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When China Ruled the Seas : The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne 1403-1433

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ISBN-10: 0671701584

ISBN-13: 9780671701581

Edition: 1st 1994

Authors: Louise Levathes

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"It seems as fantastic as a dream: less than a hundred years before Columbus and the dawn of the great age of European exploration, in the amazingly brief period from 1405 to 1433, China ruled the world's oceans. Under the command of the eunuch admiral Zheng He, fleets of more than three hundred "treasure ships" - some measuring as much as 400 feet long, with crews of 28,000 men - made seven epic voyages through the China Seas and the Indian Ocean. Unrivaled in size until the invasion fleets of World War I, the fleets traveled from Taiwan to the Red Sea, down the east coast of Africa, China's El Dorado, and perhaps even to Australia, three hundred years before Captain Cook's "discovery."" "Bearing a costly cargo of the Ming empire's finest silks, porcelains, and lacquerware, the treasure fleets ventured forth ready to trade with all who recognized the authority of the dragon throne, occupied at the time by the ambitious Zhu Di, who also built Beijing's Forbidden City. Far more than mere commercial missions, however, the expeditions churned up political and cultural currents in southeast Asia and precipitated the diaspora of the Chinese throughout the Indian Ocean basin." "Half the world was thus in China's grasp, and the rest could easily have been, had the emperor so wished. But instead China turned inward, resulting in the rapid demise of its navy and the loss of its technological and scientific edge over Europe. As had happened many times before in the country's history - and has happened many times since - the gates that had swung so wide clanged shut, and China's period of greatest expansion was followed by that of its greatest isolation." "When China Ruled the Seas is popular history at its best. Drawing on new translations of eye-witness accounts and official Ming histories, and including dozens of vivid illustrations, this is the first full account of one of the most colorful chapters in China's past and its sudden, enigmatic end."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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Book details

Edition: 1st
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

Pronunciation Guide to Major Figuresp. 13
Chinese Dynastiesp. 15
Prologue: Phantoms in Silkp. 19
The Yi Peoplesp. 23
Confucians and Curiositiesp. 33
The Prisoner and the Princep. 57
The Treasure Fleetp. 75
Destination: Calicutp. 87
The Strange Kingdoms of Malacca and Ceylonp. 107
Emissaries of the Dragon Thronep. 123
The Auspicious Appearance of the Celestial Animalsp. 137
Fires in the Forbidden Cityp. 155
The Last Voyagep. 167
The Sultan's Bridep. 183
Epilogue: A People Called Baijinip. 195
Notesp. 205
Acknowledgmentsp. 233
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.