on: August 25, 2007, 08:03:21 PM »

I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?

Fiction or mythology section, either one is more apropos for Menzies.

As for the Vikings, it is possible that they landed in present day Nova Scotia. But I have my doubts as to the claimed validity of the Kensington rune stones which is so popular here in Minnesota (we have a large Scandinavian population and this accounts for that theme's popularity).

For the future, let's stick to American history only and allow those who prefer European history to have their own forum section.
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