Event Detail


New Discoveries

Gavin Menzies & S L Lee
Wednesday, 14 Jun 2006
Jardine House

"The Mystery of the first integrated map of the world 1418, and Exciting New Discoveries"
Gavin Menzies and S. L. Lee
Wednesday, 14 June 2006
The Jardine Penthouse, 48/F Jardine House, One Connaught Place
Complimentary Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm (please note that additional seating has now been provided at this venue) We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong to lecture again Gavin Menzies on his major new discoveries. On 15 March 2002, a sensation occurred in the lecture theatre of the Royal Geographical Society in London as Gavin Menzies presented the results of fifteen years of research: the Chinese had discovered most of the world by 1421, before any of the famous European explorers. The lecture was broadcast to a television audience of almost a billion people and made the front pages of newspapers worldwide, from the New York Times to the SCMP. The Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong was then privileged to host the first public presentation of Mr. Menzies' theories on Chinese soil. Ever since, hundreds of scientists and historians have joined the controversial debate. Mr. Menzies has since been able to amass many leads from all corners of the globe, with over 100,000 visitors a month going to his website. The recent announcement of the 1418 Mo Yitong Map on 16 January 2006 made for a further uproar, with 300 television networks and press showing the story. However, skeptics called it a fake, despite exact dating results by Waikato University announced on 23 March 2006. Mr. Menzies proposes to talk about the 1418 map and why it is genuine, using a plethora of evidence, and how this map, showing the Ranoake Rivers and the Great Dismal Swamp, may direct us to the possible shipwrecked sites of the Zheng He Junk. Also lecturing is S. L. Lee, to reveal to the world at the lecture a significant find near the American East Coast of an Imperial Medal by Emperor Xuan De, found near the Ranoake Rivers, North Carolina. It is a 7cm diameter plain brass medal with the inscription "Authorized and awarded by Xuan De of Great Ming" and was unearthed several hundred miles inland from the American east coast. In 1430, the Ming Emperor commissioned Zheng He to deliver a message to foreign nations that he was enthroned. Mr. Lee questions if Zheng He's excursion reached east America or if there is another explanation such as that it was brought by early American settlers. S. L. Lee relates this to the highly advanced and always unexplained pottery of the eastern native tribes and wonders, if not the Emperor's envoys, who taught them the material and how to make pottery before the arrival of the Europeans. Despite the brass medal's discovery in a scantly populated area and after almost 600 years, the medal shows no apparent signs of erosion. Preliminary analysis of the metal shows that the material is brass, containing zinc and possibly a rare element to render the medal resistant. This type of sophisticated technology is hard to forge. Gavin Menzies's extraordinary story of Chinese exploration begins when huge fleets set sail from near the country's new capital, Beijing. The ships, 450 foot long junks made from the finest teak, were led by the Emperor's loyal admirals, first among whom was "the admiral of the Western Sea", Zheng He. Their mission was to discover and unite the whole world in the benefits of confucian harmony and bring the world into the Chinese trade system. Their journeys would last over two years and circle the entire globe. Gavin Menzies has rewritten history with his extraordinary findings about these voyages. In this lecture, Gavin Menzies is going to defend the remarkable trail of his discovery and the evidence to support it, including numerous ancient maps, precise navigational knowledge, astronomy, ancient Chinese accounts, landing stones left by the Emperor's fleet, knowledge of botany, plants moved to Asia and artefacts left along their route. The 1418 map which has stirred such excitement this year follows the normal tradition of Chinese mapping. Gavin Menzies defends it on many bases. He argues that the Chinese were the first to discover America, 70 years before Columbus. He believes that they discovered Antarctica and the South Shetland Isles and that the fleets of Admiral Zheng He sailed through the Magellan Straights 60 years before Magellan was born. In addition, Mr. Menzies has evidence that they charted both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America, bringing back artifacts for the Emperor's collection and established trade routes across the globe. Further, he hypothesises that the Chinese understood the concept of longitude before the Europeans and effectively had the world charted by 1428. Most controversially of all, he suggests that the European explorers including Columbus and Da Gama set sail in their time armed with maps that drew on the Chinese explorations and maps. Therefore someone mapped the whole world before the Europeans. Further evidence has evinced from Dr Robert Massey of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich who has proved that the stars shown on the maps were in the places shown on the maps on the relevant date. Gavin Menzies spent his early years in China and joined the Royal Navy in 1953. As a junior officer, he sailed the world along the routes of Columbus, Dias, Cabral and Vasco da Gama. As commander of HMS Rorqual, he sailed the routes pioneered by Magellan and Captain Cook. Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has done 20 years of research on his theories, visiting 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries and every major seaport of the Middle Ages. Many new editions of his book, 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, have been published and numerous television companies have done series on his discoveries. A chemist by profession, Mr. Lee has been interested in Chinese culture in many aspects. In 1996, Mr. Lee founded the Asiawind.com website which hosts the world's first Chinese calligraphy website. He has been investigating Mr. Menzies' theories since their first publication. The combined knowledge of Chinese history, calligraphy and chemistry would allow Mr. Lee to recognise the significance of this obscure brass plate now known as the medal. Mr. Lee is resident in Ohio. This lecture is being held in the fine surroundings of the Jardine Penthouse. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend at HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others. This includes a complimentary drinks reception prior to the lecture.

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