Zhang Qian

Imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the 2nd century BC / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Zhang Qian (Chinese: 張騫; died c. 114 BC)[1] was a Chinese diplomat, explorer, and politician who served as an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the late 2nd century BC during the Western Han dynasty. He was one of the first official diplomats to bring back valuable information about Central Asia, including the Greco-Bactrian remains of the Macedonian Empire as well as the Parthian Empire, to the Han dynasty imperial court, then ruled by Emperor Wu of Han.

Quick facts: Zhang Qian 張騫, Born, Died, Occupation...
Zhang Qian
Zhang Qian taking leave from emperor Han Wudi, for his expedition to Central Asia from 138 to 126 BC, Mogao Caves mural, 618 – 712...
Born195 BC
Diedc.114 BC
Quick facts: Zhang Qian, Traditional Chinese, Simplif...
Zhang Qian
"Zhang Qian" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese張騫
Simplified Chinese张骞

He played an important pioneering role for the future Chinese conquest of lands west of Xinjiang, including swaths of Central Asia and even lands south of the Hindu Kush (see Protectorate of the Western Regions). This trip created the Silk Road that marked the beginning of globalization between the countries in the east and west.[2][3][4][5]

Zhang Qian's travel was commissioned by Emperor Wu with the major goal of initiating transcontinental trade in the Silk Road, as well as create political protectorates by securing allies.[6] His missions opened trade routes between East and West and exposed different products and kingdoms to each other through trade. Zhang's accounts were compiled by Sima Qian in the 1st century BC. The Central Asian parts of the Silk Road routes were expanded around 114 BC largely through the missions of and exploration by Zhang Qian.[7] Today, Zhang is considered a Chinese national hero and revered for the key role he played in opening China and the countries of the known world to the wider opportunity of commercial trade and global alliances.[8] Zhang Qian is depicted in the Wu Shuang Pu (無雙譜, Table of Peerless Heroes) by Jin Guliang.

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