Can it be true that the Chinese discovered America decades before Columbus? Well I know lots of people who would like to believe so
The documentary examines the theory based on the evidence collected by the man behind it: Gavin Menzies, a former British submarine commander.
The way the documentary is structured is intriguing, first it takes us back to one of the greatest eras in the history of the Chinese empire, the reign of emperor Zhu Di, where the empire extended way beyond its known reach; Starting with this to establish the fact of how mighty and dominant the Chinese were in the suggested era, and quickly showcasing the marvels of that time.
Then studying possibilities of other nations making it to America – invalidating all other ofcourse, keeping in mind that Columbus did have maps when he set sail, so someone must have drawn these maps, and considering the first two facts leaves us with only the Chinese as a possible provider of the maps.
Then again, at the suggested time, a legendary admiral by the name of Zheng He (the guy has a whole section in Ibn Battuta Mall if you live in Dubai) commanded one of the best fleets in history: The Ming and had the famous ships of treasures from around the globe, and his existence strongly connects to the theory, because it was his fleet who made it all the way to the shores of new continent.
The documentary proceeds with following the trail of Zheng He, and the traces left at each city he visited all the way until he made it back to China, by examining these cities and their historical records and culture, and sometimes even their DNA to prove connection.
I will not spoil the end, which is anyway very controversial; The documentary studies Menzies theory and the evidence he collected, which means it is a research that can either prove the theory or trash it; yet, it leaves us somehow with an open end regardless of the findings and the result, keeping the question open to the answer you decide to pick.
I am personally convinced with the findings, but you may not So give it a watch, and definitely you will learn lots of things.
PBS production, hence kick ass, year: 2004.