Essay on When China Ruled the Seas

774 Words Mar 17th, 2005 4 Pages
When China Ruled the Seas Book Review

In the book, When China Ruled the Seas, Levathes tells us about seven voyages made by junk armadas during the Chinese emperor Zhu Di's reign. "Treasure ships" as they were called, were under the command of admiral Zheng He, these ships traded silk, porcelain, and many other fine objects of value. They sailed from India to East Africa, throughout Korea and Japan, and possibly as far as Australia. She believes that China might have been able to create a great colonial realm one hundred years before the Europeans explored and expanded, from China's navy of some three thousand ships.
The chief purpose of the fleet was diplomatic in nature. Zhu Di's intent to make known his ascension to the dragon
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He also built a chain of dispatch stations the merchants could stop and rest at. The dispatch stations were spaced out so that overnight stays would be easier for travelers and traders. All of this also helped China's economy by making trades easier for merchants. Chinese authority also spread around the world because many Chinese traders moved out of the country to work in the warehouses. Many consequences were brought about as a result of these voyages, some were good and some were bad. The most apparent good consequence is that trade with the world was opened up to China. China was also at the summit of its global power, and practically every country paid China homage. However because of China's newfound trading routes, the people became too self-sufficient on overseas goods and this brought about piracy and corrupt trade. Some important government officials would even desert their official decrees to settle in a striking port city or try and make themselves a superior life in a far off place. The treasure ships were able to wield a power on a world of people in just seven voyages. However when Zhu Di died, a new emperor learned in the ways of Confucianism, took control. In nine months the new emperor disbanded most of the fleet, and forced ruthless margins on trading and foreign journeys. Even though the fleet attempted one last expedition, it was never given another proper opportunity at prominence. The fleet

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