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I. The Enigma of Zheng He. The Chinese Tributary System and the Purpose of Zheng He's Voyages. Traditional Chinese Interpretations of Zheng He's Career. Zheng He's Voyages and Western Imperial Expansion. Zheng He's Voyages and the Course of Chinese History. Historical Problems in the Interpretation of Zheng He's Career. II. Zheng He's Early Life and His Patron Emperor Yongle. The Fall of the Yuan and the Rise of Zhu Yuanzhang to 1368. The Reign of Emperor Hongwu, 1368-1398. Civil War, 1398-1402. Yongle's Reign as Emperor, 1402-1424. III. China and the Asian Maritime World in the Time of Zheng He. The Purpose of Zheng He's Voyages. Patterns of Trade in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. The Malay-Indonesian World in the Hongwu Era. Southern India and Ceylon in the Time of Zheng He. IV. Sailing to India: Zheng He's First, Second and Third Voyages. The First Voyage, 1405-1407. The Second Voyage, 1407-1409. The Third Voyage, 1409-1411. V. Sailing to Africa: Zheng He's Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Voyages. The Fourth Voyage, 1412/14-1415. The Fifth Voyage, 1417-1419. The Sixth Voyage, 1421-1422. The Last Years of the Yongle Reign, 1422-1424. VI. The Ships and Men of Zheng He's Fleets. Dimensions and Displacements of the Treasure Ships. Masts and Sails. Shipbuilding Notices in the Taizong Shilu. Shipbuilding Costs. Numbers of Ships in Each of the Voyages. Personnel. VII. Zheng He's Career after 1424 and His Final Voyage. Ming China in the Hongxi (1424-25) and Xuande (1425-35) Reigns. Zheng He's Career from 1424 to 1430. Zheng He's Inscriptions at Liujiagang and Changle. Zheng He's Seventh and Final Voyage, 1431-1433. VIII. The Legacy of Zheng He. Appendix. Translations of Primary Sources. Zheng He's Biography in Mingshi 304.2b-4b. Zheng He's 1431 Inscriptions. Glossary. Note on Sources. Index.
'This book is highly recommended to all thise who really want to know how to evaluate what Zheng He did or did not do. The author does not advocate a point of view or exhort us in any way.' "Wang Gungwu, East Asian Institute, Singapore"