1421: The Crank History of Gavin Menzies

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Crank history is big business and it’s getting bigger. For reasons that infuriate skeptics there is a never-ending parade of pseudo-historians spouting rubbish that is eagerly devoured by a credulous pig ignorant public. Gavin Menzies’ ludicrous tome, 1421: The Year China Discovered America, (also titled 1421: The Year China Discovered the World), is the finest example of delusional sophistry I’ve encountered since Graham Hancock’s insane Finger Prints of the Gods.

About  the only thing you can say for Gavin’s fantasy is that, (unlike Hancock’s Finger Prints — the “science” behind the movie 2012), 1421 is remotely plausible. It’s to bad that remotely plausible does not make your case! Skeptics are hard-asses we demand rigorous and repeatedly verified evidence before deeming suppositions possibly not crap!  By this standard Gavin falls way short. I’m not going to catalog Gavin’s many errors, omissions and deceptions. That task has already been done by an army of critics. You can look here and here and here and here. In particular Bill Hartz’s exhaustive demolition is a bracing tonic for Gavin’s numbing elixir.

To get the gist of Gavin’s arguments let’s look at one of his claims. On page 241, (paperback edition), Gavin first mentions the Sacramento Junk. The Sacramento Junk is allegedly the remains of a large wooden ship entombed under a sand bank in the Sacramento river of California. Ok, so far so good! We have a wooden wreck in a river. The Chinese junks Gavin imagined sailing around the world had unique characteristics that would easily distinguish them from plain old Pacific west coast wrecks. For example:

  1. They had 15th century teak hulls.
  2. Metal bins bolted hull compartments together.
  3. They used silk sails.
  4. They often carried porcelain, seeds and trade goods.

If the Sacramento Junk is the remains of a 15th century junk it looks like identifying it would be an archaeological no-brainer! All we have to do is sample the site, collect some 15th century teak wood for carbon dating, and bingo the case for the Chinese reaching the west coast of the America’s before Columbus is looking promising.  Gavin describes drilling into the sand bank, extracting some wood and carbon dating it to 1410.  Isn’t science wonderful?

Here are a few questions.

  1. Where the hell is the Sacramento Junk?

Your impressive end-notes mention collecting samples in 2002 and 2003. I believe GPS was up and running. Could we have exact coordinates please?

  1. Was the wood teak?

If you’re looking for teak ships you might want to consult a wood expert. Teak, even old rotting teak, is easily identified. Look into it.

  1. How many samples were carbon dated?
  2. Where the hell are the lab reports, sample photographs  and other documents?
  3. Did you notify the historic relic Nazi’s of your amazing Chinese wreck?

You almost need a permit to weed your own damn garden in California for fear of disturbing native artifacts yet somehow you pillaged an ultra-historic wreck without the save our culture weenies whining —  yeah I once lived in California. With so many simple facts omitted you wonder if the Sacramento Junk is a figment of Gavin’s lurid imagination.

Gavin repeats this pattern of building a case for the Chinese Stopped Here over and over again and, without exception, always omits basic information that would lend credence to his claims. You need to set your bullshit detector on maximum when sailing with Gavin!

3 thoughts on “1421: The Crank History of Gavin Menzies

  1. While you make interesting points, they are diminished by the name-calling. If it is so obvious the 1421 theory is false, calling it names should not be necessary.

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