• Chinese exploration was undertaken by an enormous fleet composed of several hundred large ships, while European explorations were undertaken by expeditions made up of a handful of small ships.
• European motivations for exploration included the desire for wealth from trade, the search for converts to Christianity, and the recruitment of possible Christian allies against the Muslim powers. China, by contrast, needed no military allies, required little in the way of trade, and had no desire to convert foreigners to Chinese culture or religion.
• The Europeans sought to monopolize by force the commerce of the Indian Ocean and violently carved out empires in the Americas; the Chinese fleet sought neither conquests nor colonies.
• China ended its voyages abruptly after 1433; the European explorations continued and even escalated.
• In terms of why China's explorations were so different from their European counterparts, the fragmentation of political authority in Europe, unlike China's unified empire, ensured that once begun, rivalry alone would drive Europeans to the end of the earth.
• Much of Europe's elite, including merchants, monarchs, the clergy, and nobles, had an interest in overseas expansion; in China, by contrast, the emperor Yongle was the primary supporter of the Chinese voyages of exploration, and after he passed from the scene, those opposed to the voyages prevailed within the politics of the court.
• The Chinese were very much aware of their own antiquity, believed strongly in the absolute superiority of their culture, and felt that, if they needed something from abroad, others would bring it to them. The Europeans also believed themselves unique; however, in material terms, they were seeking out the greater riches of the East, and they were highly conscious that Muslim power blocked easy access to these treasures and posed a military and religious threat to Europe itself.
Explanation: During the fifteenth century, European maritime voyaging differed from that of China in a number of ways. One key difference was that the Europeans were much more focused on exploration, while the Chinese were more focused on trade. This is reflected in the fact that the Europeans were much more willing to venture into unknown waters, while the Chinese tended to stick to well-established routes. Another difference was that the Europeans were much more reliant on wind power, while the Chinese used a variety of methods including oars and sails. This meant that the Europeans were often at the mercy of the weather, while the Chinese had more control over their vessels. Finally, the Europeans tended to use larger ships than the Chinese, which meant that they could carry more cargo but were also more difficult to manoeuvre.