Students will complete three short writing assignments asking them to connect the historiographical sections in the textbook (“Historians Explore”) to the larger themes in each chapter

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Students will complete three short writing assignments asking them to connect the historiographical sections in the textbook (“Historians Explore”) to the larger themes in each chapter. These assignments will 1) identify the key arguments and themes of the chapter, will 2) discuss the main ideas and arguments of the Historians Explore sections, and finally will 3) explain how the ideas of the Historians Explore sections connect to the larger themes of the textbook and course lectures. Each section should be between 250-500 words.

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throughout. The fourth voyage (1413-1415) went as the Persian Gulf, as did the fifth. The seventh voyage, an armada of four vessels and almost twenty-eight thousand men, traveled down the east coast of Africa as far south as Malindi (in modern Kenya), perhaps farther. A small expe- dition visited Mecca, the holy city of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula. net- Me Arti mosta Europe and ing fic is Historians Explore The Voyages of Zheng He The Ming voyages, as they have come to be known, illustrate the extent of works linking Africa, Europe, and Asia in the fifteenth century. In recent de cades, scholars and governments have focused attention on these voyages and their meaning. Like all historical questions, political and economic interests shape how the past is interpreted. In our own time, Chinese government officials invoke Zheng He as a precedent for China’s “peaceful rise” to great power status, emphasizing that during his "friendly diplomatic activities ... Zheng He did not occupy a single piece of land, or seize any wealth from other countries.”? Scholars who support this view include Tan Ta Sen, president of the International Zheng He Society, who has published widely in English and Chinese on the nonviolent nature of the treasure fleet. The possibility that this type of expansion, led by Chinese, might have shaped the world much differently than the often-violent colonial expansions that European nations—led first by Spain and Portugal, would undertake from the end of the fifteenth century onward has been picked up by many authors. Some even argue that Zheng He represents a cooperative approach to international relations that has lessons for today's business world. Other historians, however, question this new depiction of Zheng He as a model of peaceful expansion, with some suggesting that the Ming voyages were not new and others indicating that they were not peaceful. Tansen Sen, among others, has established that rather than being a dramatic turn toward the oceans, Zheng He's voyages continued a trend of Chinese maritime ascendancy in the Indian Ocean W 2 Xu Zuyuan (People's Republic of China Vice-Minister of Communications), July 2004, quoted in Geoff Wade, "The Zheng He Voyages: A Reassessment," Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Soci- ety 78, no. 1 (2005): 38. eature of China with as many | 31! The Many Worlds of the Fifteenth Century - 1405-1510. asfied the Yong yages proceede ersian Gull, pods with a and Horma of four hundre he east coas c. Asmall expe ula. He extent of net In recent de voyages and mic interests An Artist's Rendition Comparing the Vessels Commanded by Zheng He and Vasco Da Gama. China had the world's most advanced naval technology in the fifteenth century, capable of producing vessels far larger and faster than those made in Europe. The smaller European ships had some advantages, however, particularly in shallow coastal waters. ment officials power status 3 He did not "2 Scholars Conal Zheng s. nonviolent Eion, led by ten-violent Portugal- and South China Sea. Challenging their depiction as peaceful missions support- ing trade and exploration, Geoff Wade, using evidence from Ming dynasty of- ficial histories, points to violence and intimidation by Zheng He's fleets in what is today Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Somalia, India, and Thailand. Wade sees the construction of Chinese garrisons and trading bases, as well as the imposition of Chinese will on Southeast Asian states, as similar to Eu- ropean expansion a century later. Other scholars stop short of the label protocolo- nial that Wade uses, suggesting that the Ming actions were focused on spreading the idea of a Chinese world order rather than occupying or controlling territory. een picked operative world. as a model e not new thers, has neng Hes n Ocean The standard account of Zheng He's voyages in English is Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433 (London: Oxford University Press, 1997). The views of Zheng He's voyages as expansionist and protoimperialist are expressed in Geoff Wade, "The Zheng He Voyages: A Reassessment," Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 78, no. 1 (2005): 37-58; and Tansen Sen, “Maritime Interactions between China and India: Coastal India and the Ascen- dancy of Chinese Maritime Power in the Indian Ocean," Journal of Central Eurasian Studies 2 (May 2011): 41-82. Leading those supporting the view of Zheng He as a peaceful ambassador for trade is Tan Ta Sen, Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2009), and Hum Sin Hoon, Zheng He's Art of Collaboration: Understanding the Legendary Chinese Admiral from a Manage- ment Perspective (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, 2012). din Gau wo 17 ten tin an W th d No primary source we have yet uncovered explains fully the decision to suspend the voyages in the 1420s and stop them for good in 1433 after one final voyage. No natural disaster destroyed the fleet or the resources that sup- ported it. In the absence of direct evidence from primary sources, historians that the Ming's official ideology of Confucianism-named for the Chinese po- turn to context to find plausible explanations. Some scholars focus on the fact litical philosopher Confucius (479-551 BCE)-mistrusted commercial motives. Confucian texts, knowledge of which was essential for serving in the imperial bureaucracy, declared that "the Great Man understands what is right; the Small Man understands what is profitable." These Confucian officials may also have Confucian expectations. Others, taking the opposite approach, see Zheng He's been suspicious of Zheng He himself who, as a Muslim and eunuch, challenged from Africa in 1433, it was easier for opponents to scuttle the program. Other explanations focus on structural changes not related to the voyages themselves: the reconstruction of the Grand Canal, an interior waterway linking the Yangzi Mongols and other inner Asian groups took precedence over sea power. The prac- as important. As the fifteenth century went on, defensive priorities against the tical challenges to maintaining a Chinese imperial presence in the Indian Ocean were exacerbated when the Ming dynasty relocated its capital from Nanjing to a returning personal charisma as an important factor, so that when he died at sea longer delta with North China, meant that costly seaborne excursions were no navy Beijing, further north and without direct access to the sea. The end of the treasure fleet just decades before the arrival of Portuguese ships in the Indian Ocean leads to this question: What might have happened had the Chinese not retreated from their naval adventures? In her work on Zheng He's Louise Levathes writes, “Half the world was in China's grasp, and with voyages, such a formidable the other half was easily within reach, had China wanted it. China could have become the great colonial power, a hundred years before the great age of European exploration and expansion.” If Zheng He had encoun- tered Vasco da Gama, Levathes asks rhetorically, “seeing the battered Portuguese boats, would the Chinese admiral have been tempted to crush these snails in his path, preventing the Europeans from opening an east-west trade route?" This question is a great parlor game, and we encourage you to imagine an answer if you are so inclined, but history is a web of contingent and interrelated events so that one cannot really ever know what would have happened had the treasure fleet voyages continued. Such speculation can draw one into the fallacy of prede termined outcomes, sometimes known as the historian's fallacy. In any historical event , there are too many variables at play to allow us to predict accurately what * Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas, 20-21. The Many Worlds of the Fifteenth Century .1405-1510. 1 331 would have happened if we were to change only one of them. Using hindsight, it is tempting to make these predictions, but we have to remember that people at the time did not have the benefit of knowing what would happen next. (As one ex- ample, consider that people living in what we call the “interwar period” between World Wars I and II thought of themselves as living in the “postwar period," and they didn't think of World War I as “I” because there had been no World War II.) We can never really know what would have happened but only do our best to un- derstand what did happen and why. Although the Chinese state withdrew from its ambitious maritime program, Chinese merchants remained active in overseas trade and established communities in today's Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Although the end of the Ming dynasty's Indian Ocean fleet after Zheng He died changed the political and military profile of the region, robust overseas trade continued. The Struggle over Central and South Asia To the west and south of China during the fifteenth century, several key fac- litinol and economic events: the continued role of the Mongol across the region; the tore • Sources and Methods 7 • Practicing History 12 • Agency and Contingency 16 A Few Good Books 17 APTER 1 The Many Worlds of the Fifteenth Century 19 1405-1510 • Political and Economic Order on the Afro-Eurasian Supercontinent 21 • The Rise and Fall of States in Afro-Eurasia 27 Historians Explore The Voyages of Zheng He 30 • American Empires of the Fifteenth Century 39 . Conclusion 44 A Few Good Books 45 PTER 2 The New Global Interface 47
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Running head: HISTORIANS EXPLORE

1

Historians Explore
Name
Institution of Affiliation
Date

HISTORIANS EXPLORE

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1) Identify the key arguments and themes of the chapter, will
The topic “The many worlds of the fifteenth century” aims to discuss the history of AfroEurasian supercontinent in the fifteenth century. The chapter discusses the main historical
formulations of the ancient continent. The chapter discusses the existence of the Afro-Eurasian
continent. Initially, it starts with a discussion on the main factors that favored its existence. The
chapter discusses the course of events during that period. Considering some of the aspects of the
people who lived in the ancient supercontinent, discussing their social-political and economic
lifestyle of the people who existed on the continent.
Additionally, the chapter also explores the significant aspects that led to the fall of the
ancient continent. The chapter also discusses the voyages of the Zheng He and the American
empires that existed in the 15th century. The chapter gives a detailed description of the Zheng He
and Ming Voyages exploration and trade networks established globally. Through the process, the
chapter discusses the events of...


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