Published on May 28, 2018
Zheng He Voyage (Ming Treasure Fleet)
1402 CE – Prince Zhu Di rebelled against Jianwen emperor and win the throne, along with the sack of Nanjing Palace and execution of the royal court. Later Prince Zhu Di became Yong Le Emperor.
1403 CE – As civil war and rebellion succeeded, Yongle Emperor began the construction of Treasure Fleet to project Ming Empire greatness.
in contrast of Yuan Empire a century earlier who sent military fleet across the sea to conquer new lands, Ming Empire sent large fleet not to invade but rather to increase prestige, diplomatic and commercial ties to the distant lands.
1405 CE – Zheng He (originally Ma He) a talented muslim eunuch in Ming Court who helped prince Zhu Di to the throne, was entrusted the position of Naval Admiral for the voyage to western ocean.
as Zheng He was Muslim and also spoke fluently of Arabic and Parsi, brave, talented and loyal to the emperor was suitable to the task.
Muslim from north Africa and middle east was commonly trading back and forth to China, earlier during Yuan Empire, Moroccan traveller visited Yuan Court in Khanbaliq (Beijing).
in July 1405, the fleet sailed from Nanjing.
Ming fleet sailed along the coast visiting various kingdom like Champa (southern Vietnam), Majapahit (Java), Malacca, Samudera Pasai (Sumatra),Sri Lanka to Calicut (Southern India). Then returned through western coast of India.
In his return, the fleet battling Chinese Guangdong Pirates commanded by Chen Zu Yi from his base at Palembang (Sumatra), soon the pirates was annihilated. Zheng He then put Muslim trader Shi Jin Qing as Ming ambassador for Palembang.
1407 CE – The fleet returned in Nanjing from their maiden voyage along with ambassador from various Kingdom & Sultanates.
1409 CE – Zheng He lead third expedition of the Treasure fleet. He sailed from Nanjing through India and Hormuz strait, then through coastal Arabia (Oman & Yemen).
1411 CE – Ming fleet returned home. during their return, Ming fleet engaged in a military confrontation with Kingdom of Ceylon led by King Alakeshvara who conduct piracy in the Indian ocean. The Sinhalese King was captured and previous dynasty was restored to the Ceylon throne.
1412 CE – Ming fleet traveled for the fouth time, and Ma Huan, a Muslim imperial scribe joining the expedition along with Hasan, as Arabic interpreter.
1415 CE – The fleet returned to Nanjing from its fourth voyage.
1417 CE – During Ming’s fifth voyage, the fleet visited western coast of Africa from Mogadishu (Somalia), Barawa (somalia) and Malindi (Kenya).
1419 CE – Ming fleet returned from African voyage bringing exotic African animal to the Ming court.
1424 CE – Yong Le Emperor died, succeeded by his son Hong Xi Emperor. As threat from the Mongol remnant was imminent, the Emperor postponed another voyages.
Zheng he became Mayor of Nanjing and keep Ming’s fleet as part of naval defense. He also overseer the construction of porcelain tower in Nanjing.
1425 CE – Hong Xi emperor died only reigning for a year, Suceeded by Xuan De emperor.
1430 CE – Ming empire launch their seventh voyage commanded by Admiral Zheng He
1432 CE – Ming fleet followed previous route and also made visit to Maldives Sultanate, and Holy City of Mecca in Arabia.
Ma Huan, the Muslim imperial scribe visited Mecca and wrote a chapter about it in his book, Yingya Shenglan.
1433 CE – Admiral Zheng He died during his return journey in Malabar coast near Calicut, his body buried in the sea.
His tomb was erected in Nanjing, but contains no body, only his remains and possession buried there.
1435 CE – After his death Confucianist civil bureaucrat were following isolationist policy and focused on domestic affairs.
1480 CE – Confucianist civil bureaucrat who dominate imperial court rather than imperial eunuch, destroyed most of account regarding Zheng He voyage in the imperial record. The voyage was deemed an embarrassment and waste of state resources.
An edict banning any further voyages by the navy was launched by Civil bureaucrats. Thus political, economic and diplomatic relations carefully nourished during Zheng He seven voyage soon faded away.
1522 CE – As Ming Empire intensifies ban on seafaring (haijin) and their army focused on the northern front against steppe nomads. Wokou pirates roam the sea and plundering coastal china.
Wokous mostly composed of Japanese (as japan was entering state of turmoil) and dissatisfied Chinese (because private seafaring is banned and regarded as crime to the Ming).
1525 CE – Ming imperial edicts had ordered that large ships be destroyed and also outlawed the building of seaworthy junks with more than two masts.Diminishing Ming capabilities to roam the sea.
Music for Samudera Pasai :
Wahyu Radat – Bungong Jeumpa