When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433

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9780195112078: When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433

A hundred years before Columbus and his fellow Europeans began making their way to the New World, fleets of giant Chinese junks commanded by the eunuch admiral Zheng He and filled with the empire's finest porcelains, lacquerware, and silk ventured to the edge of the world's `four corners.' It was a time of exploration and conquest, but it ended in a retrenchment so complete that less than a century later, it was a crime to go to sea in a multimasted ship. 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 new emperor ascended the Dragon Throne.

During the brief period from 1405 to 1433, seven epic expeditions brought China's `treasure ships' across the China Seas and the Indian Ocean, from Taiwan to the spice islands of Indonesia and the Malabar coast of India, on to the rich ports of the Persian Gulf and down the African coast, China's `El Dorado', and perhaps even to Australia, three hundred years before Captain Cook was credited with its discovery. With over 300 ships - some measuring as much as 400 feet long and 160 feet wide, with upwards of nine masts and twelve sails, and combined crews sometimes numbering over 28,000 men - the emperor Zhu Di's fantastic fleet was a virtual floating city, a naval expression of his Forbidden City in Beijing. The largest wooden boats ever built, these extraordinary ships were the most technically superior vessels in the world with innovations such as balanced rudders and bulwarked compartments that predated European ships by centuries. For thirty years foreign goods, medicines, geographic knowledge, and cultural insights flowed into China at an extraordinary rate, and China extended its sphere of political power and influence throughout the Indian Ocean. Half the world was in China's grasp, and the rest could easily have been, had the emperor so wished. But instead, China turned inward, as suceeding emperors forbade overseas travel and stopped all building and repair of oceangoing junks. Disobedient merchants and seamen were killed, and within a hundred years the greatest navy the world had ever known willed itself into extinction. The period of China's greatest outward expansion was followed by the period of its greatest isolation.

Drawing on eye-witness accounts, official Ming histories, and African, Arab, and Indian sources, many translated for the first time, Levathes brings readers inside China's most illustrious scientific and technological era. She sheds new light on the historical and cultural context in ghich this great civilization thrived, as well as the perception of other cultures toward this little understood empire at the time. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, When China Ruled the Seas is the fullest picture yet of the early Ming Dynasty - the last flowering of Chinese culture before the Manchu invasions.

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Recensione:

Taking the maritime story as her main theme, Levathes presents a fascinating picture of political and court life during the first several reigns of the Ming ... The story Levathes tells so skillfully could scarcely be more timely. ( The Washington Post)

Both an eloquent and smooth sail through history, and a reminder the China should have been the world's great imperial power; a glimpse into a shrouded past, and a journey that is astonishing and fun. ( Ken Auletta)

L'autore:


Louise Levathes was a staff writer for National Geographic for ten years and writes for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. In 1990, she was a visiting scholar at The Johns Hopkins Center for Chinese and American Studies at Nanjing University, Jiangsu, China. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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Louis Levathes
Editore: Oxford University Press Inc, United States (1997)
ISBN 10: 0195112075 ISBN 13: 9780195112078
Nuovi Paperback Quantità: 10
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised ed.. 232 x 154 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A hundred years before Columbus and his fellow Europeans began making their way to the New World, fleets of giant Chinese junks commanded by the eunuch admiral Zheng He and filled with the empire s finest porcelains, lacquerware, and silk ventured to the edge of the world s four corners. It was a time of exploration and conquest, but it ended in a retrenchment so complete that less than a century later, it was a crime to go to sea in a multimasted ship. 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 new emperor ascended the Dragon Throne. During the brief period from 1405 to 1433, seven epic expeditions brought China s treasure ships across the China Seas and the Indian Ocean, from Taiwan to the spice islands of Indonesia and the Malabar coast of India, on to the rich ports of the Persian Gulf and down the African coast, China s El Dorado , and perhaps even to Australia, three hundred years before Captain Cook was credited with its discovery. With over 300 ships - some measuring as much as 400 feet long and 160 feet wide, with upwards of nine masts and twelve sails, and combined crews sometimes numbering over 28,000 men - the emperor Zhu Di s fantastic fleet was a virtual floating city, a naval expression of his Forbidden City in Beijing. The largest wooden boats ever built, these extraordinary ships were the most technically superior vessels in the world with innovations such as balanced rudders and bulwarked compartments that predated European ships by centuries. For thirty years foreign goods, medicines, geographic knowledge, and cultural insights flowed into China at an extraordinary rate, and China extended its sphere of political power and influence throughout the Indian Ocean. Half the world was in China s grasp, and the rest could easily have been, had the emperor so wished. But instead, China turned inward, as suceeding emperors forbade overseas travel and stopped all building and repair of oceangoing junks. Disobedient merchants and seamen were killed, and within a hundred years the greatest navy the world had ever known willed itself into extinction. The period of China s greatest outward expansion was followed by the period of its greatest isolation. Drawing on eye-witness accounts, official Ming histories, and African, Arab, and Indian sources, many translated for the first time, Levathes brings readers inside China s most illustrious scientific and technological era. She sheds new light on the historical and cultural context in ghich this great civilization thrived, as well as the perception of other cultures toward this little understood empire at the time. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, When China Ruled the Seas is the fullest picture yet of the early Ming Dynasty - the last flowering of Chinese culture before the Manchu invasions. Codice libro della libreria AOP9780195112078

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Louis Levathes
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Revised ed.. 232 x 154 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A hundred years before Columbus and his fellow Europeans began making their way to the New World, fleets of giant Chinese junks commanded by the eunuch admiral Zheng He and filled with the empire s finest porcelains, lacquerware, and silk ventured to the edge of the world s four corners. It was a time of exploration and conquest, but it ended in a retrenchment so complete that less than a century later, it was a crime to go to sea in a multimasted ship. 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 new emperor ascended the Dragon Throne. During the brief period from 1405 to 1433, seven epic expeditions brought China s treasure ships across the China Seas and the Indian Ocean, from Taiwan to the spice islands of Indonesia and the Malabar coast of India, on to the rich ports of the Persian Gulf and down the African coast, China s El Dorado , and perhaps even to Australia, three hundred years before Captain Cook was credited with its discovery. With over 300 ships - some measuring as much as 400 feet long and 160 feet wide, with upwards of nine masts and twelve sails, and combined crews sometimes numbering over 28,000 men - the emperor Zhu Di s fantastic fleet was a virtual floating city, a naval expression of his Forbidden City in Beijing. The largest wooden boats ever built, these extraordinary ships were the most technically superior vessels in the world with innovations such as balanced rudders and bulwarked compartments that predated European ships by centuries. For thirty years foreign goods, medicines, geographic knowledge, and cultural insights flowed into China at an extraordinary rate, and China extended its sphere of political power and influence throughout the Indian Ocean. Half the world was in China s grasp, and the rest could easily have been, had the emperor so wished. But instead, China turned inward, as suceeding emperors forbade overseas travel and stopped all building and repair of oceangoing junks. Disobedient merchants and seamen were killed, and within a hundred years the greatest navy the world had ever known willed itself into extinction. The period of China s greatest outward expansion was followed by the period of its greatest isolation. Drawing on eye-witness accounts, official Ming histories, and African, Arab, and Indian sources, many translated for the first time, Levathes brings readers inside China s most illustrious scientific and technological era. She sheds new light on the historical and cultural context in ghich this great civilization thrived, as well as the perception of other cultures toward this little understood empire at the time. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, When China Ruled the Seas is the fullest picture yet of the early Ming Dynasty - the last flowering of Chinese culture before the Manchu invasions. Codice libro della libreria AOP9780195112078

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-33, Louis Levathes, A hundred years before Columbus and his fellow Europeans began making their way to the New World, fleets of giant Chinese junks commanded by the eunuch admiral Zheng He and filled with the empire's finest porcelains, lacquerware, and silk ventured to the edge of the world's 'four corners.' It was a time of exploration and conquest, but it ended in a retrenchment so complete that less than a century later, it was a crime to go to sea in a multimasted ship. 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 new emperor ascended the Dragon Throne. During the brief period from 1405 to 1433, seven epic expeditions brought China's 'treasure ships' across the China Seas and the Indian Ocean, from Taiwan to the spice islands of Indonesia and the Malabar coast of India, on to the rich ports of the Persian Gulf and down the African coast, China's 'El Dorado', and perhaps even to Australia, three hundred years before Captain Cook was credited with its discovery. With over 300 ships - some measuring as much as 400 feet long and 160 feet wide, with upwards of nine masts and twelve sails, and combined crews sometimes numbering over 28,000 men - the emperor Zhu Di's fantastic fleet was a virtual floating city, a naval expression of his Forbidden City in Beijing. The largest wooden boats ever built, these extraordinary ships were the most technically superior vessels in the world with innovations such as balanced rudders and bulwarked compartments that predated European ships by centuries. For thirty years foreign goods, medicines, geographic knowledge, and cultural insights flowed into China at an extraordinary rate, and China extended its sphere of political power and influence throughout the Indian Ocean. Half the world was in China's grasp, and the rest could easily have been, had the emperor so wished. But instead, China turned inward, as suceeding emperors forbade overseas travel and stopped all building and repair of oceangoing junks. Disobedient merchants and seamen were killed, and within a hundred years the greatest navy the world had ever known willed itself into extinction. The period of China's greatest outward expansion was followed by the period of its greatest isolation. Drawing on eye-witness accounts, official Ming histories, and African, Arab, and Indian sources, many translated for the first time, Levathes brings readers inside China's most illustrious scientific and technological era. She sheds new light on the historical and cultural context in ghich this great civilization thrived, as well as the perception of other cultures toward this little understood empire at the time. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, When China Ruled the Seas is the fullest picture yet of the early Ming Dynasty - the last flowering of Chinese culture before the Manchu invasions. Codice libro della libreria B9780195112078

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Descrizione libro Oxford Paperbacks, 1997. PAP. Condizione libro: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Codice libro della libreria IB-9780195112078

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, 1997. Condizione libro: New. 1997. Reprint. Paperback. Drawing on eye-witness accounts, official Ming histories, and African, Arab and Indian sources, this work shows readers the inside of China's most illustrious scientific and technological era. It sheds light on the historical and cultural context in which this great civilization thrived. Num Pages: 256 pages, 8 pp halftones, line illustrations. BIC Classification: 1FPC; 3H; HBJF; HBLC; JFC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 235 x 155 x 17. Weight in Grams: 342. . . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780195112078

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