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The Cessation Of Chinese Exploration Essay

1566 words - 6 pages

China started exploration from 2nd century to 15th century. Historians have different explanations about exploration in China in terms of socio-economic, political and social values. In terms of socio-economic values, it was told to be for trade and to create allies. Political reason suggested their interest in showing off their power and wealth. Similarly, social cause showed their Knowledge about ocean-exploration, ship-building and an ambitious explorer as the main cause for exploration. Chinese nautical technology was more advanced than Europeans, so China should have done more international trade, colonized more land and expanded more territories than Europeans. It didn’t happen in history instead, China suddenly ceases exploration and Europeans took control over international market with expansion and colonization. I argue that it was not the lack of nautical technology that cease exploration in China instead centralized government and increased rivalry between Confucius and eunuchs played a prominent role in the cessation of Chinese Exploration.
Nautical technology was not the obstacle for cessation of Chinese exploration because china had more advanced nautical technologies than Europe. China made an expedition advanced with nautical technology even before the legendary explorations of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan. The famous explorer Zheng He of Ming dynasty in China first sailed in the expedition named “Western Ocean” in 1405, commanding 62 ships with 27,800 crew members (Pletcher 10). Explorer Zhen He’s expedition would never been succeeded if there would be less advanced technologies because if all the crew members were divided among 62 ships then there would be around 448 people in each ship. It is obvious that small simple ship cannot hold that huge people so, in that time of history when technologies were just being introduced, Chinese were able to make such a sophisticated ship which shows the technological advancement in China. Zheng He made seven voyages in 28 years visiting around different 30 countries (Yamashita). Chinese expeditions were made in all direction of the globe which was as far as present day Indonesia in east, African coast in the west, Sri lanka in the south. It would have been impossible to navigate through different unknown direction and return back to China without the use of compass. Thus, compass is another nautical development in China.
Chinese ships were far larger than Europeans. The largest ship used by Zheng He in his expedition was about 500 feet long. In 1962, the ship used by Zheng He for his expedition was discovered at the site of Ming shipyards near Nanking. When it was examined, it was found out that the timber used for building ship was about 36.2 feet long and it is assumed that the length of the ship was about 480-536 feet. Similarly Europeans ship was smaller and about the size of around 100 feet long. Chinese had used multi-masted ship from the beginning...

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