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210 BCE: The first emperor of China, Qin Shihuangdi, toured Eastern China by ship, both on rivers and along the coast.He also despatched Xu Fu to sail overseas in search of elixirs of immortality, accompanied by 3,000 virgin boys and girls, and large amounts of grain, materials, workers and guards. History is entangled in legend; Xu Fu may have settled in Japan, with significant cultural implications, and may have become the first Japanese emperor.356-321 BCE: The Periplus (pilot book) of Niarchus, an officer of Alexander the Great, describes the Persian coast.
Some entries have precise dates, some have a range, and some are approximate - so the ordering is also subjective, but we have attempted to list events in rough chronological order, up to an arbitrary cutoff date of 1700 CE. Apart from many omissions, this selection reflects the interests of the compiler, with incompatible biases towards the early, the underdocumented, and the archaeologically or historically reliable, and specifically relating to maritime and trade history.ISSN 1864-6018, BCE: Various vessels had been developed for battles on inland waters in the Chinese states of Wu and Chu.One type was 24 metres long and carried 91 people, including 50 oarsmen, 26 soldiers, 4 men with long lances or similar weapons, 2 officers, etc.Italicised names without quotation marks are the original names of the ships (e.g. Italicised names in quotation marks are reference names invented recently (e.g. Place names used to refer to wrecks are in bold but unitalicised (e.g.the Hoi An wreck), and are the names by which the specific wrecks are generally known (if other wrecks are found near Hoi An, they will doubtless be given other reference names).