The reputation of the Chinese products that Admiral Zheng He took with him on his voyages brought him considerable honor and made him welcome everywhere he visited.
On his sixth voyage, he reached the African coast and twelve hundred envoys from sixteen African and Asian countries returned to China with Zheng He’s fleet.
In Beijing, the Ming Emperor presented these envoys with 40 thousand roles of silk and brocade.
Even before the Ming Dynasty, China had been sending diplomatic missions overland to the West for centuries and trade had extended as far as east Africa.
However, never before had a government-sponsored mission the size of Zheng He’s fleet been organized. His voyages were a vivid demonstration of the economic and cultural prosperity of the Ming Dynasty.
In 1420, the year the Forbidden City was completed, the Yongle Emperor’s Bell was successfully cast.
The Forbidden City is a testament to Chinese architecture and engineering while in Europe it was still the Middle Ages.
The Great Wall, which the Ming Dynasty had continued to build and strengthen, stretched from China’s eastern coast to the far northwest.
In 1637, the largest encyclopedia of ancient China was published — a comprehensive book covering science and handicraft technologies.
Another encyclopedia was published on agriculture.
A third described China’s geology in detail.
A fourth was the most comprehensive medical book in Chinese history, the Compendium of Materia Medica.
The greatest of China’s ancient literature was also written and published during the Ming Dynasty.
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