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Europocentryzm interpretacji świata i historii trwający od stuleci jest widoczny i dziś.
Poniżej pierwszy z brzegu komentarz osoby, która zetknęła się z wiedzą o podróżach i odkryciach Zheng He.

"This is amazing!! I have been reading about it this week for the first time. When thinking back at my history class regarding sea expeditions where he is not? even mentioned in my books, I have the feeling that some parts of history regarding exploring the sea has been somewhat Europeanized and miscredited. China is a mysterious place we (get to) really know so little about, its exciting to explore it then.
"

Może warto więc zbliżyć się choć trochę do tematu...:

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Author: Lars Plougmann from London, UK
Modern model of Ming Dynasty's treasure ships compared to one of Columbus's ships. The purported size of the Ming ships is strongly disputed by maritime historians. Photograph of the display in the China Court of the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.

  • Zheng He's fleets were ultimately set up to trade, explore, and strengthen the relationship with other countries because China was already one of the most wealthy and prosperous countries of that time. Some of the goods that they brought with the 20,000 men aboard the ship included silk goods, porcelain, gold and silver ware. The voyages by Zheng He strengthened the relations between China and other countries in Asia and Africa; this gave a push to the cultural and economic exchange between them.


  • Zheng He's ships were gigantic; they were the largest wooden ships in history. The name of the type of ship that he sailed in was called a Treasure Ship that were as long as football fields an could carry as much as 1,500 tons. The fleets included 62 treasure ships that were run by over 27,000 crew members total. They travelled in these ships through the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea.


  • Short term effects: As the fleets would first arrive in the different countries it would show the local rulers the power and strength of the Chinese empire which was thought of to be the most powerful empire. The Chinese also settled in certain places and became permanent trading posts when they first got there; they would carefully study the customs of the local residents in order to show their respect so they would trust to trade with them.


  • Long term effects: Eventually these expeditions established foreign relations with other countries because of their influence on trade within these countries. The Chinese wanted to form alliances and bonds with other countries to make them stronger. Also they completely expanded trade because more and more Chinese settled in different countries in Asia and Africa and they influenced a cultural and economic exchange between them.


Images:
1. Welcome to DKImages.com. 03 May 2009 -
http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/840/25070521.JPG

2. Wissenschaft-online. 03 May 2009 -
http://www.wissenschaft-online.de/sixcms/media.php/591/he1ZhengHeHIRES.jpg

3. Zheng He. 03 May 2009 - http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~vaucher/Genealogy/Documents/Asia/Ships/ZhengHeShip.jpg


The author's conclusion that Chinese seafarers and concubines settled in Malaysia, India, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, and across the Pacific, almost a century before the Europeans started their historic voyages of exploration has come up against a great deal of opposition. However, with the publication of the paperback in October 2003, and the posting of 'Synopsis of Evidence 17' on the 1421 website, people will surely begin to take off their historical blinkers and adopt a more open attitude to interpretations of world history. The historical purists have constantly stood their ground in the belief that Magellan’s expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe, and that the supporting cast of Columbus, da Gama and Cook were the pioneers of their day. Nonetheless there is overwhelming evidence on this website to support the author’s claim that the Chinese reached the great continents years before the Europeans first set foot there.
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GHOST FLEET:
THE EPIC VOYAGE OF ZHENG HE - THE GREATEST EXPLORER YOU NEVER HEARD OF.


A Muslim castrated as a young boy in China, this man would still serve his nation with total loyalty. Zheng He:
China's Greatest Admiral who may have discovered America even before Columbus.
A man of peace whose fleet had half the world in his grasp and the other half within easy reach. And a leader whose giant Treasure Fleet suddenly vanished because of a colossal mistake.

600 years ago, China emerges from an age of darkness - with the biggest naval fleet ever assembled. It will forge a new path across unknown oceans, led by a towering Admiral -- 100 years before Columbus. And China will stand as the world's undisputed superpower. But in time, this supreme leader would be brought to an end by a catastrophic decision. What happened?

Join National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashita as he retraces Admiral Zheng He's epic journeys and discover how China's internal struggles turned this Admiral's forces into a ghost fleet, and setback this great nation for hundreds of years.

From the breathtaking opening shots of the African Swahili coast, this film is cinematic celebration of timeless beauty. Medieval Yemeni hilltop towns, ancient martial arts portrayed with balletic artistry, brutal religious piercings and the incomparable majesty of Perahera, all contribute to a pallet of rarely equaled cultural diversity.

From the eerie castration of the young hero to his final faltering steps in the Forbidden City as his enemies close in like vultures around carrion, the historical recreations about the life of Zheng He are executed with the grandeur and distance of a renaissance painting.

In tracing the voyages of the great fleet and its enigmatic leader, 'Ghost Fleet' brings the past alive through its observant narrator Mike Yamashita, and brings the documentary film into the realm of the epic feature.

This 2-hour documentary was shot on 16 mm film. Its initial airing: Dec 2005 on National Geographic Channel Asia.

Winner at the Asian TV Awards 2006: Best Cinematography, Best Original Music Score

Gavin Menzies - rok 1421.
Sensacyjna rekonstrukcja podróży chińskiego Kolumba, Magellana i Cooka.

  • 8 marca 1421 roku największa flota, jaką widział ówczesny świat, wyruszyła z Chin, by dopłynąć do krańców Ziemi, odebrać trybut od "zamorskich barbarzyńców" i zjednoczyć cały świat w konfucjańskiej harmonii.


  • W dwa i pół roku Chińczycy opłynęli kulę ziemską, a kartografowie uwiecznili trasy wyprawy na mapach. Ale zamiast ogłosić światu swoje wielkie dokonanie, Chiny zamknęły się w izolacji na 600 lat. Wszystkie relacje z podróży zniszczono, flotę rozwiązano. Wydawało się, że bezcenne mapy przepadły na zawsze...


  • Zostały jednak ocalone prawdopodobnie przez pasażera jednego z okrętów. Sporządził on kopie i przekazał je następcy tronu portugalskiego. Na ich podstawie stworzono mapę świata, która w roku 1428 trafiła do Lizbony. Z tej kopii korzystali: Kolumb, Dias, da Gama, Magellan, Cook...


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Gavin Menzies - rok 1434.

Gavin Menzies podczas swoich poszukiwań odwiedził 120 krajów, ponad 900 muzeów i bibliotek oraz wszystkie większe porty morskie późnego średniowiecza. Łącząc badania historyczne z fascynującą przygodą naukową, przenosi nas na pokład okrętów floty admirała Zheng He i zabiera w podróż przez cały glob: z Chin do Florencji i z powrotem - aż po tragiczny kres wspaniałej chińskiej floty.
- Podręczniki historii podają, że renesans zrodził się w wyniku ponownego odkrycia koncepcji i ideałów klasycznej Grecji i Rzymu. Gavin Menzies, brytyjski historyk, członek Royal Geographical Society, autor bestsellera "1421: rok, w którym Chińczycy odkryli Amerykę i opłynęli świat", przedstawia zaskakujące dowody na to, że iskra, która roznieciła płomień europejskiego odrodzenia, padła z Chin - wówczas najbardziej rozwiniętej cywilizacji świata.  W 1434 roku Chińczycy podarowali Europie drogocenny skarb: gromadzoną od tysiącleci wiedzę, która dała początek legendarnej kreatywności renesansu, dziełom takich geniuszy, jak Leonardo da Vinci, Mikołaj Kopernik, Galileusz.


  • Kolumb odkrył Amerykę dzięki Chińczykom!

  • Magellan opłynął kulę ziemską, żeglując według chińskich map!

  • Genialne projekty machin Leonarda da Vinci były zaledwie kopiami chińskich szkiców!

  • 1421-1423: Chiński admirał Zheng He opływa kulę ziemską i odkrywa Amerykę.

  • 1431: Ogromna flota Zheng He wyrusza z Chin, by obwieścić światu początek rządów nowego cesarza.

  • 1434: Chińskie poselstwo przybywa do Florencji i spotyka się z papieżem Eugeniuszem IV. Pozostawia 11 tysięcy woluminów zawierających wiedzę z dziedziny geografii, kartografii, astronomii, matematyki, inżynierii, medycyny, sztuk pięknych, architektury, a także mapy nieznanych Europejczykom mórz i lądów.

  • 1490: Leonardo da Vinci studiuje szkice niezwykłych maszyn, prawdopodobnie skopiowanych z chińskiego traktatu.

  • 1492: Krzysztof Kolumb dociera do Ameryki. Osiemnaście lat wcześniej otrzymał mapy Ameryk od Paolo Toscanellego, który przyznał, że zdobył "najobszerniejsze i dobre i prawdziwe informacje od znakomitych mężów wielkiej uczoności" przybyłych do Florencji z Chin w 1434 roku.

  • 1506-1515: Pojawiają się mapy świata powstałe na podstawie chińskiej znajomości świata z roku 1434. Znajduje się na nich "Cieśnina Magellana", której nie widział jeszcze żaden Europejczyk.


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Little did the famous Muslim geographer, Ibn Battuta know, that about 22 years after his historic visit to China, the Mongol Dynasty (called the Yuan Dynasty in China) would be overthrown. The Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) would begin. A Muslim boy would help a Chinese prince. That prince would become emperor and the boy would grow up to be the "Admiral of the Chinese Fleet."

His name... Zheng He. The ships that he would sail throughout the Indian Ocean would retrace some of the same routes taken by Ibn Battuta, but he would be in huge boats called "junks". He would go to East Africa, Makkah, Persian Gulf, and throughout the Indian Ocean.

Speak of the world's first navigators and the names Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama flash through a Western mind. Little known are the remarkable feats that a Chinese Muslim Zheng He (1371-1433) had accomplished decades before the two European adventurers.

A Muslim and a warrior, Zheng He helped transform China into the region's, and perhaps the world's, superpower of his time.

In 1405, Zheng was chosen to lead the biggest naval expedition in history up to that time. Over the next 28 years (1405-1433), he commanded seven fleets that visited 37 countries, through Southeast Asia to faraway Africa and Arabia. In those years, China had by far the biggest ships of the time. In 1420 the Ming navy dwarfed the combined navies of Europe.

Ma He or Haji Mahmud Shams, as he was originally known, was born in 1371 to a poor ethnic Hui (Chinese Muslims) family inYunnan Province, Southwest China. The boy's grandfather and father once made an overland pilgrimage to Makkah. Their travels contributed much to young Ma's education. He grew up speaking Arabic and Chinese, leaming much about the world to the west and its geography and customs.

Recruited as a promising servant for the Imperial household at the age of ten, Ma was assigned two years later to the retinue of the then Duke Yan, who would later usurp the throne as the emperor Yong Le. Ma accompanied the Duke on a series of successful military campaigns and played a crucial role in the capture of Nanjing, then the capital. Ma was thus awarded the supreme command of the Imperial Household Agency and was given the surname Zheng.

Emperor Yong Le tried to boost his damaged prestige as a usurper by a display of China's might abroad, sending spectacular fleets on great voyages and by bringing foreign ambassadors to his court. He also put foreign trade under a strict Imperial monopoly by taking control from overseas Chinese merchants. Command of the fleet was given to his favorite Zheng He, an impressive figure said to be over eight feet tall.

A great fleet of big ships, with nine masts and manned by 500 men, each set sail in July 1405, half a century before Columbus's voyage to America. There were great treasure ships over 300-feet long and 150-feet wide, the biggest being 440-feet long and 186-across, capable of carrying 1,000 passengers. Most of the ships were built at the Dragon Bay shipyard near Nanjing, the remains of which can still be seen today.

Zheng He's first fleet included 27,870 men on 317 ships, including sailors, clerks, interpreters, soldiers, artisans, medical men and meteorologists. On board were large quantities of cargo including silk goods, porcelain, gold and silverware, copper utensils, iron implements and cotton goods. The fleet sailed along China's coast to Champa close to Vietnam and, after crossing the South China Sea, visited Java, Sumatra and reached Sri Lanka by passing through the Strait of Malacca. On the way back it sailed along the west coast of India and returned home in 1407. Envoys from Calicut in India and several countries in Asia and the Middle East also boarded the ships to pay visits to China. Zheng He's second and third voyages taken shortly after, followed roughly the same route.

In the fall of 1413, Zheng He set out with 30,000 men to Arabia on his fourth and most ambitious voyage. From Hormuz he coasted around the Arabian boot to Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea. The arrival of the fleet caused a sensation in the region, and 19 countries sent ambassadors to board Zheng He's ships with gifts for Emperor Yong Le.

In 1417, after two years in Nanjing and touring other cities, the foreign envoys were escorted home by Zheng He. On this trip, he sailed down the east coast of Africa, stopping at Mogadishu, Matindi, Mombassa and Zanzibar and may have reached Mozambique. The sixth voyage in 1421 also went to the African coast.

Emperor Yong Le died in 1424 shortly after Zheng He's return. Yet, in 1430 the admiral was sent on a final seventh voyage. Now 60 years old, Zheng He revisited the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Africa and died on his way back in 1433 in India.

http://www.islamfortoday.com/zhenghe.htm

http://muslimwelt.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/zheng-hehaji-mahmud-shams-islam/

 
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