2020 Annual Report

A mission of Research, Education, and Exploration. To make history an adventure and its study a common bond for all people.

Table Of Contents 

Contact Information

In Loving Memory

Mission

Accomplishments

  • Launch of the 1421 Menzies Memorial Scholarship
  • Completion and Expansion of the new 1421 Foundation Website  and platform for collaborating with a worldwide following
  • Creation of the “Gavin Menzies – 1421 Gallery” at the Zheng He Cultural Museum, Malacca, Malaysia
  • Planning to bring 1421 to the Arabic-speaking World through the benevolence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Mohammed of Sharjah, UAE.
  • Interview with CCTV China on the History of  China’s Naval Foreign Policy – Viewership 256 Million
  • Interview with Cliff Dunning – Earth Ancients

Leadership & Governance

  • Comments on Leadership Transition
  • Ian Hudson
  • Frank Lee
  • Peter R. Classen
  • Gavin Menzies

2020 Statement of Work

  • Our Plan for 2020-2021
  • Near-term 2020-2021 Programming Details
  • Educational TV Documentary – “Ancient China’s Lost Voyages”(top priority)
  • Educational Exhibit – “How China Charted the World” (top priority)
  • Explorers Map – “Possible New Discoveries Map” (top priority)
  • Educational Curriculum – “Culturally-Sensitive Explorers” Classroom
  • Longer-term Programming
  • Collaboration with the Committee of 100
  • Participation in the “Paths Across the Pacific” Conference
  • Research – Deepening the Collaboration with Yunnan University
  • Exploration – Investigation, Verification and the future Excavation of Ancient Chinese Junks around the World
  • Exploration – Facing West: the Atlantic Ocean and its People
  • Research – Independent Research Sponsorship

Thank You For Your Support!

Appendix – Independent Research Project Index

  • John Ruskamp – Asiatic Echoes: The Identification of Ancient Chinese Pictograms in pre-Columbian North American Rock Writing
  • Dr. Stephen C. Jett – Pre-Columbiana: A Journal of Long-Distance Contacts
  • Mark and Laurie Nickless – To the Gates of Fengtu
  • Lynda Nutter and Jill Thompson-White – Evidence Of An Early Chinese Astronomical Meridian Survey In Western Australia
  • Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang – The last journey of the San Bao Eunuch, Admiral Zheng He
  • Dr. Lloyd Ryan – A summary of the research related to the origins of the Beothuck (BeiHanKe) (2010 – 2020)
  • Dr. Mitch Wilkinson – Funding Proposal for Lines of Research Involving Curly Coated Horses and their Geographical Distribution

In Loving Memory

Gavin Menzies 

August 14, 1937 – April 12, 2020

Dear Gavin, the inspiration for the 1421 Foundation and all the work we do, passed away peacefully on Easter Day, 2020.

We are heartbroken that Gavin is no longer with us; he will be hugely missed by his family, friends, and an always-growing legion of fans of his books and research. He led a truly colorful, adventurous and exciting life, and it is one that we should all aspire to.

You could not have met a gentler, kinder man, and I feel so honored to have worked with him for the last 18 years after he first hired me as a translator. For the last 5 years, Gavin and our team have been working diligently on growing The 1421 Foundation – a non-profit organization set up to create a legacy for Gavin’s inspiring courage for research, education, exploration, discovery, and authorship. His work has helped open-minded academics and researchers from all corners of the Earth, stay their course – keeping an open mind to new theories and the possibility of new evidence, to leveraging the vast volumes of knowledge that exist outside of traditional academic walls, and the possibility that anyone can contribute to, or even rewrite the history of global exploration, whilst inspiring future generations.

Gavin was delighted by the Foundation’s positive progress and we look forward to continuing to build on the solid base of his pioneering work. There will be a Memorial Service to celebrate Gavin’s life when the Coronavirus lockdown is over and we will be publishing further developments on our website. 

Our warmest wishes,

Ian Hudson & The Menzies Family

Mission

A mission of Research, Education, and Exploration. To make history an adventure and its study a common bond for all people.

The 1421 Research, Education and Exploration Foundation (“1421 Foundation”) is a USA based non-profit organization which acts as a focal point for ongoing research into the history of maritime exploration. The 1421 Foundation was founded by Ian Hudson, a London-based scholar and close associate with the author Gavin Menzies. Menzies, Hudson and their colleagues, Frank Lee and Peter Classen, decided that The 1421 Foundation’s purpose was to expand, test, and debate the hypothesis put forward in Menzies’ book, 1421 – The Year China Discovered the World (2002) and his further publications, for years to come. 

The benefit of the 1421 Foundation to the world is that through developing and debating 1421, we will teach generations old and new that innovative perceptions about history can be presented in a constructive, respectful, and inclusive manner. That a layperson or hobbyist – someone who thinks or sees things with a different mindset than that of a more traditionally-trained academic – can have a platform for their research and discoveries. Through 1421 may they find the courage of the great explorers of the past, to challenge established doctrine, smash outdated paradigms and wrestle with the idea that there is nothing new to be discovered in our history. 

The 1421 Foundation will bring together academics and researchers from all corners of the Earth, with the view to expanding the history of global exploration. The traditionally-held Eurocentric view is that the “Voyages of Discovery” of daGama, Columbus and Magellan were the first of the great maritime expeditions. We believe these much-lauded journeys were standing on the shoulders of giants – maritime explorers, predominantly from Asia, who bravely led the way into our modern and connected world. 

Funds raised by The 1421 Foundation will enable the continuation of this research, the growth of a multinational community of like-minded thinkers, and will allow us to follow up new avenues of investigation, and disseminate new evidence to give future generations a true account of the history of world exploration.  

As well as pursuing further research, The 1421 Foundation will educate new generations of future world explorers.  The essence of The 1421 Foundation’s work is to foster a desire to explore the world, participate in exploration and discovery with others, and through respectful and inclusive collaboration make those discoveries that help all of us better understand and appreciate our shared global history and heritage.  

Accomplishments

A year of Education, Program Support, and Interviews that connected to 256.5 million people, our best performance so far. 

The mission of 1421 is central in the minds of the Foundation’s leadership, though at the same time we have to be pragmatic. We understand that with all activity and no attention to sustainability, our mission promise would be put at risk. 2019 was, therefore, a period of both mission-focused delivery and turning “development events” into “regular recurring programs”. We achieved both through a community-focusing website, a partnership with Yunnan University in China, and a refreshed volunteer database.  In 2019, 98% of the effort to drive our programs forward came from volunteers, and while we appreciate them immensely, our mission needs a stronger staffing in 2020.  What did our volunteers achieve? Well, we did reach about 256.6 million people in 2019, mostly through television, but also through podcasts, conferences, lectures, social media and email.

Launch of the 1421 Menzies Memorial Scholarship 

The aim of the 1421 Menzies Memorial Scholarship is to encourage and empower the next generation of maritime history researchers. It is open to students of the undergraduate and postgraduate levels to help fund their education or research proposals in history, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics and any other related field that would aid with the research and development in studies of maritime exploration. 

The inaugural 1421 Menzies Memorial Scholarship grant will be awarded to a Chinese-born adoptee originally from Yunnan Province, who currently resides in Ireland with her (also adopted) younger sister and parents.  She was twelve years old when she asked her mother to buy her first book on Chinese History, 1421 The Year China Discovered America

This fall, with the aid of the 1421 Foundation and the 1421 Menzies Memorial scholarship, she will be attending university in China, and reconnecting with the country of her birth. In the meantime, she has been volunteering with the 1421 Foundation and wishes to reconnect with her heritage via a formal education, get a Ph.D., and become a professional historian who will dedicate her life to studying ancient Chinese seafarers. 

Completion and Expansion of the new 1421 Foundation Website and platform for collaborating with a worldwide following

We are thrilled to report that the goals of having a new dedicated 1421 Foundation website and taking on a more professional and modern brand image are being achieved.  The rudimentary setup needed to deliver on education and research is well in hand, and our ability to accept donations, make regular updates, and push articles and ground-breaking news out to raise awareness has been achieved. 

The initial feedback has been very positive – although leadership believes the growing community wants to see more activities, more educational materials, and more news reporting.  The new site (and the new site management expert) will support our continued expansion and will cater to needs of the increasing number of research and education projects that the Foundation will support http://www.1421foundation.org.

Behind the scenes, one of the 1421 Foundation’s goals in 2019 was to consolidate www.gavin menzies.net, the site that was set up back in 2002. Initially, the 1421 team was tasked with helping Menzies receive and then sort a huge amount of new unstructured data on ancient maritime exploration-related discoveries and constructive inputs from eager fans of his books. The information amounted to a vast sharing of knowledge and research on the controversial subjects of “diffusionism” and possible proof of contact across the oceans before 1492.  The information provided by visitors to the website, and expanded on by Gavin Menzies, Ian Hudson and the research team led to the publication of three more books after 1421.  Much of this information had never been shared into one location before so the continuity (and historical preservation) of the information threads dating back to 2002 was a 2019 priority. 

Additionally, as much as the www.gavinmenzies.net website has acted as a focal point since 2002, we needed to ensure that by early 2020 the worldwide dialogue shifted to the 1421 Foundation site. Maintaining the large database of evidence collated in the initial website, which contains hundreds of pages, has been an extremely time-consuming, largely manual process. With the new infrastructure put in place in 2020, further sharing and exchanging between the thousands of subscribers and readers will be much easier.  

We have always strived to communicate with our followers, and the thousands of emails received since Gavin’s passing will not remain unanswered. Through the new website and with new staffing plans for 2020 we will enlarge our global readership and engage with them more in later 2020 and moving forward.

Creation of the “Gavin Menzies – 1421 Gallery” at the Zheng He Cultural Museum, Malacca, Malaysia

In 2005, Gavin Menzies and Ian Hudson were asked to assist the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) with a grandiose temporary exhibition of 1421 sq. meters in area, which was held for 3 months at the prestigious Promenade site in central Singapore. In 2006, Drs Tan Ta Sen, a businessperson, historian, and friend of 1421 increased the size of his Zheng He Cultural Museum in Malacca, which is housed within one of the still-existing, original entrepot warehouses, where Zheng He himself is said to have drawn water from the well situated there. 

The newly updated and renovated museum is due to reopen in September 2020, with a gradual program of works that should see the new “Gavin Menzies – 1421 Gallery” open in the same year. It is hoped that parts of the Gallery will be geo-cloned and housed in other museums around the world in the coming years.

Planning to bring 1421 to the Arabic-speaking World through the benevolence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Mohammed of Sharjah, UAE.

In 2019, Ian Hudson traveled to the Frankfurt Book Fair as a guest of honor at a banquet hosted by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Mohammed of Sharjah. His Highness is a polymath and distinguished academic who has funded a range of literary endeavors, not least the highly regarded Sharjah Book Fair. Ian was asked as a guest speaker for High Highness’ banquet at the Frankfurt Literaturhaus and gave a 10-minute discourse on the spread of humanity around the world by sea. He was subsequently a guest of His Highness at the London Book Fair, and it has been suggested that His Highness will help Ian with publications of 1421 in the Arabic world – something that has yet to be done with Menzies’ work.  Getting this initiative over the goal line in 2020 / 2021 is a high priority.

Interview with CCTV China on the History of China’s Naval Foreign Policy – Viewership 256 Million

In July 2019, Ian Hudson gave a 5-hour interview with China Central Television (CCTV), China’s largest broadcast channel. The interview was for a series celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party called “The Call of the Motherland.” Click here to view at the 10:10 mark. The episode that features Ian considers the efforts made by China and its Navy in promoting world peace and was watched by 256 million people around the world.

The transcript of the CCTV interview reads as follows:

“… Hudson, who’s living in England, has been researching Zheng He and his maritime expeditions/ Ming treasure voyages with his teacher, Gavin Menzies, since his graduation.
Since 600 years ago, Admiral Zheng He commanded the treasure fleet and made voyages to the far West, spreading the great Chinese culture and peace. This story touched Hudson’s heart greatly!

“Zheng He was this great ambassador for global peace and I think it is very important that people realise that China back in the Ming dynasty was very focused on bringing together this global community of different races, religions and cultures.”

Only if the world is good, China can be good. Only if China is good, then the world can be even better…”

Interview with Cliff Dunning – Earth Ancients

Ian Hudson was interviewed by Cliff Dunning on his “Earth Ancients” podcast in July 2019. Ian had featured on this podcast previously, discussing his most recent book, Who Discovered America? but this time it was to discuss his work on Menzies’ second book, 1434 – The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance. 

In 1434 Menzies wrote about a delegation of men “of great learning” who travelled from China to the Papal Court in Florence in that year. The delegation presented the Pope with a wealth of knowledge, from a diverse range of fields: geography (including world maps that the author believes were passed on to Christopher Columbus), astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, steel manufacturing, civil engineering, military weaponry, surveying, cartography, genetics, and more. This gift of knowledge, Menzies believed, sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance, including da Vinci’s mechanical creations, the Copernican revolution, Galileo’s discoveries, and presented compelling new evidence on the European Renaissance, tracing its roots to China. 

Hudson and Dunning shared a highly convivial and interesting discussion about the book, and the concepts explored therein. To date, the interview has reached 16,295 downloads and you can listen to Ian speak at about the 48 minute mark here.

Leadership & Governance

Leadership: The 1421 Foundation operates with a stable governance structure and a knowledgeable three-director team continues to provide leadership, direction, and delivery capacity/oversight as it has for the past four years.

The Foundation’s leadership team has been in place since its formation in 2015 and there are no business continuity or leadership transition issues of any material consequence with Gavin Menzies’ passing. The three founding directors continue to provide a high level of volunteer support, and fully expect to be able to continue their support in the 2020-2021 timeframe.

Comments on Leadership Transition

Continuity of leadership and the growth of the foundation was as important to Gavin as it is to those who lead the Foundation. In that regard, we had the benefit of being able to work with Gavin on the leadership transition beginning as far back as 2018 when health issues came more to the forefront. All foundation registrations, bank accounts, and authorities are vested in the current directors, and governed by a formal Operating Agreement.  Policy and practice dictate that at least two of the three directors sign off on any material expenditure or programming decision. All statements made to the public and to donors pass through two rounds of “checks.” Documents such as this report are authored and reviewed by at least two individuals before release.  

The Directors of 1421 wish it to be known that there are no known business continuity or leadership transition issues of any material consequence.  

The Team

President

Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson is a scholar and best-selling author who has focused on ancient sea-faring civilisations and global maritime exploration. He has worked with Gavin Menzies since 2002, on book projects as well as a ‘1421’ exhibition in Singapore, and a TV documentary series, before co-authoring Who Discovered America – The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas with Menzies in 2013.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, was an Associate Member of the China Maritime Centre at the Greenwich Maritime Institute, London, a “Next Generation Ambassador” for the Committee of 100 ( www.committee100.org ) and has lectured on his research at prestigious institutions in the UK such the University of Oxford, & the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, at Yunnan University, China, and at Duke University, USA.

Founding Director

Peter Classen

Peter Classen is a chief operating executive and chief strategist with an uncommon expertise in building new revenue streams, energizing teams and affecting positive growth. His 25-year career has seen him serving in both chief operating roles and chief advisory roles in private, public and non-profit settings. By leveraging the uncommon perspectives of both chief strategist and chief implementer, Peter has delivered “game-changing” results in areas of top-line revenue, revenue diversification, profitability, strategic direction, operating efficiency, and management capacity on more than two-dozen occasions. Peter’s core competencies are planning, organizing and leading the drive for growth. He is an expert in formulating strategies, developing innovative revenue streams, and heading breakout expansions, often in difficult settings where capital is constrained and uncertainty/inertia abound.

Outside of his private sector work as the head of an international management services firm, Mr. Classen commits time to a variety of non-profit efforts, especially where education features prominently. Most notably, from 2000 to 2005 he served on the Board of one of the UK’s largest private foundations.

Founding Director

Frank Lee

Frank Lee is chairman of DMZ Technology Limited, a technology consulting company which engages in development of new innovation and startups. He has invested in technology startups, social media ventures, venture funds and Intellectual Property.

Frank was born, raised and educated in Hong Kong, schooled in the Technical College, now called Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Accounting and Business Administration.

Frank is based in Hong Kong and has been involved with all things ‘1421’ since 2003. He has stimulated the growth of the movement overseas, and is engaged in promoting the multi-media aspects of the 1421 Foundation, not least movies and music.

Honorary Chairman

Gavin Menzies

14th August 1937- 12th April 2020

Gavin Menzies joined the Royal Navy in 1953 and served in submarines from 1959 to 1970. As a junior officer he sailed the world in the wake of Columbus, Dias, Cabral and Vasco da Gama. When in command of H.M.S. Rorqual (1968 – 70), he sailed the routes pioneered by Magellan and Captain Cook. Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has returned to China and the Far East many times, and in the course of researching 1421 he has visited 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries and every major seaport of the late Middle Ages.

Gavin’s work was the inspiration behind the creation of the 1421 Foundation and we look forward to building on the solid foundations of his pioneering endeavours in the future.

The Team

Ian Hudson

President

Ian Hudson is a scholar and best-selling author who has focused on ancient sea-faring civilisations and global maritime exploration. He has worked with Gavin Menzies since 2002, on book projects as well as a ‘1421’ exhibition in Singapore, and a TV documentary series, before co-authoring Who Discovered America – The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas with Menzies in 2013.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, was an Associate Member of the China Maritime Centre at the Greenwich Maritime Institute, London, a “Next Generation Ambassador” for the Committee of 100 ( www.committee100.org ) and has lectured on his research at prestigious institutions in the UK such the University of Oxford, & the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, at Yunnan University, China, and at Duke University, USA.

Peter Classen 

Founding Director

Peter Classen is a chief operating executive and chief strategist with an uncommon expertise in building new revenue streams, energizing teams and affecting positive growth. His 25-year career has seen him serving in both chief operating roles and chief advisory roles in private, public and non-profit settings. By leveraging the uncommon perspectives of both chief strategist and chief implementer, Peter has delivered “game-changing” results in areas of top-line revenue, revenue diversification, profitability, strategic direction, operating efficiency, and management capacity on more than two-dozen occasions. Peter’s core competencies are planning, organizing and leading the drive for growth. He is an expert in formulating strategies, developing innovative revenue streams, and heading breakout expansions, often in difficult settings where capital is constrained and uncertainty/inertia abound.

Outside of his private sector work as the head of an international management services firm, Mr. Classen commits time to a variety of non-profit efforts, especially where education features prominently. Most notably, from 2000 to 2005 he served on the Board of one of the UK’s largest private foundations.

Frank Lee

Founding Director

Frank Lee is chairman of DMZ Technology Limited, a technology consulting company which engages in development of new innovation and startups. He has invested in technology startups, social media ventures, venture funds and Intellectual Property.

Frank was born, raised and educated in Hong Kong, schooled in the Technical College, now called Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Accounting and Business Administration.

Frank is based in Hong Kong and has been involved with all things ‘1421’ since 2003. He has stimulated the growth of the movement overseas, and is engaged in promoting the multi-media aspects of the 1421 Foundation, not least movies and music.

Gavin Menzies 

Honorary Chairman

14th August 1937- 12th April 2020

Gavin Menzies joined the Royal Navy in 1953 and served in submarines from 1959 to 1970. As a junior officer he sailed the world in the wake of Columbus, Dias, Cabral and Vasco da Gama. When in command of H.M.S. Rorqual (1968 – 70), he sailed the routes pioneered by Magellan and Captain Cook. Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has returned to China and the Far East many times, and in the course of researching 1421 he has visited 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries and every major seaport of the late Middle Ages.

Gavin’s work was the inspiration behind the creation of the 1421 Foundation and we look forward to building on the solid foundations of his pioneering endeavours in the future.

2020 Statement of Work

Intended Statement of Work: Leadership is excited that our “dance card” for 2020-2021 is rather full, and that opportunities to sponsor or collaborate in exciting education, research and exploration activities continue to grow.

With the infrastructure, leadership capacity, and supporting delivery resources in place in February, 2020, the forecast for 2020 was very strong.  By early March, 2020 the situation had changed.  As much as the novel Coronavirus pandemic has been an all-encompassing health, social, and economic disaster, the future of the Foundation does not appear to be in jeopardy, though we are moving at a slower pace.  In spite of the pandemic, more fans of 1421 appear to have time on their hands to volunteer their services. We hope to take advantage of this additional resource availability.  Similarly, the emphasis on remote learning options supports our interest in education and we are looking at the possible fast-track development of an online learning experience for grade school children. 

Despite strained Chinese-US government-to-government relations, there is a heightened discussion of the need to find a common ground, perhaps through history, culture and education.  We see the 1421 Foundation as extremely well-positioned to help by providing opportunities for volunteers and a common ground for constructive, Chinese-US exchanges. 

Given the current market conditions and uncertainties, we have reset our planning horizon to run from June 1st, 2020 to May 30th, 2021. 

Our Plan for 2020-2021

Consistent with our mission and our three pillars, the Foundation will pursue relationships and funding that will allow us to further our work towards our objectives.  In addition to research, education, and exploration projects, we recognize that an investment of time and effort are needed to build collaborative partnerships and long-term programs.  

For the immediate term (June 1, 2020 – May 30, 2021) we will actively seek funding support for the following priority programs.  We fully intend to commence delivery on each of these efforts over the next 12 months.  

  • Educational TV Documentary Series – “Ancient China’s Lost Voyages”
  • Educational Exhibition – “How China Charted the World” Virtual Exhibition
  • Explorers Map – “New Discoveries Map” interactive map/ database on the 1421 Website 
  • Educational Curriculum – “Grade-school Culturally-Sensitive Explorers” class

 

Additionally, and in the same period (June 1, 2020 – May 30, 2021) we will invest in the development of long-term partnerships and long-term funding support for the following programs.  While some of these programs may initiate in 2021, many are investments that require years of development. 

  • Collaboration with the Committee of 100
  • Research Sponsorship – Participation in the 2021 Paths Across the Pacific Conference
  • Research Sponsorship – Deepening our Collaboration with Yunnan University 
  • Research Sponsorship – Independent Research Proposals
  • Exploration – Investigation and Excavation of Ancient Chinese junks  
  • Exploration – Facing West: the Atlantic Ocean and its people

 

Lastly, if market conditions allow we are ambitious in seeking to pursue two additional efforts in the 2020-2021 timeframe.  

  • Gavin Menzies Memorial Events (in the Fall /Winter of 2020)

Virtual Global Conference 1421 in 2021, What have we learned in the past 600 years? A global virtual conference on the new discoveries that support the hypothesis put forward in 1421

Near-term 2020-2021 Programming Details

Educational TV Documentary – “Ancient China’s Lost Voyages”(top priority)

1421’s leadership believes that the pursuit of funding for this educational television documentary is a worthwhile endeavour, and well aligned with our Education mission.  Should funding be secured, this will become a major program effort of the foundation over a period of several years. In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the development and promotion of this important high-profile education project.  

 

Background: Members of the 1421 Foundation have been working on developing a television documentary proposal for a 14 part documentary series in which a film crew travels around the world in the search for evidence of a Chinese presence in pre-Columbian times. Filming locations are to include Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA. The 1421 Foundation is hugely excited to be given the opportunity to further research new evidence on the ground, and to make use of the publicity which will be achieved on a global platform, pending distribution of the series. The 1421 Foundation have produced a detailed proposal for the series but funding is yet to have been raised.

1421’s leadership believes that the pursuit of funding for this educational television documentary is a worthwhile endeavour, and well aligned with our Education mission.  Should funding be secured, this will become a major program effort of the foundation over a period of several years. In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the development and promotion of this important high-profile education project.  

 

Background: Members of the 1421 Foundation have been working on developing a television documentary proposal for a 14 part documentary series in which a film crew travels around the world in the search for evidence of a Chinese presence in pre-Columbian times. Filming locations are to include Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA. The 1421 Foundation is hugely excited to be given the opportunity to further research new evidence on the ground, and to make use of the publicity which will be achieved on a global platform, pending distribution of the series. The 1421 Foundation have produced a detailed proposal for the series but funding is yet to have been raised.

Educational Exhibit – “How China Charted the World”
(top priority)

1421’s leadership believes that the seeking funding for this educational exhibit, primarily with the Royal Geographical Society, London, is a worthwhile pursuit, and well aligned with our Education mission.  Should funding be secured, this will become a major program effort of the foundation. In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the promotion of this important high-profile education project.  

 

Background: The 1421 Foundation is developing a travelling exhibition which explores the evolution of world maps through the ages. It was agreed that the exhibition would  be held initially at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and then travel around the world. The aim of the exhibition and accompanying seminars is to provide the world with stunning visual proof that China had been exploring and mapping the world for millennia before the European “Age of Discovery” began in the fifteenth century. The exhibition will bring together, in plain sight, and at hugely prestigious and relevant venues, the cartographic proof which shows that great exploratory voyages from Asia had mapped and circumnavigated the world by 1421 AD. 

 

The culmination of these great voyages of discovery can be seen in the “Impossible Black Tulip”, Matteo Ricci’s Chinese world map of 1602, a copy of which the Royal Geographical Society has displayed on its very walls in the Map Room. Accompanying the two week exhibition in the RGS Pavilion, will be a series of seminars led by a panel of experts from around the world who will show, beyond reasonable doubt, that the great European explorers all set sail using maps which were based on Chinese knowledge of the world, acquired over several millennia of global exploration. 

 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book, brochure and television documentary.  We also believe that an educational course to teach cultural awareness and how to approach new people from a foreign culture may be an appropriate add-on. 

1421’s leadership believes that the seeking funding for this educational exhibit, primarily with the Royal Geographical Society, London, is a worthwhile pursuit, and well aligned with our Education mission.  Should funding be secured, this will become a major program effort of the foundation. In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the promotion of this important high-profile education project.  

 

Background: The 1421 Foundation is developing a travelling exhibition which explores the evolution of world maps through the ages. It was agreed that the exhibition would  be held initially at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and then travel around the world. The aim of the exhibition and accompanying seminars is to provide the world with stunning visual proof that China had been exploring and mapping the world for millennia before the European “Age of Discovery” began in the fifteenth century. The exhibition will bring together, in plain sight, and at hugely prestigious and relevant venues, the cartographic proof which shows that great exploratory voyages from Asia had mapped and circumnavigated the world by 1421 AD. 

 

The culmination of these great voyages of discovery can be seen in the “Impossible Black Tulip”, Matteo Ricci’s Chinese world map of 1602, a copy of which the Royal Geographical Society has displayed on its very walls in the Map Room. Accompanying the two week exhibition in the RGS Pavilion, will be a series of seminars led by a panel of experts from around the world who will show, beyond reasonable doubt, that the great European explorers all set sail using maps which were based on Chinese knowledge of the world, acquired over several millennia of global exploration. 

 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book, brochure and television documentary.  We also believe that an educational course to teach cultural awareness and how to approach new people from a foreign culture may be an appropriate add-on. 

Explorers Map – “Possible New Discoveries Map” (top priority)

In any given year, 1421 hears from at least three dozen professional researchers, new academics, and amateur explorers when they make discoveries that may support the thesis in the 1421 book.  In 2019 alone we heard of exciting discoveries in Canada, the United States and Australia – any one of which, if properly investigated and authenticated, may provide compelling physical evidence that early Chinese voyages made it to North America.  

 

We believe the creation of a “New Discoveries Map” will be additive to the website and will allow us to publicize and share such difficult-to-broadcast information quickly.  This effort will involve the reconnecting with our contributors, the creation of an online, interactive map, and the regular updating of the map as new discoveries are brought to our attention. 

 

We intend to feature new discoveries in our more regular updates to a growing fan/supporter base.  It is our expectation that with this type of interface, a larger community of explorers will be created.  Future investigations of the most promising discoveries will lead to additional content and opportunities for mass media communications/television spots such as the ones we contributed to in 2019.

 

In any given year, 1421 hears from at least three dozen professional researchers, new academics, and amateur explorers when they make discoveries that may support the thesis in the 1421 book.  In 2019 alone we heard of exciting discoveries in Canada, the United States and Australia – any one of which, if properly investigated and authenticated, may provide compelling physical evidence that early Chinese voyages made it to North America.  

 

We believe the creation of a “New Discoveries Map” will be additive to the website and will allow us to publicize and share such difficult-to-broadcast information quickly.  This effort will involve the reconnecting with our contributors, the creation of an online, interactive map, and the regular updating of the map as new discoveries are brought to our attention. 

 

We intend to feature new discoveries in our more regular updates to a growing fan/supporter base.  It is our expectation that with this type of interface, a larger community of explorers will be created.  Future investigations of the most promising discoveries will lead to additional content and opportunities for mass media communications/television spots such as the ones we contributed to in 2019.

Educational Curriculum – “Culturally-Sensitive Explorers” Classroom

1421’s leadership believes that the time is  right to produce some educational connect (i.e.  learning experience, classroom game) that uses the story of Zheng He and his voyages of discovery to teach important lessons in civics and cultural-sensitivity.  This program is new to our thinking, though we believe it to be important given what is occurring in societies today around the world.

 

It is our current thinking that any contribution made by 1421 would be matched by an even greater contribution by supporting volunteers and educational content providers.  Having this course is expected to drive more visitors to the foundation’s website and increase its usage as an educational source on the topic of exploration. 

1421’s leadership believes that the time is  right to produce some educational connect (i.e.  learning experience, classroom game) that uses the story of Zheng He and his voyages of discovery to teach important lessons in civics and cultural-sensitivity.  This program is new to our thinking, though we believe it to be important given what is occurring in societies today around the world.

 

It is our current thinking that any contribution made by 1421 would be matched by an even greater contribution by supporting volunteers and educational content providers.  Having this course is expected to drive more visitors to the foundation’s website and increase its usage as an educational source on the topic of exploration. 

Longer-Term Programming 

Collaboration with the Committee of 100

1421’s leadership believes there is much common ground that we share with the Committee of 100.  In 2020-2021, we will explore this growing relationship and seek ways to deepen our collaboration with this important group at a very trying time in Chinese-US relations.  We are confident that with strongly-connected missions, it would be a very wise investment of our funds and time to engage further with C-100’s leadership, addressing issues of international interest between the United States and China.

Background: Gavin Menzies was invited to give a talk at the Committee of 100 conference in 2003 when his book had just been published in the USA. Since then, he and members of the 1421 Foundation have carried out over 18 years of research, uncovering new evidence that supports the theories expounded in ‘1421’, detailing how Chinese fleets, under the command of Admiral Zheng He, sailed the oceans of the world, charting it, and bringing it into China’s tribute system. It is our belief that the subject matter of the 1421 Foundation’s ongoing activity is a perfect match for the message that the Committee of 100 extolls: we sincerely believe Admiral Zheng He was “promoting constructive dialogue and relationships between the peoples and leaders of the United States and Greater China”, albeit some 600 years ago!

In April 2016 Ian Hudson was most graciously elected a “Next Generation Leader” at the Committee of 100 Annual Conference in Los Angeles. He hopes that the connections that he has developed with members of C-100 and the other “Next Generation Leaders” will play an important role in the continuation of ongoing future relations between China, the USA and the rest of the world.

Participation in the “Paths Across the Pacific” Conference

Ian Hudson, President of 1421 has been asked to attend the “Paths Across the Pacific conference” in August, 2021.  As it stands, 1421 leadership believes his attendance would be a worthwhile investment to collect new information and content. A splitting of expenses with conference organizers or sponsors will be sought.

Background: Ian Hudson was invited as a guest speaker at the “Paths Across the Pacific” conference in Sitka, Alaska, in August 2016. The conference was first set up by scholars in 2002 to discuss human mobility across and along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. Program Director, Nancy Yaw Davis, Ph.D. says “… Our shared oceans, shared humanity, and a growing awareness of our shared responsibilities for the connected seas have shaped our ideas, understandings, and concerns. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, a flurry of new scholarship stirred old ideas and introduced new ones. Molecular genetic studies, oceanography, marine biology, experimental rafting, and the revitalization of canoeing and kayaking have challenged established theories. Native American knowledge, navigational skills and rich oral traditions have added perspectives to our new understandings. We have greatly underestimated human mobility, intelligence, navigational knowledge, endurance, will and courage…”

Research – Deepening the Collaboration with Yunnan University

In June 2018, at the request of Prof. Lin Wenxun, President of Yunnan University, Professors Li Donghong, Curator of Yunnan University Library, Prof. Yao Jide, Deputy President of Yunnan’s Zheng He Studies Association and Director of the Centre for Iranian Studies at Yunnan University, and Dr. Wang Wenjun, visited London to meet with Gavin Menzies and Ian Hudson. The visit was arranged in order for parties to establish a formal working relationship in which the University of Yunnan’s professors and students will collaborate with the 1421 Foundation with a view to advancing shared studies on Zheng He’s voyages.

Together, the University and the 1421 Foundation have committed to continued research, education, and outreach efforts; in three specific areas:

(1) Yunnan University Library has established a sole datacentre and catalogue of the archives donated by Mr. Menzies. This data centre is open to all teachers, students and the general public.

(2) Yunnan University will, in conjunction with the “Belt and Road Initiative” in China, promote and strengthen the study of Zheng He’s voyages in MA and PhD programs.

(3) Yunnan University and Yunnan Zheng He’s Studies Association will strengthen the academic and educational cooperation with the 1421 Foundation at the student and scholar exchange level.

1421’s leadership believes that actively procuring funding for research collaboration with Yunnan University is a worthwhile pursuit, and well aligned with our Research and Education mission.  In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the promotion of this important research and education project.

Exploration – Investigation, Verification and the future Excavation of Ancient Chinese Junks around the World

1421’s leadership believes that the pursuit of funding for these exploration-oriented efforts, albeit difficult and  expensive, is a worthwhile endeavour, and well aligned with our Exploration mission.  In 2020, we aim to dedicate a portion of our funds to the promotion of these potentially game-changing exploration projects.

Background: Research carried out by Gavin Menzies and members of the 1421 Foundation has revealed the whereabouts of wrecks of ancient Chinese junks around the world. None of these wrecks have yet been properly investigated or excavated. Finding and raising a wrecked junk in the New World that can be carbon-dated to 1421 or before will prove once and for all that China’s treasure fleet did indeed travel further afield than the Indian Ocean.

The 1421 Foundation has detailed reports concerning unexcavated wrecks of ancient Chinese junks in the following locations:

* Ile Sainte-Paul (Indian Ocean)
* Sacramento (California)
* Palos Verdes (California)
* Great Dismal swamp (Washington D.C.);
* Coos Bay (Oregon)
* Shark Bay (Australia)
* Banks Peninsula (New Zealand)
* Newfoundland (Canada)

Investigation of wrecks, even before excavation,  can be costly and the 1421 Foundation hopes to raise sufficient funds to verify the existence of some of these wrecks, unearth the most promising, and sponsor their scientific study in coming years.

Exploration – Facing West: the Atlantic Ocean and its People

Proposed expedition, documentary, exhibition and book. The goal of “Facing West” is to depict in print and film the places, people and customs that tie together the people of the eastern Atlantic from the Shetlands to Senegal. The purpose of the project will be to exhibit the interconnectedness of this north/south region in both the past and present. It is a love-note to the Atlantic and our past and present place in it, and aims to promote tolerance, acceptance and awareness of our shared coast. The aim is to travel to and document coastal communities all the way from the Shetlands to Senegal, investigating the extent to which they depend on the Atlantic for trade and cultural exchange. The research will focus on the following questions:

1) What role does the Atlantic play in forming the economic and spiritual horizons of these communities as compared to the other sources of exchange available to them?

2) To what extent does the Atlantic provide a bridge between these communities physically and conceptually? To what extent do people in these communities think of themselves as “Atlantic”.

Our aim is to draw the ideas together by a combination of image, interview and record over a period of three months, with a year of research prior to that, culminating in an exhibition, book and accompanying film.

Research – Independent Research Sponsorship

As well as carrying out our own research, the 1421 Foundation is also pleased to support, where possible, a variety of other independent researchers whose work resonates with ours. Some of these researchers have been working on their own projects for years before 1421 was first published, while others became interested in the subject after reading the book. All of the researchers are independent of 1421, and have carried out the research independently with little financial assistance from 1421. It is, however, our view, that they deserve to be helped in the future, and so the aim of this report is to give them some visibility, and perhaps an opportunity to acquire funding via the 1421 Foundation.

In the interest of brevity, requests from independent researchers have been compiled into an appendix. The list of requests for independent research support are:

* John Ruskamp – Asiatic Echoes: The Identification of Ancient Chinese Pictograms in pre-Columbian North American Rock Writing
* Pre-Columbiana: A Journal of Long-Distance Contacts
* Mark and Laurie Nickless’ – To the Gates of Fengtu
* Lynda Nutter and Jill Thompson-White, Western Australia. Evidence Of An Early Chinese Astronomical Meridian Survey In Western Australia.
* Dr. SL Lee – China Mapped America Before 1430 CE
* Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang – The last journey of the San Bao Eunuch, Admiral Zheng He
* Dr. Lloyd Ryan – A summary of the research related to the origins of the Beothuck (BeiHanKe) (2010 – 2020)
Dr. Mitch Wilkinson – Funding Proposal for Lines of Research Involving Curly Coated Horses and their Geographical Distribution

Thank You For Your Support!

Hardly a day goes by where we are not delighted to open the 1421 Foundation’s email inbox and find a kind note from an independent researcher, reader, supporter, or donor.  What we receive is truly remarkable: from the notes of the 8 year-old school children in Washington state, USA who ask us to assist with their school projects, through to the emails from Gavin’s contemporaries in the Royal Navy, and his friend, Capt. Rajan Vir, of the IMF in Pune, India who provide a never-ending source of tales of Gavin’s days at sea, and his ceaseless research efforts.  Every note is read. Every note is cherished.  

To our researcher colleagues who write to us, we send the strongest words of encouragement.  We know the long hours you spend at your computers. We feel the excitement you feel when a new insight dawns on you. And we believe, just as you do, that one day our good works will help change history as we know it. Thank you for all your efforts and your willingness to share with us your ideas and insights.

To our fans and supporters, we wish you to know that you are giving us strength. Though it has been nearly twenty years since Gavin received his very first fan letter, the thrill of receiving one has never diminished.  We at the 1421 foundation, read every single one and can assure you, you are making a difference in our lives and in our work. With your personal and heartfelt support, we know Gavin’s dreams of exploration and discovery live on.   

To our donors we want to tell you how enormously grateful we are for your financial support.  It has been through your funding that order has been brought to three decades of research, and a permanent home for these unique materials has been created at a fine academic institution.  It has been through your generosity that our volunteers have been able to do the work they do – corresponding, researching and advocating. Your funding allows us to apply our skills, share our knowledge, and inspire future generations.  The programs of 2020 are entirely a result of your generosity. 

So to all of you: Thank you, Thank you and Thank you. 

Though 2020 will be remembered as a difficult year for humanity, let us never forget there is so much left to explore, to discover, to learn and to share in the years to follow.  If a donation to the 1421 Foundation is within your means and you wish to financially support our efforts, please click here.

With our thanks,

The Directors and Staff of The 1421 Foundation

Appendix

Independent Research Project Index

John Ruskamp – Asiatic Echoes: The Identification of Ancient Chinese Pictograms in pre-Columbian North American Rock Writing

The primary report of this study on meaningful, pre-Columbian Asia and American exchanges called Asiatic Echoes: The Identification of Ancient Chinese Pictograms in pre-Columbian North American Rock Writing, 3rd edition may be downloaded for free from the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) or Academia.edu. Additionally, the study’s three supplementary papers, and one ancillary report, are available as free pdfs from the study’s beta website http://asiaticechoes.org/.  

Collectively, these findings present never before noted demonstrable ancient written evidence that on multiple occasions and in pre-Columbian times, intellectual exchanges took place between Native Americans and literate Chinese individuals. Most importantly, multiple recognized authorities on ancient Chinese writing have confirmed that the petroglyphs identified in this study conform with known ancient styles of Chinese script and syntax. 

National Park Service personnel have also evaluated some of the study’s most significant pictogram-glyphs and independently confirm their non-Native authenticity. Significantly, estimates for the age of the study’s petroglyphs, based upon their measurable levels of surface repatination, agree with the historical periods for the common use in Asia of the study’s ancient Chinese script forms. 

For the first time ever, this study also integrates the legal construct of substantial similarity using the Jaccard Similarity Coefficient. This state-of-the-art technology allows for a comparison of each glyph’s line strokes against a 136 image database of corresponding Chinese script pictograms and will generate a chance probability for each symbol’s independent creation. 

Here is “rock solid” demonstrable epigraphic proof that Asiatic mariners not only reached the Americas but that they interacted positively with Native North American people, on multiple occasions, long before any European expeditions of the continent. This discovery sheds light on the Asiatic origin of some Native American archaeoastronomy, customs, and folklore.

 

Dr. Stephen C. Jett – Pre-Columbiana: A Journal of Long-Distance Contacts

Dr. Stephen C. Jett, Professor Emeritus of Geography and of Textiles and Clothing, University of California, Davis, and author of Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering the Case for Contacts with the Americas before Columbus (University of Alabama Press, 2017), founded and edits this unique cross-disciplinary journal, which appears on an occasional basis and often as combined issues.  The publication’s editorial board consists of several distinguished professional scholars.  

Over the years since its founding in 1998, a number of very important articles on pre-Columbian transoceanic interactions have appeared between Pre-Columbiana’s covers.  A few years ago, David B. Kelley published on the likely Chinese origins of the Mesoamerican calendar and in the latest edition, John Ruskamp’s report on ancient Chinese-character petroglyphs in New Mexico and Arizona appears.  In the forthcoming issue, Ruskamp describes and interprets seeming Chinese logographs pecked onto a rock in California’s Mohave Desert.

Production costs for a publication such as Pre-Columbiana run to roughly $5,000, varying according to length.  Subscription receipts do not nearly cover costs.  During the 1990s, subsidies were received from the University of California, Davis, but these ceased in 2000.  Unpredictable contributions have kept publication going, but the Editor has had to pay some significant expenses out of pocket.  The twentieth-anniversary issue of the journal is close to appearing but remains largely unfunded.  

 

Mark and Laurie Nickless – To the Gates of Fengtu

 In 2005 Mark and Laurie Nickless traveled to Nanjing to attend the 600th-anniversary commemoration of the first sailing of Zheng He’s Great Ming fleet and presented evidence that a Ming Chinese memorial once overlooked the Mississippi River near St. Louis in America. This revelation offered strong support for Gavin Menzies’ 1421 hypothesis. They continued their search for more supporting evidence and in 2006 made a breakthrough. Laurie identified a sixteenth-century Chinese book, 三宝下西洋 (Western World Voyages of the San Bao Eunuch), that described visiting people who had a culture that mirrored that of Native Americans.

After an examination of the book, Laurie began the prodigious task of translating the chapters about Zheng He’s visit to these people. Her efforts have yielded an English- language account of a Chinese expedition to North America in 1433 that upends the last 600 years of world history and her work has been examined and praised by the highest levels of Chinese scholars. To the Gates of Fengtu: The first full modern translation of the final fifteen chapters of Luo Mao Deng’s Epic Account of Chinese Exploration of North America not only confirms Gavin Menzies’ belief that Ming Chinese visited North America, but also that they visited Venice, Italy as well, confirming the historicity of Menzies’ second book, 1434-the Year A Magnificent Fleet Sailed To Italy And Ignited The Renaissance.

The Nickless’ have made uncovering these revelations their lives’ work. So far, they have been self-funded, first by paying for research and speaking engagements in foreign countries out of a teacher’s salary and now by pension and social security.  The Nickless family are hoping for funding from the 1421 Foundation in order to continue to travel and speak abroad, build/maintain a website and to help defray some of the expenses of their assistant who has been working with them on a volunteer basis for 5 years.

 

Lynda Nutter and Jill Thompson-White – Evidence Of An Early Chinese Astronomical Meridian Survey In Western Australia 

For more than a decade, researchers in Western Australia have suggested that the Helena Valley Stone Arrangement, a registered Aboriginal Heritage site near the capital city of Perth, is the remains of an ancient Chinese astronomical observatory, built for a meridian survey of unprecedented scale that was centered on Beijing during the thirteenth century. 

This year, Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating (OSL) has indicated the Helena Valley Stone Arrangement’s construction occurred in the thirteenth century, providing solid ground for this West Australian site’s identification as a thirteenth-century Chinese observatory remains. The OSL dating results are still confidential and radio-carbon dating is now underway to make the findings absolutely conclusive before publication; when the Helena Valley’s thirteenth century stone wall structures will be offered as evidence of Chinese presence in Australia almost 750 years ago. 

Although the research was initiated by independent historian Lynda Nutter, (shortly after reading Gavin Menzies’ 1421) and developed with her research partner Jill Thompson-White, Edith Cowan University (ECU), School of Education, the team now includes Professor Jimin Sun, who is responsible for the OSL and radiocarbon dating), Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and Dr. Xiaoli Zhao, ECU School of Engineering. Additionally, the project is endorsed by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China) at ECU, Wei Wang, and Associate Professor Geoffrey Lummis, Director: Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research. 

The Helena Valley Stone Arrangement may be just one of four similar Chinese astronomical observatory sites established in Australia during the thirteenth century and OSL dating is proposed for at least one of these additional sites. 

The team is seeking funds to achieve the following:

1:  OSL and carbon dating at Gympie in Eastern Australia. In 2015, preliminary fieldwork at Gympie Stone Terraces site (Rocky Ridge South Queensland) indicated this site could also be connected to the Yuan Dynasty’s astronomical survey.  The Gympie site is under threat from a freeway development. OSL dating could be a significant step in halting the destruction of what may be another ancient Chinese observatory site. An OSL field trip could be accomplished for AUS $3000. 

2: 3D modeling of the Helena Valley’s Observatory remains.  This first requires a controlled fire, to clear the thick vegetation. The team has the expertise for the modeling but requires funding to initiate the controlled fire. The Local Bushfire authority has offered a quote for AUS $9290 to conduct a controlled burn at the site in preparation for 3D modeling. 

3: 2022 “Clear Skies” in Perth. The team has developed a strong line of communication with China’s Consulate General in Perth through the Australia China Friendship Society of W.A. When OSL and radiocarbon dating results for the Helena Valley site are finalized, they anticipate their firm support in aspirations to host an international conference in Perth, planned for September 2022; and provisionally titled “Clear Skies: Addressing the History of Astronomy and Cartography”.  Financial support for the 2022 “Clear Skies” conference in Perth is welcomed. 

 

Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage 

ABSTRACT:  The Helena Valley Stone Arrangement is comprised of more than sixty meters of dry stone walls and a diorite stone engraved with Chinese Hànzì characters located in Helena Valley near Western Australia’s capital city of Perth. It is currently registered by the Western Australian Government’s Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) as Aboriginal site ID 4335 (DPLH, 1979), and is herein identified as the remains of an ancient astronomical observatory, possibly built for a Chinese Meridian survey as early as the thirteenth century. In this paper, we propose how the coordinates, dimensions, orientation, and features of this Western Australian heritage site appear to have significant regard to Yuan Dynasty observatories in China. The research methodology that informs this project includes epigraphical analysis, calligraphy identification, historical document review, archaeological survey, and mathematical calculation. This leads us to suggest that the Helena Valley Stone Arrangement could be one of the twenty-seven field stations utilized for China’s Four Seas Survey Test [Si Hai Ce Yan 四海测验] (Yuan Shi, 1369; Han, 1981: 3 & 37 of 51 pages), a Meridian survey of unprecedented scale centered on Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty.

Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang – The last journey of the San Bao Eunuch, Admiral Zheng He

From 1405, in order to maintain and expand the Ming Dynasty’s tributary system, Yongle Emperor Zhu Di (reigning 1402-1424) and Xuande Emperor Zhu Zhanji (reigning 1425-1435) ordered eunuch Zheng He to lead giant fleets across the seas. But soon after Zheng He’s seventh and last voyage in the 1430s, the Ming emperors put an end to this activity and ordered all records of previous voyages to be destroyed. 

After reading and analysing Luo Maodeng’s (罗懋登) An Account of the Western World Voyage of the San Bao Eunuch (《三宝太监西洋记》), Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang has concluded Luo Maodeng knew the history of some of these voyages and wished to preserve a record of them.  Luo was conscious of the possible penalty and therefore decided to record the facts “under a veil” and published this history as a novel in 1597.

Dr. Wang’s book, The last journey of the San Bao Eunuch, Admiral Zheng He, shows the methodology and evidential arguments used to draw her conclusions that Zheng He’s last expedition plausibly reached the ancient Native American city, Cahokia, in the U.S. central Mississippi Valley in late autumn of 1433 and the derivation of the complete trans-Atlantic navigational routes and timelines of that last journey. She supports the hotly debated view that Ming Chinese sailors and ships reached farther than previously accepted in modern times and calls for further research. She hopes this book will become an important step in bridging the gap in our understanding of ancient Chinese-America history in the era before the Age of Discovery.

Dr. Wang is a Chinese American, currently based in Hong Kong. She has a B.S. from Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. In 2006, as an independent scholar and freelance writer, she founded the China-U.S. Friendship Exchange, Inc. A year later, she launched an English-Chinese bi-lingual website to promote U.S.-China relations, http://www.ChinaUSFriendship.com which has attracted over a million viewers to date. She has given invited presentations on her Zheng He research at international conferences, universities, Zheng He Societies, the Executive Global Network (Hong Kong), the Clurr Club (Zürich, Switzerland), and the Straits Forum (Xiamen, China). She is a founding member of the International Zheng He Society founded in Malacca in 2018.

 

Dr. Lloyd Ryan – A summary of the research related to the origins of the Beothuck (BeiHanKe) (2010 – 2020) 

Dr. Ryan is a historian, scientist and a descendant of the Beothucks, the native peoples of Newfoundland. His relatives are known to have been alive in the forests of the north-east of Newfoundland Island until at least 1895.  The last known speaker of the Beothuck language, Emma (Locke) Oxford-Parsons, Dr Ryan’s great-grandmother, died in 1939. According to recent DNA studies conducted by the anthropologists of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Beothuck people were distinct, unrelated to other tribes of the North American continent and, moreover, were not descended from precursor peoples of Newfoundland Island, according to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. 

It is well known that between 1405 to 1435, the Chinese emperors of the day dispatched as many as seven fleets with a total of an estimated 3000 ships and as many as 200,000 crew. Over the past 10 years, Dr Ryan has located what he considers to be a cluster of at least five of these ships, two or three of these wrecks appearing to be at least partially intact, within close-to-shore ocean waters off Newfoundland Island. These wrecks have featured in stories and Native American folk-lore going back generations before the Europeans arrived. 

If these artefacts do turn out to be remains of the Chinese fleets of 600 years ago, then this will surely be the most significant “historical find” of the past 200 years, and the history books will have to be re-written

Dr Ryan would like the assistance of the 1421 Foundation to mount a modest expedition to determine for sure the origin of these wrecks.

 

The Proposed Expedition:

 The Objective: To acquire sufficient artefacts to determine the origin of these ships. The total operation could be concluded in seven days. The financial needs are relatively modest because these ships are within quite sheltered waters, relatively shallow and easily accessible. 

The necessary equipment and personnel will be as follows: Divers, Boats (local fishing boats are available for hire), Underwater camera and recording equipment, Sonar-type imaging equipment (side-scanner) and LiDAR type imaging equipment for underwater scans in deeper water where at least one other ship is believed to lie. We have an independent underwater archaeologist who has agreed to oversee the expedition.

 

Dr. Mitch Wilkinson – Funding Proposal for Lines of Research Involving Curly Coated Horses and their Geographical Distribution 

Summary: Dr Mitch Wilkinson is a scientist who works in the field of horse history & genetic research. Currently he is involved in ongoing research with Dr. Gus Cothran, Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, Dr. Jaime Lira, and other researchers in Mexico and Spain on The Spanish Horse Project, tracing the spread of the Spanish horse into North and South America. They have found unusual results coming up with the genetic markers in some North American horses, possibly linking them to Chinese and Siberian horses. According to Dr Wilkinson “… If The Spanish Horse Project detects more genetic markers linked with Chinese and Siberian horses then we must re-think history…” This important research could provide another “smoking gun” which supports the 1421 Foundation’s research.

Detail: Despite the fact that KRT25and SP6 mutations have not been found in Asian horses, two contemporary scientific studies hint at the possibility of Asian equine introduction into the North American continent. A few individual horses in the remote Brittany Triangle area of British Columbia and mustangs in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park were found to have unusual mitochondrial DNA markers that can be found in Asian horses. Dr. Cothran and Dr. Juras were involved in both studies. (Links to horsetalk.co.nz can be found here and here).

In Asia, horses that express the curly winter coat trait seem to be located along the old Silk Road trading routes. There is little chance that two identical mutations could happen in two geographically remote populations due to the hundreds of thousands of possibilities within the DNA chain. Therefore, if two separated populations are found to have the same mutation, it can be assumed that one population seeded the mutation and trait to the other.

Currently, Dr. Cothran and Dr. Juras at Texas A&M are analyzing genetic samples of curly coated horses from the Southwestern United States and Argentina with the help of the International Curly Horse Organization and Dr. Mitch Wilkinson. If the two curly coat causative mutations can be isolated, they can then be compared to existing samples on file from Asia to see if the mutations are present in modern Asiatic horses with curly coats. 

Genome sequencing costs about USD$6,000 to USD$7,000 permutation and it is hoped that to isolate two different mutations will require around USD$12,000 to USD$14,000. Unfortunately, specific results from scientific investigations are not assured. Causative gene mutation isolation is a long and arduous task that may take more time and money than initially expected, but the basic scientific understanding gained is well worth it from the perspective of equine history and preservation.

 The studies are also important in the understanding of human history, specifically the ancient exploration of our planet.