"After peace, all those who gave orders abroad will praise world and exaggerate outside world." Zheng He's travels to West are famous all over world.
In ancient countries, even before seas were fully explored, Zheng He led a huge fleet to sail west, adding new opportunities to maritime trade diplomacy between Ming Dynasty and foreign countries, and studying history of world's maritime era. A new milestone has arrived.
"After Zheng He, there will be no more Zheng He." This is highest praise for Zheng He's seven journeys to West. Each voyage of Ming Dynasty had to spend a huge amount of money and labor.
Zheng He made seven voyages before and after, and later generations investigated true cause. It was only in modern times that a gemstone tablet was discovered in Indian Ocean that revealed real answer.Why Zheng He sailed to West
Zheng He, whose real name is Ma He, joined military as a child to serve in Ming Dynasty. Due to his intelligent and flexible nature, he was sent to Yan Wang's palace as a follower of Zhu Di. Won Zhu Di's heart and trusted him a lot. Say last name "Zheng Shi".
After Zhu Di seized power and ascended throne, Zheng He also logically became a member of eunuchs and continued to serve Zhu Di.
Zheng He is different from other eunuchs. He was born in a military camp, knew art of war and strategy, fought many times on battlefield. He is an all-round talent with both civilian and military skills.
Besides Zhu Di from childhood, he is Zhu Di's confidant and a capable minister. That's why Zhu Di chose him to ride wind and waves and drive fleet to visit western countries.
Zheng He himself had a strong love of sailing since childhood, because he was diligent and eager to learn, and was familiar with many books on sailing and shipbuilding technology. Zhu Di had great confidence in his abilities and appointed Zheng He to supervise and command all ships sailing to west.
The last important reason is that Zheng He believed in Islam. Gum Gong's Epitaph records that Zheng He's grandfather and father were Muslims.
There is no doubt that Zheng He was a devout Muslim. Religious beliefs became an important common theme in Zheng He's interactions with people from other places during his travels.
So Zheng He must be Zhu Di's only choice in his decision to go to sea.The cost of sailing to West
From completion of preparation of fleet to official launch of fleet, a lot of funds were spent from Ming Dynasty treasury. First, each treasure ship costs between five thousand and six thousand taels of silver (one tael is equal to 600 yuan), and price is very high.
Not counting personnel and materials invested in fleet, tributes and silver taels carried by ship.
But Zhu Di really wants to spend a lot of money on this trip.
After Zhu Yuanzhang single-handedly overthrew Yuan Dynasty regime, he paid great attention to correcting situation of corrupt officials, made many changes to income and expenditure of Ming Dynasty treasury, and flattered policy of rest and recuperation. The economic development of early Ming Dynasty was especially energetic.
Thus, in Zhu Di's era, he was a pure "wealthy second generation", with a full treasury, a rich material base to manage politics, and a boundless imagination to rule country, so Zhu Di has confidence to spend huge sums of money to send seven times Zheng He to Western Seas.
The History of Ming Dynasty states: “The Sambo route to Western Ocean was “thick and thin, and costs are enormous”. The number of rare gifts and items transferred during exchange.
From 1405 to 1433, Zheng He set sail seven times in Yongle. Each time he set sail, he led hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of sailors. In total, he visited 36 countries.
The length of seven voyages to Western Ocean has steadily strengthened relations between China and countries of Western region in Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.Reason for travel
It seems strange to waste such a huge amount of navigational diplomacy, and later generations have speculated on countless reasons. Among them, it is widely discussed that Zhu Di wanted Zheng He to find his blood relative Zhu Yunqi.
However, at a later stage, there was no evidence to support this claim. After all, a fugitive deposed emperor could not pose a threat to Zhu Di at all. Besides, if you just want to go after and kill Zhu Yunqi, why not covertly travel easier.
This mystery was not officially solved until 1911 in modern times, when scholars from Sri Lanka accidentally dug up a thick stone tablet in sand of temple.
The top of the stele has a clear dragon design, and it has three fuzzy text designs that were later identified as Chinese, Arabic and Tamil.
On head of stele is engraved: "The emperor sent eunuch Zheng He, Wang Guitong and others to inform Buddha and World Honored One", Qiwen, Chinese on stele is engraved on right, and text in normal script consists of 11 lines , 265 Chinese characters.
The gist of inscription is roughly that Blessed by Buddha, Ming Dynasty was powerful, people and boats were safe, and prosperity at home and abroad.
The purpose of coming to Sri Lanka is to give alms to foreign people by donating a range of gold, silver, jewelry, clothes, silk cloth, etc. to friendly countries to show friendship and strengthen friendship.
At end, time of erection of monument is signed, which refers to Yongle 1407-1409, which corresponds to chronology of Zheng He's third journey to West. The discovery of this stele shocked historians, cultural relics, and other divisions, who speculated endlessly on Zheng He's travels to West.
Because above text is sufficient to prove that real purpose of Zheng He's seven voyages to West was to advance national prestige of Ming Dynasty and to strengthen trade and communications by sea routes. But this is mainly done to please Zhu Di, to demonstrate their strong national power and, by way, to scare off enemies from neighboring countries.
At that time, most of countries Zheng He arrived in during his travels to West were small foreign countries, and along way, he lost his wealth and gained thousands of honors. This is most suitable target for sending Zhu Di Zheng He to West.Benefits of sailing west
This 28-year journey to West is Zhu Di's heartfelt parade, showcasing his wealth. However, our country belongs to state of etiquette, advocating courtesy and reciprocity, and knowing that generous gifts are sure to receive meaningful feedback.
The fact is also true, There are countless rare and exotic treasures that have returned from overseas in Zheng He's fleet. For example: gemstones such as jadeite, agate, sandalwood, colored glaze or special spices and dyes that were never developed during Ming Dynasty.
As mentioned earlier, Zhu Yuanzhang was frugal and paid great attention to changes in treasury, so he always had reservations about maritime trade.
After Zheng He's travels to West, Zhu Di lifted sea prohibition policy, opened door to a new world of maritime trade, expanded many new sea routes, and played a very obvious role in stimulating China's foreign trade situation. Ming dynasty
Smooth and convenient maritime communication between countries made Zhu Di very popular during his reign. This proves that Zheng He's voyage to western seas was indeed Zhu Di's wise strategy, useful but harmless.
To this day, there is still talk of Zheng He's development and control of ocean. Since 2005, my country has declared July 11 as China Navigation Day. It also stipulates that on this day, all ships in country should whistle and fly colorful flags, paying homage to Zheng He's first voyage to West!