Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access

(1,723 words)

China's first direct contacts with Africa date back to the Ming dynasty voyages of the Muslim eunuch Zheng He, who led three large maritime expeditions to the east coast of Africa in 1417, 1421, and 1431. Following the return of the last expedition, the Ming dynasty adopted a more introspective policy, and it would not be until 1956 that regular, modern diplomatic relations with independent African nations were established.

Africa is a region of moderately high importance in China's modern foreign relations. Although China and Africa are geographically remote, Si…

Cite this page
Jackson, Steven F., “Africa”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

▲   Back to top   ▲