Motivation for Exploration: Spreading Religion

As early as the 400s CE, many important voyages by individual Chinese merchants and explorers were made. Their sea routes were documented and we know they traveled to places like India, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Mecca. These types of travels increased in Tang Times, when the Chinese went out to convert people to Buddhism. People who took such “cultural exchange” missions in their own hands had to travel on merchant ships to take them overseas.