Sailing to Calicut:
Chinese and Portuguese Voyages
“Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic at the end of the century brought Earth’s two great islands Afro-Euroasia and the Americas into direct and permanent contact.” After analyzing the above quote with the rest of the documents in chapter 49, it is hard to say that the Portuguese and the Chinese landed in the same location, or they landed at different time periods. With respect to Christopher Columbus, he too was mistaken by his voyages, landing in regions where he thought he knew where he was, but in reality, was in a completely different civilization. There is supporting evidence to show that maybe the Chinese and Portuguese landed in different regions of Calicut, thus explaining their different descriptions of the people and civilization. Each report discusses two totally different locations, with different people, physically and spiritually. One could also say that within about 90 years, Chinese landing in Calicut in 1408 and the Portuguese in 1498, the spread of Christianity could have caused the Portuguese to observe a totally different civilization.
Each document (Chinese and Portuguese) has a different description of the people who inhabit this region and the region itself. The Chinese describe the people of Calicut as “very honest and trustworthy. Their appearance is smart, fine and distinguished.” Their analysis of the people of Calicut is quite different of that of the Portuguese, who view the people as “ignorant and covetous”, stating that they dress inappropriately covering only half of their bodies. Also, when the Chinese landed in Calicut, they observed 5 different groups of people, Muslim, Nan’-kun, Zhedi, Geling, and Mugua, with Muslim being the predominant religion. They even speak of twenty or thirty temples of worship where Muslims, every seven days, go and worship. The Portuguese, on the other hand, mostly observed the Christian faith, which the Chinese never...