China and the Silk Roads (ca. 100 BCE to 1800 CE)

Role and Content of Its Historical Access to the Outside World


The book investigates China’s relations to the outside world between ca. 100 BCE and 1800 CE. In contrast to most histories of the Silk Roads, the focus of this book clearly lies on the maritime Silk Road and on the period between Tang and high Qing, selecting aspects that have so far been neglected in research on the history of China’s relations with the outside world. The author examines, for example, issue of 'imperialism' in imperial China, the specific role of fanbing 蕃兵 (frontier tribal troops) during Song times, the interrelationship between maritime commerce, military expansion, and environmental factors during the Yuan, the question of whether or not early Ming China can be considered a (proto-)colonialist country, the role force and violence played during the Zheng He expeditions, and the significance the Asia-Pacific world possessed for late Ming and early Qing rulers.

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Angela Schottenhammer (蕭婷), full professor of Chinese Middle Period & Early Modern World History at KU Leuven is director of the Crossroads Research Centre (, chief editor of an interdisciplinary journal Crossroads and of two book series. She has widely published on various aspects of Chinese and Asian history and archaeology.
Historians of China and Asia as well as students of Chinese, Asian, and world history and those interested in maritime history and archaeology, socio-economic history and historical geography.
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