This is a Chinese name ; the family name is Zheng. He lived during the Ming Dynasty.
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Levathes writes popular history and therefore sprinkles her text with scene-setting and little digressions into everyday life in Ming China. The descriptions of the giant naval docks at Longjiang are fascinating, as is her account of the eternal intrigues between the eunuch faction and the Confucian bureaucracy at court.
The eunuchs and merchants wanted trade, exploration, and capital venture; the Confucians wanted moderate taxes, isolation, and priority given to agriculture.
The struggle between these outlooks dominated--and still dominates--China's dealings with the outside world. Zhu Di was with the merchants, and his fleets were veritable mercantile armadas, with boachuan treasure boats feet long. Their principal destination was Calicut in Kerala, the only state that the Chinese did not regard as barbarian.
From here they brought back spices, elephants, and the first eyeglasses from Venice. Having established Chinese domination of the Indian Ocean, Zheng seemed to be on the brink of ushering in an era of global Chinese imperialism and openness to the outside world.
It was not to be. Zhu Di died in and was succeeded by his son Gaozhi, a devout Confucian who banned all naval voyages. A hundred years later, China had no navy and anyone caught even sailing on the high seas was summarily put to death.
Levathes illuminates a historical crossroads: She does not fully explain why one continued and the other did not, but she does expose one piece of the historical jigsaw puzzle, namely the root of the Chinese inability to open a door to the outside world.
She does this entertainingly and with a minimum of dry analysis.When China Ruled the Seas () by Louise Levathes as a “popular mixture of fact and fantasy” (I: 58). The weaknesses of this type of presentation have mostly to do with its being.
In When China Ruled the Seas, Louise Levathes takes a fascinating and unprecedented look at this dynamic period in China's enigmatic history, focusing on the country's rise as a naval power that briefly brought half the world under its nominal authority.
Louise Levathes, author of When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne,, on LibraryThing LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site .
In When China Ruled the Seas, Louise Levathes takes a fascinating and unprecedented look at this dynamic period in China's enigmatic history, focusing on China's rise as a naval power that literally could have ruled the world and at its precipitious plunge into isolation when a .
of China to encourage other nations to enter the tribute system5. This somewhat ambiguous function means that the ships had to be able to transport Chinese goods, troops, and livestock 6. (2) Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas: The treasure fleet of the Dragon Throne, , Oxford University Press, New York, (3) Gavin Menzies, The year China discovered the world, Bantam Press, London,