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The voyages of Zheng Ho

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago

Week 13: Medieval China IDs


The voyages of Zheng Ho








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Also called Zheng He and Chang Ho. Zheng He was born in 1371 of the Hui ethnic group and the Muslim faith in modern-day Yunnan Province, one of the last possessions of the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty before being conquered by the Ming Dynasty. His missions showed impressive demonstrations of organizational capability and technological might, but did not lead to significant trade, since Zheng He was an admiral and an official, not a merchant. Zheng He made one more voyage under the Xuande Emperor, but after that Chinese treasure ship fleets ended. Zheng He died during the treasure fleet's last voyage. Although he has a tomb in China, it is empty: he was, like many great admirals, buried at sea.


The Sailing Route of Admiral Zheng He


Zheng He, on his seven voyages, successfully relocated large numbers of Chinese Muslims to Malacca, Palembang, Surabaya and other places and converted the natives to Islam. Malacca became the center of Islamic learning and also a large international Islamic trade center of the southern seas.


Treasure Ships


The number of his voyages varies depending on the method of division, but he travelled at least seven times to "The Western Ocean" (aka the Indian Ocean) with his fleet. Zheng He usually traveled with what is called a treasure ship. He brought back to China many trophies and envoys from more than thirty kingdoms -— including King Alagonakkara of Ceylon, who came to China to apologize to the Emperor.


There are speculations that some of Zheng's ships may have travelled beyond the Cape of Good Hope.


Zheng He was born Islamic and went to Mecca but did not participate in the pilgrimmage.




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