Archaeology students would find themselves in dreamland if they found the ancient Chinese “Ghost Fleet”, sent out by the Yongle Emperor to create the earliest world map between 1390 and 1430 AD. The Emperor, whose project has gone down in folklore through the centuries, ordered that the fleet had to “sail to the ends of the earth” to map the globe and spread Chinese civilisation. The Chinese armada was so vast, National Geographic Magazine described it as “a massive shadow on the ocean that moved like a floating city that stretched across miles and miles of ocean”.
The man he tasked with the undertaking, Zheng He, wrote: “We have travelled more than 100,000 Li (around 31,000 miles) of immense water spaces and have witnessed in the ocean waves like mountains, while our sails, unfurled like clouds day and night, continued their course like a star, traversing those savage waves as if we were treading a city street.”
Historians and archaeologists alike tend to agree…
— to www.express.co.uk