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From 1350 to 1450

Merchant Networks Timelines
This file from 1350 to 1450 There are now 21++ files in this series
Many files are filled with data for ten-year periods (decadally) These data have been years in compilation. Their trend is to follow the changing shapes of the British Empire.

This file is devoted to presenting basic Timeline information for website readers. The items are often sketchy, and some have been extracted from other websites managed by Dan Byrnes. These Timelines will be added-to intermittently, as new data and new e-mail arrives. Book titles will be entered according to the timeframes they treat. -EdThis is file Timelines a - first in the series. To find the second file (for 1450-1500) in this Merchant Networks Timelines series of files, click to Timelinesb.htm

1347-1350: The Black Death of Europe. Bubonic plague across Europe kills an estimated 20 million people, one-third of the population. Mortality rates range from 40 per cent in France to 20 per cent in Scotland. Beliefs arise that the Apocalypse has arrived, the End of the World. The disease travels west from China, moving through the ranks of traders and Crusaders, then on ships arriving to Genoa and Marseilles. This may have been due to a primitive form of biological warfare, as while they were besieged within the Black Sea port of Kaffa, Tartar soldiers are said to have catapaulted disease-ridden bodies of their own ranks over the city walls to infect their enemies. Later in Europe, doing penance to stave off the wrath of God, thousands of flagellants go on the roads, whipping themselves with leather straps tipped with iron spikes. Beliefs arise that Jews have poisoned wells, and pogroms are launched against them. In Turin, Italy, Agnolo di Tura writes that fear of contagion suppresses all feelings of love and care: "Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another... and no one could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship."

1347: Black Plague arrives, halves population of Europe in 100 years.

1347-1354AD: The Black Death moves through Europe, and in Germany and Switzerland, Jews are blamed for the pestilence and are massacred.

1347AD: Venice: A Venetian galley returns from Kaffa and brings possibly the first rats and plague into Italy.

1347-1350AD: Black Death (bubonic plague) kills 75 per cent of population of Europe.

1348AD: A year of the Black Plague in Europe.

1372: Birth of Cheng Ho/Zheng He, later senior admiral of China. He is born into a Muslin family of Yunan, China, a Mongol stronghold re-taken by the Chinese about ten years later, as Cheng Ho (real name, Mah Ho) discovers. He is captured, castrated, becoming a eunuch, and placed in the Ming army, where his talents are recognised. He fights on frontiers on behalf of Prince Zhu Di, who takes the Chinese throne in 1402.
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/)

1381: England sees its Peasant Revolt for an end to the bondage of serfs and for limitations of rent for land-use. (Cited in Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Vol. 1, Racial Oppression and Social Control. New York, Verso, 2002., p. 41.)

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1381AD: England: Peasant's Revolt led by Wat Tyler and Jack Straw worries the English throne. (See Dan Jones, Summer of Blood. HarperCollins. 2009, 238pp.) A food riot and outright class warfare with some religiose biblical egalitarianism. Inspired by "vicious class legislation", poll taxes seen as unfair and laws indicating what ordinary folk should not eat and what they should wear. The Black Death had led to labour shortages and so wages had risen. Led by Wat Tyler, who directed that rebels engage in no looting, only the disposal of ill-gotten gains. The rebels, trusting in boy-king, Richard II, had no dreams of holding power for long, but engaged in "corrections". High officials and oppressors were hunted down, such as Lord Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor, lord treasurer Robert Hales, lawyers and rich merchants. John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace was razed. Later royal retribution took 1500-7000 lives.

1382AD: France: Urban revolt in Paris, Rouen and the Languedoc.

1382; Zhu Di (who becomes Prince of Yen) expels the last Mongols from China. and sends his eunuch Isiha to the troubled region of Manchuria in the far north-east. In 1413 the Jurchen people of Manchuria send a prestigious mission to Beijing re trading rights and so on. China also courts Japan, and Japan opens ports to Chinese trade. After Manchuria, Zhu Di works to bring Tibet into the fold of China. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1384AD: France: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, inherits the county of Flanders.

1386AD: Venice: The Venetian senate outlaws the marketing of bondsmen in the piazza. Between 1414 and 1423, some 10,000 slaves were sold in Venice. At about this time, Aragon and Catalonia were slave societies "from top to bottom", the supply of Moslem captives from North Africa was augmented by Circassians and Georgians from the Black Sea. (From D. B. Davis, p. 43).

1387: Chinese after 30 years of fighting have freed China from the Mongols. Zhu Di renames Ta-tu as Beijing and makes it his capital. Zhu Yuanzhang becomes paranoid and brutally purges his army command. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

Circa 1390AD: Islam: Ottoman Turks complete their conquest of Asia Minor.

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1391AD: Spain: Massacres of Jews in Castile.

1392AD: France: Madness of King Charles VI of France; co-regency of his uncles. Expedition of Louis of Orleans to Italy.

1391-1392: The young prince named Parameswara of Palembang of east coast of Sumatra becomes warlike and rebels against the Javanese overlords of his area. He is forced to flee to Temasek of Malaya, which he feels is useful as a base, and named "Malacca". Soon it has a population of 2000, but though it is midway between Indonesia's Spice Islands and the Malabar coast of India, it has few natural resources apart from tin and has to depend on trade, which means dealing with China. Parameswara soon has to fight the jealousy of rival Sumatran ports. Soon he sends his own ships out to induce passing ships to trade with Malacca. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1394AD: France: Expulsion of the Jews of France.

1394AD: Birth of Henry the Navigator of Portugal.

1398AD-1399AD: Tamerlane sacks Delhi in India.

1398: China: Death of paranoid old emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, who has continued policy of killing rivals.

1398AD: India: Tartar ruler Tamerlane invades Northern India, bothering the new Hindu empire of Vijayanagar. Tamerlane sacks Delhi.

1397: Queen Margaret of Denmark unites her country with Norway and Sweden.

1395-1400AD: Tamerlane's Mongols ravage Persia and Syria.

1396AD: France: Struggle between Dukes of Burgundy and Orleans as result of king's madness. 1396: Crusade of Nicopolis.

1402: Tamerlane, Mongol conqueror from central Asia, defeats Ottomans at Battle of Ankyra in Turkey. - 402: Tamerlane defeats Ottomans at Ankara, and has conquered Northern India, Persia and Syria.

September 1402: Chinese emperor Zhu Di dispatches Yu Shiji to visit ruler of Korea, Yu Shiji and advise Zhu Di is now upon The Dragon Throne. Trade begins, but part of it is Zhu Di's request for hundreds of beautiful Korean maidens, who are prized for their delicate features. In 1408, one such maiden, Kwon, became one of the emperor's favourites. Korea later much resented providing this form of "tribute", maidens sent annually to China.

1402: China: Zhu Di (who becomes third Ming emperor, known as Yong Le) marches south on Nanjing the imperial capital, at head of army, where mandarins hate the power of the eunuchs. The eunuchs side with Zhu Di's and throw open the city gates. Soon though, the aging Tamerlane at Samarkand on the Silk Route has decided to take China and Zhu Di decides to confront him. Zhu Di takes Ta-Tu or Beijing and builds the Forbidden City, a walled capital, some 15 hundred times the area of walled London and with 50 times the population of London. Zhu Di also resolves to repair the Great Wall built before 260BC. His ambition is also to do what Khublai Khan had never done, to build a maritime empire spanning the oceans. (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.)

1402: Italy: Plague in Florence.

1402: China: Prince Zhu Di becomes emperor of China. Ma Ho becomes a court eunuch of influence and is renamed Cheng Ho/Zheng He. Zhu Di has expansionist plans for Chinese, particularly regarding maritime trade. Between 1405-1433, Cheng Ho sails seven voyages, commanding hundreds of junks in "treasure fleets", early on as far as 10,00 miles to Zanzibar on the south-east coast of Africa.
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/) (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.)

1402: Annam (North Vietnam) invades northern provinces of Champa (coastal-based South Vietnam).

About 1403-1404, though never at sea, Zheng He becomes admiral of China's fleets and also decides to enlarge China's land trades via Silk Route. Zhu Di has doubled the size of the Longjiang shipyards near Nanjing. on the Yangtze. Seven large dry-docks are built, their remains are still there. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1403: Korea presents China's emperor Zhu Di with a world map - the Kangnido - made about 1403, the original is lost. The map is modified after 1420. It presents a panoramic view of world, compiled from sources from Persia/Arabia, Central Asia, and China/south-East Asia. Some European names are given in Persian Arabic. Depicted are Spain, Straits of Gibraltar, North African coast (Atlas Mountains) Europe, Asia, Africa, and Japan. Menzies thinks its later version is so accurate re West Africa particularly, Chinese ships had to have been there. (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.)

1403: Tamerlane (Timur, leader of the Timurids, a Mongolian people), at Samarkand is enraged at Chinese emperor, Zhu Di, regarding himself as "lord of the realms of the face of the earth". Tamerlane after all is conqueror of Persia, India and much of Central Asia. To make a point, in 1403 as the Spanish envoy Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo to Samarkand, the Spaniard is allowed to sit in a higher chair at court than Chinese envoys. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1404AD Circa: Ming emperor Zhu Di in middle of Beijing builds a new astronomical observatory and has a 20-year-plan to enlarge China's trade and prestige. The stars are to be observed each night. Zhu Di also convinces Korea, the Shogun of Japan and the grandson of Tamerlane, Prince Ulegh Begh, to make observations of stars. In 1404 Zhu Di moves China's capital from Nanjing to Beijing; ten thousand households need to be moved. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1403AD: Emperor of China, Zhu Di, orders building of imperial fleet of trading ships, warships and support vessels for China's seas and Indian Ocean. By May 1403, Fujian province has to produce 137 ocean-going ships. By August 1403, Suzhou, Jiangsu, Jiangxim, Zhejiang, Hunan and Guangdong are ordered to produce 200 more vessels. By October the coastal provinces are ordered to refit 188 flat-bottomed transport boats. Between 1404-1407 is a "frenzy of shipbuilding" in China with 1681 ships built for imperial missions. Confucians are horrified at this notion that China shall trade. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

December 1404: Zhu Di in China orders great numbers of scholars - about 2180 of them - with long-time advisers Yao Guang Xiao and Liu Chi to mount a program called Yong-le-Dadian to preserve all known knowledge and literature.The result is an encyclopedia of four thousand volumes, completed just before 2 February 1421. Other work of scholarship is organised.
Menzies writes that Henry V 1387-1422 had only six handwritten books, three loaned by a nunnery, and the wealthiest European merchant of this time, the Florentine Francesco Datini, has as many as 12 books, eight on religious subjects. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002, p. 36. - hardcover edition)

1405: First of the expansionist voyages of Chinese admiral Zheng He to East Africa, epic voyages as Menzies calls them. Zheng He sails with 62 treasure ships manned by 27,800 men, to Cambodia, Java, Malacca, Ceylon, then Calicut in India. In 1416, on 16 November, Zheng He brings to China a giraffe, called a quilin. and presents it to Zhu Di. This becomes a spiritual sign to solidify Zhu Di's reign, the Mandarins cease protest, some one million men work directly on reconstructing Beijing, and 3.5 million work indirectly. They are guarded by one million soldiers. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition) 1405: China at Nanjing gathers a fleet of 317 ships including some treasure ships. Total crew is 27,000 men to go to Calicut, India, to revamp China's trading pattern. (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.)

8 January 1405: Tamerlane/Timur invades China with an army of 200,000 which moves across the frozen Jaxartes River in snow. Fortunately for China, Tamerlane becomes fever-stricken at Otrar and dies on 17 January 1405, aged 69. His body is taken back to Samarkand for burial. He is succeeded by his son, Shahrukh Bahadur, who once impertinently suggested that the Chinese emperor should convert to Islam, though it appears the message never actually reached the emperor. Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

1405-1433AD: Chinese Muslim mariner/admiral, Zheng He, makes seven voyages westwards to collect tribute for Ming emperor Zhu Di. Levathes, in When China Ruled The Seas, points out that Zhu Di's father had been a poor soldier who rose to power, but remained fearful of foreigners and outside influences (paranoia). Zhu Di however, as Yongle emperor, was educated and trained to rule, and sought to play out the role of China on the world stage, as no Chinese emperor had ever thought to do before. The treasure ship voyages were just part of almost 50 emissarial missions sent during Zhu Di's 24-year reign. Just one mission was to sort out the role of Tibet (here the concern was the fifth karmapa ("master of karma, master of action"), Bebshin Shegpa (born 1384), who controlled southeastern Tibet. ) The karmapa was known in China as "Halima", and lived at a religious centre, Tshurphu, forty miles from Lhasa. The karmapa accepted an invitation to visit Nanjing and arrived there on 10 April 1407, where Zhi Di made him head of all Buddhist monks in China. Miracles were said to occur. But Zhu Di had sent troops to the border to invade Tibet, to suppress rival Buddhist sects, which the karmapa said was unnecessary and not beneficial. So Zhu Di withdrew the troops. The karmapa died shortly later of smallpox, aged 32, credited with saving Tibet from Chinese invasion.
Another mission went to the Mongols on China's north, the Uriyangqad Mongols about Beijing, which ended leaving large parts of Inner Mongolia to the Mongols. Zhu Di also tried to "normalize" relations with the Jurchen in Manchuria. Northern Manchuria however remained a problem, the home of "wild Jurchen", tribal herdsmen and various Siberian people who eluded Chinese influences. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas.)

1407: Chinese admiral Zheng He returns from Calicut in India to China and is ordered to sail a second time to India, 1407-1409. There is to be a new local king of Calicut who wishes to maintain trade-closeness with China. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas.)

1407: The pillaging of the forests of Northern Vietnam and other Chinese incursions lead to a revolt in 1407 led by Le Qui Ly, a former minister of Court of Vietnam who usurped the throne and introduced reforms that win him support. His aim is to end China's subjugation of Vietnam. Zhu Di sends an army to quell him, but this fails. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1407: Chinese admiral Zheng He establishes a language school in Nanjing, (the Su-i-Quan - Si Yi Guan), to train interpreters. Learning Arabic, Persian, Swahili, Hindi, Tamil and other languages. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

1409: China's third expedition of Treasure Fleets sail under Admiral Zheng He. It has 48 ships and 30,00 crew. The captains are Eunuchs Wang Jingh-ong and Hou Xian. They sail for Champa, then Temasek (in future to be called Singapore). Then to Malacca. Trade experts on board include 180 physicians and pharmacists, buyers of medicines. Then to Ceylon, where Zengh He lands a tablet dated February 15, 1409, with messages in Chinese. Persian and Tamil. Ceylon is undergoing warfare between three states, the Singhalese of the central area, the Hindu Tamils of the north (originally from southern India), and a Muslim usurper trying to make Islam the state religion. Zheng he finds the only man of influence on Ceylon who will talk with him is Alakeswara, who fights the Tamils and refuses to pay tribute to China. The Chinese fleet moves on to Quilon, Cochin and Calicut of India. But when they later return to Ceylon, the Chinese "discipline" the warring parties there. Two versions exist of what happened, the Chinese and the Singhalese. (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas, p. 115)
1409: Chinese discover that Malacca (Indonesian spice islands), has a chieftain only, no king, and is in control of Hsien Lo of Thailand. In 1409, Zhu Di orders Zheng Ho to take control of Malacca, which he does. Malacca is visited by Bengalis, Gujaratis, Parsees, Arabs. Some 84 languages are spoken about Malacca. Some of the goods traded are spices /pepper from Ternate and Tidore (the spice islands), silk, batiks and tin from Malacca and Java, porcelain from China, Indian gems, Venetian glass.

1408: China invades and annexes Annam (North Vietnam).

1405-1407: Sailing of the first Chinese treasure fleet under Zheng He/Cheng Ho to India. Later the second and third fleets also reach India. One motive for the voyages is simply to advertise Chinese superiority, which certainly seems the case in terms of marine technology. On this first voyage is some conflict, when the Chinese sailing west through the Straits of Malacca took months to defeat a pirate chief - a battle ensues with 500 pirates near Palembang, near Sumatra. Chengo Ho managed to take his pirate back to Nanjing. On the second voyage, Cheng Ho took sides on Ceylon concerning a power struggle between Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils. He lured the Sinhalese from a city, took the city, captured an aggressive ruler and installed a local choice of chief. The captured king was also taken to Nanjing. The third voyage made an attempt to influence Malacca. The Chinese recognised Parameswara as a legitimate ruler and gave him a tablet declaring him a vassal of China. Cheng Ho then had a headquarters for further operations in the East Indies. More strength at Malacca meant more stability for Siam and Java and ensured China maintained trading rights. Parameswara went home with the Chinese on their third voyage.
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/)

1407: Siam on its own initiative sends envoys to China's Ming court, and gifts including elephants, parrots and peacocks. At the time, China is suffering one of its periodic outbreaks of infectious disease, eg measles or smallpox. In 1407, 78,400 people die from epidemics in Jiangsu and Fujian provinces alone. China has great need of trading for medicinal plants.

1411: 6 June: Zheng He returns to China from his third voyage overseas. In later months arrive to China various emissaries from various lands, the Bengalese in June, from Calicut, Cochin and Java in July, lastly the newly-appointed king of Malacca. However, these visitors to Nanjing are kept confined under fairly strict supervision and are forbidden to deal with the ordinary Chinese of the streets. However, once gifts have been exchanged suitably, such visitors including Korea can hold a supervised market day and deal with the Chinese public. It is forbidden for Chinese to sell any article to foreigners which contains or carries information on any Chinese infrastructure or "military secrets". (Levathes, When China Ruled The Seas)

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 ostrich and leopards, gold cloth from Calicut of s/w India, tin and other goods from Siam/Thailand. Malacca is friendlier to Chinese and is favoured over Java and Sumatra. Cambodia is not as favoured as Siam. Korea is important to Chinese, so is Vietnam. (Item from Gavin Menzies, 1421, The Year China Discovered the World. 2002 - hardcover edition)

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) (And 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).

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)

1413: France: Protest of the French Estates General against civil war. Revolt at Paris. Henry V is King of England.

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.

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/)

1415: English defeat French at Agincourt. Also, publication of Bellicorum Instrumentorum Liber, an illustrated book on warfare which mentions rockets and torpedoes.

1415: Use of the Longbow allows Henry V to defeat French at Agincourt.

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)

1414-1423: Italy, Venice, Doge is Tommaso Mocenigo, control of the Veneto, Friuli and Dalmatia is now consolidated.

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 develops 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 opportunities 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.

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.

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.

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. The 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)

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 is 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).

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)

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

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.

1420: France: Treaty of Troyes.

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)

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.)

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.

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 weeks, 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.)

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 guerrilla warfare. (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 Mameluke 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 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."

1423-1457: Italy, Venice, Francesco Foscari is Doge, acquisition of Brescia and Bergamo. Ottoman Turks take Constantinople in 1453 - In 1454, Peace of Lodi among Italian states.

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)

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).

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.(

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).

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.)

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 abandoned 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.

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.

1440s: Hungary: Turks have occupied large areas of the northern Balkans. Ladislas V of Hungary (Wladislaw VI of Poland) is defeated and killed at the battle of Varna, in an ill-fated crusade against them. However, his successor Janos Hunyadi kept Hungary free from Turkish rule.

1448: Break-up of Scandinavia after death of Christopher of Bavaria, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

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 finally 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 mere 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.)

1450: Gutenberg sets up a printing workshop at Mainz.

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).

Below are items still uncollected.

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.

1440s: Hungary: Turks have occupied large areas of the northern Balkans. Ladislas V of Hungary (Wladislaw VI of Poland) is defeated and killed at the battle of Varna, in an ill-fated crusade against them. However, his successor Janos Hunyadi kept Hungary free from Turkish rule.

1448: Break-up of Scandinavia after death of Christopher of Bavaria, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

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 finally 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.)

1450: Gutenberg sets up a printing workshop at Mainz.



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