- On 26/07/2008
- In General Maritime History
By Times of Malta.com
This year marks the 603rd anniversary of the western voyages of China's great maritime explorer, who between 1405 and 1433 led huge fleets of Chinese sailing ships on seven transoceanic expeditions.
The expeditions, which reached as far as the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa, were unprecedented in the history of maritime exploration.
Details about the voyages and the ability of this great Chinese maritime explorer are being displayed until August 10 at St James Cavalier, in Valletta.
Organised by the China Cultural Centre of Valletta and called Envoy Of Peace From China: Zheng He's Great Voyages (1405-1433), the exhibition includes replicas of contemporary maritime instruments and copies of porcelain ornaments and utensils.
During his time as a trusted friend of Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan, Zheng He came into contact with the highest echelons of China's ruling class, greatly expanding his knowledge.
In recognition of his extraordinary abilities and loyal service, the emperor chose him from among his most trusted advisors as the ideal commander for the western voyages.
His voyages marked the beginning of the age of maritime exploration in both East and West.
Undertaken before the invention of any type of mechanical propulsion and into largely uncharted waters, his voyages were exceptional feats.