According to academic sources, the humble tomato plant may be indigenous to Peru or to Mexico depending on which set of readers the writer aims to please. A member of the nightshade family, the original fruit was small, about the size of a plum and yellow in colour. It’s spread to Europe and the world is attributed to the Spanish voyages of discovery that eventually included the Philippines and the Pacific Rim.
History barely mentions the Chinese botanical contribution, even as an afterthought yet Nick Yee has clearly pointed out that; “tomato sauce has always been called “keh-tsap” in the Cantonese dialect which has its roots in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), this is actually a case of where two different languages somehow managed to come up with the same word for the same thing independently.”
The mental link to all things tomato instantly transports one to Italy, where the art of cooking reached it’s apogee sometime in the 17th century without it, as we’re now told it was used as table decoration in Florence till someone decided to take a test bite. Is it possible that this is all a load of hogwash? That the plant’s existence was maintained as a commercial secret much like the English limes eaten to head off Scurvy at sea?
Anything is possible when we consider the first potatoes arrived in Britain as a strange booty removed from captured ships of the Spanish Armada and thereafter became the staple they are today. This, along with the theory that people once believed the world was flat could be another 19th century invention designed to perplex the curious and enforce the mainstream narrative to better fit our planet’s dumbed-down history.
People invest valuable time and good money in education, there are tenured careers at stake in academia and elsewhere that require us to believe all of our customs are ancient. If that wasn’t the case, people like Gavin Menzies wouldn’t be a hero on one side of the globe and a zero on the other. His painstakingly researched books have invited no end of criticism in academic circles and countless plaudits in China proper.
In lieu of burning millions of fictional Western accounts on a gigantic pyre, his books, 1421 and 1434 telling the tale of Admiral Zheng He’s voyages have been panned as the ravings of an amateur heretic. Irrefutable evidence is habitually refuted, nobody wants to accept they may simply be propagating wild legends. In the West, history fits into a comfortable space to verify the Vatican’s 13th century claim on the whole earth.
The Chinese too have the inverse dilemma in refuting the name of what we now know as Yunnan Province. There is no word in Chinese etymology in any known dialect to satisfactorily support local invention therefore many scholars have correctly identified the original settlement as Greek. Surprise! The Silk Road was the route of the Yona or Yovana as they were called in India; Ionian Greeks still called Yunan in Arabic today.
Added to the fact that China is now known to be littered with undated pyramids, the authorities of the Central Committee are keen to maintain a broad illusion of the supremacy of Sino-culture. Chauvinism being the natural state of things, it’s also no surprise that tartan-clad Celtic mummies in the Takla Makan desert have never been fully explained or accepted as an influence in that region of the Oriental territory.
1421 is a ripping yarn and those with navigational experience on the high seas are in no doubt that Mr. Menzies guessed correctly in following the thread of evidence. 1434 though is a different animal altogether, with ‘proof’ that Leonardo Da Vinci was no more than a plagiarist of a nearly unknown Chinese book. Side by side comparison of the drawings from the Italian genius reveals an uncanny resemblance to the original.
Reaction to this work has forced some to treat it as no less than a heresy, Da Vinci’s Code would necessarily be wrong too if that was actually the case. Nobody likes parting with illusions, life is difficult when one is shocked into accepting they may not have been told the whole truth. Menzies has broken many taboos in his quest but mostly, he’s confirmed how special interests mark their territory; “Here be Dragons!”