1421 Foundation


Passion. Experience. Diligence.

A true history of global exploration.

In fourteen-hundred-and-eighty-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

For ages long we have been taught that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. It turns out that 18 years before he set sail, Columbus had a map of the Americas, which he later acknowledged in his logs.

How do you discover a place for which you already have a map?

With the dawn of the mass media age, everyone can now experience the thrill and excitement of discovery almost as fast as it happens, regardless of where they live, their income, or their social standing.

The 1421 Research, Education and Exploration Foundation (“1421 Foundation”) is a USA-based non-profit organization which acts as a focal point for ongoing research into the history of maritime exploration. The aim of the 1421 Foundation is to galvanize support from academics and researchers from all corners of the Earth, with the view to re-writing the history of global exploration, proving that mankind has been crossing the oceans for thousands of years. The European “Voyages of Discovery” were some of the last of these great exploratory journeys: the European pioneers were standing on the shoulders of giants - maritime explorers predominantly from Asia - who bravely led the way before them.


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The Founders.


Honorary chairman

Gavin Menzies

Gavin Menzies joined the Royal Navy in 1953 and served in submarines from 1959 to 1970. As a junior officer he sailed the world in the wake of Columbus, Dias, Cabral and Vasco da Gama. When in command of H.M.S. Rorqual (1968 - 70), he sailed the routes pioneered by Magellan and Captain Cook. Since leaving the Royal Navy, he has returned to China and the Far East many times, and in the course of researching 1421 he has visited 120 countries, over 900 museums and libraries and every major seaport of the late Middle Ages.



Founding director

Frank Lee

Frank Lee is chairman of DMZ Technology Limited, a technology consulting company which engages in development of new innovation and startups.  He has invested in technology startups, social media ventures, venture funds and Intellectual Property.

Frank was born, raised and educated in Hong Kong, schooled in the Technical College, now called Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Accounting and Business Administration.

Frank is based in Hong Kong and has been involved with all things ‘1421’ since 2003. He has stimulated the growth of the movement overseas, and is engaged in promoting the multi-media aspects of the 1421 Foundation, not least movies and music.



Founding Director

Peter Classen

Peter Classen is a chief operating executive and chief strategist with an uncommon expertise in building new revenue streams, energizing teams and affecting positive growth. His 25-year career has seen him serving in both chief operating roles and chief advisory roles in private, public and non-profit settings. By leveraging the uncommon perspectives of both chief strategist and chief implementer, Peter has delivered “game-changing” results in areas of top-line revenue, revenue diversification, profitability, strategic direction, operating efficiency, and management capacity on more than two-dozen occasions. Peter’s core competencies are planning, organizing and leading the drive for growth. He is an expert in formulating strategies, developing innovative revenue streams, and heading breakout expansions, often in difficult settings where capital is constrained and uncertainty/inertia abound.

Outside of his private sector work as the head of an international management services firm, Mr. Classen commits time to a variety of non-profit efforts, especially where education features prominently. Most notably, from 2000 to 2005 he served on the Board of one of the UK’s largest private foundations.




Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson is a scholar and best-selling author who has focused on ancient sea-faring civilisations and global maritime exploration. He has worked with Gavin Menzies since 2002, on book projects as well as a '1421' exhibition in Singapore, and a TV documentary series, before co-authoring Who Discovered America - The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas with Menzies in 2013.

He is a Fellow of the R.G.S., was an Associate Member of the China Maritime Centre at the Greenwich Maritime Institute, London, a "Next Generation Ambassador" for the Committee of 100 ( www.committee100.org ) and has lectured on his research at prestigious institutions in the UK such the University of Oxford, & the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, at Yunnan University, China, and at Duke University, USA.