Zheng He led expeditionary voyages from China in the 15th century. While there are many tall tales about his accomplishments, his actual life was pretty spectacular without them.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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hundreds doors or online and honesty. Boat outcome. Stuff you missed in history has not worked and welcome to treat and I'm holly frying. Today we are going to talk about jobs, and that has been requested by a lease to listeners. Far and Eric junk lead expeditionary wages from China in the fifteenth century, and there are some people claim that he made it to the Americas and Australia, and that here from navigated the globe and that he sobbed longitude problem and there he found a city of Atlantis, basically that he was some kind of like maritime super genius, that historical does not support any of that, but I've got embellishment if necessary at all, because the whole story is extremely impressive already without any of those false things. Has expeditions were huge that the ships
elves were enormous, and they there were so many in the fleet that often the fleets population was bigger than the ports that it was visiting play Joanna himself is a really interesting character. Also, he served up this unit and the main dynasty, so parents and teachers its. splinging what a eunuch is not something you really feel like doing today. This is a good time to put this episode aside for a while. I was born my her in what is now unit province in south western China. Here family, where Muslims and based on his father and grandfather both taking the name Haji, both law, clearly the pilgrimage to MECCA at some point. Eighteen, eighty one mahars father either die or was killed in the same year MA her. Who, with this point, was about ten, was captured by the Ming army during its invasion of union in thirty maybe five when he was roughly thirteen MA. Her was kind read it, it was come.
For the mink army to castrate the young sons of its captives, many of whom did not survive that process. It's not enter clear. Why am I wasn't castrated immediately when he was captured, or why He was roughly three years later, regardless after this castration MA her was sent to serve in the household of the force son Do you on enjoying the who emperor as a palace, Eunuch Unix had become established? of the chinese court all the way back to the Han dynasty, which is more than a thousand years before this point, however, the who we import just didn't trust them by me assigned to Judy. Who is the emperor son, my her? How to come? probably bigger list of privileges, including more responsibilities and better access to education than he would have been serving elsewhere in the emperor's court. Even oh, he was still fairly young when he was castrated and probably hadn't entered and definitely would not have completed puberty MA her wound
defying chinese expectations of men who were castrated as children rather than remaining petite with a high voice and typically feminine mannerisms and interests. He grew to be quite tall. quite broad, with a voice described, as quote loud as a huge bell, and he develop. An in depth knowledge of warfare. He accompanied the prince de on multiple military expeditions during these exports. Martha and Judy became friends, and it turned out that this friendship with the emperor's worth son would serve my how incredibly well, in his later life in thirteen I need to the emperor's oldest son died, equally that sons eldest son Julian when it would have then been named, Crown Prince the who emperor sought Judy might be more capable leader.
an opinion that duty himself also shared, so it's not surprising that after his father died and the throne passed two June when, as normal, this power struggle laid out in turn into this outright civil war. Now this could be an entire podcast and we're not going to get into the details, because it's really outside the focus of what we're talking about today, overwhelmingly Judy overthrew his nephew entered the throne, something that he was Do you in part because the information he got from escaped court unix about the lay out of the city and how it was defended? Why He was on the throne Judy named himself. The young emperor, which means lasting joy, Position became immensely more powerful, the young, Emperor, renamed him as a gift replacing his surname of MA, which was a common surname among chinese Muslims with the more per they just surname June
New emperor also give the unix who had helped him in this rebellion. Far more power than previous emperors had been comfortable. Besides, upon Unix this. Actually, an ongoing power struggle between the Unix in confusion, advisers at court, the latter of whom, far more conservative and generally opposed to outward expansion and exploration from China in fourteen O, three, the young, emperor, ordered the construction of the largest fleet of ships and China's history to undertake a huge trading expedition. The China sees in the Indian Ocean and commander was to be young her. This is the first time in chinese history that a eunuch had been placed in such an important military role. We're going talk more about the fleet, the junker commanded, but first we're gonna, have a brief, sponsor brain this episode of stuff you missed in history class, is brought to you by Norton, three hundred and sixty with Lifelock. Let's just say, you're shopping online with your
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calm. Slash history, that's Norton, DOT, com, slash history for twenty five percent of the commonest. Without then about China's history is information has, for most of that history been extremely, almost obsessively isolationist, with the only real form afraid being the silk road. that is to prove extremely simply false, while China, that various points definitely taken a much more isolationist view of the world it has. also undertaken periods of exploration and trade over great distances throughout most of its history. This maritime trade, and started with canoes and sailing rafts thousands of years ago by eleven thirty During the sun dynasty, the emperor Publish China's first official permanent Navy within a century the navy boasted about six hundred ships and fifty two thousand conscripted men in from the twelve to fifteen
trees. The nation continually refined its tools and methods for shipbuilding naval fear and navigation. They use emperors treasure fleet, simply would not have been possible without all these centuries of nautical experience, the treasure fleet was much It's too big and too complex to basically be the product of a nation's. First, ever attempt at building a boat and helping an expedition across a long distance fourteen of seven China had either built or refit one thousand six hundred eighty one ships for the treasure fleet, Emperor Judy who had ordered this required a huge increase in China's lumber industry with timber being farmed inland and floated down rivers to the coast craftsman. Laborers, along with their families, were transferred to the coast, is well with hundreds of house old, relocating to work in the shipyards among the ships built in the ship shipyards were enormous, junks that were built specifically for travel. These recalled bouts one
or treasure boats or long John, which was dragon boats, they combined aspect to existing ships. One of these ships was a flat bottomed junk that had been made to travel the relatively shallow, yellow, see where the big threat, was running into ever shifting sandbars. So these were ships that sort of road high. In the water, in their bombs were really flat, the other was a foreign debt ship. It had been made for sea travel. This one has a much deeper and very we did and very wide decks and a strong, proud that was suitable for ramming things. Ramming This was one of the chinese navies favorite waves of attacking it if another ship, the treasure masts and rigging were like the sand, both of the yellow, see to catch the most wind and all were more like the existing ocean ships to stay up right in rough seas, The treasure ships were enormous, exact dimensions, have been tricky,
calculate because the units of measure calculate because being used at the time want exactly hindered eyes, but the general Sensors is that the biggest dragon ships were between three hundred ninety and four hundred and eight feet long and one hundred and sixty two one hundred and sixty six feet wide. So that's roughly a hundred and twenty metres long and fifty meters wide a lot of ship of multiple ships like multiple of Christopher Columbus is ships can have fit into one of these late. I think Christopher Columbus is entire. All of them all. Could have guy, like a small Currie, weigh up the gigantic. These ships used ballast earth anchors and holds that would partially fill up with water during rough seas to make them more stable? They also nine staggered masts that board well set square sales that would catch the land. They were armed with care,
and although they were really meant as fighting ships, their defense was really the work of warships that were also part of the armada. In addition, huge cargo areas for carrying treasure from and back to China. there were also luxurious accommodations onboard meant to carry both Chinese our voice and always that went back to China from other nations, and you could say ships themselves were luxurious as well the sea were made from red silk and the body more extensively carved and painted with things like dragons and Phoenix is really dramatic on the water, the treasure ships, cargo is included the best that China had to offer, including porcelain, silks, tapestries, cotton lacquer, where art, hemp, oils and candles they were hoping to trade for things like ivory tortoise shell, incense pearls just stones, words that were either rare or couldn't be obtained in China and spot substances that
use this medicine like sulphur Rhinoceros horn, dear antler, incense, and aromatic herbs and spices in addition to the treasure ships, these fleets also included warships and patrol boats, whore ships that care horses, both for trade and for the cavalry water taker I am completely separate supply ships, communicating this immense armada? In a day when there was no radio just text, try. This required. lags and lanterns to make visual signals from one state to another loud drum to warn the fleet of industry. Me incoming storms really quickly gong, and bells to sound signals aboard each ship and then carrier pigeons for long distances across the fleet stars an instant. Three used to measure latitude time was: on board via graduated incense sticks, which I love. That idea, that's how I'm in a tea time
a little late, majestic instead of their hourglass on your on your desk. Here we will we'll burn. Graduated incident sticks, that's me It was never by throwing an object overboard and then following it as the ship past it using a chance to measure out the pace, sort of like a more poetic and of counting one Mississippi to Mississippi to count how many seconds have passed since that lightning happened still back on the drums wondering if drum noise would ever get confused with thunder, skate question. I imagine they could recognise the difference I would probably, with drumbeat being used were distinctive enough, yet and quite as muddled is thunder, usually dining with think I'm just thinking about sound carrying across water, but slightly pyramids, let thy own about trade. Ok as many as twenty thousand people to crew a fleet of this size. So again, massive a board were soldiers, sailors, astrologers and GM answers, translators
medical officers, our voice and a number of I'm at to oversee operations. Most of the rank and file soldiers and sailors were criminals who had been banished and sentence to the work, the emperor's unix coming but the entire operation. There were seven directors, ten assistant directors and fifty two others whose Regs wrath specified. Of course, there was just heard the commander in chief. In addition to acting as ambassadors and imperial representatives, the eunuchs patient basic supervised the military activity aboard. Generally, traveled with all, but the second of these seven voyages that one he skipped to see us see two other tasks in China and we're gonna talk about what happened during these voyages. But first we will pause once again, a brief word from responses from the new this time tomorrow,
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to return to the expedition from no five until fourteen thirty, three China that massive fleets, apprenticeships and all these other ships on seven different voyages strictly getting they were not voyages of exploration, the trade routes that they were following had already been established. Many of them in the opposite direction by traders and explorers who had been headed to China. This includes Ibn Bertuccio Morocco who to China along with many many many many many other places about a hundred years before the first briefly set sail in fourteen five fourteen o seven fourteen, oh nine, and if you can do the math you Judge that lasted about two years, a piece: from entering on the eastern coast of China. To cushion could then known as Kaliko on the western coast of India was along the way at various ports in South eastern Asia. Indonesia answer
longer than known, of course, of Ceylon, along with other ports in India. Each of these first three way, had really similar gulls. They reestablished trading and diplomatic relationships that the who emperor had previously pretty much shut down. They reinforce these relationships with the subsequent visit. including setting the expectation, the tributes paid to the emperor the fleet would pick up amber earth or the ambassadors, would travel to China separately, bearing tribute ambassadors, there home either on subsequent voyages of the treasure fleet, or by other means, The voyages were also meant to help ensure peace in the region. The fur The largest fleet, with its three hundred and seventeen ships, was particularly important in this regard. It defeated pay known as Kenzie who had been plundering in the strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. We first Armada seven of his ships and they burned ten others
cancer out of the way subsequent expedition sealed with far fewer ships during the third it's fine. I reckon it recognised Malacca as a sovereign nation, putting it on equal diplomatic, fitting with its neighbours and making it less likely. Those neighbours would try to conquer it, since if they did that with anger, the Chinese and it's obviously vast Navy, and other voyages junk, also erected stone tablets which documented the voyages and offered thanks to multiple deities and multiple languages is actually one of the ways that we know where he went and when not all of China's peace. Making efforts were is cut and dried as ousting a pirate or recognising a nation sovereignty, though the third voyage stop and Sri Lanka than known as Ceylon, as you mentioned earlier, met with some trouble and the chinese and local accounts of what happened very really drastically accords.
The local history, the trainees stole a relic believed to be one of the buddhist teeth and kidnapped local leaders. The chinese perspective was that it stopped worrying among the nations three factions and release, of someone who is trying to usurp the genuine rulers regardless of how it actually played out the emperor wound of claiming sovereignty over Ceylon and demanding that its rulers, pay tribute to him is consensus is that it was probably a little of both parties, actually happened. It sounds like one of those instances of cultural tone deafness where someone goes. I can solve this problem. I will just remove this obstacle, but that obstacle is a really important thing. Yeah yeah is that this is one of the cases would like a lot of people here about these expeditions or like this entirely peaceful thing. Really like red dont travel with a gigantic fleet of warships,
entirely chill Missus ware. Then you also have something like this play out. That obviously was was somewhat violent in front really appreciated by the local population. China's fourth expedition ordered and fourteen twelve and launched in in fourteen went a lot further than the first three, with the emperor wanting to reach the port of farmers in the mouth of the Persian Gulf. There they traded for precious jams, corals, pearls and carpet Farmers in the neighbouring city states also like the ports that had been visited on the prior expedition emissaries contributes back with the fleet is tributes included animals as well, including lions, leopards and horses other emissaries that made their way back to China by other means also brought giraffes, which has become one of the really famous things that came back. His tribute was, Munich that was leading another expedition, actually mistook the draft for a mythical sacred chinese animal known as the tea Lynn.
The next two expeditions led by John Her, which departed in fourteen seventeen and fourteen twenty one stretched they're still all the way to the western coast of Africa once again to and return with emissaries to the emperor One also returned emissaries who had come to China on or after the one before and these once again, the same rules as earlier expeditions visiting many of the same ports before continue on what is now Oman: Yemen, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania those that are entirely clear, Juncta himself returned from the six voyage. Nearly a year before the rest of the fleet did it was possibly take are in the ceremony for the completion of the new forbidden city. years between young has returned from the sixth voyage in his departure on the last and seventh one in fourteen thirty one after a much gap than any of the previous expeditions. The emperor, started to experience a number of problems.
scandal involving quarters on having internet relations with a unique swept the court, his favorite concubine also died. The emperor himself was in a hunting accident and on May nine, fourteen twenty one, the brand new forbidden city, was struck by lightning and heavily damaged in the fire that followed that strength. The nation began to experience financial problems brought about by everything from epidemics to military struggles. neighbouring nations to the stream of the lumber industry for the wood needed to repair the forbidden city. They emperor Emperor Judy died on August wealth. Fourteen twenty four June I was away on a separate, smaller voyage unrelated to these huge treasure voyages. When the emperor died, he didn't actually reach home until after the emperor son, do under the hung see emperor was on the throne. Julia jurists first edict was that all the treasure voyages were to be stopped. No news. If so, would be built no existing
This would be repaired. He returned the confusion, ideals that put the focus on the world within China's borders, not outside of it After just nine months in power, do Gaucho died, following him was his son. Do John G, the Schwann the emperor and when he became member, he rolled back a lot of his father's more conservative direct directives Gee ordered another expedition, and it seems it was clear from the outset that it would be the last one. It was at least as large and possibly larger than the first had been before in drawing her documented the achievements of his previous voyages on a pair of stone tablets, purportedly as thanks the patron goddess of sailors possibly also to make sure some evidence of the voyages survived that presented them in a positive light. They were now well out a favorite court this haven't than last fleet collected cargo and crew alone,
the chinese coast until January twelve fourteen thirty, two. It arrived in Kaliko on December tenth of that year, from there? The fleet actually separated into smaller groups that follow different routes on We in pencil caravan from the fleet travel to and from MECCA, although it appears that young her himself did not due to his poor health at the time the fleet later reconvened, calico and return to China, somewhere along the way junk by then it is six ease, die and was buried at sea after this last voyage. Emissaries from other nations, Grattan gradually slowed down and being sent to China. After all, smugglers instead of giant fleets of of traders and ships, became the primary means for foreign goods to get into China the site as a Fleming Navy got smaller and smaller, as China's military focused turned to land based defence ink against increasingly aggressive neighbours.
One reason why people have invented a much inflated account of young has already extremely noteworthy voyages was there, eighteen, seventy seven, the his logs and documents were lost- part leave deliberately destroy the in ongoing struggles between confusions and Imperial Unix, who, as we know, an earlier, have vastly different world views vastly opinions on how these wages had gone until our Logical excavations of the shipyards began in far more recent history, most of it imitation. We had existed in the form of items that have been treated during the voyages as well as trees of other nations that the Chinese had visited. Amnesty tablets the young, her himself had erected and the late fifteenth and early sixteenth Century Europe took China's place, is the world's greatest maritime power, albeit with much much smaller, ships that travelled and much smaller fleets than what China when using. However,
according to the law or the nations, whether their expeditions overlapped with where China had gone during Genghis Voyages, where an exact, impressed by the goods that the Europeans brought the trade when vote. who d gamma landed in Eastern Africa in fourteen ninety eight, the Africans who have basically thought that Portugal's goods were trinkets compared to China's a cottage the whole. image of that cracks me. It had been at this point your eighty years between the last time that China, with their and win folks from Portugal, said, showed up and I'm sort of imagining people like what is this but that's what we have silk and beautiful lacquer. Before and now we have this, like basin you pick pick pick pick pick. There is a replica of one of John has ships that was built built for the young, her treasure boat factory ruins Park in Nanjing a second project,
meant to build one that could actually sale. Anti recreate one of his voyages that multi million dollar project was expected to launch in two thousand eight. It has maybe a little while since then the project has plagued by delays and is apparently now on whole tried to find a definitive answer to what actually happened and could not find anything particularly reason it about it. Other than that you know there was that We recognise that it was built for the museum that there are plenty of pictures of him the people launch, but this one it was actually two to undertake a replica voyage is apparently the sort of work That is glad now I don't know if you want to learn more about this. There's a bit called when China rolled the seas, the treasure fleet of the dragon Dragon flown Dragon thrown fourteen. If, after fourteen thirty three from Oxford Unit University Press, which I really really like one of the things I
doing when I am trying to make sure that I have good sources for things is that I will read the reviews in academic journals of books that have been published in academic presses, and all of the review of this are like four people who are new to this. It's a girl. Introduction, if you are already an expert, it contains nothing new and I was that's perfect, yeah, that's exactly what I'm looking for. So that is again called when China rolled the seas. It's really quite good and very accessible do. You also have listener real, dear Tracy High view. listener. Mail is from man. There I'm not going to eat all of it because it is a more lengthy male. I'm in this act is actually actually about observed. The Holly did the research on and manifest
only Tracy. I cannot even began to tell you the absolute joy that filled me when I saw the pie castile today, meetings early history, I've been an avid knitter for the last three years teaching myself entirely on Youtube, I'm not afraid to try any new technique and I've never shied away from a pattern. I have, I even Harry local Yarn, sharp owner. Tell me the advanced product I had taken on within a year of learning from it made me a masochism completely abroad through the entire podcast, but especially at the end, when I learned I ever Yorkshire Dale, I have a knitting bag that carry around with me always level. I knit will. I walk travel play games with friends attend trainings, while I work basically ever whenever I will meet this began, because I have attention that hyperactivity disorder that was diagnosed as an adult. I always doodling classes, while I was getting my associates degree, but it wasn't enough to keep me super focus on what I was supposed to be learning like I wanted. I decided TAT I needed to find something to do with my hands to keep me focus and tried crochet. That
I work for me so that I thought maybe knitting would be better. Meaning was the perfect activity for me and she goes on talk of tribute in many many awesome awesome life successes to being able to focus through knitting, which I thought was extremely awesome: and then she goes on with the same route, but is actually thing that made me want to be the one to read this, she Tracy congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I hope everything you dream never and more on podcast. I thought of Emily, you to say make a gauge, but then I thought don't do that. Every we'll tell her to mitigate. Then you said I know I could make a gauge, but I'm lately, I literally laughed out loud because I used to be the exact same exact same way until the sweater Dunton done. I decided as a gift to myself.
Hard working and see the one your masters programme, I was going to knit myself it's whether it was complicated hundreds of cables. I had to learn a lot of new techniques to make it. It took me months because the pattern with their difficult and then when it was done, it didn't fit now I met us watch wash it dry unblock it. Every single time was definitely a face Paul moment, and I think it's a where a graduation like plan, because I didn't need a gauge and she goes on to say a couple of things is thanks again man, there you're looking at me like you, thought. Well because I realized, while listing t, read the letter that she hit upon one of the other reasons. I am not a nigger, oh yeah. I can fix any size problem garment yeah, I can add or subtract. I've got pretty artful it putting in panels that blind, but living. I would be so angry if that happened. Well, so many many many people. Thank you for your advice.
written, and to say that I should have blocked my shawl. That was definitely the problems, it was a doll yeah like it was perfect and beautiful, and so so tiny. I have definitely been knitting much too tightly for what the pattern called for, which would have been prevented. If I had done a gauge swatch first, which I did not do so while I appreciate everyone in the everyone's enthusiasm about blocking that. That was not the problem, and no one else needs to suggest that a black, my shawl, because I also don't have any more that was years ago- and I have moved nine hundred mile- since then the vague you again manner. Thank you to everyone who has written about about blocking and other tips for that projects gone its. It cannot be salvaged How do you say? We also
we'll effects, Herodian see you talk about how they do various different crafts and so on and etc and are also blind. Are we had talked about how it's, how I think it's easier to knit in the dark than to maybe do other things in the dark? So thank you to Ali folks who have written and cause. I had not really thought about that. Obviously, if you do not have site you can still do the same things. I think I think fur for me probably anyone that is I did is so hard to make that leap of like how on earth would you figured out, but you do yeah yeah, if you're recited person, it is probably easier with like something that big and textile resided. I then some That is like it would be harder for me personally, as a site
person to like figure out where I had soon my seems a Ennis delicately sound garment than with my big junkie, Willy nilly, I admit that so. Thank you. We have heard from, I think, There's an crochet airs and sculptors and seamstresses yeah, which will offer so thank you so much everyone writing in Europe. I try to us about this or any other pie cast. We are history, I guess the past of works, that com or else on Facebook based, but that five fashion than history and on Twitter it missed in history, are tumblr, is missed in history. Tat tumblr! were also pantries interest, a half life mister history, I'm getting saying foggy with this today, like to learn more about what we talked about today comes our parent companies website, which is how stuff works, that whatever you're like a fire in the search bar, got all kinds of information, but even comes out languages missed in history, dot com, or we will have shown us for today's absurd. That will include everything.
That book, but I mentioned- and we also have an archive of everything, I've ever lots of cool stuff. We can do all that and a whole lot more and how that works background warmest war, thousands of other topics, because it has Furthermore, as the newest resort destination, and about just issue flight from the? U S in fifteen minutes from the airport comprised of three, lux potion friend, hotels, three and high it s less in. far more features. Forty world class, restaurants and nightlife spot eleven pulls the large casino in the Caribbean plus Gulf Tennis spot in more
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