Talk B – Zheng He’s Fleets Voyages from South America to New Zealand and Australia

On Gavin Menzies’ website are reports by Cedric Bell and by Lynda Nutter of Zheng He’s Fleets voyages from South America to New Zealand and Australia.

These fleets comprised Chinese and Japanese ships, the majority being Chinese.  They had gathered at Calicut on the Malabar Coast of SW India before setting sail across the Indian Ocean, and rounding the Cape of Good Hope to South America.  As da Gama was told when he arrived 70 years later:

“More than eight hundred sail of large and small ships had come to India from the Lequeos (Ryuku) Islands, with people of many nations ….they were so numerous that they filled the country and settled as dwellers in all the towns of the sea coast”

Carlos Prince then reports their arrival in the Americas:

“Chinese…with Tartairs, Japanese and Koreans….crossed the Maritime stretch into the Kingdom of Quivira populating Mexico, Panama, Peru and other eastern countries of the Indies”

They did indeed populate these countries for their genes remain in the blood of groups of South American peoples to this day.  Professor Tulio Arends and Gallengo took samples of the blood of the Yupa Indians who live in the foothills of the Sierra de Perija in Western Venezuela.  They found “In 58 percent of the Yupa Indians of Venezuela there is a slow moving transferrin electrophoretically Indistinguishable from Tf D chi which to date has only been found in Chinese.  This finding is additional evidence for the existence of a racial link between South American Indians and Chinese.”

Blood from Indians further to the west, the Cayapa from Equador was analysed by Fideas E. Leon S and Colleagues who found “The Cayapa or Chachi from Ecuador…Molecularly similarly to that found in South East Asian and Japanese people” and  “A Colombian aboriginal group living near the Pacific Colombian coast named the Noanama/ Wanana, are clustered closer to Japanese people than to other American natives.”

Professor Gabriel Novick and colleagues carried out similar tests on small groups of people living in Colombia and Panama – the Ngobe, Paez, Guambiano, Ingano, Kogui, Arhuaco, Chimilia, Wayuu and Guayabero.  In the abstract of their report they say:

“close similarity between the Chinese and native Americas suggests recent gene flow from Asia”.

So the following distinguished Geneticists consider certain groups of people living today in Panama, Venezuela and Colombian had Chinese or Japanese ancestors who came by sea – I would like to pay tribute to their work:

Gabriel Novick; Corina Novick; Juan Yunis; Emilio Yunis; Pamela Antunez de Mayolo; W. Douglas Scheer; Prescott Deininger; Mark Stoneking; Daniel S. York; Mark A Batzer; Rene J Herrera; all colleagues of Gabriel Novick.  Also to thank Professors Tulio Arends and Gallengo and Dr Annabel Arends, Tulio’s daughter who is carrying on his work.  Also to Professors Fidias. E. Leon-S; Amparo Ariza-Deleon; Martha E. Leon-S and Adriana Ariza-C and to Professors Ijichi; Tajima; Zaninovich; Karahira; Sonoda; Miura; Hayami and Hall.

The work of these 25 Professors is I submit conclusive evidence that the South American peoples referred to in their reports had ancestors who – in genetic terms – came by sea and recently from China and SE Asia.  How recent is recent?

We have several clues; the first Europeans to reach South America, the Spanish rounding Cape Horn found wrecked Chinese Junks.  In those stormy seas wrecks break up fairly quickly so I submit they were wrecked within a century or so.  We also have the drawings of Father Antonio de la Calancha, one of the first priests to reach South America who found recent native paintings of Chinese cavalry.

Vasquez de Coronado found Chinese Junks with gilded sterns; Columbus met Chinese people off South America; Garcillaso de la Vega describes Chinese colonies in Peru and Chile; Gonzales Ximenez de Quesada reports the Guanes and Calimas of Colombia are an entirely different civilisation to that of the Native Indians who surround them.  Acosta reports Chinese people, plants and animals in the Americas.  I suggest these reports taken together can only mean one thing – the Chinese already had substantive settlements in South America by the time the first Europeans arrived – and these settlements were relatively recent, that is a century or so.

The Pacific offers us further clues.  In the South Pacific, winds and currents flow in a huge anticlockwise oval.  A ship rounding Cape Horn is carried up the west coast of Chile and Peru by the cold Humboldt current.  Off Ecuador the current hooks west crossing thousands of miles of ocean.  Off Tuvalu if starts to hook south west towards Fiji New Caledonia and the south Eastern Coast of Australia before it completes its rotation flowing towards New Zealand and back to South America.

It is thus easy to trace the passage of sailing ships leaving South America off Ecuador to set sail across the Pacific – they will pass Marquesas, Tuamotu Archipelago, Tokelau, Samoa, Fiji, Vaunanu, New Caledonia and Australia.  There the Chinese Fleet with Japanese ships should have left the DNA – as indeed they have.

M. Hertzberg and Colleagues found an Asian specific delection of mitochondrial DNA in Polynesians – notably, Niueans, Tongans, Samoans and Maoris.  Shinji Harihara and colleagues produce startling pie charts – it appears the Niueans, Tongans, Samoans and Fijians had ancestors from the Shizoka province of Japan.  To this day Niueans share close linguistic similarities with Mainland Chinese.  Not only did the fleet bring their genes but also plants from South America notably sweet potatoes and 26 chromosome cotton – to Easter Island; Temoe; Tahiti; Fiji; and Cape York in Australia.  They built stone observation platforms on Easter Island; Pitcairn; Temoe; Tuomota (Bora-Bora); Raiatea; Tahiti; the Society Islands, Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia.  They carried diseases notably Tokelau found all the way across the Pacific and most important of all they brought the distinctive Asian chickens – with entirely different bodies, wattles, combs, legs, feet and eggs to European hens.

The Chickens allow us to date the voyages for after eating or ritually sacrificing the birds, they were thrown into refuse heaps or middens as were the fruit and vegetables they brought such as coconuts.  Helen Wallin, Kuchinski; D.W. Steadman and JS Athens have dug into these middens.  From the depth inside the midden they can estimate the dates – Hawaii post 1300, Cook Islands post 1100.  Could they have been brought from South America by Polynesians? – If they had, Polynesian DNA should be found in South American peoples – none ever has been (Professor Bryan Sykes).  Could South American peoples have crossed the Pacific – their DNA (with one a typical example on Mapa) has never been found in Polynesians – Heyerdahl was wrong (Dr Matt Hurles and Colleagues).  The only peoples whose DNA appears on both sides of the Pacific in the South American Incas (Novick and Colleagues) and in the Maori (Dr Geoffrey Chambers) are the Chinese.

We also have the evidence of maps.  The Jean Rotz Chart, published in 1542 two centuries before Captain Cooks ‘discovery’ and a century before Tasman shows Australia.  Zheng He’s passage charts show the Barrier Reef (Wu Pei Chih chart) whilst Chinese scholars consider official Chinese records mention Australia – Beira or Sunla is Australia (Professors Wei Chu Hsieh; Liu Manchum and Martin Tai).  The first Europeans to reach China saw Chinese maps of Australia – Melchior Thevenot and Matteo Ricci who drew Australia from Chinese maps – Ricci’s map is now in The Royal Geographical Society.  There are a host of Chinese descriptions of Australia not least from the Song Dynasty when great ships were sent south to Australasia to mine minerals.

As stated in my book Zhou Man’s fleet, after making landfall in Australia on her SE coast headed south to take the declination of Canopus which they achieved in 52 degrees 40 minutes South at Campbell Island.  My evidence is that the east/ west large creeks of Auckland Island and Campbell Island appear on the Jean Rotz drawn at the correct latitude and as they would have appeared in mid winter (late June) when ice joined the two islands and stretched away to the Northwest towards Tasmania.  Because no other part of New Zealand appears on the Jean Rotz chart nor does any part of Southern Coast of Australia I assumed the Fleet had not seen South Australia or New Zealand or if so, had perished.

That was as far as I got in my book.  These fairly modest claims were met with apoplexy from New Zealand historians, a quite astonishing reaction, and one which in my experience only rises from those who have something to fear.  Did New Zealand historians secretly know the Chinese had occupied New Zealand before the Maoris got there?  It was certainly a subject, which merited further research.  By now I had been paid a substantial advance of royalties and was in the fortunate position in being able to engage a talented young research team and set up a website.  My team quickly found that the first Europeans to reach New Zealand found a wealth of plants foreign to New Zealand, which had been brought from South America, the sweet potato being an example described so vividly by Captain Cook.  There were also distinctive animals such as otters (from SE Asia) and the Kune Kune pig from China.

Obviously Europeans did not bring these plants and animals.  For the first Europeans found them already there.  As mentioned earlier DNA provides the answer – only the Chinese could have brought them because they and the Japanese are the only peoples whose DNA can be found in South America, all the way across the Pacific and in the Maoris of New Zealand.

I shall never forget returning from the dentist on 30th April to find a large brown envelope in a strange writing sitting on my doormat.  It was from a gentleman by the name of Cedric Bell, until then quite unknown to me.  He had spent a month in New Zealand looking for evidence of Chinese wrecks.  After reading my book he considered the most likely place would be New Zealand South Island between the Banks Peninsular and Catlins.  His report claimed to have found nearly 40 wrecked junks together with medieval stone barracks capable of housing over 20,000 men, rice fields, potato paddies watered by stone built canals, stone aqueducts and a dozen highly sophisticated smelters capable of refining ore at very high temperatures – achieved by using hydraulic powered ore crushers and separators and powerful air bellows again hydraulically powered.  My first reaction was incredulity but this did not last for more than a few minutes for I saw at once the piles of clams were the work of Chinese.  They are an obsessively tidy people and stack up used clams  in a most distinctive way – I had seen similar piles in the Caribbean in the Aleutians and Kuriles.  So I was convinced but I realised no one else would be.  We had to find a way of checking out Cedric Bell’s work in a manner, which he agreed was fair.  We started by choosing one site to investigate.  This had to be one for which we did not need permission for, by now I had become extremely sceptical about the integrity of New Zealand historians and of the New Zealand authorities, which sad to say includes the government.  I felt sure they would attempt to suppress anything, which challenged the fairy story that the Maoris had discovered New Zealand.  Any other evidence would be suppressed.  That therefore limited the sites to public places, the most easily accessible being Akaroa Cricket pitch and Car Park and nearby Le Bons Bay with Junks and smelters.

We started with high definition satellite inferrometry, which I was reasonably familiar with as this was a detection system used in anti-submarine warfare.  We found images of Akaroa cricket pitch taken in high summer with parched grass.  There, underneath the pitch, was the imprint of Stone walls – almost exactly where Cedric Bell had found the barracks using Magnetic Anomaly Surveys.  Cedric Bell’s method has a major disadvantage – it is not possible to determine what causes the anomaly, which could be plastic pipe two feet beneath the soil or a stone wall ten feet down.  So we had to eliminate the plastic or iron pipes such as water mains or sewage systems.

Here the local authority was extremely helpful by providing templates, which fitted the satellite photo.  This eliminated one of Cedric’s walls leaving three which were not services.  Now it was a reasonable commercial decision to move ground-penetrating radar onto site, a three-day exercise.  It is fair to say that to a layman the resulting ground penetrating radar picture does not 100 percent support Cedric Bell’s work.  I have spent years in submarines analysing radar and electronic pictures which is an art form rather than a science.  I am wholly convinced the Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of Akaroa Cricket Pitch supports Cedric’s work as do the GPR surveys of the smelter and Fort at nearby Le Bons Bay.

The next step would be to collect Mortar, wood, slag, shell and iron samples from Le Bons smelter to have them carbon dated.  We decided to take a mortar sample from the smelter and ask Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory to do the dating.  They have a fine reputation and are I understand owned by the New Zealand Government.  They have proved quick and efficient.  Rafter’s carbon date was late 17th Century – nothing to do with 1421 but nonetheless an astonishing result for the Maoris did not make mortar nor build in stone and yet the date was a century before the Europeans arrived.

We next dated wood – the same result within 30 years; so we had a people who could saw wood, build sophisticated stone smelters, make mortar and bring in an array of plants from South America and SE Asia, that were found in New Zealand before the Europeans.  Who were they?  Maoris accounts speak of their conquering South Island around 1679 and slaughtering a peaceable stone-working people who lived there – people called Waitaha.  By now Cedric had been investigating the smelter in detail and had found slag.  Rafter dated this to twelfth century – another extraordinary result.  The smelter must have been in use between then and 17th century, the date of the mortar.  Had it been in use earlier? – Lower down we found a different coloured mortar.  Rafter dated that 10th Century.  It now looked as if the Waitaha had been working the smelter in South Island for eight hundred years before Europeans arrived.  Were Chinese smelters of the same era in China – that is Song Dynasty ones, designed like those Cedric found in New Zealand.  If so are there any Chinese records of Song ships sailing to Australasia to mine minerals.  The answer was yes and yes – huge Song ships manned by up to 1000 men sailed forth to mine minerals from lands in the Far South.  During the Song Dynasty, smelters were greatly improved to incorporate hydraulically powered billows, crushers and separators.  By now I was sure the Waitaha were in fact Chinese.  Had their DNA been tested?  Antonia Bowen-Jones my brilliant young researcher found Dr Geoffrey Chamber’s DNA report into the Maoris – their female (mitochondrial) DNA was Chinese from Taiwan their male (Y-Chromosome) Polynesian.  The penny dropped – the Polynesian people from North Island had invaded the South Island in about 1670 as their own history claimed – murdered the Waitaha men and took their womenfolk, Chinese women originally from Taiwan.  Zhou Man’s Fleet was coming to revisit an existing Chinese mining colony one which had existed since at least the Tang Dynasty, possibly much earlier

We now turned our attention to examining Cedric’s wrecks.  Ground Penetrating Radar will not peer down more than a few metres in wet saline sand so we had to find another system.  We decided upon an electromagnetic conductivity survey similar to the one, which had been successfully deployed on the Sacramento Junk site in California.

Again purists can reasonably argue that this survey does not corroborate Cedric’s discovery of two junks side by side in Le Bon’s Bay.  I have had extensive experience of analysing EM images and consider that it does- albeit Cedric’s configuration is wrong.  In my view there are two junks down there and a third object of unknown provenance.

By this stage I was sure beyond reasonable doubt that the main thrust of Cedric’s work was correct if not in every detail.  He had found a fleet of wrecked junks, barracks blocks to house the stranded sailors, rice and potato fields to feed them and an earlier Mining colony with smelters, roads, canals and viaducts.

We decided to investigate one further site in some detail before “going public” after which the Government would take over and all the sites would be barred to us.  We chose Moeraki because there, Cedric had located three of the huge leviathans more than 100 metres long and 50 metres wide – to use Cedric’s epic phrase “as large as a football pitch”.

By now I had come to the conclusion some catastrophe must have overtaken Zhou Man’s fleet.  Loosing 44 ships in one place can only mean a typhoon yet the fleets had survived hurricanes and typhoons in other parts of the world.  Only the sixth voyage had lost ships on a horrifying scale 993 out of 1000 failed to return home.

My hunch was that a Tsunami had caught Zhou Man north of Campbell Island and Auckland Island – perhaps caused by the fault line in the ocean bed, splitting open.  We advertised on our website for anyone who know of Tsunamis in the South Pacific and very quickly were put in touch with Professor Edward Bryant of Wollongong University in New South Wales, Australia.  Ted told us of his book “Tsunami the underrated hazard” in which he sets out in vivid and convincing detail accounts of the Tsunami which devastated New Zealand South Island some time between 1410 and 1480 but “which could as easily have been 1422” to use his pithy phrase.

Ted had been working with Dallas Abbott and her team at The Lamont Doherty Observatory, Palisades, New Jersey.  He had come to the inclusion the Tsunami must have had waves of well over 100 feet high for they had carried huge rocks over cliffs that height in New South Wales nearly 2000 miles away.  In early 2003 Dallas Abbott and her team had found that a comet had hit the ocean in 48 degrees south, 166 degrees east and had smashed a crater 22 kilometres wide in the ocean bed.  The resultant Tsunami that hit Stewart Island had thrown beach sand 700 ft up the hillside.

The wrecks, which Cedric had found were entirely consistent with the comet hitting the ocean some 100 km south of Zhou Man’s fleet as it retraced its passage northwestwards from Campbell Island along the edge of the ice (as is shown on the Jean Rotz).  If this were the case the waves would have broken Zhou Man’s fleet to bits carrying some junks well inland and burying others in cliffs.  So we returned to Moeraki and started an examination of the cliff face above the beach where Cedric had found the wrecks of the Leviathans, which he had detected by Magnetic Anomaly Survey.

There it was – a monster junks impaled in the cliff upside down and 45 degrees bow up.  The outline of its hull shape clear for all to see.  Stone cannon balls and round counterweights to hoist the sails had slid down to the stern and now and then popped out of the cliff.  We had the hull cement analysed – man made a combination of burnt lime and volcanic ash.  Here was the first Treasure ship found at long last.  We decided to go public with all our information placing it on our website, together with all the reports for all the world to see.  Cedric Bell has been wholly vindicated and I congratulate him for his inspired work of genius.

Another brilliant person now appears in the scene – forty years younger than Cedric, a musician from Perth Western Australia.  Lynda Nutter had appeared in cabaret in Japan, and is a student of the Japanese language and of the Aboriginal Nyungah language of the Helena Valley in Western Australia near Perth where she lives.  Lynda has compiled a list of Nyungah  words and phrases, which correspond with Japanese.  The similarity, in many cases the same word, is astounding.  There cannot be the slightest doubt that some of the ancestors of the Nyungah Aborigines were Japanese.  The next step, obviously, is to compare the two peoples DNA as has been done in South America and across the Pacific.  However obtaining aboriginal DNA and publishing the results, has, for the moment, been stymied; I stress for the moment.  However Lynda has made another amazing discovery.  She has found the remains of a stone observation platform near Mundaring in about  31 degrees 54’ south, 116 degrees 09’east near where she is researching local indigenous history for the Swan Valley Nyungah Community.  The layout of the site contains everything that is required to calculate longitude by using the lunar eclipse method described by Professor John Oliver and Marshall Payn in Appendix 2 of my book and on our website

On the site there is a stone carved with Chinese characters.  The Indigenous Affairs Department has photographed these carvings and Lynda has obtained a photocopy then made a tracing of the letters from the photocopy.  This is how Lynda has translated them (for further details and descriptions view our website).

“within the mid year (mid August) is the direction for men wishing to return to their place of origin, China, the middle Kingdom.

The inscription refers to “the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (15th August) the Bon Lantern Festival when guidance is given to souls to assist their return to their place of origin China.”  There is a sign for ‘Zhuyin’ (the accepted way of referring to
the Emperor Zhu Di: it was forbidden for commoners to write his name in full).  There are also Japanese carved characters, which translate  the same as the Chinese inscriptions.

Assuming for the moment Lynda’s translation is verified by Ming Scholars it appears  the site was constructed in Zhu Di’s reign (1403-24) on 15th August – by implication to determine longitude by a lunar eclipse.  Lynda thinks that during the Qing Dynasty, the Chinese year was commenced from 116 degrees east – the longitude of the carving.

There were partial lunar eclipses on 2nd August 1422 (Starry Night) and 13th August 1421 shortly after mid winter when I believe Zhou Man’s Fleet reached Campbell Island – the time of the maximum northern limit of ice as shown on the Jean Rotz.

There are further lines of evidence, which support Lynda.  The SW tip of Australia, which the Junks would have had to round to reach “Perth” and the Helena Valley is in a direct line, 4564 km from the comets impact position.  A junk propelled WNW to W Australia, would not have seen any land in between – which would account for neither S. Australia nor New Zealand appearing on the Jean Rotz.  However, Helena Valley (with a 2 ½ degrees latitude error) does appear on the Jean Rotz with the correct orientation.  Moreover there is evidence that other Junks from Zhou Man’s Fleet were wrecked in Tasmania (where a coin of Zhu Di’s father has been found amidst the wreckage in Storm Bay), at King Island, at Wollongong and Kangaroo Island.  Warrnambool’s mahogany wreck is on the landward side of a substantial sand bar – to lift it over the bar requires huge waves (Professor Ted Bryant).  Kangaroo Island’s feral pigs are Chinese – how did they get there, if not from a Chinese voyage?  All the evidence is consistent with some ships in the North Western sector of Zhou Man’s Armada just managing to keep afloat, being carried on gigantic waves first to Tasmania, then on to south and western Australia where sailors from at least one Japanese junk settled amongst the Nyungah people and begat children.  Some survivors managed to return to China to draw what later appeared on the Jean Rotz map.

The next step will be to ask permission to test the Nyungah peoples DNA, to compare the mortar of the stone observation platforms in the Helena and Swan River Valleys with Ming mortar from Mainland China and to start a search for Chinese artefacts near the observation platform.

This requires finance – as does further investigation and in due course exhumation of some of the Treasure Fleet found by Cedric Bell at Moeraki.  A major international Bank has in principle offered to match funding.  Whilst in SE Asia I am giving a number of talks and will be asking Chinese business leaders to consider setting up a Foundation to raise the funds for further research.

Thank you all for listening to me today.  I hope we can discuss matters in more detail afterwards.

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