1433 the European world was 59 years away from harnessing the technological advancements necessary for large scale maritime sailing. In Ming China however, not only did they have the means, but they already dabbled in seafaring around the coast of India the east coast of Africa. At the time, Chinese porcelain, silk and copper coins were heavily desired products throughout Europe. Along with China’s technological advancements, China was on the cusp of becoming a superpower in the world. Instead, China turned towards isolationism and the pursuit of domestic tranquility. Why did China turn inward instead of pursing economic superstardom?
The Ming Empire
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This is a great lesson for anyone interested in introducing "The Age of Exploration" from an East Asian lens. The objective is for students to answer the question, "Why did the Ming Dynasty end the voyages of Zheng He?" Students are provided the context of the topic via a short overview, later accompanied by a Youtube clip of Zheng He. The bulk of the lesson requires students to analyze 15 primary sources to further their understanding of the significance behind these voyages and how China views themselves as culturally superior to other civilizations of the period.
This is a great lesson to use in my AP World History class. I like the use of documents along with having students draw conclusions as to why the Ming Dynasty halted the voyages abroad. When using this lesson, I plan to make some slight modifications. I will update the video and adjust the number of documents. In order to mirror a DBQ essay, I plan to reduce the number of documents to 8. I will also ask students to source the documents using the skills (historical context, intended audience, purpose, point of view) as required by The College Board.
Andrew Feldman, 9-12, Science Lehigh Valley Academy : I feel that the background story and detailed notes are very helpful and lead the students to ask many interesting questions. It is a nice contrast to the voyage of Christopher Columbus which occurs around same time. The Venn diagram allows for comparisons and contrasts. The lesson is laid out very well and contains all of the necessary information for a successful lesson.