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    Re: Zheng He steered by the stars?
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2002 Nov 25, 11:52 +1100

    Glendon wrote:
    > I haven't seen Menzies' book, but my initial reaction to your post is one of
    > scepticism.
    > Nowhere in my recollections of history do the Chinese appear as navigators,
    > sea explorers or sea traders of great note. Apart from coastal hopping,
    > trade with the Molluccas, etc., they seemed to have preferred to let the
    > world come to them, with its trade.
    You're not the only one to be sceptical. Not long after Zheng established his
    sea routes his patron, the emperor Zhu Di, was overthrown by his son, Zhu
    Haozhi, who turned his country's back on the outside world once again. All the
    hard-won charts were destroyed, and the overseas settlements left to be
    absorbed by the locals. The maps that have survived were prepared by 15th and
    16th century Europeans and, according to Gavin Menzies, could only have been
    based on eyewitness reports of Zheng's travels. One witness is identified,
    Niccolo da Conti, who published his account of the Chinese voyages when he
    returned to Venice.

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