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Zheng He and His Voyages Zheng He and His Voyages (1405-1433)

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Presentation on theme: "Zheng He and His Voyages Zheng He and His Voyages (1405-1433)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Zheng He and His Voyages Zheng He and His Voyages ( )

2 Two views: Manzies: exploration Dreyer: “power projection”

3 Why Zheng He? Zheng He Exhibition Zheng He Exhibition Zheng He Exhibition Zheng He Exhibition As a general observer: Resurgent interest in Zheng He, his voyages, and maritime trade China’s effort to rebuild its sphere of influence in SE Asia, Middle East, and Africa China’s redefinition of its foreign policy in terms of peace As an Asian scholar: The magnitude of the impact of China’s tributary system

4 The myth of the great exploration symbolized by Zheng’s voyages The real purpose of Zheng He’s voyages: exploration or trade? Were they for “power projection” only? Why did these start and why did they end? Are the traditional educated elite to be blamed for the termination? How far did Zheng He’s fleets go? America? What did Zheng He accomplish? What was the larger meaning of his voyages?

5 China’s Greatest ExplorerChina’s Greatest Explorer? The 15th century admiral, Zheng He

6 Menzies Views Zheng He’s voyages of exploration began in 1405 and culminated in early 1421 As Yongle emperor’s favorite eunuch, Zheng He was ordered to take Ming’s huge armadas to the unknown world beyond China On the sixth voyage ( ), Zheng He’s ships reached Antarctica, the Arctic, North and South America, Pacific, Australia

7 Yongle emperor Zhu Di (r ) Facts: 1st-6th voyages took place during Yongle emperor’s reign: Dreyer: 1st: nd: rd: th: th: th: Yongle emperor’s death in 1424, the Ming put a halt to the expedition and Zheng He was pensioned off

8 What Chinese Mariners Did Menzies claims that Chinese mariners: –explored the islands of Cape Verde, the Azores, the Bahamas, and the Falklands –established colonies in Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island –introduced horses to the Americas, rice to California, chickens to South America, coffee to Puerto Rico, South American sloths to Australia, sea otters to New Zealand, and maize to the Philippines.

9 –toured the temples and palaces of the Maya center of Palenque in Mexico –hunted walruses and smelted copper in Greenland –mined for lead and saltpeter in northern Australia –established trading posts for diamonds along the Amazon and its tributaries

10 Dreyer’s View According to official historical account: –The treasure boats going to foreign countries…were to be temporarily suspended –Reasons: another Mongolian campaign another Mongolian campaign war with Vietanam war with Vietanam The reconstruction of Beijing

11 Duyvendak’s argument –The sixth voyage still took place, although Zheng He did not personally visit all places he indicated in his account –The main body reached Hormuz, the rest of the fleet sailed by squadrons to locations further west, all of which had been visited on the previous voyage –Zheng He returned home to Nanjing by September 1422, leaving his subordinates to sail on to thirty-six ports in Ceylon, India (both Bengal and the Malabar coast), the Persian Gulf, and East Africa. The last of the squadrons returned to China on 8 October 1423,having completed their journey of some 11,000 miles in the expected time, about one year and three months after departing Sumatra

12 one squadron, probably Zhou Man’s, went as far as to Aden When Zheng He returned to Beijing in 1424, Yongle emperor had died whild returning from his fifth Mongolian campaign. Duyvendak’s notion that Zheng He’s trip to Palembang never took place in 1424 is not convincing From Calicut to Hormuz

13 Xuande emperor (r ) 7th: , voyage resumed during Xuande emperor’s reign With Xuande’s death, Ming rulership turned into complete xenophobia All voyages of treasure fleets were halted Overseas trade and travel were banned Violators were tried as pirates and executed

14 In every single aspect of ship building and equipment, Ming ships were centuries ahead of Europe: Size, construction, cargo capacity, damage control, armament, range, communications, navigation ability…

15 China's greatest adventurers Facts: 1st voyage: 27, 800 men 2nd voyage: 27, 000 men 4th voyage: 27, 670 men 7th voyage: 27, 550 men The fleet of each voyage consisted of several dozen “treasure ships” (bao chuan), each attended by half of a dozen smaller ships

16 Chinese maps showing the routes of Zheng He’s voyages starting from Long Jiang guan From Fuhzou to Chamba

17 Advanced ship-building technique in China enabled Chinese marine engineers to design strong ships that could survive the fiercest storms on the open ocean Knowledge and capacity of distilling and desalinating sea-water helped voyagers to avoid dehydration Under Zheng He, fleets were placed under the command of Grand Eunuch Hong Bao, Eunuch Zhou Man, and Admiral Zhou Wen Chinese fleets numbered nearly two hundred ships—the largest armada the world had ever known

18 The first voyage 1 st —( ) –The fleet consists of 255 ships, including 62 “treasure ships” –Route: Nanjing—Liujiagang—coast of Zhejiang and Fujian—Min River (Fuzhou)—Taiping Anchorage (Changle)—Wuhumen/Five Tiger Passage—Champa (Qui Nhon)—South China Sea—Java—Palembang (Sumatra)—Malayan Peninsula—Strait of Malacca (Aru, Semudera, Lambri)—Ceylon and Southern India—Indian Ocean—Quilon—Cochin?--Calicut

19 The Second Voyage 2nd3rd

20 The remaining four voyages 4th 4th 5th 5th 6th — 6th — Suspended: Construction of Beijing, war with Vietnam and the Mongols Suspended: Construction of Beijing, war with Vietnam and the Mongols 7th 7th

21 Ming Qinghua porcelain found in a Muslim tomb column in Kenya Qinghua porcelain produced in the Xuande Period, the best of Ming porcelain

22 Qinghua porcelain, Xuande period

23 tributes gifts

24 Giraffes presented to Yongle emperor of the Ming in 1416 (or 1414) by the King of Malindi (in the present day Kenya). The Chinese regarded it as “Qilin”, a sacred and auspicious animal known as Chinese unicorn.

25 The Zheng He Study 1421: the Year China Discovered America is a rewriting of history in grand scale –the author claims that four of Zheng He’s fleets traveled to all parts of the world but Europe –His evidence includes a wide array of books, artifacts, maps…in Chinese, European, and Middle-eastern languages –He claims that he won’t be wrong in his findings because he is capable of reading and interpreting extraordinary maps and charts that professional historians can’t –His personal experience in tracking the places the fleets went can validate his theory and findings

26 Historians’ Critiques Robert Finlay: –the voyages Menzies describes could not have taken place –Conti played no role in transmitting knowledge of Chinese exploration to European cartographers –all Menzies's evidence for the presence of the Chinese fleets abroad is baseless –There were no “missing years” for the Ming fleets –It was odd that Zheng He's captains completed a voyage of some17,000 miles in mainly unknown seas in seven months, while Zheng He took the same amount of time to journey about 3,500 miles from Sumatra to Nanjing.

27 His undocumented estimate of 4.8 knots for the Indian Ocean voyages holds as well for the global cruises of the Ming fleets is simply impossible Niccolo da Conti’s transmission of Chinese geographical knowledge to European cartographers has little plausibility It is highly unlikely that the Chinese junks (or any ships at any time) carried specially carved stones for ballast.


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