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Zheng He - The Only Influential Chinese Overseas Explorer

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Since the begging of the 15th-century exploration had been the focal point for many nations. China and Europe both set sail with the same overall goal: overseas expansion. Although China’s expansion ended just before Europe began, there were many similarities and differences between the two. The two countries both wanted to expand there power and control in gaining more land. China and Europe also wanted to obtain the resources needed to create the biggest society possible. China’s expansion lasted from the beginning of the 14th century until around 1435, while Europe’s lasted from the 1440s, and continued through the 15th century.

The Chinese overseas expansion was much shorter than Europe’s due to China’s government’s poor leadership which led to isolation with in the country. On the other hand, Europe’s government continued to grow there society through the 15th century building the strongest country possible. The factors that led to Europe’s and China’s similar efforts in expansion yet different outcomes were China’s lack of motivation while making poor leadership decision, and Europe’s competitiveness and greed to expand there empire.

Before 1434, Chinese shipbuilding was the envy of the world. Chinese ships were safer, larger and more advanced than European ships. The Chinese navy made many trips through the South China Sea, through the India Ocean, and as far as East Africa. The emperor’s purpose for this expedition was not to conquer or colonize but to obtain recognition and gifts from other rulers. During these trips, goods were exchanged and kingdoms started admiring the Chinese government more. The voyagers were always prepared to use military force against those who refused to respect them.

In the 14th century, a man named Zheng He became a major influence on Chinese exploration leading the largest ships in the world on seven voyages to the lands around the Indian Ocean. He demonstrated Chinese excellence at shipbuilding and navigation helping china rule the sea until the second half of the fifteen century.

Zheng He’s, died at sea on his seventh and final voyage, from 1431 to 1433 and was buried off the coast of India. After Zheng, last voyage the Chinese emperor suddenly ordered that these expensive expeditions be halted. New military threats started coming from the Mongols in the north and the ministers and emperors argued that resources needed to focus on land defenses there instead. The Chinese Navy came to an end, leaving the ships to rot in the harbors, letting the craftsmen knowledge on how to build a ship to slip away. China neglected foreign trade with other countries besides the Netherlands, which led to isolation with in the country. This created a downfall in China’s economy and its goal of global expansion.

After the Chinese Navy rain ended, European found itself at the geographical center of the world with expansion in the Atlantic Ocean. In the 1440s, the Portuguese had a series of exploration down the coast of Africa and into the Atlantic Ocean. The Europeans wanted to find the fastest trading route to Asia. In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the America’s creating a new Atlantic zone of human contact and communications that embraced the four continents and one ocean. This became known as the start of Europe’s global expansion in the fifteenth century. Europe had many different valuable spices that allowed them to trade with many countries. The Portuguese frequent explorations helped them gaining power, and conquer more land. After Columbus voyages, the Spanish claimed most of the western hemisphere. The Europeans had much control of the Americas and the Nations of Western Europe, dominating the seas of the world and gaining riches from the Americas and Asia.

Both China and Europe had the same main goal of global expansion and wanted to expand their land by gaining more territory. Although After Zheng died, China’s reign began to fade before Europe began. This was because of China’s lack of will and motivation to continue there explorations. China was not greed and wanted to play it safe by stopping trade with other countries. China had a similar idea and goal as Europe but had a different outcome. On the other hand, Europes leaders continued to increase there land and gain more power for hundreds of years. The Europeans very were competitive and greed wanted to control the most land and have the most power in any way possible. Europe’s outcome was very different from Chinas in a way that Europe never gave up and ended up controlling much of the Nations’ Western Hemisphere.

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