1421: The Year China Discovered America?

1421: The Year China Discovered America?

2004, History  -   90 Comments
Ratings: 7.81/10 from 79 users.

1421: The Year China Discovered America?This fascinating documentary examines the mystery surrounding the sailing exploits of the legendary Admiral Zheng and his 30 year command of a gigantic Ming fleet.

The Chinese court burned all records of Admiral Zheng's daring voyages and achievements, and unwittingly created a mystery that tantalizes the world 500 years later.

You've heard what the history books have to say about the discovery of America, but now prepare to have your entire perception of history forever altered with this remarkable release from PBS.

Could it be that a fearless Chinese admiral actually discovered America nearly a century before Columbus made his historical landing at San Salvador?

Travel back to the year 1421 and follow the legendary Admiral Zheng as he and his formidable Ming fleet travel far and wide to explore little-visited outposts at the behest of Chinese emperor Zhu Di.

Based on theories put forward by noted historian and best-seller Gavin Menzies, this thought-provoking take on conventional history proposes that it was Admiral Zheng who led European explorers to the West a whole 71 years after first setting foot on American soil.

More great documentaries

90 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Joseph Anthony

    Where is part 2?

  2. Brian Andrejicka

    Columbus and Zheng were NOT the first to arrive on the continent. L'Anse aux Meadows (/ˈlænsi ˈmɛdoʊz/) is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the Great Northern Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Archaeological evidence of a Norse presence was discovered at L'Anse aux Meadows in the 1960s. It is the only confirmed Norse or Viking site in or near North America outside of the settlements found in Greenland.[1][2] Dating to c. 1000, L'Anse aux Meadows is widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. It is notable for its possible connection with Leif Erikson, and with the Norse exploration of North America. It was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978.[3] The Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows has been dated to approximately 1,000 years ago (carbon dating estimate 990–1050 CE),[12] an assessment that tallies with the relative dating of artifact and structure types.

  3. Bruce Prescott

    We have one of there boats sunk on the beach here in New Zealand its hull measured the same size huge boat and wood test confirm its origin, there peoples DNA is one of our countrys first people , Maui and Rata were greek

  4. fk_censors

    Wonderful documentary, I loved how it didn't try to prove a point, but rather presented both sides of the argument - allowing the originator of the revisionist story the opportunity to defend his claims. Well done, quite balanced, and I learned a lot of history!

  5. Roland Mahoney

    Zheng He's voyages were almost certainly greater than we imagine and certainly demonstrated the level of Chinese technology at the time. However, the question of whether he (or Leif Erikson or someone else) landed in America or not is irrelevant. Columbus' exploits, regardless of whether he was the first or tenth outsider to 'discover' the Americas, had real consequences. The Western world, and soon thereafter the rest of the world, changed after 1492.

  6. Olmecs Statues

    The oldest known civilization in america is the olmecs civilization. search up the "statues of the olmecs heads", which date back thousands of years, and you will know for a fact who was the first people in america. You judge for yourselve, which race the resemble.

    No rules, you can lie to yourselve if you want, im not here to convince anyone

  7. Kalamakuaikalani

    Actually Zheng He was born into a Muslim family but due to exposure of religions everywhere he traveled, he was more into Tianfei, who was the patron saint of sailors & people who traveled by sea everywhere.

  8. Travis Johnson

    Also, who cares who discovered america? will that change anything today if thats proven? No, I don't have a care in regards to it either way. I just think his argument logic is severly flawed, and if you actually believe what he is saying when he has absolutely no proof, nothing. His arguments even said "they looked a little like chinese in that they were nimble and quick". Specifically said, they looked like asiatic which says to me they obviously werent.

  9. Travis Johnson

    That guy is entirely full of ****. His logic is basically, because I think chinese people were in america, they were in america. I mean has he even considered that its more likely they got the asiatic gene from the ice age, when alaska connected the continents? Its a known fact people wandered around. Dude logic is false, argument is false, he should quit or be fired from whatever hes doing. He is not practicing anything more then wild speculation.(in some cases I felt his arguments worked better against him, then they did with him.)Sad, sad man.

  10. Dave Heckler

    I've read two versions of 1421 as I have read over 100 books about Chinese history. And I truly believe that he is right and USA just simply does not want to admit that we were all taught a lie about Columbus. He bamboozled the queen in to financing his trip to America. Also in this movie nothing was mentioned of the many facts that were recorded in the mans extensive research. I've always liked China and studied it for many years. We as a country have something to learn from a culture of 10,000 years.....................Dave

    1. Ni Sha Bi

      The Chinese culture isn’t 10,000 or more popularly quoted 5000 years old. Try reading some objective (non-Chinese) books on the history of China.

  11. LarryB

    Russia was in Alaska before 1421, they harvested pelts and enslaved the natives almost 200 years earlier. That is if Alaska counts as North America.

  12. sai ram

    Once a red indian landed in Europe. He was the first one to land in Europe. He shouted that he had discovered europe. Then cops shouted at him and asked that there was a prior civilization there, a good and developed culture. Then he asked "who is Columbus to discover America?" Yeah, thats true. History is written by Europeans

    1. Joe

      "“War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

      History, therefore, is determined by the conquerors or survivors (usually the former supersedes the latter). If the East conquers the West, history would be rewritten once more.

  13. Dank Raven

    Gavin Menzies is clearly clinging to a weak hypothesis. This doc fell flat on it's face in the second hour...

  14. Ambrose Howard

    Funny, We are one and all the same, an interconnection of all things of this earth. And to say who discovered? My say First Nations over land bridge. To become the one's who are holding the new world in pristine shape, but oh yes we are savages.

  15. Tim Caffery

    Well, the boom in the spirit industry sent venture capitalist to the jungle of Mexico to find mescal to market. Mescal is tequila's grandparent. It was discovered that they used an underground distilling method, as well as bamboo tools (not indigenous to any America), that suggest Chinese influence. But I know why the West & CCP are scared we all realize this is true, look what it makes them into? The key to liberating the Chinese will be history & the associated cultural identity. History's theme: every Chinese is a descendant of an Emperor.

  16. Umaram Almaarfy

    just a note he was muslim

  17. disqusdamnuserid

    ancient Ming coins found in BC, Canada.

  18. Vicki_in_Greece

    I watched again - great theory, be good when research from young grad students start putting the pieces together. Nothing frightens someone in their tenured ivory tower than a really smart civilian with a new theory. LOL!
    The author dares to challenge the Euro centric history tellers. bravo!

  19. Vicki_in_Greece

    I'm so happy to be able to see this. I luv the book. What an adventure! 'discovered' is a very colonial, imperialistic isn't it? we should start a trend of using another way to say - what should we say?
    'they saw a land they never knew existed and met the people there'
    trying to think of a shorter phrase

  20. Ella Silver

    This guy thinks a MAP is enough? The Vikings were there AGES before Columbus. Everybody knows that.. Ok it is fairly well understood that they stayed north but there is no guarantee of that.

    1. disqusdamnuserid

      The Vikings may or may not have been there.....Heritage Canada states they were there with their "huts/cabin" in NFLD. But knowing the Westerners/Europeans, they're desperately trying to find such proofs of Europeans (i.e. Vikings) in N.America NewFoundland. But that's a MOOT point. At MOST, Heritage Canada shows only what is remnant of a hut; and MOST importantly, the Native Aboriginals from EAST ASIA were in NorthAmerica already.
      Even now, Europeans are tying to hint these Asian are Eurasians coming over to N.America. Ever see an Inuit? they look like EAST Asians and not Fins/Russians/Swedes or what not.
      And by thw way, the current "Indians" and "chiefs" you see are mix breeds of either Metis or just recent mixed genes of whites and natives. So these guys are not what you would find if youcould see a true native 3-400yrs ago and further back.

    2. prolly

      plenty of full bloods don't look "asian" and yes the first peoples in the americas were an ancient eurasian peoples related to modern day asians and europeans (both being modern-day eurasians). eskimos or inuit aren't even the first people to live in the americas having been preceded by the older na dene and even older amerindians.

  21. Iris Thomas

    omg i hearing so many things and im doing a history paper and im looking fro information

  22. urban deadite

    the Dacians went to America LOL, of the many great things the Dacians were known for Ocean Exploration was not one of them. Sea Sailing is quite hard in a country of Mountains landlocked in the center of Europe. Strange no one in China believes this who studies history, gullible westerners.

    Apart from the Norse there is no real evidence anyone did all 'if' but' 'could have' 'maybe'.

    Stray ships lost that are landing in America always a chance.

    Zheng He WAS NOT an Explorer either he went on diplomatic missions on WELL KNOWN trade routes, the Song Dynasty 500 years before was already trading as far as East Africa anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Chinese History knows this, this program is just for people who maybe have no idea about Chinese History, its a joke.

    from China.

    1. Vicki_in_Greece

      That is not a well based assumption: that other world communities did not travel the world. Of course they did. And there are many examples in archaeology. The distance traveled depended on the resource needed or the purpose of the trip. The Minoans traveled to what is modern Michigan, for example. The idea that only the Norse reached the North American continent is not particularly reasonable. Sailors are sailors whether living in 3000 BCE or in 2013 CE. Time passes but human nature, skill and curiosity remain the same.

  23. Christinne

    One cannot exactly pinpoint who first discovered America but anyway its obvious it happened centuries before Columbus the murderer. Phoenicians were there, Egyptian too, Turks, Chinese, Celts, Dacians and others.... But history is written by victors, rite? Yet the lies wont last forever....

    1. disqusdamnuserid

      True. Lies will not last. Esp all that was created by the Europeans from 1600-1950's.

  24. emenot

    3300-2800 B.C. Peanuts native to America found in Chinese digs.

    3000-2000 B.C. Chinese stone anchors are discovered off the California coast, dated to this time period by manganese deposits.

    2000 B.C. Chinese cotton is introduced to Peru about this time.

    1500 B.C. Stone bark-cloth beaters are in America, nearly identical beaters in use in China from 2400 B,C.

    1100 B.C. Chinese pyramid building techniques are the same as American pyramid building

    1100 B.C. Hookworm is introduced to America about this time

  25. Tlakwagilagame

    As a Tlowitsis Man, whom can trace my lineage and history back to my origin story and ancestor of Numas, I reside in the "Colony" of British Columbia Canada..... Finding America's!!!!! I think there should be some documentaries done with the Indigenous Peoples of North and South America depicting their stories, origins..... just saying

  26. Johndouglas

    Where's my comment? All I did was create a synopsis of all the others!

    1. over the edge

      you comment is up please read the comment policy to avoid this in the future.

  27. Johndouglas

    Still trying to find out who you are!
    You're a b*****d race, accept it!
    I lived and worked in your country for many years and still find you to be one of the most racially contrite nations I have ever met!
    If the native americans had been there for thousands of years, did they need to be "discovered". I'm sure they knew where they were and were not therefore lost!
    The invaders are the barbarians not the discoverers!

    1. Robert Butler

      Oddly enough I agree with most of what you're saying even though I live in America and consider myself an American but I for the life of me cannot understand why you'd be posting this comment on this particular video since the whole premise of the video is to state that China actually may have visited the Americas first.

      The reason it's odd is because "Americans" don't necessarily identify with being Chinese in origin specifically. Although it's fair to say that there are plenty of American born Chinese citizens. The fact is that to be American is to be an immigrant and so you're basically blaming the whole world with the exclusion of Native Americans.

      So am I to understand that you are Native American?

  28. Fredd Robertson

    Who knows what happened?
    Between ice ages and an ever evolving continent...
    Burn your bastardized Amercanized History books...
    Conquering societies seem to get all the credit...
    Perhaps future generations will believe?
    America was discovered by a goofy clown with big red shoes
    Named Ronald!
    PS There is other great reading available regarding the high possibility of Chinese visits to the western shore of Canada...(pre-Columbus era) where mining and smelting may have taken place...and the many cultural similarities with First Nation's Peoples.
    DISCOVER! Your local library

  29. khek

    I really like all your documentary film. Professional work. From Cambodia.

  30. Brandon Nolin

    After reading some of the comments regarding this program it has come to my attention that many of you do not understand the word "discover". The word does indeed mean "to see", or "to learn' as you all know. However, that is only half of the word as in science no one has discovered anything by just "seeing". No, to discover is to document and disclose your findings. If we use the understanding of majority of the commenter’s here in context then it was the first man to breathe air that discovered oxygen or the first man to see lightning to discover electricity. Discovery is more than seeing it is understanding and documenting that understanding then sharing it with your peers.

  31. Brandon Nolin

    This was a very entertaining watch. It is tantalizing to think that the Chinese discovered North America before the Europeans, but I take this with a grain of salt and will dismiss as pseudo science. As far as whom first discovered and populated the America's? It is obvious that the Native American's did, but we are talking about “Stone Age” peoples who used pictograph to illustrate their day to day lives after coming across from Asia around 15,000 years ago (Over a land bridge formed over the Bering Sea). From what we know from archeological evidence is that Leif Erikson and his crew were the 1st men from the known world to land and settle (although temporarily) in what is known as Vinland in today’s L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland Canada around approx 1000 A.D.. So it still goes to show that Columbus was not the 1st European to reach the "New World" and was in fact 500 years late and would more accurately be the discoverer of the Caribbean. Even then it is still a disputed fact whether or not he did first discover the Caribbean, his voyage was heavily publicized and of great import for his time.

  32. Brandon Nolin

    This was a very entertaining watch. It is tantalizing to think that the Chinese discovered North America before the Europeans, but I take this with a grain of salt and will dismiss as pseudo science. As far as whom first discovered and populated the America's? It is obvious that the Native American's did, but we are talking about “Stone Age” peoples who used pictograph to illustrate their day to day lives after coming across from Asia around 15,000 years ago (Over a land bridge formed over the Bering Sea). From what we know from archeological evidence is that Leif Erikson and his crew were the 1st men from the known world to land and settle (although temporarily) in what is known as Vinland in today’s L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland Canada around approx 1000 A.D.. So it still goes to show that Columbus was not the 1st European to reach the "New World" and was in fact 500 years late and would more accurately be the discoverer of the Caribbean. Even then it is still a disputed fact whether or not he did first discover the Caribbean, his voyage was heavily publicized and of great import for his time.

  33. TonyIII

    There are many here arguing essntially the same thing: That it is impossible to discover an inhabited place. The premise is false and indicates poor or angry school teachers. Is it possible to discover Austrailia, New Zealand, the Missisippi River or the Great Salt Lake? Is it possible to discover a new restaurant or a better school? A "discovery" is when one finds a place or thing he didn't know know about. In the case of Coumbus; he found, through considerable personal effort, the huge unknown lands far to the west and made it known to Europe. That's all it means. There is no reason to feel threatened; really!
    That doesn't take away from any of the other travellors. God bless'em!

  34. noconman

    It really is pointless to speculate on who traveled here first, unless you want to look at native american origin.
    Regardless of who managed to travel to this continent, after it was already populated, It was the europeans who colonized it in the name of their God and manifest destiny. It started the largest and most heartless genocides in human history.
    There does seem to be some simularites in both appearence and cultures between asians and native american tribes. Logically, I would think the asians made it here first.
    There is at least no doubt about who did not participate in the murder of roughly 80 million native americans, China.
    History makes the Nazi atrocities look like a minor attempt by Hitler to be a copycat of the european morals and ethics that succeeded in stealing america, but on a far greater and successful scale.
    Now america is attempting to dominate and rule the world, just like all the empires of past. It's citizens are powerless, unaware or just turn a blind eye to what it's government is really doing.They justify it by calling it nation building, instead of colonizing.
    The future does seem to be nothing more than repeating the past and we have learned nothing.
    When the US government turns on it's own citizens and treats them like they did native americans, maybe then, they will understand how history works.

  35. Chris Clyne

    Ah wasnt interesting enough for me to watch the 2nd part. Presumes much, I can easily say with just as much "proof" Solomon employed Hiram Abiff thousands of years earlier to sail over here. Vid/Aud were great tho

  36. mahonhouse

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO THAT STINks. Good job leaving the summary though, at least I have that,lol. U think they'd want everyone to know.lol

  37. Roberta Dyer

    I was going with this new idea until so much of the theory was baseless or refuted with real historical evidence. It still leaves that one question unanswered, so perhaps in the end it could be right.

  38. Lobna Mahjoubi

    but we Arab also have some old documents showing that Andalusia people had discovered USA :p

  39. Steven Susaña

    In response to the Genes... Bering Strait. 'nough said.

  40. jim dorey

    everyone knows that columbus wasn't even the first european to discover america, there's no need even mentioning him by name. wgaf what his name was? he wasn't first, why celebrate such a conqueror when there were peaceful explorers before him?

  41. jim dorey

    yah, i was wondering why they mentioned columbus, we know he wasn't the first european to come here, so, wgaf?

  42. Moses Sánchez De Luna

    I know who discovered the americas...
    The indigenous people OF THE AMERICAS!!
    People like the Maya, Mixtec, Toltec, Mexica's (aztecs) Olmec, Zapotec, Inca
    s and other civilizations that are rooted in the america's, whether it North, South, Central or Meso-America. We act as if the people native to the America's are non-existent, as if they did not thrive with advanced civilizations of their own, making breakthroughs in Math, Astrology, Science, and other Subjects.

    1. Marko Capoferri

      Well it certainly is a common syntactical mechanism, one that I find kind of ridiculous as well. I think it is equally ridiculous when used to describe the "discovery" of animals, as in "Georg Wilhelm Steller 'discovered' the Steller's Jay or Steller's sea lion." No. He was just the first white guy to record their characteristics in a book.

    2. Jett Rink

      "You cant 'discover' us, we LIVE here!"
      --"do you have a flag?...No flag, no country...those are the rules that I just made up"

      How someone can be considered to have "discovered" a continent that already has a number of civilizations already living on it is beyond me.

    3. mahonhouse

      The Chinese were here before Columbus and there is evidence of Celtic settlements in Canada predating Columbus. All discoveries seem to end up debated for some reason. U need only look at a Central american or Alaskan to see some race of Asian was here long long ago.Have a good one. Hell I didn't even get to see it.lol

    4. lakhotason

      I bet those Indians got pretty damn tired swimming around in that ocean waiting for some fat white man to "discover" land.

  43. Tim Flinchum

    This is an amazing documentary. I want to read the text by Menzies. One of the most curious facts is that giraffes made it back to China, which seems almost impossilbe. If that is true, other suggestions such as the Bimini Road, certainly could be as well. Time will reveal more.

  44. mezzof

    I agree with the gentlemen who said the First Nations people discovered America. I have never understood why people say Columbus or the Vikings discovered America...I mean, how do you "discover" something that has already been found!?

    As for Menzie's theory, there are certainly a lot of holes as the documentary pointed out but I think it's too early to say it is FALSE. There is no hard evidence to prove him right but there is no evidence to prove him wrong either. New things are being discovered everyday and all it will take is one Chinese artifact in the Caribbean or New York that has been carbon dated to the Ming Dynasty that will change everyone's perception. That's how science works.

    Think about this: Almost everything nowadays is being digitized. Journals, books, photographs and videos. Should something terrible happen in the future and all the digital evidence is destroyed...and physical evidence erodes over time as it wonts to do (natural decay, destruction via war or just replacing old things)...future historians/archaeologists might have trouble proving certain truths about our time as well. It doesn't mean it never happened though.

  45. Alyssa Hsu

    Although I still have not finished this documentary, I find Menzie's argument weak since his evidences were frail. Every time he raises a good argument it would be quickly denied by other scholars and Menzie couldn't do anything to back it up.

  46. iesika

    Menzies came out looking pretty silly, didn't he? The part of the documentary that focused on actual history was fascinating, and the rampant speculation was pretty well debunked. I thought this was pretty good, all around. I wish more of these "MAVERICK WITH NEW THEORY CHALLENGES ACADEMIC ESTABLISHMENT" things had actual experts in them; that was nice.

  47. Norman Hawk Nordic

    this is correct and loved it! i do have some more, i'll try to put it on the line

  48. TonyIII

    A fine documentary, with wonderful reenactments which incidently shows how seriously the Chinese take themselves. The theory seems to me to be a bit of a stretch and praise to the producers for mentioning it. Perhaps due to a Chinese diet the fleet didn't have a scurvy problem; but the Atlantic is a very big Ocean and there is the problem of getting past Africa and South America.
    There is also not much physical evidence. I found it interesting that the Chinese Admiral Zheng was a eunuch and a slave I suppose; so perhaps it might give us food for thought about the reason slavery was not regarded as intrinsically evil. But that's asking a lot in our times.

    1. Jack Skye

      I haven't finished watching the doc yet, but in bio-arch and First Nations studies classes we have discussed some theories about contact and trade with Asia. The theory which makes the most sense to me is that they did not cross the Atlantic, but the Pacific. It's slightly easier to navigate using trade winds. It also makes sense because most of the archeological evidence of trade with Asia comes from the west coast of Mexico.

  49. Lilly1964

    This was quite interesting. However, there exist research in the Egyptian voyages to the Americas (pyramid construction and customs of Inca, Mayan, Aztec) long before possible voyages of China.

    1. Christopher Hassan

      Lilly 1964 what research are you talking about the Egyptian voyages to the Americas


      don't know if im correct but i recall hearing something about the grand canyon...

    3. Jack Skye

      This is outdated research based on theories of diffusionism which suggested that First Nations people were too "primitive" to construct pyramids on their own. Diffiusionists often held that all "Culture" came originally from one or several centers of innovation (Egypt was the most popular).There is no evidence for contact outside of racist assumptions about the "primitiveness" of First Nations people. This theory hasn't been accepted for a long time. Indigenous people came up with pyramids on their own, for entirely different purposes than the Egyptians. Its a basic structure that is efficient for building monuments.

      There is evidence of trade of specific goods and seeds between China, Japan and the west coast (definitely in Mexico and Ecuador, possibly further north). Some of this evidence is as old as 3000 BCE.

    4. Rob P

      Your comment "Indigenous people came up with pyramids on their own" I find quite hard to believe after some of the other documentaries I've seen on this site.

    5. Jack Skye

      Do you have an argument as to why you find this hard to believe. Is it simply because you have been fed faulty information, or do you just think indigenous people were too "primitive" to figure out how to build monuments such as pyramids? Documentaries can be useful, but they are not substitutes for actual research or reading peer reviewed sources. Many mainstream media representations of archaeology, and the archaeology of indigenous people in particular, are incredibly distorted.

  50. Jack1952

    The documentary covers the story of the Chinese fleet in a direct and factual manner until the fleet leaves the Indian Ocean. After this it becomes speculative with very, if any, real evidence to back up its claims. That it is plausible...of course. That it happened...maybe. Until Menzies finds more evidence it is only another historical myth. Compare it to the Viking stories that say they came to North America. Historians were not sure whether they were fact or not until they found a Viking settlement in Newfoundland. That settled any dispute once and for all.

    1. disqusdamnuserid

      Zheng he too back a giraffe as a gift to the Emperor of China on his return from Africa.

  51. Bryndís Arnfinns

    As most educated people know it was not Columbus or any Chinese that discovered America in the 1400.
    The discoverer was the Icelandic Viking by the name of Leifur Eiriksson that did so in and around the year 1000.

    So unfortunately for the one making this documentary he should have spend his money on something that tells the history as it is.

    1. Jack Skye

      Actually as most educated people know, it was First Nations people who "discovered" America. The rest were colonizers or traders who came latter. There is evidence of trade between First Nations and Asia dating well before Leifur Eiriksson (pottery styles in 3000 BCE- Maize 800CE).

    2. Irishkev

      Nonsense, everybody (in Ireland) knows St Brendan discovered America. Have you not seen The Brendan Voyage. lol.

  52. MomOnEarth

    Read the book if you want details.

    1. tomregit

      @ MomOnEarth: Reading the book without critical research or expert opinion will shed no light on this. There are holes in Menzies' theory so massive you could sail a whole fleet through. It has less archaeological validity than Kon-Toki and is closer to Chariots of the Gods. An account based on genuine research would not need the fantastic leap of faith required here and be a far more interesting read.
      @ Zarathustra, Greg, and Allagio: True dat!

  53. Yavanna

    The Chinese definitely found America first. They then backed off muttering "whoh too much grief"

  54. KsDevil

    Maybe when the Chineese arrived in the Americas they found the natives were not very receptive. But more likley, they figured the land was just too far away to make a decent profit on what little they may have found.

  55. Alaggio B. Laurino

    I appreciate that BBC explored this theory but also pointed out its blatant logistical holes.

    Why, why why WHY can't the History or Discovery channel do the same with the much wilder crackpot theories they present on shows like Ancient Aliens?

    1. Greg_Mc

      Lol you don't find Ancient Aliens to be a plausible theory/show? I am very appreciative of this site just for the fact we get to see these BBC shows which even with it's flaws (I havent had time to watch this doc yet to know what logistical holes you mean, so for now i will take your word for it) are far better than the History or Discovery Channel docs. Not that they don't have some good shows on them but they have some stinkers too.

    2. ZarathustraSpeaks

      Why, why why WHY can't the History or Discovery channel do the same with the much wilder crackpot theories they present on shows like Ancient Aliens?
      Ratings, ratings and ratings are your answer. These channels do not exist if people dont watch them so they "cast the widest net possible" for their perception of what people want.

  56. mårten lundin

    The vikings went to the Americas around year 900 so this is not that much of a sensation. The most famous settlement can be found in L'Anse aux Meadows.

    People have obviously "discovered" this continent quite a few times through out histroy.

    1. Paul MacLeod

      Indeed, the Vikings landed on Greenland well before any other Europeans, as Greenland was more fertile in the South Western regions back then, so it stands to reason that they made trips to the North Eastern parts of todays Canada in search of wood for construction as Greenland isn't exactly abundant with forests, not to mention the ice packs around that area that made it hard to navigate round and even more difficult to find a suitable landing point for the Viking longboats. And it is said of the missing Vikings of Greenland that they took on a similar life to that of the local nomadic Eskimo tribes, as later European explorers commenting on the fact that they came accross a tribe of Eskimos with fair hair, thick beards and were rather taller and broader than the average Eskimo, interesting no!?

      Most likely the first people to discover North America were probably Russians or Mongols living in the far North East of Russia, which, was linked to Alaska via an Ice Bridge millenia ago. Alas there's no written proof of this but it is an interesting hypothosis and is highly probable due to the nomadic tendencies of those peoples.

      As for the Chinese making it to the Americas lets think about it, well they had the resources, the technical know-how and an almost unlimited supply of labour so it stands to reason that they did actually do it or could have accomplished this feat had they kept their fleet.

      Whether they did or didn't make it is irrelevant, the fact is they didn't colonise it everyone else did a little later on, but to me this is just another interesting story along the same lines as Philip K Dicks "Man in a High Castle" that is set in a world where the Axis won WW2.
      Anyway, thanks again Vlatko for another enjoyable doc.

    2. Jack Skye

      Eskimo is a racist slur, please don't use it if you want to appear civilized. People were in NA prior to the opening of an ice free corridor. It's likely more people came across the land bridge at some point, but First Nations people came first, likely following the coast line in boats.

  57. adilrye

    It's amazing to me to see this. I've always known that China likely reached the Americas before Europeans even participated en masse in maritime trade...but think about it, had the Chinese capitalized on their naval supremacy, they could have colonized the Americas themselves. Imagine if it the Americas became an extension of Sinic civilization, not Western. The next 6 centuries or so would be COMPLETELY different.

    And all that changed that was a different in cultural attitudes towards the outside world. Something so small...

  58. Tarsanspearfisher

    I say it is the chinese sow it must be true

  59. Norm

    Speculation. Menzies theory is ripped apart in the last part of the doc. However It is interesting for entertainment purposes and it was worth the time.

  60. Salym

    yet another forgotten famous muslim

  61. Hank Orlando

    Columbus didn't land at Plymouth Rock.He landed at San Salvador in 1492. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Get your history right!

    1. Vlatko

      @Hank Orlando,

      OK, corrected.

    2. Greg_Mc

      Hey Hank there are more polite ways to point out another persons error.

    3. alans

      Just to clear it up, Columbus first landed in what is now the Bahamas, but he called the place "San Salvador", so that there is no confusion between the city of San Salvador in El Salvador.