Exploration And Contact

  • Jul 11, 1405

    Zheng He takes first voyage

    1405: Zheng He launched the first of his seven voyages of exploration. The significance of this voyage is that it took place before Europeans began to sail beyond its borders. The purpose of these voyages was to impress the world with the power and splendor of Ming China.
  • Sep 18, 1419

    Prince Henry founds first navigation school

    1419: Prince Henry founded a navigation school in Portugal. The purpose of this school was to promote Portuguese exploration. Mapmakers, instrument makers, shipbuilders, scientist and sea captains gathered there to perfect their trade.
  • Sep 18, 1433

    Ming China adopts isolationist policy following Zheng He’s seventh voyage

    1433: Ming China adopts isolationist policy following Zheng He’s seventh voyage. The reason for the isolationist policy was to keep the influence of outsiders in China to a minimum. To keep the influence of outsiders to a minimum, only the government was to conduct foreign trade.
  • Aug 3, 1492

    Christopher Columbus lands in Hispaniola

    1492: Christopher Columbus lands in Hispaniola. Even though, he was mistaken in his though that he had reached the East Indies, his voyage would open the way for Europeans colonization of the Americas – a process that would forever change the world.
  • Jul 2, 1494

    Spain and Portugal sign the Treaty of Tordesillas

    1494: Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas. This treaty between Portugal and Spain, declared that newly discovered lands to the west of an imaginary line in the Atlantic Ocean would belong to Spain and newly discovered lands to the east of the imaginary line would belong to Portugal.
  • May 20, 1498

    Vasco da Gama reaches India

    1498: Vasco da Gama reaches India. With the tip of Africa finally rounded by Bartolomeu Dias, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama began exploring the east African coast until he reached the port of Calicut, on the coast of India. Da Gama and his crew were amazed by the spices, rare silks and precious gems that filled Calicut’s shops.
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes shogun of Japan

    1603: Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes shogun of Japan. Tokugawa Ieyasu completed the unification of Japan in 1600. He defeated his rivals at the battle of Sekigahara and his victory earned him the loyalty of daimyo throughout Japan. These loyalties lead to making Tokugawa the sole ruler, or shogun of Japan.
  • Manchus establish Qing Dynasty in China

    1644: Manchus establish Qing Dynasty in China. The Manchus from Manchuria invaded China and the Ming Dynasty collapsed. The Manchus took the Chinese name of Qing Dynasty. They upheld China’s traditional Confucian beliefs and social structures. They also made the country’s frontiers safe and restored China’s prosperity.