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History and development of Maritime Silk Road

Author  :  WANG RIGEN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2018-03-27





Collection of Research on the Maritime Silk Road

Editor-in-chef: Wang Rigen

Publisher: Xiamen University

Oceanic history is a popular research subject in the international academic community. It transcends the limitations of the national history and crosses the boundaries of modern disciplines. The scope of ocean history research falls upon wherever the ocean runs. Therefore, it is both a transnational study of world history and a comprehensive discipline that spans marine natural sciences and humanities, which can be regarded as a concrete manifestation of global history.

This series of books brings together the cutting-edge research results of well-known scholars in the international academics. It can be regarded as a concentrated display of the latest achievements of international marine history. It is rich in content and covers marine policies, marine trade, shipping, marine social groups, marine social organizations, marine books, and ports. It expects to attract the attention of academics and all walks of life and advance academic research forward. 

In the book series, we touch on the long history and historical changes of the ancient trade between China and the Southeast Asia. We research adjustments to the official maritime policies in the Ming and Qing dynasties and the social effects that they produced. We examine the interaction between overseas Chinese communities in Liuqiu and Huian, and the spread of marine civilization. We ponder over the multifaceted nature of pirates that were active at sea during the Ming and Qing dynasties and the impact of official policies. We talk about the changes to marine activities which involved the public living in coastal towns; specifically the changes that occurred after the legalization of the Yue Port in Fujian Province as a trading hub. We examine the changes that affected the key players of the Maritime Silk Road. These were the people that lay behind the shift in production and access to oceanic books, from official collections to private compilations. We also find that the Xiamen Port made remarkable achievements in the first half of the 17th century.

The rebuilding of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road signals that China will restart the long-established and equal state-to-state political relations and harmonious cultural exchanges between countries along the Maritime Silk Road. Today when we are advocating for “cultural self-confidence,” we should have more gentle deeds, which can “resist the enemy thousands of miles away.” This is because in the Chinese philosophy, a gentleman does more constructive things that strengthen himself and benefit others, and tries to avoid causing damage. We would like to take this initiative: the study of marine history will do more historical research that can produce positive energy. We understand that historical research should be objective, but we have tried to step out of the obsession with the history of war, the court, and political struggle, and to change the fact that the descendants of the dynasties always deprecate the achievements of previous dynasties. We should write more about the history of peace, and make efforts to build a community with a shared future for humanity. 


(Edited and translated by SUI JINGJING) 








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