Should we celebrate the voyages of Zheng He?
- Word count: 438
- Category: Chinese
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After being taken prisoner at the age of ten Zheng He was sent to work with other eunuchs in Emperor Yongle’s government. Is the glass half full or is it half empty? Do you look at the fact that you have drunk half a glass of water or do you, appreciate that you have half a glass left. I believe that we should celebrate the voyages of Zheng He because he reached breath taking destinations and distance, because of the remarkable size of his treasure ships/fleet as well as the glorious purpose. Firstly, the voyages of Zheng he should be celebrated because of the incredible destinations and distance. Zheng He’s fleet reached to a vast amount of destinations, the round trip to Nanjing to Calicut was 11,600 miles (Doc A), the Round trip voyage from Nanjing to East Africa was more than 18,000 miles (Doc A). All of the voyages in total covered a distance of 100,000 miles (Doc A). The distances are gigantic compared to the voyages of Columbus. “From the edge of the sky to the ends of the earth” (Doc E) the voyages were to unfamiliar and unreached places.
Uneasy and undiscovered these voyages should be celebrated. Furthermore, the voyages of Zheng He should be celebrated because of the size of his treasure ships/fleets. A treasure ship back in the 1400’s was estimated to be 440 feet long and 180 feet wide larger than an American football field which is 300 yards (Doc C). Zheng He’s fleet size is said to have 255 ships (Doc B). Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria is estimated to be about 85 feet long and he only had 3 ships he had 1.1764% of the ships that Zheng He had. Zheng He’s fleet is the largest wooden fleet of ships ever assembled in history. He definitely deserves celebration. Last but not least, the voyages of Zheng He should be celebrated for its grandiose purpose.
Foreign diplomats offered tributes of many kinds to Emperor Yongle and the Chines e imperial court (Doc D). In return, the Emperor gave gifts back as an exchange. The gifts that were given to them included lions, leopards, Arabian horses, giraffes, camels, ostriches and zebras. Zheng He’s fleet used force only 3 times in 30 years (Background Essay). Otherwise the Chinese were benevolent to the countries they visit. The voyages compared to Columbus did not to forceful colonization. The voyages were for trade. Ergo, the voyages of Zheng He should be celebrated because of the amazing destinations and distance, the “ridonculous” (Shrek) scale of the treasure ships and fleet and the glorious purpose.