Highlights of Ming contacts with Inner Asia and points west

 

Date

Event

1368

YŁan dynasty overthrown; establishment of Ming.

14th/15th c.

Important exchanges of Chinese tea for horses on northern borders.

1380s

Merchants from Timurid realm visit China.

1395, 1397

Timur imprisons Chinese ambassadors because of Ming emperor's arrogance; strained relations lead to military campaign to conquer China, cut short by Timur's death in 1405.

1402-1424

Reign of Zhu Di, the Yongle (Yung-lo) emperor.

1403-1422

Led (with one exception) by Muslim eunuch admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho), six huge fleets sent to India, and in some cases beyond to Persian Gulf and East Africa. Ma Huan writes description of countries along the way.

1403-1424

44 tribute missions from Hami to Beijing, bringing mainly horses and receiving in return mainly money and silk.

1404-1424

32 tribute missions from other places in Inner Asia to Beijing, bringing especially horses and jade and receiving money and silk.

1407-1424

20 "tribute missions" from Timurid Empire, bringing especially horses; receiving money and silk.

1414-1415

Embassy of Ch'en Ch'eng to Timurid ruler Shahrukh in Herat.

1421

Ming capital moved from Nanjing to Beijing.

1431-1433

The last of the "treasure fleets" to India, with some 300 ships and nearly 30000 men. Zheng He dies on way home.

© 2000 Daniel C. Waugh