Admiral Zheng He part 1

by Gunnar Thompson Presented at the Library of Congress, May 16th, 2005 Introduction: Marco Polo’s Role in Yuan Mapping When Ming Emperor Zhu Di sent his servant Zheng He on voyages to explore the west he gave him two principle directives. The first required him to bring diplomats from all the world’s nations to China. The second directive required him to develop a worldwide system of maritime commerce. In order to achieve these royal mandates, Admiral Zheng He needed accurate maps. Fortunately, the Admiral’s mission was aided by a substantial archive of world geography. Explorers in the previous Yuan Dynasty had already mapped many New Lands in America. Evidence of Yuan Chinese exploration has reached the West mainly through the writings of the Venetian spy  Marco Polo.  The Travels of Marco Polo, is a 13th-century travelogue written down by Rustichello da Pisa from stories told by Marco Polo, describing Polo’s … Continue reading