What do you remember about China during the 1300-1500’s? One of the most powerful empires
The emperor of the Ming Dynasty had Cheng Ho lead a series of expeditions to ports all over the Indian Ocean He had diplomatic, scientific, and commercial goals, while traveling farther than any other admiral in history at the time
Treasure Ship Studies reveal the fleets could make a formation resembling a flying swallow. Each voyage consists of about 200 ships with a crew of more than 27,000 in his Grand Fleet The largest vessels were the treasure ships, each 444 ft. in length - more than all of Columbus’ ships put end to end
By his last voyage, Cheng had been to east Africa, the Persian Gulf, Egypt, and Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka)
Almost 30 countries sent envoys back to China to give homage to the emperor, and all of the countries eagerly welcomed Cheng and traded for Chinese goods. He set up diplomatic relations in all the countries he visited and received tribute from most rulers that he met
Temples have been built to enable people to worship him as a deity by not only the Chinese but also other ethnic groups. One reason is that he was a Muslim and he distinguished himself by not imposing his own religious persuasion on people of other faiths. Cheng Ho built many temples especially Mazu ( 妈祖 Goddess of the Sea) temples.
China vs. European Exploration Cheng’s voyages not only established Chinese trade routes throughout Asia and Africa, but also established China as the dominant power in the known world. China was far more technologically advanced than any other culture on the planet, even those in Europe. It had no contact with Europe, but none of the European fleets could have successfully challenged China’s authority
When the emperor who helped Cheng Ho died China again banned all naval expeditions. Future emperors practiced strict isolationism and burned all records of Cheng Ho’s voyages. Chinese influence on the world ceased, thus opening the door for the rise of European superpowers.