At the epic Battle of Lake Poyang, the intrepid Zhu Yuanzhang turned the tide of Chinese history and set a course for a dynasty that would span three centuries.
China has long been regarded as a country of little naval history. The eminent Sinologist John King Fairbank commented that naval matters were "foreign to Chinese ways." For the past century most military historians have reasoned that since China's primary threats came from the nomadic steppe peoples of Inner Asia, it had no reason to develop sea power. In 1948 the historian F. B. Elridge wrote, "essentially a land people, the Chinese cannot be considered as having possessed sea-power." But even when emanating from respectable sources, such statements turn out to be misleading, if not simply false, once the history of China is studied in search of examples of naval and maritime history. Indeed, such elements course through the veins of Chinese history, from the Ming dynasty's Treasure Fleets to the Yuan dynasty's invasions of Korea and Japan. And one of the most important battles in the annals of China was a naval clash of epic proportions - the Battle of Lake Poyang.