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African History

Medieval Contact: China meets Africa



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Booming cities on the eastern coast of Africa come in contact with dynastic China in the 8th century. For centuries, rumors and sporadic contact bring the two distant worlds ever closer. Then, in the 15th century, Zheng He leads a massive expedition to Africa. This is what he saw.

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Music sourced from Envato, Artlist, and Epidemic Sound
Ending song by Yi Nantiro

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Jinyuan, G. (1984). China and Africa: The Development of Relations over Many Centuries. African Affairs. African Affairs, 83(331), 241–250.

Chirikure, S. (2014). Land and Sea Links: 1500 years of connectivity between Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Rim regions, AD 700 to 1700. African Archaeological Review, 31(4), 705–724.

Dashu, Q. (2022, April 9). An investigation of Chinese ceramics discovered in Kenya and major conclusions. ART.ZIP. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from

Levathes, L. (1994). When China ruled the seas: The treasure fleet of the dragon throne, 1405-1433. Oxford University Press.
A key secondary source for Zheng He’s voyages.

Nuwer, R. (2013, March 15). Six centuries ago, Chinese explorers left this coin behind in Africa. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from

Smidt, W. G. C. (2001). A Chinese in the Nubian and Abyssinian Kingdoms (8th century). Chroniques Yéménites, (9).

Snow, P. (1989). The Star Raft: China’s encounter with Africa. Cornell University Press.
This work provided much of the information on Chinese-African contact prior to Zheng He.

Sudnik, M. (2021, February 23). Cultural Exchange in the tang dynasty – the journey of a tomb figure. Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from

Tagliacozzo, E. (2022). From China to Africa: Prolegomenon. In In Asian waters: Oceanic worlds from Yemen to Yokohama (pp. 25–51). essay, Princeton University Press.


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  1. @HistoryDose

    September 11, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    Support this two-man team by grabbing a free trial from our sponsor, Magellan TV!

  2. @user-le3es8fr4q

    July 20, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    your videos are always amazing. Good Job. So immersible

  3. @kevinkevinkevin1909

    August 2, 2023 at 5:18 am

    Chinese is slang stereotype name for all Asian. Jin Dynasty (Qing ) was refer by west as ChinNa or JinNa ( people of Jin). This name is after year 1600s and when England traded with Jin in 1800s. Refer to as Tang as Tang Dynasty who were closer to mongols. Don’t use generic stereotype name of Chinese; this lack knowledge of Asian history.

  4. @beefsticklover6968

    August 2, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    With the Silk Road going from China to as low as Afghanistan this is entirely believable. I fucking love history, this stuffs so interesting

  5. @jamicub39

    August 5, 2023 at 5:35 am

    The Bible said all 4 corners of earth. There's a clue for you.

  6. @zhichaoli2357

    August 16, 2023 at 2:27 am

    I'd like to say, as a chinese, your masterpiece of image and music are amazing. Especially 7:19 , although the shape of the palace and clothing is vague, it can be seen that it is correct. Same as 9:20, the shape of Ming Dynasty general's armor is very correct as well. I think it even most game companies in China can't recover better than you guys.

  7. @ColoniaMurder20

    August 27, 2023 at 8:36 am

    Chinese propaganda? 🤣🤣🤣no wonder Austronesian people who 1st populated in Madagascar.. chinese civilization weren't seafaring nation in East Asia. it was Civilization in Southeast Asia. and only Austronesian people who colonized entire Pacific Region, Maritime Southeast, Central Vietnam, Taiwan and Madagascar since thousand of years ago… and suspected reach in Central America Region during ancient times.

  8. @ianonymous3524

    August 27, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    I can’t seem to find the quote by the Chinese custom inspector at time stamp 1452 dose anyone know the source for this?

  9. @zh2266

    September 4, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    This video is beautiful. Thank you for portraying history this way

  10. @nugboy5701

    September 11, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Bottom 2 under GPU

  11. @daviddeng9971

    September 20, 2023 at 11:46 pm

    Video idea on Chinese history; I would love to see your breathtaking style of narration on the Imjin War!

  12. @killingjoke535

    September 24, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    I love this channel!!

  13. @user-fd3sf3cs7i

    September 30, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    After the Mongols ruled the Muslim finally controlled the Ming Court.
    The Ming Emperor sent Mohammed Chengwo to sail to the seas as to search for the missing king who was believed to fled to Mecca for political assistance from the Islamic powers …..

  14. @visuali235

    October 17, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Correct the Swahili part Mogadishu isn’t and wasn’t in the Swahili city states

  15. @sof5858

    October 28, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Not going to lie. I spend a lot of time on YT. This is currently my favourite channel.

  16. @mrsix344

    November 6, 2023 at 8:46 am

    What if in history….
    Chinese instead of Europeans collaborated with Africa and the Middle East instead of European colonialism

  17. @angelparrilla2068

    November 16, 2023 at 9:20 am

    I know… vasco Gama "found" india by basically asking some dye Merchant in Kenya how to get there, so its very believeable they all knew each other in on some way or another but its going to be extremely limitted with what travelling was like back then.

  18. @Jester.D.Joker5612

    November 23, 2023 at 4:08 am

    Chinese opium will always be their best export

  19. @Laitalafraise

    November 25, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    …. That's why I laugh when I hear westerners warn about "chinese imperialism"!

  20. @golgotha1522

    November 29, 2023 at 3:43 am

    The only Africans who like the Chinese are the politicians. Everyone else despises them with a passion.

  21. @sanneoi6323

    December 11, 2023 at 2:01 am

    Sad how it all ended, how the Great Ming slid into decadence and eventually the whole world into darkness all for no reason at all… why? Why couldn't it have lasted longer? Why did it have to turn out this way?

    Also sad how Chinese voyages to the Americas aren't as talked about and weren't as prominent as they could've been.

  22. @-----------g-

    January 8, 2024 at 10:48 pm

    This video really transported me to a golden era.

  23. @garysparks-td5pz

    January 12, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    If u don’t have a home theater set up then play these vids in your car bass all the way up

  24. @godsrestlesswrath

    January 13, 2024 at 5:39 am

    That was beautiful….

  25. @helengao6093

    January 17, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Were there Chinese immigrants in the Roman Empire?

  26. @386MAFIA

    January 27, 2024 at 3:52 pm

    This is made up…The Mongolians were Africans and dominated over China which is how the got mixed.And also why the ppl communist party of China started so no other race could ever take China again.

  27. @SamOfSomaliaTV

    February 7, 2024 at 2:17 pm

    I live in Mogadishu and would love to dive extensively on these shores. Due to recent instability, not a whole lot of archeological work has been done and I can only imagine the relics on the beds of these waters.

  28. @user-us3xh9wl8y

    February 11, 2024 at 5:30 am


  29. @Addi_Teacha509

    February 18, 2024 at 12:17 am

    Somalia before Islam was powerful

  30. @Shaby15v

    February 20, 2024 at 5:25 am

    This is one of the least violent History Dose episodes! Yet it manages to be goosebump-inducing. It's super cool to see Africa portrayed as this fantastical, idealistic, and content land. Imagine seeing a giraffe for the first time after never knowing that something like it is even anotomically possible!

    I rarely buy it when people claim that any civilization before 1970 was happier than today's version; I'm big on modern comforts and medicine. But after watching this video, I think some areas of the 15th century Somalia region were likely happier than the country today.

  31. @darth_bastard

    February 21, 2024 at 11:26 pm

    Awesome video ❤️. Africa had contact with China long before this tho

  32. @leapdrive

    February 24, 2024 at 5:26 am

    What would be the advantage of a four hundred foot wooden ship if you can build dozens of smaller ships for each one of those? That’s precisely why the Europeans were not into building outrageously big ships. Just by mooring those huge ships would be a hassle, not to mention repairing them on dry dock. That’s probably why their voyages stopped abruptly – its issues of maintenance.

    Though they might impress some historians, I stand unconvinced that they were practical.

  33. @jackbelinski2661

    February 26, 2024 at 3:56 am

    When I first learned of Zheng He,
    I was fascinated by the history behind the voyages of the Dragon Throne, so much so that I tried making a Lego model of Zheng He’s great treasure ship. One of these days there ought to be an anime series based on these events.

  34. @SherifWarzaw

    February 29, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    Fun fact the first Balkan or ancient Greek and anotlia trade with east Africa emerged in Somalia around 2nd millennium BCE when ancient Mycenaean trade with Somali city states and Phoenician Trade with east Africa also emerged in Horn of Africa Somalia. at a time the Himyarite kingdom of southern arabia ruled and conquered southern Somalia which was known as azania. Azania border with aksum empire and to the North by the aromta region in Northeastern Somalia. Another fun fact the ancient Chinese gave a name to Somalia which was the country of Pi-pa-lo in Hebrew and Persian it was known as barbaristan and berbario.

  35. @Morsee.

    March 2, 2024 at 10:02 pm

    But according to many Europeans all Africans lived in huts

  36. @WestBerin

    March 3, 2024 at 1:46 pm


  37. @abdirahmaanmohamed1582

    March 10, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    Mogadishu one of the most Ancient cities in Africa

  38. @klewank2615

    March 16, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    And after that, the Portuguese came to inspire the European nations to conquer the world hhhh☠️💂‍♀️

  39. @lihansun2063

    March 19, 2024 at 8:19 am

    beautifully made video, really brings out the grandure of imperial China

  40. @jordanbell4736

    March 20, 2024 at 1:18 am

    White gold = electric? Platinum wasn't worked until the 19th century (?)

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