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Zheng He: The Ming Dynasty Explorer

The Ming Dynasty emerged in the second half of the 14th century, having achieved a hard-won victory over the declining Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. Admiral Zheng He, a Muslim of Mongol descent, was born into this turmoil in a far-flung, frontier province of the Ming empire. Yet by the early 15th century, he had been made the commander-in-chief of some of the most extravagant and far-reaching naval voyages in history. How did a Muslim eunuch ascend to a position of such power in the Ming court? Where did these vast voyages take him, and how is he considered in China today? Dan is joined by Craig Clunas, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford and an expert on the Ming Dynasty, to answer these questions, and more.


Produced by James Hickmann. Edited by Dougal Patmore.


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More Episodes

2/1/2023

Normans, Romans and Victorians: History of England's New Forest 

Where can you find an Iron Age fort, Roman kilns, trees built for Nelson's navy and the hunting lodge of William the Conqueror? In the place that Dan calls home: the New Forest in the South of England. In this special episode of the podcast sponsored by BMW and National Park's Recharge in Nature project, Dan joins his good friend and local archaeologist Richard Reeves for an afternoon under the canopy and over the heathland to dig into the deep history of this ancient woodland so named at the Norman Conquest.  Among the gently falling rain, crunchy leaves and chirping birds, Dan and Richard retrace the many civilisations who have utilised the forest over the centuries for commoning, building ships, serving armies, hiding out and most of all, relaxing. Right through from the Norman gentry hunting deer to the Victorians who planted giant redwoods for scenic driveways, the New Forest has been a place of play and leisure for rich and poor, old and young.  The Recharge in Nature project is a new 3-year partnership between BMW and National Parks UK with a shared aim and commitment to enhance the electric car charging network and support vital nature restoration, biodiversity and sustainability initiatives across all 15 National Parks. Produced by Mariana Des Forges and edited by Dougal Patmore.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe to History Hit today!Download the History Hit app from the Google Play store.Download the History Hit app from the Apple Store.