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Asian maritime & trade chronology to 1700 CE

   Abbreviated references in text; fuller references at foot of page. Some entries have precise dates, some have a range, and some are approximate - so the ordering is also subjective, but we have attempted to list events in rough chronological order, up to an arbitrary cutoff date of 1700 CE.

   No such list can be definitive. Apart from many omissions, this selection reflects the interests of the compiler, with incompatible biases towards the early, the underdocumented, and the archaeologically or historically reliable, and specifically relating to maritime and trade history. Not all of this information is reliable - but a few decades ago, perhaps very little of the early history would have been believed by the cynical and Euro-centric, and archaeological discoveries since then have so often validated or exceeded legend that we are not inclined to be too dismissive. There is an extraordinary volume of documentary evidence in Asian and Middle Eastern languages not directly accessible to us. Also, the combination of snippets of varying quality, and from different cultures, may sometimes build up to an overall impression more convincing than the individual parts.

   Sources are of very variable quality - sometimes tertiary or even more distant from the first hand accounts, but we have tended to include interesting assertions, using the best references to hand, and allow the reader to discriminate. The intention is to improve references over time, to the original documents or more reliable secondary sources - but we will retain multiple references, if potentially useful leads to books or internet content. All errors are the fault of the compiler, Claire Barnes. Contributions and suggestions are welcome: please send them to info@maritimeasia.ws.

   Names of discovered shipwrecks are highlighted in bold. Italicised names without quotation marks are the original names of the ships (e.g. Avondster). Italicised names in quotation marks are reference names invented recently (e.g. 'Turiang'). Place names used to refer to wrecks are in bold but unitalicised (e.g. the Hoi An wreck), and are the names by which the specific wrecks are generally known (if other wrecks are found near Hoi An, they will doubtless be given other reference names). Events with date ranges are entered towards the later end of the range.


c.33000-38000 BCE: Humans settled in Australia, after crossing open sea.
Peter Bellwood, 'Ancient seafarers', Archaeology Vol.50 No.2, Mar/Apr 1997, http://www.archaeology.org/9703/etc/specialreport.html.

c.6000-4000 BCE: Neolithic dugout boats and wooden paddles have been excavated at Hemudu and Xiaoshan in China's Zhejiang province. A Neolithic wooden oar and possible fragments of two boats dated up to 6000 BCE have been excavated in Changnyeong, South Korea. A wooden oar dated c.4000 BCE has been found in Japan. Neolithic maritime contact between Japan and the Korean peninsula has been mooted.
Hemudu boats & paddles - c.5000 BCE per Quanzhou museum caption; Xiaoshan boat - http://china.org.cn/english/culture/49406.htm; Korean & Japanese finds - http://www.physorg.com/news201274900.html.

3000-2000 BCE: Cowry shells (Cypraea moneta) were used for money in China's Gansu province (far inland).
Guangzhou museum caption.

c.2200 BCE: Australia, which had been isolated after the initial human settlement, received significant gene flow from India, coinciding with sudden changes in plant processing and stone tool technologies.
http://www.mpg.de/6818105/Holocene-gene-flow_India-Australia

Xia dynasty - c.2000 BCE: Multi-planked boats were developed in China.
Quanzhou museum caption.

C11th BCE: After collapse of the Shang dynasty, Chinese general You Houxi led 250,000 troops to the South Pacific and the Americas.
Quanzhou museum caption.
'A Link Between Chinese and American Cultures? The Olmec and the Shang', Sinorama magazine, Vol. 22 no.5 May 1997, http://www.sinorama.com.tw/en/8605/605006e1.html, mirrored at http://www.taiwaninfo.org/info/sinorama/en/8605/605006e1.html; article with examples of similar characters http://abcnews.go.com/ABC2000/abc2000science/newworld991019.html;
The Olmecs and the Shang: a summary of the artistic evidence: http://members.tripod.com/~kon_artz/cultures/olmshang.htm; at around the same time the Chavin of Peru started making bronze jaguars similar to Shang bronze tigers: Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.28, citing Garry Tee, 'Evidence of the Chinese origin of the jaguar motif in Chavin art', Asian Perspectives 21:1 (1978), 27-29; summary of legends and theories about early contacts of Chinese and other explorers with America by the Northern Archaeology Group (UK): http://www.n-a-g.freeserve.co.uk/DOCUMENTS/ISS14_11JAN2000/ISS14_11JAN2000.htm; another summary http://hussle.harvard.edu/~zhang/docs/Pre-Columbian%20Contact.pdf

C10th BCE: King Solomon of Israel and King Hiram of Tyre sent ships from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea (near Eilat/Aqaba) to Ophir (probably in India). Every three years the ships brought gold, silver, precious stones, almug trees (sandalwood), ivory, apes, and peacocks.
The Bible, I.Kings, 9:26-28; 10:11; and 10:22

1200 - 900 BCE: Obsidian tools found at Bukit Tengkorak in Sabah may have originated in Papua New Guinea, 3500km away.
Stephen Chia, The obsidian industry at Bukit Tengkorak, Sabah, Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2005, http://eprints.usm.my/7396/1/The_obsidian_industry_at_Bukit_Tengkorak_Sabah_Malaysia.pdf; Stephen Chia, 'Prehistoric sites and research in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia', Bulletin of the Society for East Asian Archaeology Vol.2 (2008). ISSN 1864-6018, http://www.seaa-web.org/bulletin2008/bul-essay-08-01.htm

947-858 BCE: Cowry shells were still in use in the middle of the Western Zhou dynasty; they have been excavated at Rujiazhuang, Baoji (west of Xi'an - slightly coastwards from Gansu).
Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Xi'an, artefacts and captions

549 BCE: Various vessels had been developed for battles on inland waters in the Chinese states of Wu and Chu. One type was 24 metres long and carried 91 people, including 50 oarsmen, 26 soldiers, 4 men with long lances or similar weapons, 2 officers, etc.
Tang Zhiba, 'The influence of the sail on the development of the ancient navy', p.60 - citing Yuan Kang, 'Yue Jue Shu' ('Lost records of the State of Yue') [in Chinese, East Han dynasty].

547-490 BCE: 'Qi Jinggong, king of Qi [on the coast of Shandong province] in 547-490 BCE, had a joyful tour at sea for six months.'
Ma Xiangyong, 'Xu Fu, one of the navigation forerunners in the world', p.185, quoting 'Talk of Tortuosity, Remonstrant Piece' [in Chinese, Han dynasty].

485 BCE: Fu Chai, king of Wu, commanded his navy 'to fight Qi from the sea and was defeated in the battle'.
Ma Xiangyong, 'Xu Fu, one of the navigation forerunners in the world', p.185.

425 BCE: Babylonians sailed to the South China Sea. Meanwhile, Chinese silk was sent to Greece by sea.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.17

C4th BCE: A lodestone compass was mentioned in the Chinese Book of the Devil Valley Master, 'they carry a south-pointer with them so as not to lose their way'.
Robert Temple, The Genius of China (from Needham), p.151

356-321 BCE: The Periplus (pilot book) of Niarchus, an officer of Alexander the Great, describes the Persian coast. Niarchus commissioned thirty oared galleys to transport the troops of Alexander the Great from northwest India back to Mesopotamia, via the Persian Gulf and the Tigris, an established commercial route.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.28; http://lrrc3.plc.upenn.edu/indianocean/group5/penny01.html
Alexander's officer Onesicrities sailed southwards, and later descriptions of the voyage mention Taprobane (Sri Lanka).
A. Denis N. Fernando, http://www.island.lk/2001/12/12/midwee03.html;

334-323 BCE: Eratosthenes, the librarian at Alexandria, drew a map which includes Sri Lanka and the mouth of the Ganges.
http://ias.berkeley.edu/orias/spice/textobjects/moreonmaps.htm

321-297 BCE: The Mauryan emperor Chandragupta established a naval bureaucracy with a charter.
http://jigyasa0.tripod.com/trade.html, citing Kautilya's Arthasastra; http://indiannavy.nic.in/maritime_history.htm

pre-Qin [-221 BCE]: the Southern Yue people, in the vicinity of Guangzhou, sourced goods such as rhinoceros horns, ivory and jewels through maritime trade. By the time of the Nanyue kingdom (203-111 BCE), Guangzhou was an established trade centre.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.28

210 BCE: The first emperor of China, Qin Shihuangdi, toured Eastern China by ship, both on rivers and along the coast. He also despatched Xu Fu to sail overseas in search of elixirs of immortality, accompanied by 3,000 virgin boys and girls, and large amounts of grain, materials, workers and guards. The emperor died later that year. History is entangled in legend; Xu Fu may have settled in Japan, with significant cultural implications, and may have become the first Japanese emperor.
Ma Xiangyong, 'Xu Fu, one of the navigation forerunners in the world, citing Si Maqian, 'Shi Ji' (Historical record) [in Chinese, Han dynasty] on the departure of Xu Fu.

late C3rd BCE: Arikamedu on the Coromandel coast of India had trade contact with the Mediterranean.
S.Suresh, Arikamedu: its place in the Ancient Rome - India contacts, as reviewed by Sila Tripati: http://drs.nio.org/drs/bitstream/2264/2590/1/Man_Environ_33_%20113.pdf

Plan of the Qin dynasty shipyard site
Plan of the Qin dynasty shipyard site in Guangzhou

Qin dynasty [221-207 BCE]: A shipyard site found at Zhongshansilu in Guangzhou, with Qin coins among the artefacts, is estimated to have built ships carrying 25-30 tons.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.41, 46-47.

183 BCE: Han regime imposed trade sanctions and blocked the supply of iron to Nanyue.
Museum of the Nanyue king, 1999, p.133

122 BCE: King Zhao Mo of Nanyue died. His tomb in Guangzhou contains African ivory, and a silver box from Persia.
Museum of the Nanyue king, 1999, p.10.

118 BCE: Ptolemy VIII appointed Eudoxus of Cyzicus to lead a voyage from Egypt to India, guided by an Indian who had been shipwrecked in Egypt. Eudoxus returned with perfumes and precious stones. On a second voyage, Eudoxus was himself blown off course to Ethiopia, where he found the wreck of a ship which he thought to have come from Gades (Cadiz) by circumnavigating Africa. He later sailed from Gades down the west coast of Africa in an attempt to repeat the journey, but was forced to give up. On the voyages of Eudoxus or shortly afterwards (by 90BCE), a Greek named Hippalus started to sail to India with the monsoon winds and the open sea, rather than coast-hugging. Between 110 and 51BC, four Egyptian inscriptions mention Ptolemaic officers 'in charge of the Red and Indian seas'.
George Hourani, Arab seafaring, p.24-28; Strabo's Geography II:3.4, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/2C*.html#3.4; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudoxus_of_Cyzicus

113 BCE: The Han emperor Wudi sent a fleet with 100,000 soldiers to suppress a rebellion in Guangzhou.
Tang Zhiba, 'The influence of the sail on the development of the ancient navy', p.61 - citing Ban Gu, 'Han Shu' ('History of the Han dynasty'), the life of Emperor Wudi [in Chinese, East Han dynasty].

111 BCE: Wudi, who had already conquered Zhejiang and Fujian and moved their inhabitants inland, defeated and divided the Nanyue kingdom (which had covered modern Guangdong, Guanxi, and north Vietnam).
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p37.
Emperor Wudi sent envoys to Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf (as well as overland through Central Asia); the seafarers returned with coral from West Asia, plus tortoiseshell and rhinoceros horn.
captions in G'zhou Museum Annex, Feb 2002; rhino horn and tortoise or turtle shell from these expeditions were on display.

C1st BCE: A blue glass bowl excavated in a Han tomb in Guangzhou is probably Roman, made on the southern shores of the Mediterranean in the C1st BCE.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.69
The Chinese were impressed by Roman glass, and started to import not just finished items but technology and possibly raw materials for sodium-calcium glassware. Import dependence was unsatisfactory, and the south coast glass industry waned. Even the knowhow was eventually lost, but a separate glass industry later developed in the north, with assistance from India during the reign of Wei emperor Shizu (424-452 CE).
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.116-120, citing the C3rd Guang Zhi on the maritime 'glass route' from Rome via India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia to China, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on the export of 'crude glass' to the East, and Wei Shu (History of the Wei dynasty) on the Indian technology transfer to Pingcheng (Datong).
Official relations were established between Japan and Han China, after the establishment of the Han's Lelung Jun command nearPyongyang in 108 BCE.
Fukuoka City Museum caption.

24 BCE: Augustus Caesar sent an army to capture Aden. Thereafter, the Romans opened sea routes to India, where they could buy Chinese silk, bypassing war-torn areas and diminishing the role of Persians and Arabs who previously dominated the trade. An Indian delegation had visited Augustus in 25 BCE (and another in 21 BCE).
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.42; http://nabataea.net/redsea.html;
Indian delegations: Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.33, citing R.E.M. Wheeler, 'Arikamedu: an Indo-Roman trading station on the east coast of India', Ancient India 2 (1946): 19.

1-6 CE: During the reign of [boy emperor] Pingdi, Chinese officials were sent to several South Asian countries to 'spread the power and virtue' of the Han Emperor and search for precious objects.
Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm
2 CE: A rhinoceros was offered to the Chinese emperor by Huangzhi, identified as Kanchipura (Conjeveram) in southeast India.
Yoshiaki Ishizawa, 'Chinese chronicles of C1st-5th century AD Funan', p.11, citing Hanshu vol.2 Pingdiji.

early C1st CE: Strabo described the expansion of Asian trade under the Roman emperor Augustus (27BCE-14CE); previously 20 ships a year passed from the Red Sea into the Indian ocean; now ships were departing in convoys of 120 from the upper Red Sea port of Myos Hormos alone.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.28-29, citing Horace Jones, transl, The Geography of Strabo, Cambridge, 1949, 2.5.12, 17.1.13.

23 CE: Chinese emperor Wang Mang died, after amassing a vast percentage of the world's gold reserves - which caused disruption in Rome, where emperor Tiberius banned the wearing of silk.
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p43. Tiberius is deemed to have been worried about the trade deficit and the outflow of hard currency.

C1st CE: C1st cloth, peppercorns and coconuts from India have been found at the Roman port of Berenike in Egypt, along with undated beads from Southeast Asia, and teak from India or Burma which may be recycled ships' timbers.
http://popular-science.net/history/india_egypt_trade_route.html; http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~jason2/papers/bnikeppr.htm
Roman coin finds in India are predominantly in the south and suggest the use of an overland route from the Malabar to the Coromandel coast. The coins all have gold or silver content, and are predominantly from the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius (14-37 CE) - the two sound-money emperors. Fewer ships sailed around south India, but C1st Roman coins were found at Kadmat in the Lakshadweep islands.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.34-36, citing R.E.M. Wheeler, Rome beyond the imperial frontiers, London, 1954, p.138-145; Tripati & Gudigar, 'Shipwreck archaeology of the Lakshadweep Islands', IJNA (2001) 30.1, p.38
Roman amphorae and other artefacts found at Pattanam in Kerala may represent the trading port of Muziris, which flourished C1st BCE toC5th CE.
http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=042104091359
Arikamedu near Pondicherry in southeast India was a thriving port, peaking in 23-96 CE (the Roman trade between 30 & 50 CE), and a permanent base for western merchants known in Indian literature as yavana. Excavations show trade in pepper, pearls, gems, muslins, tortoise shell, ivory and silk; and from the west coral, lead, tin, glass, vases, lamps, wine and coins.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.28, citing R.E.M. Wheeler, 'Arikamedu: an Indo-Roman trading station on the east coast of India', Ancient India 2 (1946) 17-124, and M.P.Charlesworth, 'Roman trade with India, a resurvey', in Studies in Roman economic and social history in honour of Allen Chester Johnson, ed. P.R.Coleman-Norton, 131-143.
Tamil literature describes Kaverippumppattinam as an important trade port on the Coromandel coast with a huge warehouse; the king's tiger emblem was stamped on incoming and outgoing goods to certify payment of duty.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.34, citing Pattinapalai, a Sangam poem of the first centuries AD, quoted in K.V. Subrahmanya Aiyer, 'Largest provincial organisations in ancient India', Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 65, 1 (1954-55): 38.

c.45 CE: Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka visited Emperor Claudius in Rome. Trade subsequently improved.
Susanne Loos-Jayawickrema / Sunday Times, http://www.is.lk/times/010930/plusm.html

52 CE: The Roman chronicler Pliny complained about India's trade surplus. He also described a kingdom in the south of Sri Lanka, probably Tissamaharama.
India: Pliny, Natural History 6.96-111 e-text http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/pliny-india.html; trade balance http://jigyasa0.tripod.com/trade.html; A. Denis N. Fernando, http://www.island.lk/2001/12/12/midwee03.html (Fernando says Pliny visited Sri Lanka personally); Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.29, citing H. Rackham, The natural history of Pliny the Elder, Cambridge, 1960, 6.26, 6.1 (Hall says Pliny's info on Sri Lanka was based on the envoys' visit to Claudius).

54-68 CE: The Roman emperor Nero debased the currency, which rapidly became unacceptable. Few Roman coins are found in India from Nero's reign onwards. Indian traders started to take more interest in opportunities to the east.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.36, citing R.E.M. Wheeler, Rome beyond the imperial frontiers, London, 1954, p.140-141.

57 CE: The king of Na Koku in Japan sent an envoy to Han China, and was presented with a gold seal.
Fukuoka City Museum caption.

C1st CE: The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written by a Greek, describes trade in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, including the harbours of Sri Lanka and the west coast of India, the customs regime imposed by Rome in the Red Sea, and the difficult possibility of reaching China by sea (China had been known to Greeks since the C5th BCE, but the land route was better known). It also describes the flourishing trade through Adulis, the Red Sea port of the Aksumite civilisation in Ethiopia, which flourished C1st-7th.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.29-34, citing W. Schoff's translation of The Periplus, New York, 1912, and dating it to 40-75AD;
background http://lrrc3.plc.upenn.edu/indianocean/group5/penny01.html; e-text http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/periplus.html;
Aksum summary http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aksu/hd_aksu_1.htm; Stuart Munro Hay, Aksum: an African civilisation of late antiquity, ch.8-4, http://users.vnet.net/alight/aksum/mhak3.html#c8-4.

97 CE: A Chinese envoy reached Parthia (northern Iran) and reported on comparative costs and control of land and sea routes.
http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/exhibit/rome/rome.html

116 CE: The Babylonian port of Spasinou-Chirax, near Basra, was an important port for traders carrying Asian luxury goods to the Mediterranean world during the C1st BCE and first two centuries CE. The Roman emperor Trajan visited in 116CE, saw the great ships setting sail for India, and wished he were young enough to go himself.
http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/texts/hhshu/notes10.html, citing Sitwell (1984) p.107-9.

125 CE: The Chinese thought the profits on trade from 'Ta'chin' (Roman territories in the Middle East, from Syria to Egypt) to Northwest India were tenfold but honest. Ta'chin products reaching China included glassware, including glass jewellery and ornaments, carpets, embroideries and precious stones.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.36, citing Hou Han-shu (History of the former Han), quoted in O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967, p.40.

131 CE: The king of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka) sent a diplomatic mission to China. Twelve more were recorded between the 5th and 10th centuries.
Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm

113-135 CE: King Gajabahu I of Ruhuna in the south of Sri Lanka granted to a local temple the customs duties from the port of Godavaya. A shipwreck found offshore has been tentatively dated to the C4th or earlier. Ceramics from Persia and China, and Roman coins, are found at Godavaya. Garnets found in many European graves of C2nd-7th were sourced from India and Sri Lanka, and are found in the river at Godavaya.
http://www.archaeology.lk/maritime-archaeology/godawaya-an-ancient-port-city-2nd-century-ce-and-the-recent-discovery-of-the-unknown-wooden-wreck/, http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=32626, http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/godavaya.htm

c.150 CE: The Geographia of Ptolemy, who was based in Alexandria, includes details of places in Sri Lanka, India (incl. Coromandel coast) and Southeast Asia.
Peter Francis, Roman maps & Indian gems: http://www.thebeadsite.com/UNI-MAPS.html; A. Denis N. Fernando, http://www.island.lk/2001/12/12/midwee03.html; background http://lrrc3.plc.upenn.edu/indianocean/group5/penny02.html; Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.29 & 104, citing G.E. Gerini, Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia, London, 1909, & W.J. Van der Meulen, SJ, 'Ptolemy's geography of mainland Southeast Asia and Borneo', Indonesia 19 (April 1975): 16-22. Stuart Munro-Hay notes (Nakhon Sri Thammarat, p.11) that Ptolemy's comments were probably amplified subsequently, and that the text now attributed to him may not predate the earliest copies, C10-11th.

166 CE: Purported envoys of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius arrived in China by sea. They came from Rinan in central Vietnam, landed at Guangzhou, and proceeded to Luoyang, where they presented ivory, rhinoceros horn and hawksbill turtle to the Chinese emperor. The court thought the gifts ordinary, but agreed that the two great powers should establish official diplomatic and trading relations.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.43, citing the History of the later Han dynasty; also G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.28, and http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/exhibit/rome/rome.html; some sources doubt the diplomatic credentials.
A gold medallion of Marcus Aurelius' predecessor Antoninus Pius dated 152 CE has been unearthed at Oc Eo, the main port of Funan in southern Vietnam, which flourished between the 1st and 6th centuries - especially after strife disrupted caravans across central Asia in the C2nd-3rd. The alternative land-sea route involved maritime sections from the Middle East to northwest India, across the Bay of Bengal to the Isthmus of Kra, across the Gulf of Thailand to Funan, and from Funan to China. Other C2nd-3rd finds at Oc Eo include Roman coins, Indian seals, and jewellery. At around the same time, a commercial centre developed at Ko-ying in the Sunda Straits; Malay seamen brought spices and forest products to Funan.
Funan & Antoninus medallion: David Chandler, A history of Cambodia, p.14, & Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.59, both citing Louis Malleret, L'archéologie du delta de Mekong, 4.vols (Paris 1959-63) - vol 3, La culture du Fou-nan, 1962; http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/hist190/SEA%20P&P%201.html; Land-sea route and Ko-ying: Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.20-21, citing O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967. Funan and Ko-ying are the Chinese names.

C2nd CE: Romans reached Yunnan from Burma via the Irrawaddy river, after travelling by sea from Arabia.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.42.

200 BCE - 200 CE: Trade pottery from Arikamedu in India reached Sembiran in Bali.
Ardika & Bellwood, 'Sembiran and the first Indian contacts with Bali', Antiquity, Mar 1997, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3284/is_n271_v71/ai_n28685066/

Han dynasty [206 BCE-220 CE]: Chinese shipbuilding innovations included iron nails, putty caulking, bamboo battens for sails, and the rudder.
Tang Zhiba, 'The influence of the sail on the development of the ancient navy', p.61 - citing Xi Longfei & Yang Xi, The history of the development of Chinese shipbuilding, The Wuhan Institute of Water Transport Engineering, 1985 [in Chinese].
The rudder had been invented in China in the C1st BCE; it spread to the Arab world in C10th CE, and to Europe in the C12th.
During the Han dynasty, ships from Fujian province sailed to Jiaozi [Vietnam].
Quanzhou maritime museum captions. Rudders are shown on several ship models found in Han tombs in Guangzhou, see eg Maritime Silk Route, 1996, p.64.
During the Han dynasty, occupied Vietnam (Chaio Chih) received ships travelling to China from Java, Burma, Iran and the Roman empire. Khmers and Indians were living in major centres. Overseas trade was controlled by the Chinese.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p..24-25.
A Han dynasty dragon bowl excavated in Indonesia is strikingly similar to one excavated in Guangzhou.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.69
Exchanges of envoys between China and the Roman empire are recorded in the Hou Han Shu (history of the later Han dynasty).
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.67

223 CE: A fleet of Wu warships were lost in a storm in the Yellow Sea, while at war with Lu (now Shandong).
Liu Pean, 'Viewing Chinese ancient navigation and shipbuilding through Zheng He's ocean expeditions', p.177

226 CE: Merchants from Roman Asia Minor visited the Wu court; emperor Sun Quan questioned them personally and sent an official to escort them on their return voyage.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.38, citing O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967, p.42.

240 CE: The Wu emperor Sun Quan [Wu Wudi] sent ambassadors Zhu Ying and Kang Tai to the 'nations of the south seas' [Funan and Southeast Asia]. The book 'Strange things from the south' reports the prosperity of Funan, its control of trade routes through vassal states in what is now Thailand and the Malay peninsula, and four-masted ships with sails set obliquely and woven from 10-foot leaves of the lu-tou tree.
Xin Yuanou & Yuan Suishan, 'The blue ribbon holder in the medieval age', p.66 - citing Wan Zhen, 'Nan Zhou Yi Wu Zhi' (Strange things from the South);
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.38, citing Wang Gungwu, 'The Nanhai trade: a study of the early history of Chinese trade in the South China Sea', JMBRAS 31, 2 (1958): 33, p.48 & 64-68 citing Paul Wheatley, The Golden Khersonese, studies in the historical geography of the Malay peninsula before 1500, Kuala Lumpur, 1961, and other secondary sources;
Yoshiaki Ishizawa, 'Chinese chronicles of C1st-5th century AD Funan', p.13, reckons the date of despatch to be 228AD.
Kang Tai reported that a large ship could carry about a hundred passengers and needed 40-50 oarsmen. Wan Zhen, writing in the same Wu period, reported that a large foreign ship (from Funan?) was over 20 jo (48m) long and 2-3 jo (5-7m) above the water, and carried 6-700 passengers.
Yoshiaki Ishizawa, 'Chinese chronicles of C1st-5th century AD Funan', p.16, citing Wan Zhen, Nanzhou yuwuzhi.

281 CE: Roman envoys visited Luoyang via Guangzhou. A Buddhist monk from India arrived in Guangzhou and founded the Sangui and Wangren temples.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.28.

C3rd: The Sacred Bodhi tree of Buddha Gaya was brought to Sri Lanka through the port of Jambukola.
Rohan Jayatilleke, http://origin.sundayobserver.lk/2001/08/19/fea20.html

C3rd: Multi-masted ships were introduced in China by C3rd CE; possibly in the C1st.
Xin Yuanou & Yuan Suishan, 'The blue ribbon holder in the medieval age', p..66.

c.300 CE: Japan was trading actively with Korea.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.97

306 CE: The Indian monk Jiva was the first of many Buddhist monks to arrive at Guangzhou by sea.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.59

320CE: Date of the earliest excavated Butuan boat (others date from 990 & 1250CE): large open-water boats found at Butuan in Mindanao, Philippines.
National Museum of the Filipino People, display & caption; http://members.tripod.com/philmuseum/archaeo.htm; Green, Vosmer et al http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/collections/maritime/march/documents/No.%20064%20PhilippinesReport.pdf

345 CE: Four hundred Syrian Christians arrived in Kerala (SW India), led by Thomas of Cana. Stories of the arrival of St Thomas the Apostle in 52CE are now questioned. Traditions also vary on the arrival date of Kerala's Jews, from Nebuchadnezzar's occupation of Jerusalem in 587 BCE to C4th CE.
Ishwar Sharan, http://hamsa.org/05.htm; http://www.kerala.cc/keralahistory/index2.htm; http://www.kerala.cc/keralahistory/index36.htm; http://www.shelterbelt.com/KJ/khjews.html

414 CE: The Chinese monk Fa Xian returned home from India by sea, after visiting Sri Lanka.
A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms, Fa-Xian/Legge, p100; see www.maritimeasia.ws/topic/Malaysia_crossroads.html#FaXian for description of sea journey, http://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/CA/texts/faxian.html for his prior travels on land, and http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/ancient/trade.htm for his vist to Anuradhapura.

383-484 CE: Persian coins of the Sassanian dynasty have been excavated at various places in Guangdong province, and are assumed to result from maritime trade.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.72.

Late C4th - early C5th: Most east-west traffic started to go through the Straits of Malacca, instead of overland at the Isthmus of Kra, leading to the rise of Srivijaya in southeastern Sumatra. Srivijaya became a Chinese trade partner, controlled piracy, and dominated the Straits for over 500 years.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.20-23 & 26, citing O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967.

C 4-5th: Coin from Aksum (Ethiopia) found at Mahagama in Sri Lanka.
Susanne Loos-Jayawickrema / Sunday Times, http://www.is.lk/times/010930/plusm.html

422 CE: The Indian prince and Buddhist monk Gunavarman arrived in Java; he stayed for several years before continuing to China, and missed an expected stop in Champa due to unfavourable winds.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.40 & 104, citing George Coedès, The Indianized states of Southeast Asia, ed. Walter F.Vella, trans. Susan Brown Cowing, Honolulu 1968, p.54 & O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967, p.35.

428 CE: Sri Lankan king Mahanamo sent a jade Buddha statue to the Chinese emperor.
http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/ancient/trade.htm.

431 CE: The Cham kingdom of Lin-yi assembled over a hundred ships to pillage the north Vietnamese coast.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.74-5, citing George Coedès, The Indianized states of Southeast Asia, ed. Walter F.Vella, trans. Susan Brown Cowing, Honolulu 1968, p.56-7.

430-452 CE: The ruler of Ho-lo-tan in NW Java sent seven missions to the Chinese court.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.104, citing the Liu Sung shu [history of the early Sung] composed 470-478, per O.W. Wolters, Early Indonesian Commerce: a study of the origins of Sri Vijaya, Ithaca, 1967: 151, 313 nn. 92, 95

mid-C5th: The people of Funan were said to charter ships to go both east and west, far and near; shipowners were paid only if on schedule.
Yoshiaki Ishizawa, 'Chinese chronicles of C1st-5th century AD Funan', p.16, citing Yiyuan.

467 CE: The Buddhist monk Hui-Shen and his Afghan companions travelled from China to Fu-Sang, which some interpret merely as Japan, and others as the west coast of North America, perhaps Mexico. Mayan art at this time develops features suggesting Hindu and Buddhist influence. Hui Shen returned to China in 499, and reported to emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty in 502 CE.
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Japan
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.40-41, citing the Liang Shu (History of the Liang dynasty) and (i) Paul Shao, Asiatic Influence in Precolumbian art, Ames, Iowa State Univ 1976, p.5-7, 3, 163 and (ii) David H.Kelley, 'Nine lords of the night', Studies in the Archaeology of Mexico and Guatemala, 16, Berkeley, Univ of California Dept of Anthropology, Oct 1972 & 'Calendar animals and deities', Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 16, Albuqerque, Univ of New Mexico, 1960.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/m/v/mvp111/karin.htm, citing vol.231 of The Great Chinese Encyclopedia, compiled by court historians of the Wang emperors from 502 to 556 AD (other refs give the editor's name as Ma Tuan-Lin);
Prof V.G.Nair, Buddhist mission visits America before Columbus, http://www.saigon.com/~hoasen/mission.htm;
http://www.1s.com/hkmission/history/chinese.htm
, citing hearsay of an 1100 page diary in the Chinese imperial archives of which only 75 pages of partial excerpts seen; http://users.wi.net/~maracon/; http://www.ventanawild.org/news/se01/fusang.html;
Kenneth L. Feder, Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology, p113-4, citing Frost, F, 1982, The Palos Verdes Chinese anchor mystery, Archaeology, Jan/Feb 23-27, quoted on www.kenspy.com/Menzies/Ships.html regarding irrelevance of these anchors.

484 CE: King Jayavarman of Funan sent merchants to Guangzhou to solicit trade. The Indian Buddhist monk Nagasena accompanied them on their return, and was then sent to the Chinese court to request help for Funan against marauding Chams from Lin-yi. Nagasena reported to the Chinese emperor that he had been shipwrecked on the Cham coast and robbed. In 491 the Chinese bestowed titles and anti-piracy responsibilities on Fan Tang, the ruler of Lin-yi.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.73-75.

C3rd-5th: Estimated date of the Pontian boat, discovered in Pahang, Malaysia in 1926, based on radiocarbon and accompanying ceramics similar to some at Oc-eo in south Vietnam, which is broadly dated to C1st-6th.
I.H.N. Evans, 'Notes on the remains of an old boat found at Pontian'; C.A. Gibson-Hill, 'Further notes on the old boat found at Pontian, in south Pahang'; Sean McGrail, Boats of the World, p.305; Pierre-Yves Manguin, 'Southeast Asian shipping in the Indian Ocean during the first millennium AD'.

mid-late C5th: a Sanskrit inscription found near Jakarta Bay records that king Purnavarman of Tarumanagara (the Tarum river basin) diverted the river to improve drainage and make the port more accessible for trading vessels.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.105, citing J.Ph. Vogel, 'The earliest Sanskrit inscriptions of Java', Publicaties van de Oudheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indie 1 (1925):15-35; J.G. de Casparis, Indonesian Palaeography, 18-20; H.B. Sarkar, Corpus of the inscriptions of Java (up to 928 AD) Calcutta, 1971-72, vol 1:1-12; and J. Noorduyn & H.Th. Verstappen, 'Purnavarman's river works near Tugu', BKI Leiden 128 (1972): 298-307. The river diversion was in the 22nd year of Purnavarman's reign. Hall notes that Van der Meulen's belief that Purnavarman conquered Ho-lo-tan shortly after 452 AD, the date of its last embassy to China: W.J. Van der Meulen, 'In search of Ho-ling', Indonesia 23 (1977): 87-111.

Southern Dynasties [420-589 CE]: Guangzhou was a prosperous port filled with merchant ships, merchants and envoys. Many Buddhist monks came from India; the centre of their teaching and sutra translation was Guangxiao temple.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.29; Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.59, 74.

520-525 CE: Cosmas Indicopleustes, a theologian, geographer and merchant from Alexandria, visited Malabar, mentioning Christians, and a bishop ordained in Persia. He wrote of ships visiting Sri Lanka from many countries, including China.
Ishwar Sharan, http://hamsa.org/05.htm; Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm

527 CE: The Indian monk Bodhidharma voyaged to Guangzhou to preach Buddhism. His landing place was later called Xi Lai Chu Di ('first landfall on journeying from the west'), and is the site of Hualin temple.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.29; Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.59, 74-5.
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma

588-589 CE: Sui forces defeated Chen in major river battles on the Yangzi. Thousands of ships were involved; the largest had five decks and carried 800 men.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.132-4, citing Sima Guang, Zizhi tongjian (Comprehensive mirror for aid in government); Beijing, Guji chubanshe, 1956.

594 CE: The Sui emperor Wen (who started a major extension of China's canal network) ordered the establishment of the Nanhaishenmiao (temple to the god of the South China Sea), near today's Miaotou village at Huangpu near Guangzhou. During the Tang and Song dynasties it was customary for the crew of all ships, Chinese and foreign, to pray there before going to sea. Many stone tablets relating to overseas trade are preserved, along with statues and masks of foreigners.
G'zhou Mar.Silk Rd 2001, p.29; Maritime Silk Route 1996, p. 82-83.

595 CE: Emperor Wen ordered confiscation of vessels over 30 feet, except in the Sui heartland of Guanzhong.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.139, citing Wei Zheng et al, Sui shu (history of the Sui dynasty); Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1973, and Arthur Wright, 'The Sui dynasty', in The Cambridge History of China, UK, 1979.

598 CE: Emperor Wen sent a fleet from Shandong to attack Pyongyang; many of the ships were lost in storms in the Yellow Sea. A land force fared no better.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.145, citing Sima Guang, Zizhi tongjian (Comprehensive mirror for aid in government); Beijing, Guji chubanshe, 1956.

Model of the Sui dynasty catamaran in Shandong, Quanzhou maritime museum
Model of the Sui dynasty catamaran

Sui dynasty [581-618 CE]: A catamaran approximately 35 metres long has been excavated at Pingdu in the Shandong province of China.
Quanzhou maritime museum, model and caption; Qingdao museum

C 6th: Hindu writer Sundaramurthi Nayanar mentions Mahatittha in Sri Lanka as a port with many ships.
Rohan Jayatilleke, http://origin.sundayobserver.lk/2001/08/19/fea20.html
The cult of Buddha Dipamkara, the 'calmer of the waters', has been traced to 6th century bankers at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka who were financing trade with Southeast Asia. Fine Dipamkara statues of this period are distributed around Southeast Asia.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.37, citing Silvain Levi, 'Les "marchands de mer" et leur role dans le bouddhisme primitif', Bulletin de l'Association Francaise des Amis de l'Orient 7 (Oct 1929): 19-39, and Paul Wheatley, 'Satyanrta in Suvarnadvipa: from reciprocity to redistribution in ancient Southeast Asia' in Ancient Civilisation and Trade, ed. J.A. Sabloff & G.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, p.234 & 261.

607 CE: Japan started sending occasional groups of ships to China with diplomats, trade goods and students. Those in the Sui dynasty and early Tang dynasty followed the coast around the Korean peninsula, using large dugouts with side planking.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.99.

612-615 CE: Naval forces supported massive armies in repeated assaults on Koguryo (Korea) by the Sui emperor Yang. All failed.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.146-156, citing Sima Guang, Zizhi tongjian (Comprehensive mirror for aid in government); Beijing, Guji chubanshe, 1956.

c.616 CE: The maternal uncle of the prophet Muhammad, Abu Waqqas, joined a trading voyage from Ethiopia to Guangzhou. He then returned to Arabia, and came back to Guangzhou 21 years later with a copy of the Koran. He founded the Mosque of Remembrance, near the Kwang Ta (Smooth Minaret) built by the Arabs as a lighthouse. His tomb is in the Muslim cemetery in Guangzhou.
Liu Chih, The Life of the Prophet (12 vols), 1721, quoted by the Islamic Council of Victoria, http://www.icv.org.au/history2.shtml
Four missionaries were sent to China by the prophet Mohammad, and two died in Quanzhou. They were buried as honoured guests, and the tombs repeatedly repaired and embellished until the present.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.99, and Quanzhou site captions, citing Ming Shu, 'A history of Fujian province'.

Model of Emperor Yangli's dragon boat, Quanzhou maritime museum
Model of Emperor Yangli's dragon boat

618 CE: China's canal network had grown to 2000km, linking the southern 'rice bowl' and the northern plains. Emperor Yang cruised it in a lavish 'Dragon Fleet', pulled by 80,000 men, accompanied by musicians and guards. His own boat had 4 decks, a throne room, and 120 exquisitely decorated rooms for concubines. Conspicuous extravagance fanned discontent and the fall of the Sui dynasty.
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p84-87; see also Liu Pean, 'Viewing Chinese ancient navigation and shipbuilding through Zheng He's ocean expeditions', p.177.

644 AD: The Tang emperor Taizong built 500 ships to support the planned attack on Koguryo.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.196, citing Sima Guang, Zizhi tongjian (Comprehensive mirror for aid in government); Beijing, Guji chubanshe, 1956, ch.197, p.6214, & Liu Xu et al, Jiu Tang shu (Old Tang history); Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1975, ch.199A, p.5322-3.

629-645 AD: Chinese monk Hiuen Tsang wrote about the choice of routes from Northern India to Sri Lanka (long coastal voyage deemed dangerous), and described Charitra in Orissa as a rendezvous for merchants.
S. Dhammika, http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/ancient/hiuen.htm

Japanese envoy ship, drawing in the Korokan museum, Fukuoka
Japanese envoy ship to Tang China: drawing in the Korokan museum, Fukuoka

630 CE: The first mission of Japanese envoys to China. There were 16 missions of such envoys ('kentoshi') between 630 and 894 CE; the officials were accompanied by scholars and monks, with about 500 people on each mission. About half were lost in shipwrecks.
Fukuoka City Museum captions.

651 CE: First Arab embassy to China.
Michael L.Bosworth, http://www.cronab.demon.co.uk/china.htm, citing Joseph Needham, Science & Civilization in China, Vol.1, p.179 - Cambridge Univ Press 1954.

663 CE: A Tang navy allied with Silla attacked the Japanese fleet allied with Paekche in a series of naval actions at the mouth of the Kum river in Korea, reportedly sinking over 400 Japanese ships.
David Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, p.199, citing Ouyang Xiu, Xin Tang shu (New Tang history); Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1959, ch.220, p.6200-1; Liu Xu et al, Jiu Tang shu (Old Tang history); Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1975, ch.199A, p.5331-3; & Sima Guang, Zizhi tongjian (Comprehensive mirror for aid in government); Beijing, Guji chubanshe, 1956, ch.200, p.6323-4, 6329-30, & ch.201, p.6336-8.

670s: Chinese traveller I Ching visited Srivijaya in Sumatra, and found Buddhism well established. In 692 he noted that Srivijaya had absorbed Malayu [Jambi, SE Sumatra].
Stuart Munro-Hay, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 1.6.

by 674 CE: A colony of overseas Muslims existed on the west coast of Sumatra.
The Islamic Council of Victoria, http://www.icv.org.au/history2.shtml, citing Cesar Adib Majul, Muslims in the Philippines, University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City, 1999 p.44.

682 CE: The first known inscription of a king of Srivijaya was incised on a river boulder at Kedukan Buket, Palembang in Sumatra.
Stuart Munro-Hay, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 1.6.

686 CE: The Kotakapur inscription found on Bangka island records preparation of a naval expedition by Srivijaya against rival ports in western Java.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.108, citing P.Pelliot, 'Deux itinéraires de Chine en Inde à la fin due VIIIe siècle', BEFEO 4 (1904), p.284. Hall notes that Taruma on the Sunda straits sent an embassy to China in 666-9, but the Chinese never heard from thisJavanese port again.

C7th: Some 200,000 Persians, Arabs, Indians, Malays, and other foreigners lived in Guangzhou as traders, artisans and metalworkers.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.39.

702 CE: Japanese missions to China had to switch to the open sea due to unrest in Korea, probably using ships built by Chinese immigrants. There were eight missions between 702 and 840 CE, each of two to four ships.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.99

716 CE: The Tang emperor Xuanzong was impressed by a visiting foreigner who told him about the riches of the south seas: huge pearls, beautiful feathers, and Sinhalese drugs. He ordered an expedition to accompany the foreigner home, but was dissuaded by the bureaucrat Yang Fanchen.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.36, citing Sima Guang, Zi zhi tong jian ('Comprehensive mirror for aid in governance'), written 1067-1084, Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1956, chap.211..

748 CE: Chinese monk Jian Zhen (Jianzhou, of Daming monastery in Yangzhou), failed in his fifth attempt to sail to Japan, and drifted to Guangzhou where 'many big ships came from Borneo, Persia, Qunglun [Indonesia/Java]... with... spices, pearls and jade piled up mountain high'. The largest ship looked like a mansion, with sails many zhangs high. [1 zhang = 3.11 metres.] Sri Lanka was by now the major shipping centre, with ships visiting from India, Persia and Ethiopia; Sri Lankan ships had gangways many zhangs high.
Tang Zhiba, 'The influence of the sail on the development of the ancient navy', p.61
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jianzhen

753 CE: Jianzhou reached Japan on the sixth attempt, on a ship sent from Japan. He founded Toshodaiji monastery near Nara, in the same style as Daming.
Quanzhou museum & Yangzhou museum captions.

758 CE: Arabs looted and burned Guangzhou.
Michael L.Bosworth, http://www.cronab.demon.co.uk/china.htm, citing Joseph Needham, Science & Civilization in China, Vol.1, p.179 - Cambridge Univ Press 1954.
The emperor then closed Guangzhou to foreigners for fifty years.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.39.

762 CE: The Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur founded a new capital at Baghdad: a carefully chosen site to which, an advisor noted, supplies would come up the Tigris river in ships from China and India.
Abu Ja'far Muhammad Al-Tabari (839-923), 'The History of Al-Tabari', cited in Amira Bennison, 'The Great Caliphs', p.69

774 CE: Javanese attacked Champa, destroying the Po Nagar temple at Nha Trang.
Emmanuel Guillon, Cham Art, p.195

775 CE: The 'Ligor inscription' found in the region of Nakhon Si Thammarat to Chaiya [east coast of Thailand] records the dedication of three Buddhist stupas by the ruler of Srivijaya.
Stuart Munro-Hay, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 1.6 & 3.2, emphasizes that the stone was moved in the early C20th and provenance is confused, but that it tends to confirm Srivijayan activity in the region. On the reverse is an inscription about the Sailendra family, variously interpreted. The inscription is in the Sanskrit language, written in late Pallava letters - as are two other early inscriptions, one dated C6-7th on a huge rock at Hup Khao Chong Koy, and one dated C6-8th at Wat Maheyong in Nakhon Sri Thammarat (Munro-Hay 3.1 & 3.4).

670-780 CE: tentative date of the wreck discovered at Punjulharjo in Central Java.
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/07/10/ancient-boat-reveals-shipbuilding-skills-java%E2%80%99s-seafarers.html; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/maritime-museum-plan-runs-aground-threatening-nations-oldest-known-ship/396524; http://indocropcircles.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/ditemukan-perahu-tertua-di-indonesia/; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNohWyUMcKw; Waluyo Agus Priyanto, 'Conservation Research and Treatment Programs: Case Study of Ancient Boat Site in Rembang Regency', http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1263

787 CE: Javanese attacked Champa for the second time, destroying a temple near the imperial capital at what is now Phan Rang.
Tran Ky Phuong, Unique Vestiges of Cham Civilization, p.9, Emmanuel Guillon, Cham Art, p.195

c.790 CE: the kingdom of Sailendra (builders of Borobodur, in Java), defeated Chenla (in Cambodia), and ruled it for twelve years.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

C8th: Chinese merchants had crossed oceans to trade in Japan, Champa, and Java.
Thuan Luc, http://www.charm.ru/coins/vn/nagasaki.shtml
Quanzhou by this time played an important part in the maritime trade of South China.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.14
China set up the Bureau of Merchant Shipping in Guangzhou, to monitor all imports and exports. Imports were subject to duties of up to 25%, but changed capriciously. Some frustrated merchants preferred Vietnam.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.38-39.

766-804 CE: China had very large river and canal boats, estimated at 700 tons. 'The crews of these ships lived on board; they were born, married and died there. The ships had... lanes (between the dwellings), and even gardens. Each one had several hundred sailors... South to Chiangsi and north to Huainan they made one journey in each direction every year, with great profit..... The sea-going junks (hai-po) are foreign ships. Every year they come to Canton and An-i. Those from Ceylon are the largest...When these ships go to sea, they take with them white pigeons, so that in case of shipwreck the birds can return with messages.'
Michael L.Bosworth, http://www.cronab.demon.co.uk/china.htm, citing Joseph Needham Vol. 4 Part III, p.452-3 (Cambridge Univ Press, 1971), which in turn quotes Tang Yu Lin's Tang Yu Lin (Miscellanea of the Tang Dynasty), compiled in the Song dynasty.

785-805 CE: Chinese merchant ships sailing from Guangzhou were calling regularly at Sufala on the east African coast, to cut out Arab middlemen.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.155,

786-809 CE: A diplomatic present of exquisite Chinese porcelain to Caliph Harun al Rashid of Baghdad caused a sensation at that court.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.163.

820 CE: A map by Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi of the Sea of Java includes the Cape York Pensinsula, a "V" shaped Gulf of Carpentaria, and a curved Arnhem Land. (A later map, by Abu Isak Al-Farisi Istakhari in 934 CE, also includes an outline of the northern coast of Australia.)
The Islamic Council of Victoria, http://www.icv.org.au/history2.shtml, citing Eric B.Whitehouse, Australia in Old Maps 820-1770, Boolarong Press, Queensland, 1995 p.65-66.

826 CE: date written on a bowl on the Arab / Persian ship which probably sailed not long after, and sank at Batu Hitam, off Belitung island, between Sumatra and Kalimantan. The cargo was entirely from China, apparently destined for the Middle East, on a through voyage via the Sunda Strait. The ship was of Middle Eastern construction, made of mostly African timber, sewn together with rope (possibly hibiscus, implying resewing in Southeast Asia); it was 20-22m long and 5m wide. The bulk of the cargo comprised mass-market Changsha ceramics, including 40,000 bowls, 1635 ewers, 763 inkpots, and 915 spice jars: motifs include Buddhist symbols, Persian-carpet and geometric designs, date palms, and Arabic Muslim scripts. In one area of the stern, there were items of imperial quality, which include fine Ding and Yue ceramics, three blue-and-white saucers (the earliest intact blue-and-white so far found), an octagonal gold cup with decorations including a Persian dancer and Central Asan figures, and exquisite silver boxes - a royal commission or gift? perhaps to the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad? Other finds include a cast & wrought iron & wood anchor, lead ballast, silver ingots, many coins from 618-626CE, and star anise.
*** Regina Krahl, John Guy, J.Keith Wilson & Julian Raby, ed, Shipwrecked: Tang treasures and monsoon winds ***, Smithsonian Books, 2011. ISBN 978-978-1-58834-305-5, 978-0-934686-18-1.
Michael Flecker, 'A 9th-century Arab or Indian shipwreck in Indonesian waters', IJNA (2000) 29.2: 199-217; addendum, IJNA (2008) 37.2: 384-386;
Michael Flecker, 'A ninth century AD Arab or Indian shipwreck in Indonesia: first evidence for direct trade with China', World Archaeology (2001) Vol 32(3):335-354;
Detailed descriptions of the artefacts from the 2004 catalogue of the Belitung wreck by Seabed Explorations:
Michael Flecker, 'Miscellaneous artefacts', http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/22_flecker_misc_kat_656to705.pdf; Francois Louis, 'Gold & silver artefacts', http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/08_louis1_kat_154to191.pdf; Francois Louis, 'Bronze mirrors', overview, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/09_louis2_%20192to199.pdf; Francois Louis, 'Bronze mirrors', artefacts, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/10_louis2_kat_200to223.pdf; Hsieh Mingliang, 'White wares with green décor', http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/13_hsieh2_kat_246to299.pdf; Regina Krahl, 'White wares of Northern China', http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/15_krahl1_kat_312to349.pdf; Regina Krahl, 'Green wares of Southern China', http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/17_krahl2_kat_368to463.pdf; Liu Yang, 'Changsha ceramics', part 1, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/19_liu_kat_b_504to567.pdf; part 2, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/20_liu_kat_b_568to639.pdf;
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia, Belitung 2004 catalogue, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf.
'Shipwrecked: Tang treasures and monsoon winds', Smithsonian museum exhibition site, https://www.asia.si.edu/Shipwrecked/; http://maritime-explorations.com/belitung.htm; Lim Ya Chiew, 'Changsha blue and copper red wares and the religious motifs', www.koh-antique.com/lyc/belitung_shipwreck.htm; Andreas Rettel, 'The concept of the conservation of seawater finds', 2004, http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/SW-CulturalHeritage/downloads/05Rettel092-115.pdf; http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/tang-shipwreck/worrall-text/1; http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/play/displaying-tang-dynasty-treasures-ninth-century-shipwreck-786465; exhibition opened Feb11 http://www.marinelink.com/news/shipwrecked-treasures337223.aspx; http://idlethink.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/curating-the-oceans-the-future-of-singapores-past/; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7675866.stm; http://thejakartaglobe.com/artsandentertainment/unearthed-treasure-waits-in-singapore/331093; http://www.southeastasianarchaeology.com/2007/06/28/the-belitung-shipwreck/; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkrbQ7DH2Oc&feature=related; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-1200yearold-sunken-treasure-that-revealed-an-undiscovered-china-559906.html; http://www.sail-world.com/Asia/Another-ancient-sailing-ship-to-set-forth/65387; www.china.org.cn/english/2004/May/96658.htm; Der Spiegel Jan06 on dispute www.cronaca.com/archives/002259.html; Smithsonian press release Mar11 on exhibition controversy http://www.asia.si.edu/press/2011/prShipwreckedBackgrounder.asp; Smithsonian, 'Underwater cultural heritage: issues raised by the Belitung shipwreck', http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/SW-CulturalHeritage.asp; Robin McDowell, 'Indonesian waters mean riches and headaches', http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/indonesias-shipwrecks-mea_n_1393473.html;
National Geographic documentary 'Secrets of the Tang treasure ship' part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sLMa78nUtc, part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjefPjDFN0A, part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkcYSiT1rrc, part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ih95eOkrA8;
video in Mandarin & English http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A_e34OMacU;
reconstruction and voyage of the 'Jewel of Muscat', www.jewelofmuscat.tv; Georgetown interview with Dr Tom Vosmer http://www.southeastasianarchaeology.com/2010/06/16/aboard-jewel-muscat/

2nd quarter of C9th: Large quantities of Changsha ceramics have been discovered in Egypt and Oman; they were exported via Guangzhou.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.92.

830 CE: estimated date of colonization of Madagascar by Indonesians - who may or may not have intended to travel so far.
Murray Cox et al, 'A small cohort of Island Southeast Asian women founded Madagascar', Proc.R.Soc.B rspb20120012; http://news.discovery.com/history/madagascar-women-120320.html; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46809678/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.T7ynoVJq3ZA; http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-indonesian-eves-colonised-madagascar-years.html

838-847 CE: Japanese monk Ennin visited China, keeping a detailed diary. Yangzhou, the major grain transport hub of the Tang dynasty was flourishing: 'market places dot a ten league thoroughfare; when night markets open, a myriad lights glow under the azure sky.'
Kevin Bishop, China's Imperial Way, p.123; replica of Ennin's journal, and of the list of Buddhist scriptures he brought back, in Fukuoka City Museum.
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ennin

846 CE: Arab geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih wrote that the ruler of Srivijaya would throw a gold bar daily into the sea. On the ruler's death, the gold bars were retrieved and distributed - first to the royal family, next to military commanders, and the remainder to the subjects. In 916, Abu Zaid recorded the same custom.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.80-81, citing G. Ferrand, 'L'empire sumatrannais de Crivijaya', JA 20 (1922): 57 & G.R. Tibbetts, A study of the Arabic texts containing material on Southeast Asia, Leiden, 1979, p.29 & 33-34.

850 CE: The stone epitaph on the tomb of Li Jingshi, Governor of Guangzhou and shiboshi or Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, notes that the port was at this time 'thronged with foreign merchants and precious goods'. The 'livelihood and economy' section of the Songshi (history of the Song dynasty) refers to the Guangzhou Commisssion of Maritime Affairs and records the history of trade with Southeast and West Asia.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.80

851 CE: Arab merchant Suleiman al Tajir saw the manufacture of Chinese porcelain, and marvelled at its transparency.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.163.
He also described the port of Guangzhou and its mosque, public granaries and dispensaries, complex administration, written records, treatment of travellers, and the use of ceramics, rice-wine and tea.
Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo go to China?, p.143, citing Abbé Renaud, Anciennes Relations de l'Inde et de la Chine de deux voyageurs Mahoumetans qui y allèrent dans le IXe siècle, 1718, per Col. Sir Henry Yule, Cathay and the way thither, London 1916.

-863 CE: Chinese author Duan Chengshi described the slave trade and production of ivory and ambergris in the country of Bobali, thought to be Berbera in Somalia. From the C9th onwards, Chinese sources have good descriptions of Africa.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.38, citing Duan Chengshi, d.863AD, Yuyang za zu (Miscellany of Yuyang moutains), transl. G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, The East African coast, select documents C1-19th, London 1975 [863].

878 CE: Chinese rebel forces under Huang Chao, who sacked Guangzhou, killed an estimated 120,000 Jews, Christians, Muslims and other foreigners, in addition to local residents.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.39, citing the C10th Arab writer Abu-Zayd of Siraf, and George F. Hourani, Arab seafaring, Princeton, 1951, p.76-78.

Tang dynasty [618-907 CE]: Arab merchant Shulama praised the seaworthiness of large Chinese-built ships, but noted that the draft was too deep to enter the Euphrates, necessitating small boats to land passengers and cargo. Ships crossing the Indian ocean were about 20 zhang long and could carry 6-700 passengers.
Liu Pean, 'Viewing Chinese ancient navigation and shipbuilding through Zheng He's ocean expeditions', p.178
Abbasid pottery imitations of Tang white ware, made in Mesopotamia, have been found at Mantai and Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka alongside the Chinese originals.
John Carswell, Blue & White, p.59.
Fustat (old Cairo) was a major destination for Chinese ceramic exports for 500 years, starting in the Tang dynasty.
John Carswell, Blue & White, p.65-67. citing Tsugio Mikami, 'China and Egypt: Fustat', Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 1980-81, vol 45, London, 1982, p.67-89.

839-907 CE: Thirty seven voyages were registered between the Chinese port of Ningbo and Japan; the ships used were now built by Chinese workmen, whether in Chinese or Japanese yards, and said to be safer than the boats used in earlier years by Japanese envoys to China.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.154.

C9-10th: Islamic ceramics of the C9-10th have been found at Trang Soi sand dune near the Hoi An river.
Museum of Trade Ceramics, Hoi An, artefacts and captions

903 CE: Arab geographer Ibn Faqih described China as renowned for three major exports: silk, porcelain, and lamps.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.163.

908-11 CE: A two-part Cham inscription records two official missions to Java by an envoy of the Cham king Jaya Simhavarman. A contemporary Javanese inscription refers to both Khmer and Cham merchants in Java.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.184, citing Edouard Huber, 'Lepigraphie de la dynastie de Dong-du'o'ng', Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 11 (1911):299 and A.M.Barrett, 'Two old Javanese copper-plate inscriptions of Balitung', MA thesis, Univ of Sydney, 1986, p.129.

930 CE: A large turquoise jar of the Sasanian / Islamic type was in the tomb of Lia Hua near Fuzhou.
John Carswell, Blue & White, p.59-60, citing Feng Xianming, 'Persian and Korean ceramics unearthed in China', Orientations 17.5, Hong Kong, 1976, p.4-7.

932 CE: An inscription notes a 'king of the Sunda Straits', restored to royal status.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.108, citing F.D.K. Bosch, 'Een Maleische inscriptie in het Buitenzorgsche', BKI 100 (1941): 49-53, and L.C. Damais, 'Études d'epigraphie Indonésienne, III. Liste des principales inscriptions datées de l'Indonésie', BEFEO 46 (1952-4): 98-103, no.275, 283, 289. Hall suggests that this plus three Javanese inscriptions of similar date found on the Sumatran side of the straits suggests a reemergence of Javanese authority, often subordinate to Srivijaya.

938 CE: Ngo Quyen defeated a fleet of the occupying Chinese on the Bach Dang river near Hai Phong, by enticing the ships upriver at high tide, to be impaled on metal-tipped stakes as the tide fell. He declared independence.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.29-30.

early-mid C10th: tentative date of the wreck found near the Intan oil field in the Java Sea, thought to be an Indonesian lash-lugged craft bound from Palembang to central or eastern Java, with a diverse cargo of Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Arab goods. A Chinese coin of 918 CE gives the earliest date.
Michael Flecker, The Archaeological Excavation of the 10th century Intan shipwreck; Michael Flecker, 'Treasure from the Java Sea (the 10th century Intan shipwreck)', http://www.maritime-explorations.com/Intan.pdf; http://maritime-explorations.com/intan.htm

mid-late C10th: tentative date of the Cirebon (aka Nan Han) wreck in Indonesia, apparently bound for Central or Eastern Java. The site was 40m square, and the ship of lashed-lug Southeast Asian construction, carrying ceramics from China, Thailand, Vietnam & Persia, Chinese bronze mirrors and Indonesian bronze statues, Middle Eastern glass vessels and swords, and artefacts of Egyptian origin. Finds include pearls, rubies, sapphires, garnets, gold jewellery, Fatimid rock crystal, Iranian glassware, and 2 tons of lapis lazuli. Chinese ceramics made up 75% of the cargo volume, and include many pieces of imperial quality. Lead coins on the Cirebon wreck were from the Demesne of Nan Han, around Guangzhou, 917-971 CE. One bowl had a date thought to equate to 968CE.
http://cirebon.mariemont.museum; Yvonne Tan, 'Cirebon Cargo of Yue Ceramics Vessels', Asian Art newspaper May 2007, http://www.seaceramic.org.sg/articles/cirebon_cargo.html; Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum Newsletter Vol III no3 May06, Vol III no7 Dec06; http://english.epochtimes.com/news/5-10-29/33803.html; http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSHV6Zb9pDeU; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6162804.stm; dispute news Mar06 http://nationmultimedia.com/worldhotnews/read.php?newsid=30000939; auction due May10 http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iKWgt-j1CJujMXf4dXrBNj6wrl6w.

mid-late C10th: tentative date of the Karawang wreck in Indonesia, also apparently bound for Central or Eastern Java. Many of the ceramics are similar to those on the Cirebon wreck, but of lower quality and with no such masterpieces. Coins are from the Kingdom of Min in Fujian, 916-946 CE and the demesne of Nanhan, around Guangzhou 917-971CE.

979 CE: A Cham naval expedition attacked the Vietnamese capital Hoa Lu in the Red River delta, but the fleet was destroyed in a gale, and only the king's ship survived. The Vietnamese retaliated in 982, destroying the Cham capital Indrapura; the Cham capital was eventually moved south to Vijaya (Binh Dinh).
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.181, citing Henri Maspero, 'Le protectorat general d'Annam sous les T'ang', Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 10 (1910): 678.

981 CE: The Song dynasty attacked Vietnam by land and sea, with clashes at the Bach Dang river and further south, and were repulsed by general Le Hoan.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.30; Hanoi History Museum captions

990-1007 CE: Intermittent war between the Javanese kingdom of Mataram and Srivijaya.
Nicholas Tarling, Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, p.207; http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm.

993 CE: The Yemeni captain Abu Himyarite, a frequent visitor to China, toured Guangzhou port.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.157-8.

C 7-10th: Chinese ceramics found at Mahatittha and monastic sites in Sri Lanka indicate brisk ceramic trade.
Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm

C10th: 'Citong' (Paulownia) trees were planted around the newly expanded city walls of Quanzhou (circumference 10km), citong became a city nickname, and visitors from the Middle East recorded this as Zaiton - which means olive in Arabic, leading to later confusion. Satin (the cloth) derived its name from Zaiton.
Quanzhou museum caption.

C10th: Seafarers and merchants from Champa had contacts with Brunei and Ma-yi (Mindoro, in the Philippines).
Allison Diem, 'Vietnamese ceramics from the Pandanan shipwreck excavation in the Philippines', Taoci, 2001, citing William Henry Scott, Filipinos in China before 1500, Manila, 1999.

C10th: The geographer Ibn Rusta recorded an island in the Riau or Lingga archipelago, whose ruler headed the Srivijayan army, famous for camphor and its ability to protect or harass passing ships.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.94, citing G.R. Tibbetts, A study of the Arabic texts containing material on Southeast Asia, Leiden, 1979, p.31.

late C10th: Egyptian and Arabic ceramics of this period have been found in the Philippines - always in association with Chinese products.
Dr Jesus T. Peralta, http://www.ncca.gov.ph/phil._culture/traditional_arts/glimpses/prehistory/glances/glances_ceramic-age.htm

Quanzhou's Qingjing mosque in 2002
The Qingjing mosque, Quanzhou

c.1000 CE: Srivijaya levied 20,000 dinars before allowing a Jewish merchant to continue his voyage to China.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.85, citing the 'Aja'ib al-Hind, in G.R. Tibbetts, A study of the Arabic texts containing material on Southeast Asia, Leiden, 1979, p.44. The same source records that merchants in Srivijaya were confined to the capital, but accepted this for fear of wild animals.

1001 CE: China's Song dynasty recorded the arrival of a diplomatic mission from the 'kingdom of Butuan' in Mindanao.
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/321334/scitech/science/massive-balangay-mother-boat-unearthed-in-butuan

1003 CE: a Butuan chieftain petitioned the Chinese imperial court to allow direct trade with Guangdong, rather than via Champa as designated; the petition was declined.
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/321334/scitech/science/massive-balangay-mother-boat-unearthed-in-butuan

1008 CE: Egyptian sea captain Domiyat, a frequent visitor to China, joined an imperial pilgrimage to a Buddhist site in Shandong, presented the Song emperor Zhenzong with gifts from the Egyption king, and established diplomatic relations.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.158.

1009 CE: The Qingjing mosque (originally known as the Aisuhabu mosque) was built in Quanzhou.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.101.

1016 CE: The Javanese suffered a devastating raid from Srivijaya, which sent a mission to China the following year referring to their ruler as 'king of the ocean lands'.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.194, citing Tamil inscriptions in Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy, 1956-57, no.161,164,166, and Epigraphia Indica, 22:213-281; both journals published by the Archaeological Survey of India.

1025 CE: Rajendra Chola, the king of Coromandel in India, launched a massive raid on Srivijayan ports on both sides of the Straits of Malacca. The Tamil inscription suggests total conquest; however a new king of Srivijaya sent tribute to China in 1028.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.23, 85-86, 102, 194, citing a Chola inscription from Tanjavur in south India dated 1030-1031, Nilakanta Sastri, The history of Srivijaya, Madras, 1949, p.80, and George W. Spencer, The politics of expansion, the Chola conquest of Sri Lanka and Sri Vijaya, Madras, 1983, p.100-150; ports attacked on the Malay peninsula named in the Tanjavur inscription of 1030, South Indian Inscriptions, 2:105-109. Possibility conquest exaggerated: Stuart Munro-Hay, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 1.8.

1029-35 CE: Two inscriptions in Arabic script from Panduranga on the Cham coast (Phan Rang, just north of the Mekong delta) provide evidence of a major port there. One records the selection of a Muslim as 'agent of the bazaar' to represent merchants in their dealings with Cham authorities.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.183, citing Paul Ravaisse, 'Deux inscriptions coufiques du Campa', Journal Asiatique, Paris, 20,2 (1922): 247-289.

1037 CE: The Brantas river in east Java was dammed by royal order to reduce flood dangers for port users, 'including ships' captains and merchants from other islands and countries'.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.18, citing Kamalagyan inscription, trans. Jan Wisseman, 'Markets and trade in pre-Majapahit Java', in Economic exchange and social interaction in Southeast Asia, ed. Karl Hutterer, 1977, p197-212 - one of a number of inscriptions recording royal decisions on ports, warehouses, weights & measures, duties, appointment of tax collectors at ports, etc.

1044 CE: A Vietnamese seaborne expedition routed the Chams and killed their king.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.181, citing George Coedès, The Making of Southeast Asia, trans H.M.Wright, Berkeley, 1966, p.83.

1050 CE: A Cham inscription records a royal expedition against the rebellious Cham port of Panduranga.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.181& 185, citing E.Aymonier, 'Première étude sur les inscriptions Tchames', Journal Asiatique, Paris, 17 (1891): 29.

1067 CE: The Cholas attacked Kadaram (thought to be Takuapa, on the west coast of Thailand's Isthmus of Kra), destroying it as the dominant regional port.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.199, citing Perumbur inscription, 7th year of Virarajendra I, South Indian inscriptions, 3,no.84, and Alastair Lamb, 'Kedah and Takuapa, some tentative historical conclusions', Federated Museums Journal 6 (1961):84.

1068 CE: Vira Rajendra, the king of Coromandel, captured Kedah (northwest Malaysia) from Srivijaya.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm
Vietnamese attacking the Cham capital of Vijaya by sea were surprised to encounter no naval resistance.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.186, citing Georges Maspero, Le royaume de Champa, Paris, 1928, p141-2.

1068-1077 [Xining reign]: Chinese official Huang Huaixin outlined a plan involving a drydock for the repair of imperial dragon boats.
Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.77, citing Shen Kuo, Mengxi bi tan, bu bi tan ('Supplement to notes taken in Mengxi') written 1086-1093, annotated by Hu Daojing, Hong Kong, Zhonghua shuju, 1975, 313.

1087 CE: The Song government established an office in Quanzhou to regulate maritime trade. Commercial tax receipts soon matched or exceeded those of South China's largest port, Guangzhou. The rapid development of foreign trade stimulated advances in shipbuilding, ceramics, textiles, metallurgy, and agricultural processing.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.14

C 11th: Persian ceramics of the 11th century are found in Sri Lanka; thereafter, Chinese ceramics predominate.
Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm

C 11th: tentative date of the 7-metre pine vessel found off Kunsan in the west of Korea with a cargo of ceramics.
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200406/kt2004061014355253460.htm

2nd half of C11th: tentative date of the 9-metre flat-bottomed Korean vessel found off Wando island in SW Korea with a cargo of celadon from Haenam province.
http://www.seamuse.go.kr/en/?sub=6, http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/department/oseas.html; Kim Zae-Geun, 'The Wreck excavated [from] Wando island'.

late C11th / early C12th: tentative date of the 22-metre sailing barge found at Kadakkarapally in Kerala, SW India (the Thaikkal find).
http://wedigboats.org/Thaikkal.htm; http://www.rpmnautical.org/india.htm

late C11th / early C12th: Song qingbai and other ceramics found in a sand dune at Allaipiddi in Sri Lanka.
John Carswell, Blue & White: Chinese porcelain around the world, p.168-171; Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm.

C11th-C12th: Fortified Chinese trade bases were established in the Philippines, to gather forest products and distribute imports, and the archaeological sites of Laguna, Mindoro and Cebu show significant social change.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.24, citing Karl L.Hutterer, 'The evolution of Philippine lowland societies', Mankind, 9 (1974): 287-299, and An archaeological picture of a pre-Spanish Cebuan community, Cebu, 1973.

1117: Regulations and navigation for sea-going ships were described by Zhu Yu, son of a former high port official and then governor of Guangzhou. Large ships carried several hundred men, the smaller ones more than a hundred. They navigated by the coasts, the stars, the compass, and seabed sampling.
Robert Temple, The Genius of China (from Needham), p.150, citing Pingzhou Ketan (Pingzhou chats).
The same book describes the loading of ships - 'the greater part of the cargo consists of pottery, the small pieces packed in the larger, till there is not a crevice left' - and the keeping of foreign slaves in Guangzhou.
Ceramics: John Carswell, Blue & White, p.59, citing Chu Yu, P'ing-chou k'o'tan, Taipei, 1975. Slaves: Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.37, citing Zhou Qufei, Ling wai dai da (about regions beyond the mountain passes), 1178, per J.J.L. Duyvendak, China's discovery of Africa, London Univ, 1949, p. 24. Text of Pingzhou Ketan shown in The Maritime Silk Route, 1996, p.88.
It also describes the Srivijayan government's monopoly over sandalwood exports, the Chinese Trade Office monopoly over frankincense imports, and the official fixing of commodity prices in the ports of Srivijaya.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.99-100.

1129: Khmer king Suryavarman II sent a fleet to plunder the Vietnamese coast.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.126

1129: Gaozong, who had declared himself emperor of China after the fall of Kaifeng and spent the first eight years on the run, escaped in 1129 only after taking to sea. He went on to establish the southern Song dynasty with its capital at Hangzhou - and with half his land gone, to encourage maritime trade and the resultant revenues. The government funded harbour improvements, warehouse construction and navigation beacons. In 1132, the emperor ordered the establishment of China's first permanent navy, and offered rewards for innovative ship design. Chinese scholars studied and extended Arab and Hindu knowledge of geography and navigation.
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p136; Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the seas, p.41-42.

1130: tentative date of the Jepara wreck in Indonesia, dated by coins & ceramics, with a 2.5m anchor stock of stone from Fujian in China.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter III/5, Sep-Oct06.

1154: Al-Idrisi, a Moroccan geographer, published his Geography, which contained a world map, and described Chinese merchant ships carrying iron, swords, leather, silk, velvet and other textiles to Aden, the Indus and Euphrates. He commented that Quanzhou's silk was unparalleled, and Hangzhou renowned for both glassware and silk.
http://lrrc3.plc.upenn.edu/indianocean/group5/penny05.html; Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.159-161.

1161: The invading Jin attacked Hangzhou with 600 warships and 70,000 men, and simultaneous land assaults, but were repulsed with grenades launched by catapult; possibly the first time that gunpowder was used in battle. The Song navy, with only 120 warships and 3,000 men, then defeated a huge Jin armada off the Shandong peninsula.
Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.43-47

early 1160s: Five Sri Lankan ships attacked lower Burma, after the Burmese blocked the overland trade route to Angkor.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.203-4 & 209, citing a Sinhalese inscription of 1165 about rewarding the perpetrator with land, Epigraphia Zeylonica, 3:321, no.34 (Archaeological Survey of Ceylon).

1178: Champa attacked the Khmers by water, having attacked by land in the previous year. A Chinese pilot guided the invaders up the Mekong and the Siem Reap river; they pillaged the capital and killed the king. Jayavarman VII counter-attacked, defeated the Chams in another naval battle, and killed their king.
David Chandler, A history of Cambodia, p.59, citing G.Maspero, Le Royaume de Champa (Paris, 1928) p.164 & K.485, stele from Phimeanakas, Inscriptions de Cambodge, vol.2 p.171
Guangzhou customs officer Zhou Qufei wrote of an island in the west (Madagascar?) from which people 'black as lacquer' with frizzy hair were captured and sold as slaves to Arab countries.
Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.37, citing Zhou Qufei, Ling wai dai da (about regions beyond the mountain passes), 1178, per J.J.L. Duyvendak, China's discovery of Africa, London Univ, 1949, p. 22.
Zhou Qufei also wrote that Srivijaya now had few goods of its own to sell, and relied on force to compel passing ships to stop at its ports.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.102, citing Chou Ch'u-fei, Ling wai tai ta, noted by Chao Ju-kua and transl. O.W. Wolters, 'A few miscellaneous Pi-chi jottings on early Indonesia', Indonesia 36 (oct 1983): 56.

1163-1190: During the reign of Xiaozong, the southern Song took to seaborne trade, previously dominated by Arabs and others. Chinese ships sailed east to Korea & Japan, and west to India, the Persian gulf and the Red Sea. China imported raw materials and luxuries (rare woods, precious metals, gems, spices and ivory), and exported manufactured goods (silk and other cloths, ceramics, lacquerware, copper cash, dyes, books and stationery).
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p142.

1190: Compass first mentioned by a European, Alexander Neckam in De Naturis Rerum. The first mention in Arabic writings is approximately 1232.
Robert Temple, The Genius of China (from Needham), p.149

C11th-12th: tentative date of the Pulau Buaya wreck in Indonesia.
Abu Ridho & Edmund Edwards McKinnon, The Pulau Buaya wreck: finds from the Song period, 1998; Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

C12th: A ship about 25 feet long was wrecked near Taean in Korea; the cargo included high-quality ceramics.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6915941.stm, http://museum.bu.ac.th/SEP%202007.pdf

C12th: A ship sent by the Burmese king arrived at Weligama in Sri Lanka.
Prof Sia, http://members.tripod.com/~hettiarachchi/port.html

C12th: Sri Lankan king Parakrama Bahu I gathered a fleet at Mahatittha to invade the Pandyan kingdom.
Rohan Jayatilleke, http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/ancient/ports.htm

C12th: Japanese merchants were trading in China. Japan ceased to mint coins, and bought them from China.
Thuan Luc, http://www.charm.ru/coins/vn/nagasaki.shtml

early C13th: The Song navy controlled the seas from Fujian to Japan & Korea, and patrolled China's main rivers. The total number of ships reached 600, the largest of which were 24 feet wide with a crew of 42. All warships had battering rams, catapults, incendiary weapons, protective screens, and fire equipment.
Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.43

1225: Quanzhou's commissioner of foreign trade noted a Chinese court order banning trade with Java, as the import of pepper was causing excessive outflow of copper cash; Javanese traders avoided the ban by calling their country Sukadana (Su-ki-tan).
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.244, citing F. Hirth & W.W. Rockhill, Chau Ju-kua: his work on the Chinese and Arab trade in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, entitled Chu-fan-chi, St Petersburg, 1911.

1245: Joannes de Plano Carpini was the first of several Franciscan monks to chronicle their China travels. William of Rubruck followed in 1253, Giovanni di Monte Corvino in 1294, and Odoric of Pordenone in 1318.
Donald Wigal, Historic Maritime Maps, p38-39; John of Monte Corvino, Report from China 1305, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/corvino1.html; Charles Carlson http://atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EH28Ag02.html

1247: A fleet from Ligor under Candrabhanu attacked Sri Lanka from Kedah (and again in 1270).
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/hindu.htm

from mid C13th: Japanese became notorious for smuggling and piracy around Korea.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.100

Song dynasty (960-1279): Guangzhou was China's largest foreign trade port during the Song dynasty; many copper coins were exported.
Guangzhou museum caption.
Song records describe detailed customs inspections at Cham ports, where one fifth of each commodity was collected for the Cham king before remaining goods could be sold. Concealed goods were confiscated.
Kenneth Hall, Maritime trade and state development in early Southeast Asia, p.183, citing Georges Maspero, Le royaume de Champa, Paris, 1928, p.29.
A ship's hull discovered under an old wharf at Ningbo was roughly dated to the Song dynasty.
Lin et al, 'Waterfront excavations at Dongmenkou, Ningbo'.

Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279): reported date of the merchant ship referred to as 'Nanhai-1', raised from the Yangjiang river in Guangdong province, with a cargo estimated at 60,000 items including high-quality ceramics, and thought to have been destined for the Middle East. The ship was 30m x 10m, est 5,000 tons. Finds included a golden belt.
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-09/28/content_8743828.htm; http://china.org.cn/english/culture/222723.htm; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-06/21/content_11575992.htm; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-12/22/content_7296095.htm; http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-12/22/content_6341437.htm; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-05/06/content_6062746.htm; http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200303/06/eng20030306_112821.shtml; http://www.chinaheritagenewsletter.org/articles.php?searchterm=001_maritimesilk.inc&issue=001; video - locating the bow, http://english.cntv.cn/program/cultureexpress/20110427/104523.shtml; Zhang Wei, 'L'Archéologie sous-marine en Chine', Taoci, 2001.

Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279): reported date of the Huaguangjiao I wreck found in the Xisha islands southeast of Hainan province, 20 metres long and carrying over 10,000 ceramic pieces from Fujian and Guangdong kilns.
http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en/2007-05/17/content_98069.htm; http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2007-05/09/content_868756.htm; http://www.apollo-magazine.com/features/630196/part_4/porcelain-raised-from-the-sea.thtml; http://museum.bu.ac.th/May06.pdf; Zhang Wei, ed, The Xisha Islands Underwater Archaeology Project Report.

c.1272: An Odd Ball was made at the Chinese court, with representations of land, rivers, oceans, and a grid of lines... latitude & longitude?
http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Asia&month=0511&week=a&msg=x515H1jaKh6%2b9FvwTswQ9Q&user=&pw, citing the Yuan shi 48:999

1273: Yuan China sent the first of four missions to Sri Lanka (Kublai Khan declared himself emperor of China in 1271, although the southern Song were finally defeated only in 1279); the dates were 1273, 1284, 1291 and 1293. In 1293, Sri Lanka sent one mission back.
Prof W.I. Siriweera, http://lakdiva.net/coins/media/cdn_1998.06.21_china_trade.htm

1274: Kublai Khan sent a fleet with 23-28,000 men from Korea to attack Japan, after earlier requests for tribute were refused. The fleet looted Hakata (Fukuoka), but withdrew with heavy losses after a great storm. The locals then built a 20km defensive wall, parts of which have been excavated.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,61-545301,00.html; defensive wall http://www.seinan-gu.ac.jp/university/english/living/mongol/genko.htm

1275-76: The Mongols, with unbeatable cavalry but initially inferior seapower, recruited Song traitors to help them capture port towns. By 1275 they controlled the Yangzi and had confiscated 3,000 boats. Two opportunistic Song merchants supplied a further 500 boats and several thousand crew for the assault on Hangzhou, which fell in 1276; the boy emperor Gongzong was captured.
Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.48

1276-1279: The Song emperor was dethroned and captured, and replaced by his half brother Duanzong who had been sent to Fujian for safety. The entire court took to the sea, moving gradually southwards as the Mongols advanced. After capturing Guangzhou, the Mongols launched a naval attack, forcing the court further out to sea. The emperor's ship sank in a hurricane; Duanzong was rescued, but died after a further attack (possibly at Lantau island, home to Hong Kong airport); his younger brother became the emperor Bing Di. In 1279 the Mongols again attacked and drove the court to sea. A three week battle ensued. More than 1000 Chinese ships had been chained together line-abreast; over 800 were captured, and 100,000 men died. Bing Di was drowned. 16 Chinese ships escaped, carrying the dowager empress Yang, who drowned herself from grief and was later worshipped as a goddess.
Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese emperors, p146-7.

Model of the Quanzhou ship,  in the museum housing the archaeological remains.
Model of the Quanzhou ship

1274-77: tentative date of the Song dynasty ship found at Quanzhou, a three-masted compartmentalized 34-metre vessel with bamboo sails and rope made of palm, bamboo, rattan and flax. She was returning from Southeast Asia with sandalwood and other fragrant woods, medicinal products (2.4 tonnes in these categories), jewellery, peppercorns, areca nuts, frankincense, ambergris, tortoise shell, coral, copper coins, money cowries, bamboo, and wooden tags tied to the cargo with the name & address of each merchant, including one 'Ali'.
www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sultan/archeology.html; Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.74-80; Quanzhou ship museum artefacts & captions.

1280s: After capturing Quanzhou, the Yuan emperor despatched envoys overseas ten times. Yang Tingbi was sent in 1280 and 1282 to Quilon in Malabar, receiving promises of support from Egyptian traders and Muslim chieftains, and went on to Kenya. By 1286, ten states in Malaya, Sumatra, India and Africa had sent envoys back.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.158.

Drawing of Mongol ships and boats, Takashima museum
Mongol ship, landing craft & water carrier: drawing in the Takashima museum

1281: Kublai Khan launched a second attack on Japan, with fleets from Korea and China: thousands of ships and 100-140,000 men. A typhoon destroyed most of the invaders. The Japanese named the storms 'winds of god', or 'kamikaze', and assumed they were under divine protection. The Takashima ship, one of hundreds sunk in Imari Bay in Kyushu, has been excavated. She was estimated to be 70m long, and the wood and granite used in her 7m anchor both come from Fujian. Finds include red leather armour, a commander's bronze seal engraved in Chinese and Mongolian, helmets and weapons, mortars for pounding gunpowder, and shrapnel-filled ceramic grenades.
James Delgado, Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: History's Greatest Naval Disaster; James Delgado, Relics of the Kamikaze, http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=0301/etc/kamikaze; Jun Kimura, 'Recent survey and excavation on the Mongolian fleet sunk off Japan: the Takashima underwater site', Bulletin of the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (2006), 30: 7-13; Kublai Khan fleet timber analysis 2004, http://www.rpmnautical.org/japan.htm; http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~uwarchae/project%20takashima.htm; http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20111231a7.html; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15452071; http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20111231a7.html; Takashima museum captions.
Muslims from Jambi (in Sumatra) sent an embassy to Kublai Khan.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

1282: Mongol general Toa Do (Gogetu) landed in Champa; he seized the capital in 1283, but encountered fierce resistance. In 1285 Mongols took control of the Red River delta, but were evicted.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.45-48.

-1284: A Chinese celadon bowl and two white Ding bowls were found at Yapahuwa in Sri Lanka, which was destroyed and abandoned in 1284.
John Carswell, Blue & White: Chinese porcelain around the world, p.63, citing Carswell, 'China & Islam in the Maldive islands', Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1978, p.128.

1288: A new Mongol fleet was defeated in the Bach Dang river by Tran Hung Dao, using metal-tipped stakes just as 350 years earlier. 30,000 Mongols died; 100 of their ships were destroyed, and 400 captured. Archaeologists have found wooden stakes of both periods, but as yet no ships.
Le Ti Lien et al,'Understanding the Bach Dang Battlefield from Recent Research Results', www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1266; www.themua.org/vietnam/bdp.php; Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.49-50; Hanoi History Museum captions; Dr Trinh Cao Tuong, Institute of Archaeology, personal conversation; Mark Staniforth, 'The lost fleet of Kublai Khan', http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2011/podcasts/the-lost-fleet-of-kublai-khan/transcript.

1291-1292: Kublai Khan despatched a princess as replacement bride for the Persian king Arghun, by sea since she had encountered problems on the land journey - escorted by the three Polos, returning home after almost two decades, with messages from the khan for the pope and the kings of Christendom.
Marco Polo, The Travels, p.42-43. (See also Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo go to China? She argues that the whole account, supposedly dictated in Genoa in 1298, was largely invented. In any case a lot of information came into European circulation, albeit partially garbled.)

1292-1293: Kublai Khan sent 1000 ships to attack Java. Hit by a typhoon, and refused permission to land in Champa, the fleet arrived enfeebled. Vijaya, the ruler of Majapahit, joined the Mongols to attack Kediri, and then launched a surprise attack on the Mongols, who withdrew.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

C12th-13th: tentative date of the Korang Cina wreck in Indonesia, and the North Palawan, Bolinao I, and San Antonio wrecks in the Philippines.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

C13th: tentative date of a Chinese wreck found at Kota Cina in Medan Marelan, Sumatra.
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/ancient-trinkets-unearthed-in-medan/500412; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/24/relics-shipwreck-found-medan.html

C13th: Vietnam's external trade was tightly controlled; goods were exchanged in designated places at ports and border towns. Chinese fabrics were traded for essential oils, ivory, salt and minerals. Javanese and Siamese vessels called at Van Don port. The shipbuilding industry was growing, producing ships with up to 100 oars.
Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: a long history, p.36-38.

C13th: Tentative date of a 25m ship among other balangay vessels of this date found at Butuan in Mindanao.
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/321334/scitech/science/massive-balangay-mother-boat-unearthed-in-butuan

mid to late C13th: tentative date of wreck found in the Java Sea with 190 tonnes of iron (cast iron cauldrons and wrought iron bars), Chinese ceramics, Thai kendis, ivory and aromatics. The ship is of Indonesian wood, and possibly lash-lugged construction, but the cargo appears to have been divided by bulkheads.
Michael Flecker, 'The thirteenth-century Java Sea wreck: a Chinese cargo in an Indonesian ship', http://www.maritime-explorations.com/Java Sea MM.pdf; http://maritime-explorations.com/java%20sea.htm

mid to late C13th: tentative date of the Breaker Reef junk off NW Palawan in the Philippines, carrying ceramics from Fujian virtually identical to those of the Java Sea wreck, and copper items. The date was originally estimated by the excavators as late 11th/early 12th century, but has been assessed to C13th on the ceramic evidence.
National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, artefacts and caption; Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter III/7, Dec 06; Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

late C13th: tentative date of Investigador Shoal Junk wreck, at Kalayaan, Palawan, Philippines. The cargo included celadon and qingbai ceramics, and a large jar with 54kg bronze bracelets under a layer of tea, suggesting illicit trade. China had banned export of all metal.
National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, artefacts and caption.

c.1300: tentative date of the Jade Dragon wreck off the northern-most tip of Borneo, a Southeast Asian lash-lugged ship carrying exclusively Longquan celadon.
http://maritime-explorations.com/jade%20dragon.htm

1309: the gates of the Qingjing mosque in Quanzhou repaired by Ahmad of Jerusalem.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.101

1313: the Italian Andrew of Perugia was despatched by the pope to be third bishop of Quanzhou; he died in 1332.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.115; Quanzhou museum caption.

Model of the Shinan ship in the Fukuoka City Museum
Model of the Shinan ship, Fukuoka City Museum

1323: a two-masted Chinese ship sank off Shinan (or Sinan) in SW Korea. She was 32-36 metres long, 11m wide, about 200 tons, carrying large quantities of Song and Yuan dynasty ceramics and copper coins. Finds included nickel ingots, wooden clogs, and wooden pieces for 'Japanese chess', as well as many wooden cargo tags. The ship was compartmentalised, with wooden water-tanks on both sides amidships. A wooden tag shows that the ship was built in China, by order of the Tofukuji temple in Kyoto (also mentioned is the subordinate Jotenji Tacchu temple in Hakata), left Ningbo in 1323 (3rd year of Shiji), and was bound for Hakata (Fukuoka).
http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/department/oseas.html; Lee Chang-Euk, 'A study on the structural and fluid characteristics of a rabbetted clinker type ship (the sunken ship salvaged off Shinan)'; John Carswell, Blue & White, p.17 (discussing absence of blue and white on the ship, among 5,000 pieces from Jingdezhen, and arguing that production probably started later); http://www.seamuse.go.kr/en/?sub=6&p=2; Fukuoka City Museum captions.
Celadon shards found at Nilaveli in northeast Sri Lanka, and thought to be from a ship wreck, are similar to those from Shinan.
John Carswell, 'Two unexplored wrecks of the 14th century in the Red Sea and off Sri Lanka', Taoci, 2001.

Song / early Yuan dynasty [1127-1368]: tentative date of the Bao Jiao I wreck in China (Dinghai area, Fujian province), which carried many black-glazed tea bowls.
Sarah Kenderdine, 'Bai Jiao I', IJNA, 1995.

early Yuan dynasty [1279-1333]: tentative date of the 21-metre ship found at Xui Zhong in China (district of San Dao Gang, Liaoning province), carrying iron objects and Cizhou ceramics; the latter are widely found in Japan and Korea.
Zhang Wei, 'L'Archéologie sous-marine en Chine', Taoci, 2001.

1316-1330: Franciscan monk Odoric of Pordenone travelled from Venice via Persia and South India to China, and stayed for several years, keeping a diary. Yangzhou was still flourishing (it later silted up). He visited Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan in the 1320s.
Kevin Bishop, China's Imperial Way, p.123 & 225; http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

1328-1339: Wang Dayuan made two trips from Quanzhou on Chinese ships. In 1328-1333 he visited Luzon & Mindanao in the Philippines, many places in Southeast Asia, Sir Lanka and India, and reached Dhofar and Aden. In 1334-1339 he went to Aden, and joined Arab ships to visit north Africa (reaching the Atlantic coast of Morocco) and East Africa (including Mogadishu, and Kilwa in Tanzania). His book includes details on cultures, navigation, and commerce. Indian cotton fabrics were popular in Southeast Asia and Africa. Chinese ships were delivering coloured satin, blue and white ceramics, and ironware to Quilon and Mogadishu; Suzhou and Hangzhou silks to Aden, etc, and were also engaged in entrepot trade of sappanwood, rice, cloves, cardamon, cotton fabrics, ironware etc. A flourishing entrepot trade between India and the Mediterranean was run by merchants from Karami in Egypt, and Muslims dominated an East African trade in gold, ivory and slaves. Promising import items included Aceh horses, cheap Malabar rice, Calicut pepper, ambergris and gold ore from Malindi, and cobalt ore from Mogadishu.
Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.180-187, citing Wang Dayuan's brief account published as a supplement to Qing Yuan Xu Zhi in Quanzhou in 1349, and the full version Dao Yi Zhi Lüe published in Nanchang in 1350.

1341-49: Ibn Battuta, who had left Morocco in 1325, spent a few years in India from 1334-41, then travelled on to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sumatra and China. He arrived in Zaiton (Quanzhou) in 1345, and reckoned it one of the five largest ports in the world, along with Calicut and Quilon in India, Sudak in the Crimea, and Alexandria in Egypt. He later visited Fuzhou, Hangzhou and Guangzhou. His travel account was apparently written in 1355.
http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618/Ibn_Battuta/Battuta's_Trip_Eight.html & ensuing pages; Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo go to China?, p.145; http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm; Shen Fuwei, Cultural flow between China and the outside world, p.179-180 & 186.

1346: John Marignolli, author of 'A Mission to the East', visited Quanzhou, noting three magnificent cathedrals, and storage godowns.
Quanzhou museum caption

early C14th: Tentative date of the Quang Ngai wreck at Binh Chau village in central Vietnam, a Chinese vessel 20-25m long and 4-6m wide with 12-13 compartments, carrying Chinese ceramics from Longquan and southern kilns. Other artefacts include bronze coins and scale weights. Of three other wrecks found nearby, one salvaged in 2012 is premilinarily reported as C13th, and two salvaged in 2013 as C17th.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum Newsletter VI/2-3, Jun13; http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/47953/quang-ngai-blockades-the-shipwreck-with-500-year-old-antiques.html; http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/48238/shipwreck-yields-treasures-dating-from-14th-century.html; http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/65597/quang-ngai-s-shipwreck-to-be-excavated-in-two-months.html; http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/77724/quang-ngai--700-year-old-wreck-found-intact.html; http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/81083/make-or-break-for-ancient-wreck.html; http://vietnamcolors.net/2013/07/the-illuminating-700-year-old-excavation-finds/
Nearby wrecks: http://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/243607/second-ancient-shipwreck-unearthed-in-quang-ngai.html, http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/82375/another-ancient-shipwreck-discovered-in-quang-ngai.html, http://vietnambreakingnews.com/2013/08/more-old-shipwrecks-antiques-found-off-vietnam-central-coast/

1351: Wu Jian recorded seven mosques in Quanzhou, indicating a sizeable Muslim population.
Quanzhou Maritime Museum caption
Song & Yuan dynasties [960-1368]: From this period, Quanzhou not only has numerous large mosques, important Buddhist temples and Daoist sites, but also the remains of large and exquisitely decorated Hindu temples. It had become a major centre of the Manichaean religion, which originated in Persia in the C3rd and spread along the land silk road. There are many tombstones from the several Muslim cemeteries. There are inscriptions in Arabic, Syrian, Tamil and other languages - and they record embassies to Persia, visitors from Sri Lanka, high official positions held by Muslim residents, etc. The museum has a spectacular large peacock-blue vase from C11-12th Persia. The port was busy, and cosmopolitan.
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.103-140; Quanzhou museum artefacts and captions.

Reconstruction of the Penglai ship.
Reconstruction of the Penglai ship. Scale is 5 metres.

1274-1376: tentative date of a narrow 28-metre ship found at Dengzhou in Penglai county, Shandong province, and thought to have been a fast naval patrol vessel of 'anchovy' class (named for the shape). Artefacts included a copper blunderbuss, fire-bottles, and other firearms.
Yuan Xiaochun & Wu Songgao, 'On the construction of Penglai fighting sailship of Yuan dynasty'; Xi Longfei and Xin Yuanou, 'Preliminary research on the historical period and restoration design of the ancient ship unearthed in Penglai'.

Yuan dynasty [1279-1368]: Tentative date of the 21x5metre merchant ship found at Heze in Shandong, China. The ship had ten cabins, and carried fine ceramics.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/7209838.html; http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90783/91324/7210006.html; http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90783/91300/7208582.html; http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/7146898.html

Yuan dynasty [1279-1368]: Appreciation of Chinese ceramics spread dramatically. The Safavid shahs of Persia and the Ottoman sultans acquired large quantities of Yuan (and later Ming) blue-and-white; large quantities have also been found in Damascus and Fustat (old Cairo), and archaeological evidence of the trade is to be found throughout Asia, the middle East, and east Africa, with a growing number of shipwreck sites supplementing finds on land. In 1349, Wang Dayuan in the DaoYi Zhi Lue ('A brief description of the island foreigners') listed 45 destinations where Chinese ceramics were in demand, including 18 which preferred blue-and-white to celadon and other types. Recent finds in the Red Sea, apparently from a shipwreck, include Yuan blue-and-white, including large dishes of up to 50cm diameter. Trade and other contacts with Japan continued even during the hostilities: over 220 Japanese monks visited China during the last 75 years of the Yuan dynasty, taking passage on merchant ships; Japanese temples & shrines funded commercial voyages to raise funds for building works.
John Carswell, Blue & White: Chinese porcelain around the world, p.13-14, 17, & 62 [citing Grace Wong, 'Chinese blue & white porcelain and its place in the maritime trade of China', in ST Yeo & Jean Martin, Chinese blue & white ceramics, Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, Singapore 1978]; & re Red Sea shipwreck p.175-182.; Fukuoka City Museum captions.

mid 14th century: very tentative date of the Unisan wreck, a Chinese ship wrecked at Tayabas Bay in the Philippines.
http://museum.bu.ac.th/newsletter4.pdf; http://museum.bu.ac.th/newsletter3.pdf

c.1370: tentative date of the 'Turiang' wreck, a Chinese ship wrecked between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/turiang/

1371: The new Ming emperor, Hongwu, banned private overseas trade, after earlier rumblings from 1369.
www.maritimeasia.ws/turiang/ceramicissues.htm#mingban

1377: The kingdom of Majapahit, in Java, sent a navy against Palembang, in Sumatra, and conquered it. The ruler of Palembang had requested protection from China - which the emperor promised, but his officials arrived too late, and were executed.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

c.1380: tentative date of the 'Nanyang' wreck, a South-China-Sea ship sunk off the east coast of the Malay peninsula, with Thai & Chinese ceramics, including Thai celadon.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/exhib01/pages/p013.html

1383: One of several official missions sent to Southeast Asia by emperor Hongwu carried 13,000 pieces of porcelain as diplomatic gifts.
John Carswell, Blue & White: Chinese porcelain around the world, p.79.

1377-1400: tentative date of the 28-metre canal boat found at Liangshan in Shandong province, with swords, arrows, and armour.
He Gouwei, 'Measurement and research of the ancient Ming dynasty ship unearthed in Liangshan'.

1380-1400: Tentative date of the Rang Kwien wreck in the Gulf of Thailand, with a keel over 25m, carrying Chinese Vietnamese and Thai ceramics, copper ingots, whetstones, and Chinese coins.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf; Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum Newsletter VI/2-3, Jun13.

1380-1400: Tentative date of the Song Doc wreck, carrying early Ming celadon and ceramics from northern Thailand and Vietnam.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

C14th or early C15th: tentative date of the Phu Quoc I wreck, sunk off Phu Quoc island in southern Vietnam with Thai Sawankhalok ceramics (no Sukhothai ware).
Michael Flecker, 'A preliminary survey of a Southeast Asian wreck', IJNA (1994) 23.2: 73-91; http://maritime-explorations.com/phu%20quoc.htm

c.1400: tentative date of the 'Longquan' wreck, a South-China-Sea ship sunk off the east coast of the Malay peninsula, with Thai & Chinese ceramics.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/exhib01/pages/p014.html

1402: The city of Melaka, in peninsular Malaysia, was founded by Parameshwara, a rebel prince from Palembang in Sumatra.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

1404: Parameshwara sent an embassy to Beijing, and was promised protection.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

1405: The Commission of Maritime Affairs in Guangzhou authorized construction of the Huaiyuanyi, with 120 rooms to accommodate foreign envoys and merchants.
Maritime Silk Route 1996, p.130, citing the 'livelihood & economy' section of the Ming shi (history of the Ming dynasty).

Speculative model of Zheng He treasure ship, in Quanzhou  maritime museum
Model of a Zheng He 'Treasure Ship'
Quanzhou Maritime Museum

1405-1407: The first naval expedition under admiral Zheng He, on the orders of emperor Yongle, comprised 317 ships with 27,870 men. It sailed to Java, Semudera, Lambri (Aceh), Sri Lanka and Calicut, bearing gifts for local rulers. It routed the forces of pirate chief Chen Zuyi at Palembang. The fleet returned with envoys from Calicut, Quilon, the Sumatran states of Semudera and Aru (Deli), and Melaka - as well as Chen Zuyi, who was beheaded in Nanjing. The expeditions were to be chronicled by Fei Xin, Ma Huan, and others.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.8-11, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.75-103.
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/533 & entry/1048.
'Zheng He's sexcentenary', China Heritage Newsletter no.2 June 2005, http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/articles.php?searchterm=002_zhenghe.inc&issue=002

1407: Siam sent envoys to the Ming court with gifts of elephants, parrots and peacocks.
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/1070; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.105.

1407-1409: The second Ming expedition, with 249 ships and commanded by Zheng He's subordinates, visited Thailand, Java, Aru, Lambri, Coimbatore, Cochin and Calicut, where it was present for the installation of a new king. A commemorative stone tablet was erected in Calicut. During this voyage, the sultan of Brunei visited the emperor, died in Nanjing, and was buried with imperial honours.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.11, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.103-6; Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan.

1409-1411: The third Ming expedition involved 48 ships and 30,000 men, commanded by Zheng He. It visited Champa, Java, Melaka, Semudera, Sri Lanka, Quilon, Cochin and Calicut. A trilingual stone tablet was erected in Galle. The Sinhalese ruler Alakeswara was captured and taken with his entourage to China, where the emperor ordered their release.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.11-12, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; John Carswell, Blue & White, p.87; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.107-118; Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan. Inscription in Galle: http://www.hum.uva.nl/galle/galle/trilingual.htm
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/605 & entry/1776 & 1778.

1411: The rulers of Calicut, Cochin, Java and Melaka visited the Ming court.
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/1781 & entry/1783, 1784, 1787; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.118.

1413-1415: The fourth Ming expedition under Zheng He reached the Persian Gulf. With 63 ships and 28,560 men, it visited Champa, Kelantan, Pahang, Java, Palembang, Melaka, Aru, Semudera, Lambri, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Cochin, Calicut and Hormuz. A splinter group under Yang Min went to Bengal, and returned to China with the new king of Bengal, who presented to the emperor a giraffe which he had received from the ruler of Malindi (in Kenya). The giraffe was thought to be a mythical qilin, and auspicious. On imperial orders to restore the rightful king of Semudera, Zheng He routed the usurper Sekandar, who was taken to China and executed. This was the first of three voyages in which chronicler Ma Huan participated.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.12-13, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.137-142
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/1902 & entry/2261 & 2229.

1417-1419: The fifth Ming expedition reached Africa. It carried envoys returning home from China, and visited Champa, Pahang, Java, Palembang, Melaka, Semudera, Lambri, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, Mogadishu (in Somalia), and Malindi.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.13, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan.
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/2336.

c.1400-1420: tentative date of the Ko Si Chang II wreck.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

1421-1422: The sixth Ming expedition, with 41 ships, returned envoys from Hormuz and elsewhere. It probably visited Melaka, Aru, Semudera, Lambri, Coimbatore, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Dhofar, Aden, Mogadishu, Brava and Thailand.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.14, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.151.
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/2768 & 2846.

c.1400-1430: tentative date of the Phu Quoc II wreck in southern Vietnam, with Sawankhalok celadon & Sukothai fishplates.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter I/2, Oct04; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007; Michael Flecker, personal correspondence, Mar 2014.

c.1420-1430: tentative date of the Maranei wreck, a Chinese ship, with the earliest Chinese firearms found on a wreck.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

1431-33: The seventh Zheng He expedition was despatched by emperor Xuande. With over 100 ships and 27,550 men, it went to Champa, Surabaya, Palembang, Melaka, Semudera, Sri Lanka, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, and Jeddah; some participants visited Mecca. Zheng He died on the return voyage.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.14-19, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.168-173;
Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/entry/1131 & 1296.

1419-1444: Venetian nobleman Nicolò de Conti left Italy in 1419, lived for a time in Damascus, travelled in South Asia, returned home in 1444, and dictated an account to the papal secretary. He describes five-masted, triple-planked ships 'of twoo thousande Tunnes' with watertight compartments.
J.V.G. Mills, introduction to Ma Huan, 'Ying-yai Sheng Lan' (The overall survey of the Ocean's shores), p.64-66.

early C15th: Coins of the Yongle reign (1403-1424) fix the earliest date of the Bakau wreck, a flat-bottomed Chinese ship wrecked between Sumatra and Borneo with bronze guns and mirrors, copper-alloy tweezers, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics.
Michael Flecker, 'The Bakau wreck: an early example of Chinese shipping in Southeast Asia', IJNA(2001) 30.2: 221-230; http://maritime-explorations.com/bakau.htm

1456: Thais attacked Melaka by sea, and were repulsed (off Batu Pahat).
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm, http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/melaka1.htm

1456: Raja Abdullah of Melaka took Kedah and Pahang from the Thais.
http://home.iae.nl/users/arcengel/Indonesia/100.htm

c.1450-1460: tentative date of the Ko Khram wreck.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

c.1460: tentative date of the 'Royal Nanhai' wreck, a hardwood South-China-Sea ship wrecked close to the east coast of the Malay peninsula, carrying Thai ceramics and supposed 'diplomatic gifts'.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/exhib01/pages/p015.html

c.1470: tentative date of the wreck found off Pandanan island in the Philippines, which would have travelled from Borneo, and carried both fine and utilitarian ceramics from China, Dai Viet and Champa, and Thailand, plus four antique Yuan pieces at least 100 years older. Finds included glass beads and bronze gongs, a crocodile-tooth pendant, two unusual small cannon, and a copper coin from the reign of Emperor Yongle (1403-24). The central Vietnamese ceramics are from Binh Dinh, around the Cham capital Vijaya, which was sacked by the northern Vietnamese in 1471.
Christophe Loviny, The Pearl Road: Tales of treasure ships in the Philippines. Asiatype, Philippines, 1996; Allison Diem, 'Vietnamese ceramics from the Pandanan shipwreck excavation in the Philippines', Taoci, 2001; Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf; National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, artefacts and captions.

C15th: date of 16,000 fine Chu Dau ceramics recovered from a ?second shipwreck in the same area, Cu Lao Cham (the Cham islands) near Hoi An in Quang Nam province.
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/75484/nearly-16-000-antiques-salvaged-from-a-wreck-in-hoi-an.html, http://dtinews.vn/en/news/017/29385/quang-nam-province-divides-treasure-from-sunken-ship.html

C15th: tentative date of some artefacts found with others dated to C12-13th on two wrecks at Tam Hai island in Quang Nam province, Vietnam.
http://vietnambreakingnews.com/2013/08/more-old-shipwrecks-antiques-found-off-vietnam-central-coast/, http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/83452/800-year-old-antiques-in-shipwreck-in-quang-nam.html

1471: The Cham capital Vijaya was razed by the northern kingdom of Dai Viet. Over forty thousand people were beheaded, and more than thirty thousand deported. Cham culture never recovered.
Menson Bound, 'Aspects of the Hoi An wreck: dishes, bottles, statuettes and chronology', Taoci, 2001

c.1470-1487: tentative date of the Belanakan, Prasae Rayong, and Ko Si Chang III wrecks.
Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf

1480-1500: tentative date of the compartmentalized ship found on the Lena Shoal west of Palawan island in the Philippines, estimated to have been 22 metres long, with a cargo of Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai ceramics, plus bronze gongs, bracelets & cannon, iron & tin ingots, woks, elephant tusks, etc. Some ceramics are similar to products sent to the Middle East, and some are of types found only on Asian sites; the ship's destination is unclear.
Franck Goddio et al, Lost at sea: the strange route of the Lena Shoal junk; Franck Goddio, 'La jonque de Lena et le vaisseau Royal Captain', Taoci, 2001; Monique Crick, 'Les céramiques chinoises, vietnamiennes et thaïlandaises de la jonque de Lena', Taoci 2001; http://www.underwaterdiscovery.org/Sitemap/Project/LenaShoal/Default.aspx; National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, artefacts & captions

1488-1500: tentative date of the junk found off Santa Cruz in the northern Philippines. The ship was 25m long and 5.8m wide, built in the Philippines. 15,000 artefacts were recovered in the 2001 excavation, including 11,500 ceramics of excellent quality, with 8,000 intact pieces. Cargo compartments were well preserved. The promised report is eagerly awaited.
http://www.franckgoddio.org/projects/ancient-trade-routes/santa-cruz.html; 2007 lecture to SEACS by Dr Roxanna Brown.

c.1488-1505: tentative date, based on recent ceramic evidence, of the wreck found off Cham island near Hoi An in central Vietnam, a South East Asian teak ship (Thai?) with over 240,000 ceramics from northern Vietnam (the Chu Dao kilns of Hai Duong province), China, Champa and Thailand. The excavation director had dated this wreck earlier, at 1435-1470.
Menson Bound, 'Aspects of the Hoi An wreck: dishes, bottles, statuettes and chronology', Taoci, 2001; Bui Minh Tri, Tong Trung Tin, Nguyen Quang Liem & Philippe Colomban, 'The Cù Lao Chàm (Hôi An) shipwreck', Taoci 2001; John Guy, 'Vietnamese ceramics from the Hoi An excavation: the Chu Lao Cham ship cargo', Orientations, Sept 2000, p125-8; Frank Pope, Dragon Sea: A true tale of treasure, archeology, and greed off the coast of Vietnam; Kim Fay, 'Hoi An hoard', www.thingsasian.com/goto_article/article.1196.html; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007.

1487-1513: The Portuguese rounded the Cape in 1487-88, reached India in 1498, Sri Lanka by 1506, Melaka in 1509, and China in 1513. Knowledge preceded physical contact: the Cantino Map drawn in Lisbon in 1502 shows the Malay peninsula, Melaka, and the coast of China.
Luis Filipe Barreto, Cartography of the West-East encounter, p29,115; Vasco da Gama's account of 1487-8, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1497degama.html

1508: The Portuguese ship Santa Cruz sank in the Maldives, the first of many European ships to be lost in Asia.
Claudio Bonifacio, Historical list of Spanish & Portuguese shipwrecks in Asia, http://www.arrakis.es/~histres/asia.htm

1509: A Portuguese squadron of five ships under Diego Lopez de Sequeira arrived in Melaka, the first contact of a major European power with the Malay peninsula.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/port.htm

1500-1511: tentative date of the Brunei wreck, which carried bronze gongs, glass paste bracelets, about 12,250 Thai Chinese and Vietnamese ceramics including two antique Yuan dynasty pieces around 150 years old, and seven firearms.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter I/3, Nov-Dec04; Michel L'Hour, La mémoire engloutie de Brunei; http://foundation.total.com/cultural-heritage/intercultural-dialogue/asian-art/underwater-archaeology-the-discovery-of-the-sunken-treasure-of-brunei-298.html; Roxanna Brown, 'History of shipwreck excavation in Southeast Asia', 2004, http://nsc.iseas.edu.sg/documents/belitung/The%20Belitung%20Wreck/02_brown_040to055.pdf; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the South East Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007.

1511: Portuguese capture Melaka.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/port1.htm

1512: Javanese counterattack on Melaka repulsed, with the loss of most of their ships.
Lettera di Giovanni da Empoli; The Suma Oriental of Tomé Pires, Hakluyt, Vol.II p282.

1512-1515: The Portuguese traveller Tomé Pires recorded restrictions on Chinese merchants, and the system of tribute to China by Asian kingdoms.
The Suma Oriental of Tomé Pires, Asian Ed.Services p118-119 & 268.

c.1519: The king of Arakan wrote a letter to the Portuguese king inviting trade.
Jacques Leider, 'Elephants slaves and rubies: Arakan's place in the trade network of the Bay of Bengal', http://www.rakhapura.com/scolumns/arakan_in_tradenetworkofbob.asp

1500-1520: tentative date of the wreck off Koh Kong province in Cambodia, which carried Thai and Chinese ceramics.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter III/2, Mar-Apr 06; Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter V/2, Mar-Apr 08; http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009021024126/National-news/Govt-seeks-help-for-shipwreck.html

1500-1520: tentative date of the Ko Samui wreck in Thailand.
Roxanna Brown, lecture to the South East Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007.

1500-1520: tentative date of the Klang Aow I (Central Gulf of Thailand, Australia Tide) wreck, with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics (no Sukhothai, no Sawankhalok underglaze), and small Chinese hand guns.
Michael Flecker,http://maritime-explorations.com/thailand.htm; Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter I/2, Oct 04; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007.

1521: Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese in the service of the Spanish king, reached Guam and the Philippines having sailed westwards from South America, and was killed, but shipmates completed the circumnavigation.
Donald Wigal, Historic Maritime Maps, p107-114; account by a Genoese pilot http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1519magellan.html. See also 'Was the first man to sail around the world a Malay?' on Sejarah Melayu, http://malaya.org.uk.
Raja Humabon told Magellan that boatloads of slaves had just left Cebu for Cambodia and Champa. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/321334/scitech/science/massive-balangay-mother-boat-unearthed-in-butuan

1523: The Portuguese ship Nazare sank off Goa; ivory & copper was recovered.
Sila Tripati and Ian Godfrey, Studies on elephant tusks and hippopotamus teeth collected from the early 17th century Portuguese shipwreck off Goa, citing S.J.Stephen, Portuguese Nau

1533: China opened somewhat to Portuguese trade; settlements were precarious until 1557, when a more stable community was organised at Macau.
Joaquim Romero Magalhães, The Portuguese in the 16th century, p79-80

1539: A fleet of 160 vessels from Aceh invaded Aru, but was destroyed by Johor, with allies from Perak and Siak, at the battle of Sungei Paneh.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/johor1.htm

1512-1540: tentative date of the wreck found off Gujangan (Jolo) island in the southern Philippines, a stitched-plank vessel 18m long carrying Ming blue-and-white ceramics, and no Southeast Asian ceramics. The wreck was discovered by fishermen in 1997, reported in 1998, and excavated in 1999.
Larry Gotuaco, 'Ming in Jolo', Arts of Asia, Nov-Dec 2002; Ligaya S.P. Lacsina, 'Traditional island Southeast Asian watercraft in Philippine archaeological sites', http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1231; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007. [Dr Brown noted in 2007 that an official report seems unlikely to be published.]

1512-1540: tentative date of the Klang Aow II wreck, from which 50-100 fragments of ceramics were excavated in 2004, including Sawankhalok underglaze black, celadon & monochrome white ceramics, and Chinese blue-and-white similar to that on Klang Aow I.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum newsletter I/2, Oct04; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the South East Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007. Dr Brown noted that the ceramics are now in the National Maritime Museum at Chanthaburi.

1530-1540: tentative date of the 'Xuande'wreck, sunk off the east coast of the Malay peninsula with Chinese and Thai ceramics, and small bronze cannon.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/exhib01/pages/p016.html; Roxanna Brown, lecture to the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, West Malaysia, July 2007.

1543: Portuguese arrived in Japan. They established a trading enclave at Hirado.
Joaquim Romero Magalhães, The Portuguese in the 16th century, p.81; http://www.hendrick-hamel.henny-savenije.pe.kr/holland3.htm

1544: Chen Kan was despatched as a Ming envoy to Ryukyu. The 5-masted, 15 zhang (46.65 metre) ship had been built in Fuzhou. She had 23 compartments, four anchors, four rudders (3 spare), and two boats. She had over 140 crew, and carried over 200 officers, craftsmen and soldiers.
Wang Guanzhou, 'A study of drawings of ancient Chinese ships preserved in Japan', p.122, citing Chen Kan, 'Shi Liu Qiu Lu' (record of diplomatic mission to Ryukyu) [in Chinese].

c.1550: tentative date of the 'Singtai' wreck, sunk off the east coast of the Malay peninsula; Thai ceramics similar to those on the 'Xuande' wreck.
Sten Sjostrand, Roxanna Brown, Claire Barnes: www.maritimeasia.ws/exhib01/pages/p017.html

mid C16th: tentative date of the San Isidro junk wreck on the Zambales coast of the Philippines.
National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, caption

from mid C16th: Japanese smuggling and piracy became a problem in the Yangtze estuary and southern China.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.100-101.

1552: The São João, one of the largest Portuguese ships of the time, was wrecked off Natal in South Africa. Survivors trekked north, and a few were rescued. Cargo included Chinese ceramics, and carnelian beads from India.
Tim Maggs, 'The Great Galleon São João: remains from a mid-sixteenth century wreck on the Natal South Coast', Annals of the Natal Museum 26.1: 173-186 (Dec 1984); Laura Valerie Esterhuizen, 'History written in porcelain sherds', Taoci, 2001.

1554: The Portuguese ship São Bento was wrecked off Natal; survivors found the remains of the São João. Cargo included similar ceramics, mostly blue-and-white, carnelian beads, gold jewellery set with Sri Lankan rubies, and money cowries.
Chris Auret & Tim Maggs, 'The Great Galleon SãoBento: remains from a mid-sixteenth century Portuguese wreck on the Pondoland coast', Annals of the Natal Museum 25.1: 1-39 (Oct 1982); Laura Valerie Esterhuizen, 'History written in porcelain sherds', Taoci, 2001.

1558: the Portuguese ship Espadarte, returning from China with blue & white porcelain, broke her mast at the Cape and returned to Mozambique where she sank off Fort San Sebastian.
Alejandro Mirabal, Interim Report of the Marine Archaeological Survey performed in Ilha de Moçambique from May to July 2001, http://www.arq-publications.com/downloads/survey_report2001.pdf; Mensun Bound, 'Exploring the San Sebastian Wreck off Mozambique', The Explorers Journal, Summer 2004, http://www.arq-publications.com/downloads/moz_nov2004.pdf; http://www.mercopress.com/vernoticia.do?id=3518&formato=HTML

1565: Andres de Urdaneta sailed across the Pacific Ocean from West to East.
National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, caption; Robert Bruce Cruikshank, http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-yenYfS08eqgwDsnprU8OffaUdTg_?l=246&u=250&mx=250&lmt=5; & index to sailings 1565-1815 http://ManilaGalleon.info.

1569: Mercator published his 'Nova et aucta orbis terræ descriptio ad usum navigantium emendate accommodata', the 'New and more complete representation of the terrestrial globe properly adapted for use in navigation', later known as Mercator's Projection. A straight line on this map corresponded to the compass bearing.
Nicholas Crane, Mercator, p 204-6.

1571: Spanish soldiers and merchants established themselves at Manila. They also rescued the crew of a sinking Chinese junk and repatriated the crew. In 1572 the rescued merchants returned to Manila and established a long-term trading relationship with the Spaniards. 'Manila galleons' were Spanish ships sailing from Manila to Acapulco. Galleons sailed in 1572, but returned to Manila in distress; the galleons of 1573 reached Mexico safely.
Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001.

1576: The San Felipe sailed from Manila & was wrecked off the west coast of Mexico. The 600 shards found in 1999-2000 suggest experimentation by the despatching Chinese merchants, not yet sure of Spanish tastes.
Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001; http://museum.bu.ac.th/newsletter%20jan-Feb.pdf.

1579: The English seafarer Francis Drake and his ship Golden Hind spent 36 days at Drake's Bay, 50km north of San Francisco, with porcelain on board after the capture of a Spanish ship. Shards of blue-and-white porcelain found at Drake's Bay have been identified with 77 bowls, plates, cups and bottles from this stay.
Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/drakes-bay-sir-francis-drake_n_1368693.html

1582: The Portuguese M1J wreck off Malacca has been tentatively identified as the ship commanded by Captain Luis Monteiro Coutinho which exploded while fighting an Acehnese fleet.
Michael Flecker, '16th century Portuguese wreck found off Malacca', Heritage Asia Jan-Mar 2007, p.9-15; http://www.maritime-explorations.com/malacca%20strait%20shipwrecks.htm

1587: The Santa Ana, a Manila galleon, was captured by the English privateer Thomas Cavendish off Baja California, with a rich cargo of Chinese goods, jewels and bullion.
http://militarymuseum.org/Expeditions.html ; http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Chumash/California_First_Europeans.html; http://math.ucr.edu/ftm/bajaPages/Stories/Coromuel.html

1591: English adventurer Captain James Lancaster visited Penang and the coast of Kedah in the vessel Edward Bonaventure.
Sabri Zain, personal correspondence.

1592: Japan introduced a system of foreign trade licences to prevent smuggling and piracy.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.101.
Japan, led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who had decided to conquer Ming China, invaded Korea.
Fukuoka City Museum captions.

1595: The Spanish ship San Agustin sailed from Manila to Acapulco intending to explore the coast of California, and was wrecked off Point Reyes. Survivors reached Mexico. Shards from 158 porcelains of this date have been identified.
Marco Meniketti, 'Searching for a safe harbor on a treacherous coast: the wreck of the Manila galleon San Agustin'; http://www.ptreyeslight.com/stories/oct16/wreck.html; Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001; http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20167593/researcher-says-he-knows-site-400-year-old; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/drakes-bay-sir-francis-drake_n_1368693.html
The first Dutch fleet to Asia comprised 4 ships: 3 returned after visiting Java and Bali; the Amsterdam was deliberately set on fire near Bawean in Eastern Java.
Menno Leenstra, personal correspondence.

1597: Japan invaded Korea for a second time.
Fukuoka City Museum captions.

1598: Five Dutch fleets sailed for the East Indies via the Cape of Good Hope (eastern route), and two via the Straits of Magellan (western route). Some ships of each fleet returned; collectively they visited Aceh, Banda, Bantam, Ambon, Ternate, Tidore & Manila.
Menno Leenstra, http://maritimeasia.ws/topic/firstdutchfleets.html; http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages/hendrik_frederik.html.

mid-late C16th: tentative date of the wreck found at Puerto Galera in the Philippines, with dragon jars and other ceramics.
http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/department/oseas.html

late C16th: tentative date of the Chinese ship found at San Isidro on the W coast of Luzon in the Philippines, with blue-and-white utilitarian ceramics thought to be made in Fujian 1550-1600.
http://www.denverartmuseum.org/exhibits/exhibits.cfm?range=Past

1600: The Dutch ship Liefde was lost off Kyushu in Japan. Her pilot was the Englishman William Adams, who came to be trusted by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and spent the rest of his life in Japan. The shogun sent Captain Quackernaeck and the merchant Van Santvoort to invite their countrymen to trade in Japan. Quackernaeck reached the Dutch settlement at Patani (Thailand) with this message in 1604.
http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages/liefde.html; http://www.geschiedenis.org/deliefde/English.html
The Dutch arrived in the Philippines. Commander Olivier van Noort heard that 400 Chinese ships a year called at Manila, and that two Japanese ships were due shortly, along with the Spanish galleon San Tomas carrying silver from Acapulco. The Dutch waited off Manila Bay, preying on merchant ships. The Spanish attacked; during a battle with the small Dutch ship Mauritius, which had only 59 men, the San Diego sank with many of her 450-strong crew. Japanese swords found on excavation suggest the presence of Japanese mercenaries.
http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages/hendrik_frederik.html; http://www.underwaterdiscovery.org/english/events/exhibitions/madridSanDiego.asp; National Museum of the Filipino People, Manila, exhibition

1601: The Japanese shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, wrote to Lord Nguyen Hoang of Vietnam about the new licensing system; ships authorized to trade with foreign countries would henceforth carry a red seal. (Between 1604 and 1635, at least 124 red-seal ships visited Tonkin and Cochin-China. A Japanese quarter developed in the port of Hoi An, which already had a Chinese quarter.)
Thuan Luc, http://www.charm.ru/coins/vn/nagasaki.shtml

1602: Five Dutch ships attacked a larger Portuguese fleet blockading Banten in Java, and won a week-long battle. They mapped Jakarta Bay, and went on to the Spice Islands.
Duyfken history, http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/duyfken/bravship.htm
The Dutch landed at Batticaloa in Sri Lanka.

1605: Xia Ziyang was despatched as a Ming envoy to Ryukyu. This ship had only 3 masts, but like Chen Kan's 5-master sixty years earlier it was 15 zhang long and built in Fujian. The original 24 compartments had been divided into 28.
Wang Guanzhou, 'A study of drawings of ancient Chinese ships preserved in Japan', p.122, citing Chen Kan, 'Shi Liu Qiu Lu' (record of diplomatic mission to Ryukyu) [in Chinese].

1606: The Dutch ship Duyfken sailed along the south coast of New Guinea and mapped Australia's Cape York peninsula.
Duyfken history, http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/duyfken/bravship.htm; http://www.muffley.net/pacific/dutch/ozland.htm
The Dutch allied with Johor to attack Melaka. Dutch and Portuguese fleets fought the battle of Cape Rachado (which is locally known as Tanjong Tuan, but the wrecks are actually west of Port Dickson). The Dutch ships Nassau and Middelburg, and two Portuguese ships, the São Salvador and the galleon of Dom Duarte de Guerra, were sunk. (The Dutch ship Mauritius fought in this battle, and sank in 1609 off Gabon.) In October the fleets clashed again off Melaka, when the Portuguese lost and scuttled seven ships.
Transea Sdn Bhd, photo-essay; Mauritius wreck http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/home_voyages/mauritius.html
The Spaniard Torres encountered 'Moors' in New Guinea, and sailed through the Torres strait dividing that island from Australia.
N. Stevens, ed, New Light on the discovery of Australia; C.M.H. Clark, A History of Australia, MUP 1999, Vol .I p.9, quoted by the Islamic Council of Victoria, http://www.icv.org.au/history2.shtml

1607: The king of Arakan welcomed Dutch merchants, offering duty-free trade, and solicited their help against the Portuguese, now dominating the ports of Bengal and notorious for piracy and slave-trading. He captured the port of Dianga (20 miles south of modern Chittagong) and massacred several hundred Portuguese, but relations continued in subsequent decades.
D.G.E. Hall, 'The Rise and Fall of the kingdom of Mrohaung in Arakan', http://www.rakhapura.com/scolumns/r&fofmrauk-u.asp

1608: The VOC representative in Johore reported that Chinese merchant I Sin Ho and his junk were lost at sea: this may possibly be the Binh Thuan wreck, off Vietnam to the southwest of Holland Bank, which is otherwise dated to 1573-1643. This well-preserved Chinese ship, 23x7 metres with 24 transverse bulkheads, surviving mast structures and rudder, carried Zhangzhou ceramics and cast iron pans.
Michael Flecker: 'The Binh Thuan Shipwreck', Christie's Australia, 2004, http://maritime-explorations.com/BinhThuan.pdf; http://maritime-explorations.com/binh%20thuan.htm.
The Portuguese ship Nossa Senhora da Consolação was wrecked off Mozambique.
www.arq.de

1611: The Dutch captain Brouwer pioneered a new route, directly east from the Cape of Good Hope for 4,000 miles before turning north, cutting outbound sailing time to Batavia.
http://www.muffley.net/pacific/dutch/ozland.htm but see note: Leenstra

1613: The VOC ship Witte Leeuw, returning from Bantam to the Netherlands with 1,311 diamonds, a sapphire from the king of Arakan, spices, and Ming porcelain, exploded and sank at St.Helena after attacking two Portuguese carracks.
Robert Stenuit, http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/home_voyages/witte_leeuw.html; Robert Stenuit, 'Les porcelaines du Witte Leeuw', Taoci, 2001

1615: The VOC ships Banda and Geunieerde Provincien, returning from Batavia to the Netherlands with Ming porcelain and the retiring governor, sank off Mauritius.
Yann von Arnim & Kate Meileen Li Kwong Wing, Blue and white china from shipwrecks in Mauritius, Indian Ocean, Mauritius Museums Council, 2003.

1616: The Dutchman Dirk Hartog visited Western Australia in the ship Eendracht, and left an inscription.
http://www.walkabout.com.au/locations/WADirkHartogIsland.shtml

1573-1620: tentative date of the 'Nan'ao I' wreck (formerly known as 'Nanhai II'), some 90 feet long and equipped with bronze cannon, carrying more than 10,000 pieces of Ming blue-and-white export ceramics plus ironware and copper coins, off Nanao county, Guangdong province.
http://www.archaeology.org/1109/features/south_china_sea_ming_dynasty_shipwreck.html; http://english.cntv.cn/program/cultureexpress/20110524/102634.shtml; http://life.globaltimes.cn/art/2011-04/648512.html; http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/727768.shtml; http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/90873/6979104.html; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-04/09/c_13244563.htm; http://en.ce.cn/National/culture/201004/09/t20100409_21251633.shtml; http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Asia/Story/A1Story20100410-209524.html; http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-09/26/content_8739497.htm; http://www.lifeofguangzhou.com/node_10/node_37/node_84/2007/10/16/119249773428614.shtml; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-06/13/content_6237169.htm; http://museum.bu.ac.th/SEP%202007.pdf

1622: The English East Indiaman Trial was wrecked off Western Australia. Survivors reached Batavia.
http://www.muffley.net/pacific/dutch/ozland.htm; http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/department/batavia.html
The VOC yacht Den Haan sank near Batavia. A European wreck on the outskirts of Jakarta Bay, 32m long, with six visible iron cannon, Chinese porcelain, and silver bars, is thought to be the Den Haan.
Michael Flecker, 'Unreported shipwrecks in Indonesia', Nautical Archaeology (newsletter of the Nautical Archaeology Society UK) 2005.4, p6-7.
The Portuguese flagship São Jose was sunk by an Anglo-Dutch fleet 'with an infinite wealth' bound for Goa; the accompanying Santa Teresa was beached and burnt to avoid capture. The two wreck sites have been tentatively identified.
Alejandro Mirabal, Intermediate Report on Underwater Archaeological Excavations off the Island of Mozambique and Mogincual, from April to November 2005, http://www.arq-publications.com/downloads/april_november2005.pdf
The Dutch set up a base in the Pescadores (between Taiwan and mainland China), but were later persuaded to move to Taiwan (encouraged by the Japanese, who disliked the presence of the Spanish). They colonized the southwest, importing labourers from Fujian for farms exporting rice and sugar. In 1624 they started construction of Fort Zeelandia on the islet of Tayouan near present-day Tainan.
http://www.npm.gov.tw/exhbition/formosa/english/04.htm, http://www.npm.gov.tw/exhbition/formosa/english/06.htm; Fort Zeelandia http://www.premier.com.tw/Touring/FortZeelandia.htm, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/6497/formosa.html

1625: estimated date of the 'Wanli' wreck, sunk off the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The ship is of European design, carrying Chinese blue-and-white tradeware, one with a Portuguese coat-of-arms. Excavators suggested that the ship may have exploded, perhaps sunk by rivals.
Sten Sjostrand & Sharipah Lok Lok bt Syed Idrus, 'The Wanli shipwreck and its ceramic cargo', 2007; http://www.thewanlishipwreck.com

1621-27: During the reign of the Ming emperor Tianqi, 'thousands of families of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces are living in the islands of Japan. They marry Japanese people and bring up their future generations there. The settlement is called Tang Street... The ships plying between the two countries are named Tang ships... and most Chinese commodities are sold in Japan.'
Wu Zhenglian, 'The verification of the merchant ships' types in the Sino-Japanese trade from the end of the Ming dynasty to the beginning of the Qing dynasty', p.143, quoting Nan Quyi, 'Ming Tian Qi Shi Lu' ('Veritable record of the Tianqi reign of Ming dynasty')

1627: The Dutchman Pieter Nuyts in the ship Gulde Zeepaard explored the southern coast of Australia.
http://users.senet.com.au/~hitek/holdfastdatasa/Nav.htm.

1628: The Chinese book Wu Bei Zhi lists over twenty types of warship used off the coasts of southern China against Japanese pirates.
Tang Zhiba, 'The influence of the sail on the development of the ancient navy', p.62 - citing Mao Yuanyi, 'Wu Bei Zhi' ('Treatise on armament technology')

1629: The Dutch East Indiaman Batavia sank on the Abrolhos reef off Western Australia.
http://www.mm.wa.gov.au/Museum/march/department/batavia.html; http://www.muffley.net/pacific/dutch/ozland.htm

1630: The Portuguese ship São Gonçalo, returning from Goa, sank near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa while undergoing repairs. Artefacts at the associated camp site include Chinese and European ceramics.
Jane Klose, Oriental Ceramic Society (UK) newsletter no.11, Jan 2003, citing A.B. Smith, 'Excavations at Plettenberg Bay, South Africa of the camp-site of the survivors of the wreck of the São Gonçalo, 1630', The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 1986, 15.1, p53-56.

early C17th: tentative date of the Portuguese wreck at Sunchi Reef off Goa, which carried Chinese ceramics, elephant tusks, and hippopotamus teeth.
Sila Tripati, A.S. Gaur, Sundaresh, 'Exploration of a Portuguese shipwreck in Goa waters, western coast of India'; Sila Tripati and Ian Godfrey, 'Studies on elephant tusks and hippopotamus teeth collected from the early 17th century Portuguese shipwreck off Goa'

1632: Moghul emperor Shah Jahan attacked the Portuguese at Hugli; the king of Arakan helped the Portuguese from Dianga to destroy the Moghul fleet, and discussed with the Portuguese viceroy at Goa an alliance to invade Bengal.
D.G.E. Hall, 'The Rise and Fall of the kingdom of Mrohaung in Arakan', http://www.rakhapura.com/scolumns/r&fofmrauk-u.asp

1633: The Dutch attacked Xiamen, but were repulsed by the forces of local warlord Cheng Chih-Lung.
http://www.npm.gov.tw/exhbition/formosa/english/04.htm

1636: Japan closed her borders. Between 1592 and 1636 some 400 licensed Japanese ships had sailed to Southeast Asia, where a number of Japanese settlements had been growing rapidly. In the early years Chinese ships were bought or chartered, and European navigators often hired; from about 1630 Japan was building her own ships of hybrid design, but only pictures in temples remain.
K.Nomoto & K.Ishii, 'A historical review on ships of Japanese tradition', p.97,101
Foreign traders in Japan were restricted to the artificial island of Dejima, in the bay of Nagasaki.
http://batavia.rug.ac.be/Japan/Desjima.htm; http://www1.city.nagasaki.nagasaki.jp/dejima/en/01_e.html

1641-83: During this 42-year period, 1171 cargo ships sailed from China to Japan. Chinese ships exported raw silk, textiles, porcelain and sugar to Japan; goods exchanged included gold, silver, copper and sulphur.
Wu Zhenglian, 'The verification of the merchant ships' types in the Sino-Japanese trade from the end of the Ming dynasty to the beginning of the Qing dynasty', p.143, citing Lin Ren Chuan, 'Sino-Japanese private maritime trade from end of Ming dynasty to beginning of Qing dynasty', Hua Dong Normal University Press, 1937 [in Chinese].

1638: The Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion sank off Saipan while heading from Manila to Acapulco, with a cargo of late Ming blue-and-white, goods from around Asia including storage jars from Vietnam and Thailand, and fine gold jewellery of European style made in the Philippines.
Michael Flecker, http://maritime-explorations.com/concepcion.htm, Govt of Guam drawing on National Geographic http://ns.gov.gu/galleon/

1642: The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed to Tasmania (which he named Van Diemen's land), New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.
http://pacific.vita.org/pacific/dutch/tasman.htm

1656: The Dutch ship Vergulde Draeck was wrecked off Western Australia.
http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/collections/maritime/march/shipwrecks/Metro/verdra/vergulded.html; http://members.iinet.net.au/~tjv/public_html/voc/vergulde.html; http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages3/vergulde_draak.html

1658: Qing warships defeated Russian invaders at the mouth of the Songhua river in Heilongjiang. More battles followed at Yakesa in 1685-6.
Xi Longfei, 'Recovery of warships used inYakesa battles during Qing dynasty', p.257

1659: The Dutch East Indiaman Avondster (originally English, captured off Persia in 1653) sank in Galle harbour in Sri Lanka.
Maritime Lanka, http://www.hum.uva.nl/galle/avondster/story.html

1661-2: The Ming admiral Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga), having failed to recapture Nanjing from the invading Manchus, besieged the Dutch at Fort Zeelandia with a force of over 25,000 men and 400 ships, evicted them from Taiwan, and established Han Chinese rule over the island. (Chinese newspapers in 2002 reported the possible discovery of one of these ships off Fujian.)
Wang Lianmao (ed), Return to the City of Light, p.89; http://www.iacc.com.tw/newsletters/april%202003/april%202003.htm; http://www.zamboanga.com/html/history_Koxinga.htm; description of fort http://www.npm.gov.tw/exhbition/formosa/english/05.htm; terms of surrender http://www.npm.gov.tw/exhbition/formosa/english/07.htm

1663: The Dutch sent a fleet, which failed to recapture Taiwan, but helped the Manchus (Qing dynasty) to expel Ming forces from Amoy (Xiamen) and Quemoy - temporarily. Control fluctuated until 1680, when Koxinga's son abandoned the mainland and retreated to Taiwan.
http://taiwanresources.com/info/history/chrono.htm

1666: Moghul forces attacked Dianga, decimated the Arakanese fleet, after years of conflict, and annexed the district of Chittagong.
D.G.E. Hall, 'The Rise and Fall of the kingdom of Mrohaung in Arakan', http://www.rakhapura.com/scolumns/r&fofmrauk-u.asp

1670: The Dutch established a fort at Dindings (Pulau Pangkor) with a small flotilla to blockade the coast of Perak in the Malay Peninsula.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/dutch4.htm

1673: A fleet of 75 warboats from Jambi in Sumatra sacked the Johor capital of Batu Sawar.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/johor1.htm

1683: After a fierce sea battle in the Pescadores, Qing forces captured Taiwan.
http://taiwanresources.com/info/history/chrono.htm

1685: The first British outpost in the East Indies was established at Bencoolen in Sumatra.
http://www.sabrizain.demon.co.uk/malaya/straits.htm

1690: The Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora del Pilar, built in Cavite, sank off the southwest of Guam.
http://www.maritimeinvestment.com.au/pilar.html

1698: The Portuguese fort at Mombasa fell to besieging Omanis, and the frigate Santo Antonio de Tanna, sent from Goa to the rescue, was sunk.
http://www.diveturkey.com/inaturkey/mombasa.htm

C15-17th: tentative date of the ship with Chinese ceramics found off South Pagai in the Mentawai islands to the west of Sumatra. One report mentions VOC.
http://politic2011.blogspot.com/2011/03/treasure-seeker-voc-ship-aims-mentawai.html; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/02/09/govt-plans-recover-centuriesold-sunken-ship-mentawai.html; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/booty-laden-sunken-vessel-found-in-mentawai-waters/412155; http://us.en.vivanews.com/news/read/193859-indonesia-tsunami-draws-ancient-wreck-ashore

1690-1700: tentative date of the lorcha (Chinese-built ship with Portuguese-style hull, compartments, and Chinese rigging) sunk off Vung Tau in south Vietnam with Jingdezhen blue-and-white and other regional cargo, apparently bound from China to Batavia and ultimately destined for the Dutch market.
Michael Flecker, IJNA (1992) 21.3: 221-244; http://maritime-explorations.com/vung%20tau.htm; Christiaan J.A.Jörg & Michael Flecker, Porcelain from the Vung Tau wreck: The Hallstrom Excavation; Christiaan J.A.Jörg, 'The porcelain of the Vung Tau junk', Taoci, 2001.


Abbreviations:
BEFEO: Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient (Hanoi, Saigon, Paris)
BSOAS: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (London)
IJNA: The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (UK)
JA: Journal Asiatique (Paris)
JMBRAS: Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (Kuala Lumpur, Singapore)

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Notes:

Menno Leenstra: re 1611 entry on the (southern) Brouwer route from the Cape to Strait Sunda, www.muffley.net/pacific/dutch/ozland.htm states that the voyage was shortened from a typical 16-18 months to 6 months. This is misleading. (The very shortest travel time on the southern route has been compared to the time used by ships taking part in naval actions on the East-African coast or stopping for months in Madagascar or Mauritius.) The normal travel time on the southern route was 8-9 months (see 'Dutch Asiatic Shipping': I). Normal travel time on the northern route was about a year. On the northern route winds were hardly predictable and for that reason ships were often not able to make the voyage from the Cape (or up to 1645 the refreshing station of St Helena), to the Sunda Strait, within the critical-for-scurvy period of 4-5 months, and so had to refresh at Mauritius or Madagascar, losing a lot of time. However, on the southern route ships were lost on the Australian coast, or had difficulty reaching the Sunda Strait. Severe personnel losses were reported by some ships which took the southern route and also took over a year to reach the Sunda Strait.



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