When China Ruled the Seas
By: Louise Levathes
This book covers the beginnings of China, the philosophy of Confucianism, and mainly centers around the peak of China’s power, the Ming Dynasty. The first people to arrive in China came around 1600 B.C.E., which later became the Shang Dynasty. The first people were also called the Yi people. The Yi started China’s climb to superiority by instituting the ship industry and creating simple single massed boats. Later during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) they started creating more complex ships. The growth in shipbuilding was the primary source to China’s economic growth and status. The Chinese followed Confucianism, which is a set of beliefs created by a philosopher named Confucius, also created in the Han Dynasty. Confucianism brought, a set of laws to live by, order to the people, and stressed the importance of family. Then 1100 years later, during China’s golden age, there were many expeditions that traveled all around Eastern Asia and the Indian Ocean. These multitudes of ships were called the Treasure Fleet. China’s ability to create and maintain powerful ships for war, trade, and exploration led them to become the greatest empire in the world at that time. During the Ming Dynasty, China basically ruled all of the Indian Ocean. Along with the great achievements China had, they also struggled with: dying emperors; maintaining the Chinese boundaries, countless wars with the Mongolians (which were also called wakos), and emperors who didn’t know how to lead a successful empire. All of these troubles led to the downfall of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.
The Chinese interacted with a lot of neighboring countries, mainly because of their transportation and trade. They also made enemies with neighboring Mongolia. They had territory disputes with the Great Wall of China and the size of the Chinese empire. The Chinese went to war with Mongolia for many years. China mainly traded their fine porcelains and silks...