The Results of Zheng He’s Expeditions: Were They What He Had Hoped for?
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The Results of Zheng He’s Expeditions: Were they what he had hoped for?
March 19th, 2013
By Manik Kumar
During the early 1400s in China, there existed a naval explorer who extended the realms of his empire’s knowledge and power far beyond any civilization in the world at the time. The name of this legendary navy admiral was Zheng He. He was found by Zhu Di, a Ming prince at the time, on one of his purges to eradicate the Mongols. Zheng He was one of the boys that was castrated there (Menzies, 20), but was then recruited into Zhu Di’s house, and trained as a soldier. In time, Di became the emperor, and Zheng He became his trusted right hand man and the Grand Eunuch, which was the highest title apart from Emperor…show more content… Trade flourished under his command of the trading ports, especially at Malacca, a port very to the southern tip of Malaysia, right after the straits you had to pass through to reach the Indian Ocean (Jin, 58). The Chinese established very good relations with the city and expanded it into one of the most important centers for trade in that time period. To cement their position as the overruling entity in the area, they had Sultan Mansur Shah (ruler of Malacca) marry princess Hang Li Poh from China (Jin, 58). Over the years, Malacca became a trusted port, and Zheng He’s fleets always stopped there before moving into the Indian Ocean and uncharted territory (Jin, 58). They even ended up controlling various operations there, such as Malacca’s gambling and entertainment scenes. They also played a major hand in their currency and commodity markets, due to the fact that they were the largest consumer of the main product traded there: spice (Menzies, 73). Controlling this strategic port that accumulated large amounts of cash gave the Ming a lot of influence in the trade business.
Most importantly, the Chinese became the most powerful empire in the world at that time, due to Zheng He’s expeditions, just as they had hoped. They expanded the emerging trade networks of small kingdoms, and were trusted and seen as superior because they had built good relations with them. Zheng’s fleets brought many envoys back to China from distant lands to revel in