Zheng He

Topics: China, Zheng He, Southeast Asia Pages: 8 (1839 words) Published: March 27, 2011
DIRECTIONS: Read the two passages then answer the questions.
Circle the letter of the best answer for each question.
Zheng He
Part I
Many people have heard of Christopher Columbus and Ibn Battuta but few people know about Zheng He. So who was Zheng He and why should we remember him?

Zheng He (1371–1435), also known in English as Cheng Ho, was a Muslim Chinese sailor, explorer, diplomat and leader. He sailed to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, from 1405 to 1433. Chinese emigration to, and influence in, Southeast Asia increased after his amazing voyages. This resulted in trade with China that lasts until today. As Zheng knew how to speak Arabic, he helped to spread Islam in Asia as well as the power of the Chinese emperor. He is arguably China's most famous sailor. Starting from the beginning of the 15th Century, he traveled to the West seven times. Over 28 years, he traveled more than 50,000 km and visited over 37 countries. 1.We know that Zheng _____ .

a. died in Chinab. spoke two languages √c. died in 1405d. brought Islam to China 2. A word in paragraph 2, that means 'a trip or journey by sea' is _____ . a. emigrationb. tradec. influenced. voyage √

3. We know that Zheng's visits to other countries _____ .
a. spread Islam in China and 37 other countries
b. created long lasting friendship between China and other Asian countries √ c. made him the most famous Chinese diplomat in the West
d. led to many arguments between sailors in South East Asia 4. Zheng visited _____ .

a. 28 countries in 37 years
b.50 countries in 1405
c.37 countries in just under 30 years √
d.visited 50,000 Muslims in 28 years
While, in 1492, Columbus sailed only to the Caribbean, Zheng sailed from China to many places throughout the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and even the Atlantic almost one hundred years earlier than Colombus. He made his voyages in what may have been the largest wooden ships the world has ever seen. These Chinese voyages are now thought to have discovered America 70 years before Christopher Columbus, and we also have evidence they discovered Greenland and also Antarctica! Chinese records say that Zheng He's 'treasure ship' was over four hundred feet long. That is five times larger than Columbus's largest ship. However, the size of treasure ships is still uncertain. Some people argue that they were probably closer to 200-250 feet in length. Others say the ancient Chinese records could be correct and argue that they were actually 309-408 feet in length and 160 to 166 feet in width! Lots of people say this must be crazy because no wooden boat has ever been made as big as this. The largest wooden ship on record, (that we can be certain of), was the New England sailing ship The Wyoming. It had nine masts with sails and was 329 feet long but only 50 feet wide. It was built in 1909 and sank in 1924. This was five hundred years after Zheng He's ships sailed around the world for almost 30 years!

Some idea of just how big Zheng's ships were is shown in the picture below. It shows a treasure ship compared to one of Columbus' ships. [pic]

This is an old photograph of part of a big tiller that was found from one of Zheng He's "Treasure Boats" in Nanjing. The tiller is just part of the rudder - the large 'board' at the back of a boat that we turn left or right to make the boat turn left or right. The size of this piece gives a good idea of what may have been the huge size of the ship.


5. We know that Columbus sailed to _____ .

a. 1, 492 countries in the Caribbean
b. the Persian Gulf in 1405
c. Antarctica as well as Greenland
d. only one part of the world √

6. We now think that these early Chinese voyages _____ .
a. discovered Columbus in the Caribbean
b. discovered America almost one hundred years after Columbus c. sailed to the far north and to the far south √
d. led to the...
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