Admiral Zheng Ho
Dr iwan suwandy
When i visit Penang MKalaysia in 1994, I didin’t know that in Penang there were the Zheng Ho bigger footprint at The temple, and recent I read a n articole about that
Chinese temple known as the “Sam Poh Footprint Temple”. The temple was built only in 1993 and the local Chinese fishermen here are said to pay respects to the temple before going out to sea each day. Therefore, this temple is currently only 18 years old.
According to locals, the foot print which is stamped on solid rock is believed to be more than a century old. (Himanshu Bhatt-Neo Sentuhan)
The size of the foot print: 33 inches / 0.85 meters
What the locals believe:
1. The Chinese
The Chinese believe that the footprint belongs to Admiral Cheng Ho (Admiral Zheng He)from China whom the locals called “Sam Poh Kong”.
3. Asia Explorer
The Voyages of Zheng He
The picture above is a comparison between Zheng He’s great treasure ship and Christoforo Colon’s Santa Maria.
It is with great interest and curiousity I’ve been reading Gavin Menzies two books
and despite what you think about amatuer historians I think he has a point agaist the Europeanization of world history. According to this discourse Europe has been developed in splendid isolation without any influence from the outside. Of course this is a mere delusion.
Menzies has another angle though as he knows something about navigation and travelling on the high seas. He develops his case at great lengths in both books. No matter what you think about the totality of his works; it raises some important questions about our history. It has been pointed out elsewhere that the national history of different countries almost always has a character of a nationalistic project, where the aim is to manifest the glory of the nation. Therefore you pick the nice pieces and avoid the rest.
We know from history that the Romans traded with Chinese goods. We know that the beaten Persian Shahin Shah lived in asylum in Tang Dynasty China’s capital Chang’an after his defeat at Ksetiphon. Ibn Battuta has told the history of how advanced the Chinese fleet was as he visited Guangzhou in the 13th century.
And as my Mongolian friends never tiers to point out: “- Then of course it was the Chenggis…” Chenggis Khan and his descendants came in cloose encounters with Europeans as Hulagu Khan conquered Bagdhad in 1258 and the Monghols of the Golden Horde reached as far as eastern Poland. The Mongols used every bit of advantegous technology they could get their hands on. For instance Kubilay Khan’s Armada that tried to conquer Japan used avanced shrapnels and mortars in 1281.
Hulagu Khan is known as the first one to use biological warfare against a sieged town.
Murad II conquered Constantinopel and the item that got him the edge over the remains of the Byzantine Empire, was a battery of newly developed cannons that shattered the walls of the city. The question is, where did Murad II get the technology?
Christopher Marlowe wrote the play Tamerlaine about the conquerer with the same name and his grandson Ulugh Beg is known to have built the great planetarium in Samarkand. At the same time Eurpe was in a mess, economicly, politicly, socially and culturally.
When it comes to archeological excavations in China Europeans and Americans almost always call old Chinese history myths and legends. Then some unknown Chinese Archeologist dig up some grave and suddenly finds the capital of the Shang Dynasty, exactly where it is supposed to be located according to the state myth of China.
The origines of these denials might be found in sories as the following: “A Chinese archeologist was visiting an excavation in the south of Sweden. The visiting archaeolgoist looks at the work with great interest and finally asks a question: “- What exactly are you investigating here?” The chief archaeologist answers: “- Its houses fromn the 15th century.” The Chinese looks interested and asks: “- Before or after Christ?”
Workers clean a model of a Chinese ship sailed by Chinese explorer Zheng He. He led seven seven voyages in which he sailed from China to more than 30 countries and regions throughout the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf from 1405 to 1433.
LAMU, Kenya — Did the Chinese come to East Africa before the Europeans?
Globalpost.com Erin Conway-Smith June 8, 2011
Sea hunt for ancient Chinese ship off African coast
Chinese and Kenyan archeologists probe waters near Lamu Island for sunken ships from the 1400s.
China says yes, as do a growing number of Western historians. To prove the theory, Chinese and Kenyan archeologists are now searching the African coast for the fabled wreck of a Ming dynasty junk — an ancient Chinese sailing vessel — from the fleet of legendary 15th-century explorer Zheng He.
A new report, obtained by GlobalPost, reveals that the researchers have identified several shipwrecks of interest off the Kenyan coast near the World Heritage site of Lamu.
Despite years of excitable hype by China’s state media, the underwater archaeologists involved in the search are warning that the newly discovered wrecks could be from any era or country — and even if a sunken Chinese ship is found, it may no longer be intact or even identifiable.
Some reports in the Chinese and Kenyan media have implied that the wreck of a ship from Zheng He’s fleet has already been found — and by extension, irrefutable historical proof that Chinese explorers visited Kenya before the Europeans. Evidence that China had friendly trading relations with Africa before the colonialists arrived would add luster to the Asian giant’s rapidly expanding presence on the continent.
According to this historical perspective, 600 years ago, Chinese sailors swam ashore after their vessel was shipwrecked off the coast of Pate Island, near Lamu. The Chinese sailors married the local people, and their descendants can still be identified by their almond-shaped eyes and light skin.
But the problem is that so far, there is no concrete proof that this tale is true. While archeologists have found Chinese coins and ceramics in Kenya, these could be explained by ancient trade routes that took Chinese goods through the Malacca Strait, and into India and the Arab world.
China state media claims that DNA tests have proven Chinese ancestry for some of the residents of Pate Island, but results have not been released. The light skin of these residents could just as well be explained by longstanding trade between the area and India, and migration from the Arab peninsula to the Swahili coast.
The first phase of a $3 million, three-year project to try to find conclusive evidence of Zheng He’s journey occurred between late December and January.
A draft of the archaeology team’s first progress report, obtained by GlobalPost, lowers expectations that this missing ship will be found, warning that “we are not searching for the Zheng He or the Chinese shipwrecks alone,” but rather looking for “underwater archaeological heritage” from any era.
The report does tout the success of researchers in locating several potential shipwreck sites, found through interviews with local fishermen, seabed imaging, literature reviews and probe diving.
In the Lamu archipelago, three underwater sites were identified to have features likely to be shipwrecks: the area just off Mwamba Hassan — a large rock off Pate Island that the Chinese ship is said to have hit — as well as areas off Manda Toto island and Shela village on the island of Lamu. Five other shipwrecks were discovered, one believed to be from the 14th century, near the coastal city of Malindi.
“The discovery of these sites in Lamu, where Zheng He’s ship is believed to have sunk, was a major success and step towards discovery of this shipwreck,” says the report.
The second phase of the project, scheduled to begin in November, will further study the shipwreck sites by using diver surveys and analysis of artifacts.
“Since we know how Chinese junks were built and their likely cargo of that time, they are easy to identify,” the report says. “However this depends on whether the ship is well preserved under the sea.”
When GlobalPost visited one of the project’s research sites in January, a team of Kenyan and Chinese scientists were working together just a hundred yards off Shela beach, a posh holiday area on Lamu Island frequented by Hollywood celebrities and European royals.
“Zheng He visited Malindi two or three times. During one of his visits, one of the boats in his fleet capsized, but we do not have physical evidence,” said Philip Wanyama, a Mombasa-based assistant site scientist for coastal archaeological research, and one of the divers searching off Lamu Island.
“What we are seeking is material clues to confirm that written information,” he said.
But as in the report, the team of Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists in Lamu also tried to play down the focus on finding Zheng He’s storied lost ship.
“We are not looking for the ship alone, but doing a comprehensive survey,” Wanyama said.
“Because this is the first time that we have come to Kenya, there are bumps to work out,” said Li Jianan, team leader in Lamu and director of the archeology institute at the provincial museum in Fujian, China
The progress report notes that the Kenyan coast has been visited by waves of foreigners for centuries, including Arabs, the Portuguese and the British.
“There is therefore likely to be more underwater cultural heritage in our waters than we can imagine,” it said. “For this reason we are looking for all shipwrecks, no matter their nationality.”
If a ship is found intact, it can be identified by the researchers, and in that case “we will with certainty say, ‘yes, this is a Chinese junk,’” the report said. “But if it has succumbed to the elements of nature including bacteria, it is only the available artifacts such as the cargo and any wood remains which will give us clues about this Zheng He shipwreck.”
Labels: Zheng He
Thursday, 13 January 2011
To play video, click Video: KENYAN ISLAND SECRETS CCTV News – CNTV English
The latest information about the search in Kenya for artefacts and descendants from the time of Zhang He.
Archeologists from both China and Kenya are joining forces in a large scale excavation project on islands off the coast of Kenya. Recently a team of Chinese experts were dispatched to the area, signaling the beginning of a 3-year research commitment.
The largest three islands of the Lamu Archipelago are namely the Pate Island, Manda Island and the Lamu Island. Archeologists first paid a visit to the town of Pate, which was founded by refugees from Oman in the 8th century. Buildings and houses built with coral reef are seen everywhere. The locals say the principal parts of many of the constructions were created in the 13th century.
With the guidance of the local Pate Museum staff, Chinese archeologists came to the beach nearby, where they’ve discovered debris of blue and white Chinese porcelains.
In the town of Siyu, an ancient mausoleum captured the attention of Chinese archeologists.
Unfortunately written materials detailing the tomb owner’s social status and activities are hard to find.
The local people proclaim they are Chinese descendants. Is this claim true and where did all the porcelain wares in her tomb come from? Chinese archeologists and their Kenyan peers have pledged to reveal the truth.
Labels: Zheng He
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
The bubonic plague originated in China more than 2,600 years ago. It then spread towards Western Europe along the Silk Road, starting more than 600 years ago, and then to Africa, probably by an expedition led by Chinese seafarer Zhang He in the 15th century
The first outbreak of plague occurred in China more than 2,600 years ago before reaching Europe via Central Asia’s “Silk Road” trade route, according to a study of the disease’s DNA signature.
The findings flesh out long-held suspicions about the Chinese origins of the plague, which killed an estimated third of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages.
An international team of scientists sequenced 17 strains of Y. pestis, building a genetic “family tree” of pathogens that mutated from a common ancestor.
“The results indicate that plague appeared in China more than 2,600 years ago,” France’s Museum of Natural History, which took part in the research, said.
It then spread towards Western Europe along the Silk Road, starting more than 600 years ago, and then to Africa, probably by an expedition led by Chinese seafarer Zhang He in the 15th century, it said.
Plague came to the United States from China via Hawaii in the late 19th century, according to the molecular evidence.
It arrived in California through the ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles before heading inland.
“The work highlights specific mutations in the bacterium showing how the germ evolved within given geographical regions,” the museum said in a press release. “But it demonstrates in particular that successive epidemic waves originated as a whole in Central Asia and China.”
The investigation could be useful for tracing the origins of other feared bacteria, including anthrax and tuberculosis, it added.
The study, published online on Sunday by the journal Nature Genetics, was led by Mark Achtman of University College Cork in Ireland. Scientists from Britain, China, France, Germany, Madagascar and the United States also took part.
The natural reservoir for Y. pestis is species of rodents, including rats. The bacterium is transmitted via fleas who take a blood meal from an infected animal and pass it on when they bite a human.
The resulting infection of the lymph glands is called bubonic plague.
A more virulent but less common form of the disease is pneumonic plague. It occurs from humans to humans, when someone initially infected with bubonic plague transmits the bacteria through airborne droplets in coughs.
Source: Discovery News
Monday, 29 November 2010
The Lamu Archipelago, in the upper right quadrant, is located in the Indian Ocean close to the northern coast of Kenya, to which it belongs. The islands lie between the towns of Lame and Kiunga, close to the border with Somalia.
The largest of the islands are Pate Island, Manda Island and Lamu Island. Smaller islands include Kiwayu, which lies in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve, and Manda Toto.
Chinese archaeological experts will arrive Kenya on Saturday to commence the 2.5 million U.S. dollars terrestrial excavation aimed at retrieving treasures on board a ship which sank off Pate Island some 600 years ago.
The move is a solid gesture of the partnership that has existed between Kenya and China over the years and seeks to ravel the deep standing relationship between the two states, with the team expected to complete its work within six to eight weeks after the process commences.
The National Museums of Kenya (NMK) Director General, Farah Idle said the equipment to be used in the excavation exercise, are expected to be cleared at the port of Mombasa, before they are ferried to Lamu ahead of the exercise.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Lamu Cultural Festivals on Friday, Farah said the diving equipment including oxygen tanks, masks, suits among others, will arrive by Dec. 10-12 and the procedure commences. “The team has already done initial pilot diving, and has established how deep the waters are, general locality of the wreckage near Shanga village and other few logistical issues,” Farah said.
He told Xinhua that the findings and any treasure found within the wreckage will be used for analysis while others may have to be taken back to China for further tests.
The official also revealed that the exercise, which is a Sino- Kenya joint archaeological project in Lamu Archipelago, signed between Chinese and Kenyan governments on April 24, 2007, will involve three experts from China, and two sea experts from Kenya, including one analyst. “The issue now at hand is if we shall be able to recover anything from the wreckage, but what remains a fact is that the Kenyan government will, at the end of it, have developed its capacity for Kenyans to carry out under water archaeology, which is the first ever,” Farah said.
He added that Kenyans, will be able to be undertaking their own under water archaeology even when ships sink or when there is a maritime issue to be dealt with.
He however said the whole idea was to check the inside of the wreckage, float it if possible and conduct the research.
Already, the terrestrial excavation that was being undertaken at Mambrui in Malindi was complete, with the findings over the early settlers and some of the treasures expected to be handed over soon.
Sorce: Xinhua, November 27, 2010
Labels: Zheng He
Saturday, 13 November 2010
It is not much to look at – a small pitted brass coin with a square hole in the centre – but this relatively innocuous piece of metal is revolutionising our understanding of early East African history, and recasting China’s more contemporary role in the region.
A joint team of Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists found the 15th Century Chinese coin in Mambrui – a tiny, nondescript village just north of Malindi on Kenya’s north coast.
In barely distinguishable relief, the team leader Professor Qin Dashu from Peking University’s archaeology department, read out the inscription: “Yongle Tongbao” – the name of the reign that minted the coin some time between 1403 and 1424.
“These coins were carried only by envoys of the emperor, Chengzu,” Prof Qin said.
“We know that smugglers would often take them and melt them down to make other brass implements, but it is more likely that this came here with someone who gave it as a gift from the emperor.”
And that poses the question that has excited both historians and politicians: How did a coin from the early 1400s get to East Africa, almost 100 years before the first Europeans reached the region?
When China ruled the seas
The answer seems to be with Zheng He, also known as Cheng Ho – a legendary Chinese admiral who, the stories say, led a vast fleet of between 200 and 300 ships across the Indian Ocean in 1418.
It is now believed that China’s Zheng He reached East Africa long before any European explorer
Until recently, there have only been folk tales and insubstantial hints at how far Zheng He might have sailed.
Then, a few years ago, fishermen off the northern Kenyan port town of Lamu hauled up 15th Century Chinese vases in their nets, and the Chinese authorities ran DNA tests on a number of villagers who claimed Chinese ancestry.
The tests seemed to confirm what the villagers have always believed – that a ship from Zheng He’s fleet sank in a storm and the surviving crew married locals, meaning some people in the area still have subtly Chinese features.
Searching for clues
It was then that Peking University organized its expedition to try to find conclusive evidence. The university is spending $3 million (£2 million) on the three-year project.
Prof Qin’s team chose to dig in Mambrui for two reasons.
First, ancient texts told of Zheng He’s visit to the Sultan of Malindi – the most powerful coastal ruler of the time. But they also mentioned that Malindi was by a river mouth; something that the present town of Malindi doesn’t have, but that Mambrui does.
The old cemetery in Mambrui also has a famous circular tomb-stone embedded with 400-year-old Chinese porcelain bowls hinting at the region’s long-standing relationship with the East.
In the broad L-shaped trench that the team dug on the edge of the cemetery, they began finding what they were looking for.
First, they uncovered the remains of an iron smelter and iron slag.
Then, Mohamed Mchuria, a coastal archaeologist from the National Museums of Kenya, unearthed a stunning fragment of porcelain that Prof Qin believes came from a famous kiln called Long Quan that made porcelain exclusively for the royal family in the early Ming Dynasty.
The jade-green shard appears to be from the base of a much larger bowl, with two small fish in relief, swimming just below the surface of the glaze. “This is a wonderful and very important piece, and that is why we believe it could have come with an imperial envoy like Zheng He,” Prof Qin said.
While the evidence is still not conclusive, it undermines Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama’s claim to have been the first international trader to open up East Africa.
He arrived in 1499 on an expedition to find a sea route to Asia, and launched more than 450 years of colonial domination by European maritime powers.
“We’re discovering that the Chinese had a very different approach from the Europeans to East Africa,” said Herman Kiriama, the lead archaeologist from the National Museums of Kenya.
“Because they came with gifts from the emperor, it shows they saw us as equals. It shows that Kenya was already a dynamic trading power with strong links to the outside world long before the Portuguese arrived,” he said.
And that is profoundly influencing the way Kenya is thinking about its current ties to the East.
It implies that China has a much older trade relationship with the region than Europe, and that Beijing’s very modern drive to open up trade with Africa may in fact be part of a far deeper tradition than anyone suspected.
In 2008 China’s trade with the continent was worth $107bn (£67bn) – more even than the United States, and 10 times what it was in 2000.
“A long time ago, the East African coast looked East and not West,” said Mr Kiriama.
“And maybe that’s why it also gives politicians a reason to say: ‘Let’s look East’ because we’ve been looking that way throughout the ages.”
Source: BBC News
Labels: Zheng He
Monday, 26 July 2010
Chinese archaeologists’ African quest for sunken ship of Ming admiral.
Search for remains of armada which came to grief on a pioneering voyage to Kenya 600 years ago
It’s another chapter in the now familiar story of China’s economic embrace of Africa. Except that this one begins nearly 600 years ago.
A team of 11 Chinese archaeologists will arrive in Kenya tomorrow to begin the search for an ancient shipwreck and other evidence of commerce with China dating back to the early 15th century. The three-year, £2m joint project will centre around the tourist towns of Lamu and Malindi and should shed light on a largely unknown part of both countries’ histories.
The sunken ship is believed to have been part of a mighty armada commanded by Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He, who reached Malindi in 1418. According to Kenyan lore, reportedly backed by recent DNA testing, a handful of survivors swum ashore. After killing a python that had been plaguing a village, they were allowed to stay and marry local women, creating a community of African-Chinese whose descendants still live in the area.
A likely shipwreck site has been identified near Lamu island, according to Idle Farah, director general of the National Museums of Kenya, which is working on the archaeology project with its Chinese equivalent and Peking University.
“The voyages of the Portuguese and the Arabs to our coasts have long been documented,” Farah told the Guardian. “Now, by examining this shipwreck, we hope to clarify with clear evidence the first contact between China and east Africa.”
The project forms part of a recent effort by the Chinese government to celebrate the achievements of Zheng, a Muslim whose ships sailed the Indian and Pacific Oceans many decades before the exploits of more celebrated European explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama. Starting in 1405, Zheng made seven journeys, taking in south-east Asia, India, the Middle East and Africa, in fleets of up to 300 huge ships with nearly 30,000 sailors in total, according to Chinese records.
On his voyages, Zheng dished out gifts from the Chinese emperor, including gold, porcelain and silk. In return, he brought home ivory, myrrh, zebras and camels. But it was a giraffe that caused the biggest stir. The animal is known to have been a gift from the Sultan of Malindi, on Kenya’s northern coast, but theories vary as to how exactly it got to China. One account suggests that the giraffe was taken from the ruler of Bengal — who himself had received it as a gift from the Sultan — and that it inspired Zheng to visit Kenya a few years later.
Herman Kiriama, Kenya’s head of coastal archeology, said the joint archeological team will this week try to locate the Sultan’s original village, which is though to be around Mambrui village, outside Malindi, where Ming porcelain has been discovered. In late August, the project will move underwater, with the arrival of specialist maritime archeologists from China.
“Though we have not located the shipwreck yet, we have good indications of where it might have gone down,” said Kiriama.
The team’s confidence in finding the sunken ship is bolstered by work done in the run-up to the 600th anniversary of Zheng’s first voyage. As part of the 2005 celebration, in which the Beijing government sought to present Zheng as a sort of maritime goodwill ambassador – a portrayal disputed by some scholars who point to his use of military force – China sent a team of scholars to Lamu.
In Siyu village they conducted DNA tests on a Swahili family whose oral history and hints of Chinese facial features led them to believe they were descendants of Zheng’s shipwrecked sailors. The tests reportedly showed evidence of Chinese ancestry and a 19-year-old woman called Mwamaka Shirafu was given a full scholarship to study traditional medicine in China, where she remains.
Labels: Zheng He
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Admiral Zheng He’s tomb is empty
An unconfirmed story, so far…
A recently excavated tomb in Nanjing, China has been confirmed to be the grave of Zheng He, a eunuch from the early Ming Dynasty who led historic voyages to Southeast Asia and eastern Africa.
The tomb was discovered accidentally on June 18, by workers at a construction site near Zutang Mountain that also holds the tombs of many other Ming Dynasty eunuchs, the Yangtse Evening News reported.
The tomb, which is 8.5-metre long and 4-metre wide, was built with blue bricks that archaeologists said were only used in structures belonging to dignitaries during the time of Zheng He.
However, Zheng He’s remains were not found in the tomb.
Experts believed the remains were not placed there because of the long distance between Nanjing and India, where he died during a visit in 1433. It was also believed that Zheng He was “buried” in the sea during his last voyage.
Born in 1371, Admiral Zheng He – whose name is also spelled Cheng Ho – was from the Hui ethnic group that are Muslims.
He was an excellent navigator and diplomat in the Ming Dynasty who had led the royal fleet to southeast Asia including Malacca during the Malay Sultanate in the 14th century.
Legend has that Admiral Zheng He also led the voyage to send a Ming princess, Hang Li Po, to marry Sultan Manshur Shah as a mark of friendship between China and Malacca.
The princess’s entourage of 500 sons of ministers and a few hundred handmaidens eventually settled down and married the locals. Their descendants are known today as Baba (male) and Nyonya (female).
Before this news from June 26, 2010, his grave was restored/ recostructed in 1985.
Zheng He (1371-1435), or Cheng Ho, is arguably China’s most famous navigator. Starting from the beginning of the 15th Century, he traveled to the West seven times. For 28 years, he traveled more than 50,000km and visited over 30 countries, including Singapore. Zheng He died in the tenth year of the reign of the Ming emperor Xuande (1435) and was buried in the southern outskirts of Bull’s Head Hill (Niushou) in Nanjing.
In 1985, during the 580th anniversary of Zheng He’s voyage, his tomb was restored. The new tomb was built on the site of the original tomb in Nanjing and reconstructed according to the customs of Islamic teachings, as Zheng He was a Muslim.
At the entrance to the tomb is a Ming-style structure, which houses the memorial hall. Inside are paintings of the man himself and his navigation maps. To get to the tomb, there are newly laid stone platforms and steps. The stairway consists of 28 stone steps divided into four sections with each section having seven steps. This represents Zheng He’s seven journeys to the West. The Arabic words “Allah (God) is great” are inscribed on top of the tomb.
Zhenghe constructed many wooden ships, some of which are the largest in the history, in Nanjing. Three of the shipyards still exist today.
Labels: Zheng He
Saturday, 17 April 2010
The national museums of China and Kenya are joining hands for an archeological dig on and around the Lamu Islands in Kenya.
Tantalizing clues exist as to the connection between the UNESCO World Heritage Site and China since long ago.
The national museums of China and Kenya are joining hands for an archeological dig on and around the Lamu Islands in Kenya.
The goal of the three-year project is to excavate the sites where Chinese navigator Zheng He arrived in Kenya some 600 years ago.
Archaeologists from China National Museum will go to Kenya and work with their Kenyan counterparts for two months every year. They will investigate sites both on land and underwater, and examine the many examples of Chinese porcelain that have been unearthed.
The Lamu Islands, lying to the north of Kenya, are rich in history. In the hub of the Indian Ocean, the islands were one of the key points Zheng He’s fleet passed on the way to Africa.
China has dispatched teams of experts since 2005 to the Islands. With local assistance, they have already confirmed the exact location of a legendary capsized Chinese ship which has been lying deep on the sea floor since 1415.
Chinese archaeologists believe the project will shed new light on China’s trading history.
Between 1405 and 1433,
Mongolian & Muslim Admiral Zheng He of China led seven epic voyages to more than 30 countries, including Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Kenya and Tanzania. The admiral and his crew gathered knowledge and wealth from Indochina to Africa for China’s Ming empire. These voyages were the biggest naval expeditions mounted at the time. Zheng He was bigger than life and could have changed the course of history. But after the seven voyages, he and his Treasure Fleet were forgotten by China, and the world, for six hundred years. National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita sets sail to discover why.
To celebrate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s maiden exploration voyage, Michael Yamashita traveled over 10,000 miles from Yunnan in China to Africa’s Swahili coast taking over 40,000 pictures for the feature story on this great explorer, published in the July 2005 edition of National Geographic
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