Archive for the ‘Routes’ Category

Routes

June 17, 2008

Zheng He led seven expeditions to what the Chinese called “the Western Ocean”). 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. The seven voyages are as listed.

Order

Time

Regions along the way

1st Voyage

1405-1407

Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Aru, Sumatra, Lambri, Ceylon, Kollam, Cochin, Calicut

2nd Voyage

1407-1409

Champa, Java, Siam, Cochin, Ceylon

3rd Voyage

1409-1411

Champa, Java, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Quilon, Cochin, Calicut, Siam, Lambri, Kaya, Coimbatore, Puttanpur

4th Voyage

1413-1415

Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Cochin, Calicut, Kayal, Pahang, Kelantan, Aru, Lambri, Hormuz, Maldives, Mogadishu, Brawa, Malindi, Aden, Muscat, Dhufar

5th Voyage

1416-1419

Champa, Pahang, Java, Malacca, Sumatra, Lambri, Ceylon, Sharwayn, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Maldives, Mogadishu, Brawa, Malindi, Aden

6th Voyage

1421-1422

Hormuz, East Africa, countries of the Arabian Peninsula

7th Voyage

1430-1433

Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Calicut, Hormuz… (17 politics in total)

The records of Zheng’s last two voyages, which are believed to be his farthest, were unfortunately destroyed by the Ming emperor. Therefore it is never certain where Zheng has sailed in these two expeditions. The traditional view is that he went as far as to Iran. The latest view, advanced by Gavin Menzies, suggested Zheng’s fleet has travelled every part of the world. However, virtually every authority in the field denounces Menzies’ claims as baseless.

This picture shows the route taken by Cheng Ho in his voyages.

 

There are speculations that some of Zheng’s ships may have traveled beyond the Cape of Good Hope. In particular, the Venetian monk and cartographer Fra Mauro describes in his 1459 Fra Mauro map the travels of a huge “junk from India” 2,000 miles into the Atlantic Ocean in 1420. What Fra Mauro meant by ‘India’ is not known and some scholars believe he meant an Arab ship. Interestingly, Professor Su Ming-Yang thinks “the ship is European, as it is fitted with a crow’s nest, or lookout post, at the masthead, and has sails fitted to the yards, unlike the batten sails of Chinese ships.”

Compared to Columbus’ ship St. Maria, Cheng Ho’s treasure ship is much bigger. In the drawing below, the two flagships are superimposed to give a clear idea of the relative size of these two ships.

 

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