Thursday, December 1, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Zheng He's voyages to the Western Sea are great diplomatic undertakings in the history of China. 600 years ago, a gigantic fleet composed of more than 200 ships and 27,000-28,000 crews under the leadership of Zheng He set out for western countries, which marked the beginning of the unprecedented series of voyages in the world maritime history. Zheng He and his crew visited more than 30 countries and started the dialogue and exchange of civilizations between China and these countries. Zheng He's voyages declared the commencement of the great era of navigation.
Zheng He's western voyages are the earliest and vastest marine cause of the largest scale and most advanced technology in the world's maritime history. The voyages were almost a hundred years earlier than those of Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. In addition, Zheng He's fleets were several times that of the latter, with crews tens and hundreds times more.
Nowadays, valuable relics left over by Zheng He can still be found in many East Asian countries and his voyages have exerted a far-reaching influence on the local residents.
On July 11, 1405, Zheng He was sent as an envoy by Emperor Yongle (Zhu Di) of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) to the western countries. Zheng He commanded eight great expeditions between 1405 and 1433, with Suzhou, Jiangsu Province as his invariable starting point. During the 28 years, his fleets had been to Southeast Asia as well as West Indian Ocean and had sailed as far as the coast of the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. More than 30 countries were visited, including Java, Sumatra, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka etc. Zheng He offered largesse to the kings he visited in token of amity. Silk, porcelain, bronze and iron wares, gold, silver and other handicrafts carried along by the fleets were traded for exotic specialities. Officials kept record of news during their stay in those countries. At the departure of the fleets, envoys were sent by the kings to present treasure and special local products to the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty and trade with Chinese merchants. The friendly exchanges enlarged trade, and promoted mutual understanding between China and these countries as well.
In MalaccaWhen Melaka was successively colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and later the British, Chinese were discouraged from converting to Islam. Many of the Chinese Muslim mosques became San Bao Chinese temples commemorating Zheng He. After a lapse of six hundred years, the influence of Chinese Muslims in Malacca had almost disappeared. 
According to the Malaysian history, Sultan Mansur Shah (ruled 1459–1477) dispatched Tun Perpatih Putih as his envoy to China and carried a letter from the Sultan to the Ming Emperor. Tun Perpatih succeeded in impressing the Emperor of Ming with the fame and grandeur of Sultan Mansur Shah. In the year 1459, a princess Hang Li Po (or Hang Liu), was sent by the emperor of Ming to marry Malacca Sultan Mansur Shah (ruled 1459–1477). The princess came with her entourage of five hundred male servants and a few hundred handmaidens. They eventually settled in Bukit Cina, Malacca. The descendants of these people, from mixed marriages with the local natives, are known today as Peranakan: Baba (the male title) and Nyonya (the female title).
In Malaysia today, many people believe that it was Admiral Zheng He (died 1433) who sent princess Hang Li Po to Malacca in year 1459. However there is no record of Hang Li Po (or Hang Liu) in Ming documents, she is known only from Malacca folklore. The so-called Peranakan in Malacca were probably Tang-Ren or Hui Chinese Muslims who came with Parameswara, the founder of Malacca, from Palembang, Java and other places as refugees of the declining Srivijaya kingdom. Some of the Chinese Muslims were soldiers and served as warriors and bodyguards to protect the Sultanate of Malacca.
In 1411, Admiral Zheng He brought Parameswara, his wife and 540 officials to China to pay homage to Emperor Yongle. Upon their arrival, a grand welcoming party was held. Animals were sacrificed, Parameswara was granted a two-piece gold-embroidered suit of clothing with dragon motifs, Kylin robe, gold and silverware, silk lace bed quilt, and gifts for all officials and followers. Upon returning home, Parameswara was granted a jade belt, brace, saddle, and coroneted suit for his wife. Upon reaching the heaven’s gate (China), Parameswara was again granted a jade belt, brace, saddle, a hundred gold & platinum pieces, 400,000 banknotes, 2600 cash, 300 pieces of silk brocade voile, 1,000 pieces of silk, two pieces of whole gold plait, two pieces of knee-length gown with gold threads woven through sleeves…. On his return trip from China, Parameswara was so impressed by Zheng He that he adopted the name Sultan Iskandar Shah. Malacca prospered under his leadership and became a half-way port for trade between India and China.
Zheng He's voyages to the Western Sea, he introduction of new resources and reputation. Countries that transaction among China, he also introduction the new resources and knowledge to us.
Posted by Pebble at 7:16 AM