The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance

Book - 2008
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The New York Times bestselling author of 1421 offers another stunning reappraisal of history, presenting compelling new evidence that traces the roots of the European Renaissance to Chinese exploration in the fifteenth century

The brilliance of the Renaissance laid the foundation of the modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a rediscovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome. But now bestselling historian Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that in the year 1434, China--then the world's most technologically advanced civilization--provided the spark that set the European Renaissance ablaze. From that date onward, Europeans embraced Chinese intellectual ideas, discoveries, and inventions, all of which form the basis of western civilization today.

Florence and Venice of the early fifteenth century were hubs of world trade, attracting traders from across the globe. Based on years of research, this marvelous history argues that a Chinese fleet--official ambassadors of the emperor--arrived in Tuscany in 1434, where they were received by Pope Eugenius IV in Florence. The delegation presented the influential pope with a wealth of Chinese learning from a diverse range of fields: art, geography (including world maps that were passed on to Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan), astronomy, mathematics, printing, architecture, steel manufacturing, military weaponry, and more. This vast treasure trove of knowledge spread across Europe, igniting the legendary inventiveness of the Renaissance, including the work of such geniuses as da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, and more.

In 1434, Gavin Menzies combines this long-overdue historical reexamination with the excitement of an investigative adventure. He brings the reader aboard the remarkable Chinese fleet as it sails from China to Cairo and Florence, and then back across the world. Erudite and brilliantly reasoned, 1434 will change the way we see ourselves, our history, and our world.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, 2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061492174
Call Number: 945.05 MENZIES
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: Discoveries in geography -- Chinese.
Europe -- Civilization -- Chinese influences.
Alternative Title: Fourteen thirty four


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Jan 31, 2019

A very entertaining yarn. There is not a shred of evidence for anything he claims that has happen. The whole story is a complete fabrication. The book should be shelved in the fiction section!

Apr 30, 2015

It is an amazing discovery. So the parents of Mona Lisa might've been Chinese. :-)
Traditionally, foreign rulers were each presented with one hundred slave girls.
Pope Eugenius IV therefore must've received those slave girls in Florence from the great ambassador and Admiral Zheng He.
Florentine families were able to keep Asian slave girls due to the wealth generated by the wool and silk trade.
The mother of Leonardo da Vinci is said to have been a slave girl.

Dec 08, 2010

very enlightening data about the state of world technology in 1434...well worth reading at least the first 150 pages

Jul 17, 2008

First half of the book is very thin. The same 3 or 4 facts repeated in different ways or different levels of detail. Last third gets interesting. However, the writer's style is very rambling and he goes off of several detours (or perhaps they are purposful padding of thin material). Also, unfortunately, he has very low standards for "proof".

Jul 16, 2008

The books most startling revelation is "why" the Chinese abruptly stopped navigating the globe. I didn't understand how the Conquistadors fit in to this book.


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