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1500: Cabral discovers Brazil, "officially", though Portugal may actually have discovered it some years before. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 30, pp. 215-216ff).

1500: By now and due to the printing press, European mariners are able to use printed seacharts for improved navigation.

1500: 9 March: Six months after Da Gama has returned, Pedro Alvarez Cabral sails from Portugal with thirteen ships and 1200 men for india.

Portugal after 1492 - when Columbus had discovered the Caribbean - by about 1510 - begins to develop aspirations of breaking the monopoly of Moslem traders on the spice trade to Europe. (The legend exists that by 1536, Portuguese mariners had discovered Botany Bay at what is now, Sydney, Australia - see Kenneth McIntyre, The Secret Discovery of Australia, a discovery which was lost to history.) (By 1505, geopolitically, an important strategic hot spot was the entrance to the Red Sea - Aden - where Moslem trading ships sailed. The entrance to the Red Sea was also important to Moslems, since Indian Moslems sailed from Western Indian ports into the Red Sea and up to ports from where they travelled to Mecca. So the entrance to the Red Sea was important to Moslems for both religious and commercial reasons.

Meanwhile, as part of the operation of the Spice Trade, Moslem mariners had sailed as far south-east as the Spice Islands, or, the Malacca Straits, from where they could also deal with mariners from China (Canton).)

1498: When Vasco Da Gama reached the Indian port of Calicut, he found the Indians appalled at the shoddiness of the goods he had on offer. He went home only with cloves and peppercorns.

1497: John Cabot in organizing his second expedition to the New World was allowed by Henry VII to take as part of his crew some criminals.

1497: Cabot and his friends sought to push to Asia, so Cabot sailed from Bristol, to reach Cape Breton Island, which Cabot thought the north-eastern coast of Asia, a source of gems and silks he had seen at Mecca, and in 1498, Cabot tried for Japan, but Cabot could not find a route to India, but from his voyages stemmed the English claim to North America, by right of discovery, and in 1501, Bristol merchants obtained a patent from English crown to settle colonies in newly discovered areas. (From Mukherjee, p. 41).

8-9 July 1497: Vasco da Gama leaves Lisbon, ships Sao Rafael, Sao Gabriel and Berrio, rounded CGH, sailed right across Indian Ocean, Vasco da Gama reaches India, later Portuguese settlement at Goa and an eastern boundary of that ocean of course is Australia, or India Meridional, colonial capital of the Orient, the Treaty of Tordesillas had just granted Portugal hemisphere from Atlantic to China Sea, and as emporium was Malacca where came the Chinese, the Cochin-Chinese and Malays for trade, [note p. 82, the Dutch always came to Java from the South, the Portuguese from the west]. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 26, p. 41, pp. 215-216).

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1497 India: A kingdom succeeded but held only 100 days, Vasco da Gama sails from Belem, trouble in Bijapur.

1497: Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama leaves Lisbon in search of a sea route to India and reaches India.

1496: Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) became the first European to voyage by the Cape of Good Hope and to journey by sea to India. His voyage 1497-1499, at the order of Manuel I, followed up an earlier voyage sailed by Bartholomew Diaz in 1488. Gama went up the east coast of Africa to Malindi, and across India Ocean to Calicut. (It is judged "possibly the most significant event for Portuguese history".) Gama later drafted instructions for Cabral's voyage to India 1500-1502.

In 1502 Gama went again to India with 20 ships, when he also tried to gain the submission of some African chiefs - by harsh methods. In 1524 he went back to India as a Viceroy but soon died. All this vindicated the discovery voyages of Bartholomew Diaz from 1487, suggesting that a large ocean lay east beyond the Cape of Good Hope.

At that time, ideas existed that a Great Southland existed south of Asia, called Jav La Grande. It did exist. It is now called Australia, but it was missed by the Hispanics, "discovered" by the English in 1770.

1496: All this unimaginable Vatican/Hispanic arrogance (Tordesillas Line, etc) forgot one factor - England. Meanwhile in England. On 5 March 1496, Henry VII issued orders for a sailor, John Cabot, to make a voyage of discovery. (Eric Williams observes, p. 71, "The date has been called the birthday of the British Empire.")

1496: Portuguese proposal to go to India.

(From G. R. Elton on Tudors, pp. 331ff): In March 1496, Henry VII gave John Cabot (he is a Genoese living in Bristol from 1490), wanted to go to Japan (Cipango), then s/w to Cathay/China, and his sons, one son Sebastien and a syndicate of Bristol merchants a charter to sail east, north or west to discover lands unknown to Christians. the Tordisellas line went through the Azores. Cabot looking for Cathay sailed in May 1497, discovered or got to probably Nova Scotia. see story on Sinclairs from Scotland also. Some evidence Cabot's work alarmed the Spanish. Jn Cabot's son Sebastien sailed from Bristol again in 1509, failed, and later worked for the Spanish. In 1521, Henry tried to form a company for exploration, lethargy and opposition of London's businessmen stymied the project. Some involved in 1521 incl John Rastell, a brother-in-law of Thomas More. one Rastell-assisted voyage for America came to grief in Ireland. By 1525 one of the few English propagandists for exploration was Robert Thorne died 1532, a Spanish merchant in Spain. Thorne seemed to seem aware of the Pacific. (G. R. Elton on Tudors, p. 334), In the 1530s, William Hawkins of Plymouth initiated a profitable trade in dyestuffs with the coast of Brazil. a trade slump in the 1550s. In 1548 Sebastien Cabot returned to England after 35 years serving the Spanish crown. John Dee's career in Elton p. 334 can be traced from 1551, an astrologer, necromancer, mathematician, geographer, "a genuine scientist and credulous charlatain", he "became a prophet" of the north-west passage and later the fabled southern continent, the great Terra Australis Incognita supposed to lie to south of Pacific Ocean and stretching from Cape Horn to East Indian islands, existing to counterbalance the weight of lands in northern hemisphere.

1495 India: John Cabot seeks a north-west passage to India, while in India itself, a city is founded in the Deccan.

1494: Santo Domingo becomes known for gold. (Pierre Vilar, A History of Gold and Money, 1450-1920. London, Verso, 1991., pp. 65ff.)

1494: After earlier dissatisfaction, the "Pope's line" is fixed further west of earlier line for Portugal, Treaty of Tordesillas, and is only meant to be binding on Spain and Portugal, and later amended by the Treaty of Saragossa in 1529, and actually repealed in 1750 by the Treaty of Madrid. But its terms continued to have legal significance internationally, even as late as 1898 when Britain and Venezuela argued over the boundary of British Guiana and the Pope's line did not embrace seas, only lands, although states later interpreted it as having done this; so that Portugal later claimed the Indian Ocean and Spain the Pacific Ocean - none of which ever impressed British Imperialists, who did what they could. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp 26, 30-31, 215-216.)

Syphilis not imported from the New World by Columbus' men after all?: New researched based in the UK port city, Hull, now tends to indicate that syphilis is a disease thousands of years old in Europe, and not newly-arising in Europe and the East due to Columbus' sailors from 1492 bringing infection back from the New World. Syphilis in its venereal/tertiary form was known in a Greek city in Italy about 600BC (Metaponto?), and also at Pompeii. The major clues used for research so far in the past are the uniquely grooved-teeth of the children of any mother with a case of syphilis. What is confusing is that the bacteria etc. causing syphilis only attack the human venereal system when they are threatened by an unhelpful environment - otherwise, syphilis can be an innocuous, non-lethal childhood skin-rash-problem which once contracted, also immunises the later adult against any form of venereal syphilis.

The new research on such problems has been prompted by discoveries at Hull at the Magistrates Court Site, which presented remains of a medieval friary managed by The Augustine Friars. This was the first Augustine friary established in England, and was destroyed in 1539. The friars provided some kinds of male nursing care and social welfare provision.
Early examination of the friary site revealed a skeleton dated circa 1216AD bearing bone lesions typical of those arising from the tertiary stage of syphilis. Other cases were found, and it seemed that some signs of syphilis were found on 60 per cent of bodies examined at Hull. That is, the elite of Hull suffered long-term from the disease, Hull also being a sophisticated port with international contacts.
Meantime, the implication is that the Indians of the New World as met by Columbus have been unfairly blamed for 500 years now for giving syphilis to his sailors, so that they spread it through Europe, an outbreak noticed with considerable alarm, disgust and fear especially amongst Spanish soldiers at the 1495 siege of Naples, where many men developed loathsome ulcers of the genitals.
It is also now said that the theory that syphilis originated in the New World was only ever based on observations of five skeletons - while the new theory on the age of syphilis in the Old World is now based on observations of hundreds of skeletons.
One researcher working on syphilis in the New World in pre-Columbus days suggests that it extended as far north as the Mississipi River. It is a disease which adapts to different climates and human societies, and is basically transmitted non-venereally, from skin to skin. Syphilis has been around for thousands of years in human society, and only mutates into a "sexually-transmitted killer" when itself under threat.
(This report based on a documentary screened in Australia on SBS TV on 3 February 2002).

1493: The Travels of Syphilis: "Records exist of a Barcelona doctor who treated some of Columbus' men", including his pilot, returned from Haiti, evidently suffering syphlitic lesions, ("frightful and bizarre eruptions".) Syphilis was later found by 1495, when French troops captured Naples, by 1496 in England and Holland, in India by 1498 brought by Vasco de Gama's men and by 1505 at Canton, China. (R. Brasch, How Did Sex Begin?)

Spain was dissatisfied as there had been no mention of India, and a second Bull later in 1493 took this complaint into account, and in theory allowed for any of Columbus' ambitions concerning Spanish influence in India. This adjustment in turn annoyed Portugal, and so by the Treaty of Tordesillas, on 7 June 1494, further adjustment was made, and the line of demarcation was fixed at 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands.
(Brazil then became Portuguese). (We here deliberately ignore English maritime history, which cared little for Papal announcements.)

So in 1493 a Papal Bull had divided the world into two, the west for Spain, the East for Portugal. As those two nations continued exploration, their areas overlapped. (Under the Tordesillas Capitulacion of 1494, the Moluccas (Spice Islands) were said to have been in Portuguese limits, and Spain abandoned its claim. (Magellan failed to clear this matter up.)

1493: Vilar is certain that Columbus was looking for gold, between October 1492 and January 1493 his diary mentions gold at least 65 times. (Pierre Vilar, A History of Gold and Money, 1450-1920. London, Verso, 1991., p. 63)

1493: To place British imperialism in one kind of perspective, Williams, pp. 70ff says, even with the "discoveries" of Columbus, there was intense rivalry for maritime supremacy between Portugal and Spain. The referee for two Catholic powers was the Vatican, so in a Bull issued in 1493, the Pope confirmed the existing rights of Portugal and established those of Spain by running an imaginary line from north to south, one hundred leagues west of the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands. East of this line was for Portugal, west for the Spanish. (The Eurocentric arrogance of the manoeuvre is quite breathtaking). Spain was dissatisfied as there had been no mention of India, and a second Bull later in 1493 took this complaint into account, and in theory allowed for any of Columbus' ambitions concerning Spanish influence in India. This adjustment in turn annoyed Portugal, and so by the Treaty of Tordesillas, on 7 June 1494. Further adjustment was made, and the line of demarcation was fixed at 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. (Brazil then became Portuguese).
In 1493 a Papal Bull had divided the world into two for the use of Catholic powers, the west for Spain, the East for Portugal. (Morrell, pp. 12-14.) As those two nations continued exploration, their areas overlapped. (Under the Tordesillas Capitulacion of 1494, the Moluccas (Spice Islands) were said to have been in Portuguese limits, and Spain abandoned its claim - Magellan failed to clear this matter up).

Vasco da Gama (1460-1524), the first European to voyage by Cape of Good Hope and journey by sea to India. His voyage 1497-1499, at order of Manuel I, with four vessels round Cape of Good Hope, the easternmost point earlier sailed by Bartholomew Diaz in 1488, Gama went up the east coast of Africa to Malindi, and across India Ocean to Calicut. Possibly most significant event for Portuguese history, and Gama later drafted instructions for Cabral's voyage to India 1500-1502. In 1502 Gama went again to India with 20 ships, when he also tried to gain the submission of some African chiefs. Harsh methods were used. In 1524 he went back to India as a Viceroy but soon died. (See Edgar Prestage, The Portuguese Pioneers. 1933. On men with Vasco de Gama going from Portugal to India in 1497-1498, extending the discovery of Bartholomew Diaz in 1487 that a large ocean lay beyond the Cape of Good Hope, to the east. (Why are these dates discrepant?(

1493: There developed intense rivalry for maritime supremacy between Portugal and Spain. The referee for two Catholic powers was the Vatican, so in a Bull issued in 1493, the Pope confirmed the existing rights of Portugal and established those of Spain by running an imaginary line from north to south, one hundred leagues west of the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands. East of this line was for Portugal, west for the Spanish.



Red Sand divider

 

1492: Sailing for the Spanish monarchs, Christopher Columbus discovers the West Indies while actually seeking India/China.
1492: Columbus founds the first European settlement in the New World, on Hispaniola.

1488AD: Ming emperors order rebuilding of Great Wall to defend China from northern invaders.

1487: Explorer Diogo Cao reached the Congo, Africa, and beyond, now Namibia, south-western Africa. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 26.)

1487: Exploter Bartolomeu Diaz sails from Lisbon and reaches Cape of Good Hope with a noted cartographer aboard, and rounded Cape. Gets to Kwaaihoek, east of Cape Padrone. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 215-216.)

1487: India: See James Burgess, The Chronology of Indian History. Delhi, Cosmo Pubs., 1972. From 1487 as Diaz opens a sea route to India.

1485AD: Venice introduces the idea of ship quarantine, a forty-day detention of ships suspected of carrying plague, the Black Death. (This had no effect on plagues carried by fleas on rats).

1484: (possibly): Cristavao Colom (Columbus) a young Genoese mariner approaches King Joao II of Portugal with a plan to sail to Cipangu (Japan) and other eastern areas by sailing west from Western Europe. His proposal is based on readings of Marco Polo's books, the biblical Apocrypha, Imago Mundi by Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly, maps by Ptolemy and works by the Florentine geographer Paolo Toscanelli.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1482: Slavery, Portugal sets up a fort on the West African coast to seek gold, then slaves. Later there were 60 European forts on the African slave coasts. (During the Crusades periods, steps were taken during times of conflict to keep open a slave route bringing slaves from southern Russia bound for Egypt. Venice trafficked in slaves)

1477: A Ming dynasty government official expunges the archives on China's treasure fleets under Cheng Ho.
See Dennis De Witt, 'Cheng Ho and the Ming Treasure Fleets', Dutch Courier, February 2003., pages 20 and 29. (The author is from Malacca, of Dutch descent, and maintains interest in the Dutch influence in Malaysia. Check a Dutch Descendants website: http://www.geocities.com/dutchdescendants/)

1477: Due to use of the printing press, some 500 copies of Ptolemy's Geographia are printed in Bologna. Other editions of it are published in Italy and Germany.
(Estensen, Discovery: The Quest for the Great South Land)

1477: Columbus voyages to Iceland.

1473: Born in Poland, the astronomer Copernicus.

1472: World exploration: Voyage of Joao Vaz Cortereal.

1471: World exploration: Portuguese ships cautiously cross the Equator.
(Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

On the Order of Christ in Portugal.
An early master (1420) of the Order of Christ was Henry the Navigator (died 1460). Later, the heir of the King of Portugal, John II Capet, The Perfect (died 1495) was his wife's brother, also his cousin, Manuel Duke Beja, who was Master of the Order of Christ at the time. The (otherwise unexplained ) revenues of the Order of Christ at this time funded the Portuguese explorations of Africa. The Portuguese from 1505 via the Order of Christ explored the western coasts of Africa. At the same time, Almeida went to Cochin (South India) to invade Moslem trading areas, after earlier Portuguese voyages to the east of 1500.

1463-1479AD: War between Ottoman Turks and Venetians; Turks eventually triumphant.

1462: Remainder of Balkans is annexed to the Ottoman Empire.

1459: Ceylon is now united after warfare, under Vijaya Bahu VI. Ceylon now refuses to pay tribute to emperor of China. (See Gavin Menzies, 1421)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is Phil Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence). (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

1458: Papal Bull of Inter Caetera. (Re impact on maritime history)

1453: Forced westward by Mongols, the Ottomans take Constantinople, then fight with Venice. In France, end of the Hundred Years War in 1453, Charles VII regains the whole of Gascony.

1452 and earlier: In Prince Henry's time the Portuguese discovered and settled Azores Islands and reached the islands of Flores and Corvo; plus also use various fishing banks (cod) up to Newfoundland by 1452. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 27). 1452: De Teive for the Portuguese discovers Corvo and the Fishing Banks.

1452: Papal Bulls of 1452, 1455 and 1456 , re Portugal's "Charter of Imperialism", to convert heathens from Cape Bojador to India, so when Spain and Portugal conflicted in America, Pope Alexander VI arbitrates, with Portugal territory in east and Spain's in the west. Portugal may already have discovered Brazil but according to its policy of secrecy does not mention it in negotiations with Spain and Pope. The Pope cannot see why Portugal is interested in land to west, so he draws a line down the middle of the Atlantic one hundred leagues west of the Azores or Cape Verde Islands, and all non-Christian lands east for Portugal, and west for Spain, and implicitly, the line existed on the other side of the world; and also went through Australia, roughly at the present eastern border of Western Australia, so that eastern Australia would be Spanish, meaning when Britain took Australia, she took Spanish territory (that is, "a Spanish Lake") according to the much-earlier Papal division of the Earth. The Portuguese King Joao II is dissatisfied with the division as it left out fishing grounds Portugal desired. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 30).

1450AD: (From a website on climate change): The Little Ice Age: Beginning about 1450AD is a marked return to colder conditions, often called The Little Ice Age, a term used to describe an epoch of renewed glacial advance. Although many regions of the world experience cooling during the period 1450 to 1890 A.D., its use has been criticised because it could not conclusively be considered an event of global significance (Bradley & Jones, 1992). But some scientific evidence arises with use of "proxy reconstructions", evidence from tree rings, ice cores, periglacial features. (There is considerable evidence that the Little Ice Age consisted of two main cold stages of about a century's length (Bradley & Jones, 1992). These occurred in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, with relative warmth arising in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Glaciers advanced in Europe, Asia and North America, whilst sea ice in the North Atlantic expanded with detrimental effects for the colonies of Greenland and Iceland (Lamb, 1982).)

1450: To 1870: Period of "Little Ice Age": Climate conditions change in Northern Hemisphere, leading to widespread misery, say some, but also inspired famous literature. Villagers saw glaciers crush their houses. Fisheries collapsed as oceans iced over. Severe land winters brought famine and conflict. Snowy hard winters in London may have inspired some of Charles Dickens' presentations of Christmas scenes? Clime conditions changed abruptly in 1860-1870.
(Little is known of reactions here in the Southern Hemisphere except for some recent research on Eastern Australia's Great Barrier Reef corals - See an issue of Science recent by 23 February, 2002, on work by Australian National University Researcher Erica Hendy, associated with workers from Australian Institute of Marine Science).

1450AD: Approx: Khmer kings of Cambodia have abandoned their capital, Angkor, retreating to the Mekong delta area of South Vietnam.

1450AD: Polynesia: Approx: New Zealand: Food problems around the 15th C. - cooling climate, increased population. Fish & shellfish major food items. Numerous references to cannibalism, but not how regular / normal it was, or whether due to nutrition or ritual. On the Coromandel Peninsula (east coast, North Island), is a beach called Kikowhakarere = "the flesh thrown away" or "left behind" - suggested as recording a cannibal feast interrupted by an enemy attack.

1449: Corrupt eunuch powerlord of China, Wang Zhen, leads 500,000 troops to subdue the Mongols of the northwestern frontier. Some 1000 wagons carried his personal baggage. Less than 20,000 Mongol horsemen cut off the emperor from his other forces. Wang was killed in other battles. The Mongols installed the young emperor's brother in power. When he held court, the Confucians successfully attacked the network of eunuchs in power. But a year later, the Mongols re-installed the older brother as emperor, Zhu Qizhen. Eunuchs however continued in international trade. The imperial response was to further limit boat size and civilian participation in overseas trade. By the C16th, Chinese shipwrights had virtually lost the art of building the large treasure ships, while in weaponry matters, the Chinese also fell behind European advances. China's tax base also declined. The 1448 flood on the Yangtze River had been a disaster. Threats from the uniting eastern and western Mongols under Altan Khan posed military, not naval threats. The Ming dynasty finall fell in 1644. In 1477 however was one last attempt to revive Chinese foreign trade, made by a powerful eunuch named Wang Zhi, head of Imperial secret police. He called for the logs of Zheng He's ships. But an official at the Ministry of War, Lui Daxia, took the logs and either hid or burned them. The Confucian view won the day, China had no need of anything foreign - the more expression of a need was viewed as a sign of weakness. China withdrew from her former interests in South East Asia. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas) (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

1448-1488AD: Thailand expands under King Trailok, who brings about major administrative and legal reforms.

1442: Mapmaking in 1442 or earlier?: Fresh dispute has broken out about the production date of The Vinland Map which is said to have been made 50 years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World. A new study of the inks used for the map might suggest that that some chemicals evident are of twentieth century vintage. The Vinland Map depicts the north Atlantic Coast of North America and includes text in medieval Latin. A legend to the map says that a Norseman, Lief Eriksson, found "Vinland" about 1000AD. The map dates roughly from 1440, and speculation has been that Columbus used it. US researchers have now used carbon-14 dating methods to find the map was made about 1434. The map was given to Yale University in the 1960s by philanthropist Paul Mellon. Tests in the 1970s by Walter McCrone found the ink used had contained anatase, a form of titanium oxide often used in inks after 1920, evident as crystals. The current arguments hinge on the shape of anatase crystals - which are now excessively regular - found in "old ink". The new US examination team has been led Jacqueline Olin, a retired researcher from the US' Smithsonian Institute. Olin says the ink contains aluminium, copper and zinc, all used in the medieval ink-manufacturing process. She says anatase because of the manufacturing process ended up in the map's ink but its crystal-shapes could changed over time. Her results have been published in the December 2003 issue of journal Analytical Chemistry. (Reported in Australia 29-30 November 2003 in weekend newspapers from a recent issue of journal Nature)

1430sAD: Collapse of Khmer empire in southeast Asia; Angkor Wat is abandoned after being sacked by Thai army in 1431.

1431-1433: Seventh voyage for a Chinese treasure fleet. Some Chinese even visited Mecca. By 1433, Chinese merchants are a normal part of the trading pattern of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

July 1433: China's latest treasure fleet sails into the Yangtze River. On 14 September, various emissaries are presented to the emperor's court. The new emperor has re-established international trade. But he died unexpectedly in early 1435 aged 36 and his successor again abandonded trade plans. He was succeeded by his seven-year-old son, Zhu Qizhen. Plans had been made however for other treasure ships fleets as far ahead as the 1470s. China's international prestige diminished, tribute was less, corruption set into trade institutions and customs, the coasts of China sprouted "markets" dabbling in international goods. By 1440 the great fleet of China was a wreck. By 1500-1525, imperial edicts forbade the building of larger vessels and finally in 1515, all oceangoing vessels were to be destroyed. 1551 was the height of wako (Japanese) piracy on the southern coast of China. This destruction of naval power was partly the outcome of a power struggle between eunuchs and Confucians. In Zhu Qizhen's time the eunuchs became more corrupt, trading in their own right, inflating taxes and accumulating fortunes. Perhaps worst of all was infamous eunuch Wang Zhen, who even stole tribute gifts for the emperor. However, many Chinese had stayed in foreign parts, even Luzon in the Philippines. In the 1550s, China began trade with Portugal at Macao, and in the 1570s, with Spain from Manila in the Philippines.

1433: European Navigator Gil Eannes passes Cape Bojader.

1405-1433: The magnificent failure of Chinese mariner, Zheng He.
Zheng He was a Muslim, son of a rebel family, and captured as a boy by the Chinese army. As was customary, he was castrated - a eunuch. But he had talents, and ended in the household of great prince Zhu Di, uncle of the Chinese emperor. The uncle conspired against the regime, won, and so became China's Yongle emperor (died 1424). Shortly he sent out Zheng He as an admiral to probe the world and demonstrate the worth of China to the ignorant. He sailed out to "conquer the world". "Between 1405 and 1433, Zheng He led seven major expeditions, commanding the largest armada the world would see for the next five centuries..." 28,000 sailors on 300 ships. The longest ship was 120 metres (as compared to Columbus' Santa Maria, of 85 feet length). These Chinese ships had advanced features such balanced rudders and watertight bulwark compartments. Zheng He's reach extended to East Africa, and contact with Arab traders. China then had no interest in trade with the backward Europeans, but wanted African products such as ivory, spices, medicines, wood. Kristol, researching Zheng He, found he had lived in Nanjing and was best remembered in Indonesia, as his voyages had helped stimulate Chinese migration to South-East Asia. He had also been distrusted by the elite Confucian scholars, who did not appreciate the opportunities of maritime endeavour. There had been a legend that a Chinese monk in the C5th had sailed to a "far east country" that to Kristol sounds like Mayan Mexico. By the C13th, Chinese ships sailed regularly to India (Calicut) and sometimes to East Africa - the coast of Kenya. But when his patron died in 1424, Zheng He lost out to power struggles, and records of his work were suppressed.
To 1525, the Chinese government suppressed maritime endeavour and private marine trade, and reduced the navy. So China lost its opportunities to expand by naval activity and marine commerce. And it seems, the legacy today of Zheng He's work is a small clan of Chinese-influenced survivors - the Famao - on the island of Pate off Kenya, where a Chinese ship of this era once wrecked. There is also a legend that Zheng He brought back to China, giraffes from Africa, which some took to be the fabled Chinese Unicorn. (qilin). See article by Nicholas D. Kristol, Good Weekend, 23 October, 1999., pp. 42ff. See his co-written book, China Wakes, 1999 (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

1431: Portuguese colonize Puerto Rico and are still there by 1447. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002., p. 47. - hardcover edition)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is P. Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence).

1431-1433AD: Chinese mariner Zheng-He makes his seventh and final voyage, sailing as far as the east coast of Africa. From Calicut the fleet divides. The eunuch Hong Bao goes to Hormuz, other Arab ports, then down the East African coast to Malindi of Kenya. Aden is currently politically unstable, the Sultan of Egypt is in control at Jidda. The fleet then reunites at Calicut. Zheng He dies at sea, on the Indian Ocean, and is buried according to Moslem rites. Descendants of his adopted nephew still live at Nanjing. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1430: China: Chinese Ming emperor is now grandson of Zhu Di, Zhu Zhanji. China's tribute trade is declining. China has departed Annam (North Vietnam), and lost some international prestige. The emperor decides to renew the treasure ship voyages, by 29 June 1430. There is a need to restore peace between Siam and the Malayan kingdom of Malacca. Zheng He is required to order the ruler of Siam to stop harassing Malacca. This sixth voyage is to be the largest ever, with more than 100 ships and 27,500 men. One departure date is 19 January 1431, or even by 12 January 1431 from the South China coast, visiting South Vietnam, Surabaja on north coast of Java, Palembang of Sumatra, Malacca, Ceylon, to Calicut by 10 December 1432. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas) (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.(

1430: Peak of a period of colder, worsening climate, which begins in the later Middle Ages, with special effects on the Scandinavian world. (View of H. R. Lyon, Vikings in Britain, p. 20.)

1430: Possible high point of severity of a cold climatic change occurring in recent centuries. (H. R. Lyon, The Vikings in Britain, p. 20).

1424: 12 August, Ming emperor Zhu Di dies aged 64 and sixteen concubines (poisoned or suiciding) are buried with him. He has still not subdued Mongol leader Arughtai. Menzies regards Zhu Di as one of the great visionaries and gamblers of history. His son Zhu Gaozhi (died 1425 after only a year as emperor) is succeeded by his son Zhu Zhanji died 1435 after embargoing all foreign contacts and trade) ascends the throne of China on 7 September and that day issues an edict stopping any new voyages of treasure ships. Traditionalist Confucian advisers are now installed. Xia Yuanji remains as finance minister and has to curb rampant inflation, and he abandons most of Zhu Di's extravagances. In time, the mandarin Liu Daxia of Ministry of War seizes all records on treasure fleet voyages from the archives and destroys them. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition) (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is P. Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence).

1424: Traveller da Conti returns home from his travels, to Florence. Dom Pedro brother of Henry the Navigator learns of what da Conti knows of Chinese voyages. Dom Pedro learns that Cathay and the Spice Islands can be reached by sailing westwards, not eastwards. So Dom Pedro in 1428 can take home to Portugal a revised map of the world. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002., p. 47. - hardcover edition)

December 1421: The Ottomans surrounding Byzantium cut off the great Silk Road leading from China across central Asia to the Middle East. By 6 December, 1421, the Mamluk Sultan Barsbey seizes power in Egypt and nationalizes the spice trade. This ruins merchants in the spice trade, seals Egypt's borders and severs the sea route through the Bosphorus to the western end of the Silk Route. The canal once linking the Red Sea and the Nile (completed in C10th), is also by now unusable. All land and sea routes for Europeans to the East are now closed.

Late 1421: Menzies writes, by coincidence, as the Chinese treasure fleets arrive to Calicut, the Indian city is visited by young Venetian, Niccolo da Conti, (c1395-1469). He is a young trader who in 1414 left Venice for Alexandria. He converted to Islam and took a Muslim wife. Christians were not then permitted south of Cairo, as the Islamic world had decided to keep the Indian Ocean as "an Islamic lake". Da Conti travels as a Muslim merchant, to the Euphrates delta, then Calicut. Years later he is required by Pope Eugenius IV to relate his stories of his travels to papal secretary Poggio Bracciolini, who later had them published. At Calicut, da Conti had gone aboard at least one Chinese junk. Menzies thinks da Conti also met Chinese diarist of the voyage, Ma Huan, as their reports on Calicut are quite similar. Ma Huan went off the treasure fleet ships at Calicut and presumably later returned to China. Menzies believes that da Conti's stories later influenced European map makers. So Menzies feels da Conti spoke to more Chinese years later, when their geographical knowledge had improved. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002., p. 85. - hardcover edition)
At this point, chronological data drawn from Gavin Menzies' book on the Chinese Treasure Fleets, 1421, will be curtailed due to fear of abridging copyright. Readers are recommended to read the entire book - Ed) (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is P. Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence).

1421: Item: Following is part of a review (date mislaid) of Gavin Menzies' book 1421 by Jeffrey Mellefont, a researcher at Australian National Maritime Museum in magazine, Signals... "Menzies writes well, bringing vividly to life the Ming court with all its intrigues, and what's known of actual Chinese voyaging. It's a shame that he didn't present his theory as fiction. It would have made a great tale, of airport novel size. But presenting his ideas as scholarship requires that they be judged accordingly and too often, by these standards, they fail. One is left wondering, too, at the integrity of the publisher who leaped into print with a work that is supported widely by neither Western nor Chinese scholars, yet has been promoted as though it were."

9 May 1421: Beijing, Violent storm breaks over Forbidden City, the beginning of the end of Zhu Di's reign. In particular, the treasury is burned. Many are killed. The Mandarins later reassert their power and end this experiment in expansionism. This also coincides with a two-year period of epidemic in the south which kills around 174,000 people in Fujian province alone. Zhu Di's health begins to fail, he ends issuing orders to halt any future voyages of treasure fleets and forbids foreign travel. Sensing China's weakness now, Mongol leader Arughtai refuses to pay tribute to China. The finance minister complains it is impossible to fund the military revenge Zhu Di wants to send against the Mongols. By 1424, Arughtai has simply disappeared into the vastness of the Asiatic steppes. Minister of War Fang Bin suicides rather than meet the bother of handling an emperor wanting a new war. Meantime, epidemics in some provinces have killed 253,000 people, and North Vietnam has rebelled with guerilla warfare. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002., p. 47. - hardcover edition)

3 March 1421, the esteemed visitors to the inauguration of new capital of China, Beijing are given a ceremony to mark their departure. Fleets are ready to sail them back to Hormuz, Aden, LaSa and Dhofar in Arabia, to Mogadishu, Brava, Malindi and Mombasa in Africa, Ceylon, Calicut, Cochin and Cambay in India, to Japan, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Malacca and Borneo, and "elsewhere". Zheng He has ready an armada of four great fleets and a fifth fleet commanded by Grand Eunuch Yang Qing has set sail some weeks earlier to map the entire Indian Ocean. Zheng He has previously commanded the five previous treasure fleets. This is the sixth great China fleet voyage. Now, fleets will sail separately, and Zheng He will go into Indian Ocean. Many of the otherwise under-employed scholars from China's earlier encyclopedia project are on the fleet ships. The bigger ships can stay at sea for three months and cross 4500 miles. The world's next most powerful fleet is that of Venice, which has about 300 light galleys. The Chinese treasure ships which displace more than 3000 tons can carry two thousand tons of cargo and reach Malacca in five week, Hormuz in the Persian Gulf in 12 weeks. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition) (For a non-detailed debunking of Menzies' 1421 by an Australian, see article, '1421: The Year China Didn't Discover Terribly Much', by Peter Barrett, (vice-president of Canberra Skeptics), The Skeptic, Vol. 25, No. 3, Spring 2005., pp. 48-51.)

1421: The rise of Beijing, and now the imperial court is ready to move from Nanjing. The new capital is to be inaugurated on New Year's Day, 2 February 1421. (Only a few weeks later, Henry V marries Catherine of Valois.) 1421, China has also been trading with Ceylon, Persia, India, Chinese Turkestan is called Kotan which produces jade, ambergris from the Pacific, myrrh from Arabia, sandalwood from Spice Islands.

1421: Great storms wrack Europe. In 1421, 1446, and 1570, gales killed 100,000 or more as a result of coastal flooding off the North Sea. Mortality from the 16th century tempest was about 400,000! The winters of 1407-1408 and 1422-1423 were so cold that the Baltic froze, permitting traffic across the sea and allowing wolves to pass from Norway to Denmark. Disease, particularly but not solely the Black Death, stalked Europe. The average life expectancy fell by 10 years during the 14th century. Farms, villages, and entire regions were abandoned.
(From a website reviewing book on climate change by H. H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World.)

2 February 1421: Brought by Chinese mariners, Chinese New Year's Day, kings and envoys from various parts of the world - Asia, Arabia, Africa and Indian Ocean - and 15 years of prior diplomacy, attend Beijing on up to 100 ships with a staff of 30,000 men, to give homage to Chinese emperor Zhu Di, Son of Heaven. Some 28 heads of state attend.

Under Zheng Ho the main Chinese admirals of 1421-23 are Hong Bao, Zhou Man, Zhou Wen, Yang Qing. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1420-1421AD: Chinese Ming capital moves from Nanjing to Beijing.

1420: There are still Danish men who can recall colonies on Greenland, or Baffin Island. The Danes have a theory that there is a north-west passage beyond Baffin Island to China. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 28-29)

1420: Pope appoints Prince Henry (The Navigator) Grand Master of the Order of Christ.

1419-1450AD: Korea prospers under King Sejong who introduces an official Korean script.

15 July 1419: Return of the fifth Chinese treasure fleet to China. Envoys presented to court on 8 August cause further new sensations. Yet another giraffe (qilin) is brought from Aden. These envoys do not leave China till 1421, the sixth voyage for treasure ships. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1419: Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal moved to Sagres to set up an "establishment" for research into improvements in navigation and seafaring, Sagres is one of twin headlands of Cape St Vincent, where rollers arrive from the from Atlantic, a "sacred headland", and out there placelessly was Cape Bojador, supposed edge of the world, and so what stopped sailors from going south down south-west Africa? Cape Bojador is a colony of Spanish Sahara, mainland nearest the Canary Islands, it was difficult to pass in a coast-hugging ship, and needed to pass it to get to India. so Henry thought to have a ship go far west out into the Atlantic, then cut back to the African coast, south of Bojador. Later, Cabral went so far west he discovered Brazil. Vasco da Gama ordered to make similar sweeps west, then south east, and a mariner named Gil Eannes of Lagos was first chosen to make such a sweep. first Henry had to design on ocean-going ship, not a mere coast-hugger. which became the caravel, Gil Eannes turned back twice, crew superstitious etc. Eannes made it in 1433, made it south of Bojador and at a place where only living thing was wildflowers. a great turning point for mankind, beginning of Portugal's manifest destiny. (McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 9-13ff.)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is P. Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence).

December 1418, Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira, Portuguese, are ordered by Henry the Navigator to explore the West African coast down to Guinea, two thousand miles south of Portugal. But they are blown off course and discover Madeira/Porto Santo.

1418: In Vietnam, further uprising against the Chinese, led by aristocrat landowner, Le L'oi, founder of a dynasty which is to rule Vietnam for 360 years. Zhu Di's armies cannot subdue him. Insurrection spreads through Annam (North Vietnam) and Vietnam. Entire red RIver delta area about Hanoi is in revolt. Le L'oi beats the Chinese armies, but does not achieve formal independence for Vietnam till 1428. Zhu Di effectively abandons Vietnam by July 1421. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1418: East African town of Malindi has by now an annual fleet from China, and sees return of its earlier-sent ambassadors to China. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)


1417 March: Beijing is almost ready to become new capital of China. In 1420 the Temple of Heaven is finished.

1417-1419: After 1413, next and fifth expedition for Chinese Treasure Fleets, visiting every port of Africa, Asia, India, and bringing back envoys to attend the 1421 inauguration of the Forbidden City of Beijing as new capital of China. One departure date given is 31 May 1417. About now, Admiral Yang Qing has to return other envoys to their home ports, and solve the problem of how to determine longitude. On this trip, Zheng He visits Semudera (modern Sumatra). Also this trip, separate fleets are under command of Grand Eunuch Hong Bao, Eunuch Zhou Man and Eunuch Zhou Wen. Levathes, (When China Ruled The Seas) indicates this fleet visited Champa, Java, Palembang, Semudera, Atjeh on Sumatra, Malacca, Maldives, Cochin and Calicut, Hormuz, to Aden for the first time on the Red Sea, then ruled by the Rasulid Dynasty (1229-1454) who ruled all of south-west Arabia as far north as Mecca. The Rasulids vie with Egypt for control of Mecca and Medina.) Then the Chinese ships sailed for the East African coast, to Mogadishu of Somalia, Malindi of Kenya (a Moslemized area) and areas where Swahili was spoken and were ruled by Arab sheiks. The people of the Swahili-speaking areas are rather leery of foreigners due to various earlier invasions.

1416: King of Malindi in Africa presents emperor of China with two giraffes. (See earlier below in 1414) About 16 November 1416, and about the time when Zhu Di suggests for the first time that the capital of China be moved from Nanjing to Beijing, which is strategically closer to the northern border where Mongols lurked. After 1403, Zhu Di had relocated about 120,000 households to Beijing. At Beijing, Zhu Di planned to build The Purple Forbidden City, a compound of 800 rooms including three receiving halls and three palace residences, and more than 100 chambers for offices, archives, libraries, factories, studios for artisans and storerooms, all on a strict north-south axis demonstrating Confucian notions of harmony. During 1416, repairs to the Great Canal are also finished. On 28 December 1416, admiral Zheng He is ordered to take home all envoys from 19 countries lately arriving in China. Cochin in India is now to be specially regarded in the Chinese tribute system.

1415: Iberia: An army under King Joao I attacks and captures the Moroccan city of Ceuta. Henry the third son of the King becomes governor of the city and later developes curiosity about lands to the south (along the West African coast), and begins to see opportunities for trade in salt, spices, slaves, copper and gold. He also sees oportunities for the missionary spread of Christianity. The entry points to such trade must however be by sea, since Moslem merchants and rulers have locked up land-routes - while the powerful Italian cities of Venice and Genoa also use ships.

12 August 1415: Chinese admiral Zheng He returns to Nanjing, bringing the rebel/usurper Sekander from Sumatra. Emperor Zhu Di decides Sekander will be executed as a usurper. His policy was to enforce situations where countries trading with China had rulers friendly to China.

1415: Prince Henry (The Navigator), is entrusted with commend of the Portuguese attack on Ceuta, an Arab port on the north coast of Africa overlooking Strait of Gibraltar. A European victory over the Moors results. Capture of gold trade, and a port in Africa for Portugal/Europeans. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002., p. 47. - hardcover edition)


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1414: The fourth Chinese treasure fleet visits South Vietnam (Champa), Java, Sumatran and Malay ports, the eight main islands of the Maldives Islands, India, then Hormuz. One branch of the fleet sails to Bengal of India. On Sumatra, admiral Zheng He intervenes in a local dispute over ruling succession. The king of Bengal Saifu'd-Din decides to visit China with Yang Min with a present, a giraffe from Malindi of Kenya, which the Chinese call a qilin, a mythical/sacred animal, one of the four sacred animals of China together with the dragon, the phoenix and the tortoise. The qilin was taken to appear only at times of peace, prosperity and goodness. The giraffe was presented to the court on 20 September 1414. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1413-1415: Fourth Chinese treasure fleet reaches Hormuz of the Persian Gulf. A fifth fleet goes as far as Aden, where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean.
See Dennis De Witt, 'Cheng Ho and the Ming Treasure Fleets', Dutch Courier, February 2003., pages 20 and 29. (The author is from Malacca, of Dutch descent, and maintains interest in the Dutch influence in Malaysia. Check a Dutch Descendants website: http://www.geocities.com/dutchdescendants/)

1413: Chinese emperor sends envoy Chen Cheng on a fact-finding mission through towns and capitals of Central Asia. Eg, across great Taklamakan Desert and to Tashkent and Samarkand. The envoy has an extended stay at Mongol Sharukh's capital at Herat. These Mongols (Timurids) are Moslems. There are more Chinese missions to the Timurids in 1416 and 1418.

1413AD: After 1409, next great Treasure Fleet sails from China for South East Asia. Some Chinese ships sail from Malacca for Bengal, Maldive Islands, Africa. Another fleet aims for Arabian Sea and Hormuz on the Persian Gulf.

Later 1412: Chinese treasure fleet moves to Majapahit on Java and to Semudera, Deli and Atjeh on north Sumatra, near Strait of Malacca which has lately been plundered by a Chinese pirate, Chen Zuyi from Guangzhou and from Palembang on Sumatra. Then Zheng He sails for Ceylon, to receive a cool reception, then to Calicut of India, north of Cochin (South India) and Quilon. The Chinese happen to hear a garbled version of the story of Moses, the Exodus from Egypt, and Aaron and the Golden Calf, which they associate with Hindu veneration of the cow, and think happened in Calicut. Levathes writes that the Chinese mistakenly believe that the great religions, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam had all begun in parts of China. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1412AD: China from 8 December 1412 prepares a fourth great fleet for sailing, the largest yet assembled - 63 vessels and a crew of 28,560. One ambition is to visit the Persian Gulf port of Hormuz. One staffer is 25-year-old Moslem translator Ma Huan, who becomes the fleet historian, who writes perhaps the first eyewitness accounts of various peoples of the Indian Ocean. Admiral Zheng He supervises the building of an artificial mountain at Liujia, about 30 feet high and almost a mile in circumference, It is called Bao Shan (Treasure Mountain), to help guide any treasure fleet into the Tangtze River. The fleet does not actually said till January 1414. Then it moves 40 miles south down the coast to harbour at entrance of Min River south of Fuzhou on Fujian coast, to an area with a name changed to Taiping (meaning "Peace".) The fleet waits for favourable northeast monsoon season. The fleet sails s/sw through Straits of Formosa and across South China Sea for South Vietnam (Champa), a loose confederation which lives by military plunder and enslaving prisoners of war; it is mostly at war with neighbours Annam (North Vietnam, the Khmer kingdom, and emerging Siam. Champa supplies China with tribute and ebony, a black bamboo called lakawood, and rare aloe wood for incense. (By the mid-C18th, the mouth of the Yangtze has shifted north, meaning Shanghai overshadowed Liujia. Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas, p. 96 for information on methods of navigation)

Contra to Gavin Menzies' 1421 is P. Rivers, (Capt.), “1421” Voyages: Fact and Fantasy. [monograph No 11.] 2004. Malaysia, first edition. ISBN 9834 055641. (Rebutting Menzies on three fronts: documents, nautical and geographical aspects, and general lacks of evidence).

1412: China's emperor Zhu Di out of filial piety begins to build what is in the C18th and C19th regarded as one of the great wonders of the world, an octagonal pagoda made of porcelain, to venerate Empress Ma. It is nine stories high, or more than 240 feet. Some 152 porcelain bells chimed in the wind. Around it are placed beautiful gardens and exotic trees. The cost is offset by profits from Zheng He's treasure fleet voyages. All is destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion of 1856. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1411-1142AD: India: Reign of Indian sultan Ahmad Shah of Gujarat, who builds splendid capital city of Ahmadabad.

1411: Chinese emperor Zhu Di sends an envoy to southern Manchuria to ask if they would convey messages to the Jurchen chieftains of northern Manchuria at Nurkal, a remote northern spot. A success, the mission results in the Jurchen visiting the Chinese capital to pay tribute, etc. There are more Chinese missions to Northern Manchuria in 1413 and 1432.

1411: China, Work continues on northern section of The Great Canal. The southern section, improved, is opened in 1415. Grain is carried in 3000 flat-bottomed barges. Loss of forests and other costs begin to produce revolts. Forests are felled in northern Vietnam and south of there. Later, each few years, Zhu Di sends out huge armadas to the known world, with gifts and trade goods, massive treasure ships with guns and moving armies of soldiers. to Africa for ost

Please note: fix this section needs an identifying logo - As is seen from the above, we designate a Merchant Network by reference to the major names helping to comprise it, within a choice of historical timeframe(s).

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About: Ken Cozens and Dan Byrnes are two historians interested in Merchant Networks for just some of the following reasons:
There is still much that is new to be discovered and discussed. The Internet boom in genealogy has prompted fresh thoughts on people-networks in history, in general, and how to better research them. In today's world, movements of people (migration patterns) are volatile, but these have been volatile in the past, and so (we feel) historical comparisons are obviously invited.
Emerging technologies, new software, are inviting/inventing new modes of research and information-handling, which we can harness and use, relatively easily.
Otherwise, we are concerned that so far, history (or, Economic History) has given us insufficient information on Merchant Networks, which firstly, for the people-of-the-past who were concerned, were means of making and keeping a living. Many abstract economic theories have been unsuccessful in explaining economic behaviour, and in too many societies, world-wide, fail to assist a general experience of equity-in-society.
We feel as well that policies lately pursued in the USA (and elsewhere at global levels) are ill-adapted to improving world development and re-development scenarios. The "Communist Empire" has fallen since 1989. Whether the rising economic power of China will do the world any extra good is a question remaining to be seen. As individuals, we can do little about the future, but we can do something about our understandings of the past.
We believe that the inspection of Merchant Networks in history can do much in many places to help improve human participations in the world's future. It is better if that participation is better-informed about the past. In the meantime, we make no apology if the historical essays/explanations given are sometimes detailed, or complicated.

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Footer: Please Note: Material above is researched, compiled and written by by Ken Cozens and Dan Byrnes. Disclaimer etc. - Formatting and style of information delivery is © Kenneth J. Cozens (London) and Dan Byrnes (Australia) 2006.

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