From 1403 to about 1492 China participated in numerous voyages led by Zheng He, the leader of their maritime operations, including the visiting of 37 countries and traveling through the Atlantic Ocean around the tip of Africa and beyond Europe (pg 202). Countries such as Ceylon, India, and the Persian Gulf were a few of their stops along the way. These voyages proved that China was the supreme world sea power whose shipbuilding techniques and navigational abilities were unmatched by any other nation (pg 208). The preparation for these explorations were a series of briefings and religious ceremonies ordered by Zheng He. Once performed the ships were able to sail leisurely until intense training was eventually carried out (pg 212). The result toward the end of China’s maritime passages was a shift in populations away from the coast losing an estimated total of eight million people.
Thesis: Although it may appear that China's worldview was the main contributing factor involved in the extinction of their maritime programs, historical evidence supports the ideas that many other influences also contributed to this diminishing resolution.
The reopening of the Grand Canal in 1411 made the shipping of grain through the inland route a possibility once again. A negative result in regards to the maritime ventures of this reopening focuses on the coastal fleets that were reassigned to work on the canals. Along with this renovation came the command from the government in 1415 to officially ban grain transport by sea. It also authorized the construction of three thousand shallow-draft canal barges which required the work of many men. "These regulations were issued that reassigned the men of the Indian Ocean expeditionary force to canal duties as stevedores” (pg 213). Not only were fleets taken from maritime operations and relocated to the Grand Canal, but the men on these ships were also needed for building these advancements.
Along with these orders, was...
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