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Zheng He (; 1371 – 1433 or 1435) was a Chinese
mariner A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one of a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship. The profession of the s ...
,
explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to scienc ...
,
diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
,
fleet admiral An admiral of the fleet or fleet admiral (equivalent rank to admiral of the navy or grand admiral) is a military naval officer of the highest rank. In many nations the rank is reserved for wartime or ceremonial appointments. It is usually a rank ...

fleet admiral
, and
court eunuch A eunuch ( ) is a man who has been castration, castrated. Throughout history, castration often served a specific social function. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the 2 ...
during China's early Ming dynasty. He was originally born as Ma He in a
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
family and later adopted the surname Zheng conferred by the
Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third List of emperors of the Ming dynasty, Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424. Zhu Di was the fourth son ...

Yongle Emperor
. Zheng commanded expeditionary
treasure voyages The Ming treasure voyages were the seven maritime expeditions undertaken by Ming China The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the Dynasties in Chinese history, ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse ...
to
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, the Indian subcontinent,
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
, and
East Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
from 1405 to 1433. According to legend, his larger ships carried hundreds of sailors on four decks and were almost twice as long as any wooden ship ever recorded. As a favorite of the Yongle Emperor, whom Zheng assisted in the overthrow of the
Jianwen Emperor The Jianwen Emperor (5 December 1377 – 13 July 1402) was the second Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1398 to 1402. His personal name was Zhu Yunwen (). The era name A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign Sovereign ...

Jianwen Emperor
, he rose to the top of the imperial hierarchy and served as commander of the southern capital
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
.


Early life and family

Zheng He was born Ma He () to a
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
family of Kunyang,
Kunming Kunming (; ), also known as Yunnan-Fu, is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximatel ...

Kunming
, Yunnan, during the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the Dynasties in Chinese history, ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynas ...

Ming dynasty
of
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. He had an older brother and four sisters. Zheng He's religious beliefs became all-embracing and eclectic in his adulthood. The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions suggest that devotion to Tianfei, the patron goddess of sailors and seafarers, was the dominant faith to which he adhered, reflecting the goddess's central role to the
treasure fleet Treasure Fleet, sometimes billed as The Treasure Fleet, is a Chicago based band featuring members of The Lawrence Arms, The Arrivals, and Smoking Popes. Originally formed in 2009 by Isaac Thotz and Neil Hennessy, the two added Dave Merriman and Mi ...
. John Guy mentions, "When Zheng He, the Muslim eunuch leader of the great expeditions to the 'Western Ocean' (Indian Ocean) in the early fifteenth century, embarked on his voyages, it was from the Divine Woman that he sought protection, as well as at the tombs of the Muslim saints on Lingshan Hill, above the city of Quanzhou." Zheng He was a great-great-great-grandson of
Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar Sayyid Ajall Shams al-Din Omar al-Bukhari ( fa, سید اجل شمس‌الدین عمر بخاری; ; 1211–1279) was Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic o ...
, who served in the administration of the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
and was the
governor of Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kunm ...
during the early
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Succ ...
. His great-grandfather Bayan may have been stationed at a Mongol garrison in Yunnan. Zheng He's grandfather carried the title ''
hajji Hajji ( ar, الحجّي) (sometimes spelled Hadji, Haji, Alhaji, Al hage, Al-hajj or El-Hajj) is an honorific title which is given to a Muslim who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca. It is also often used to refer to an elder, since i ...
'', and his father had the
sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinification, or sinonization (from the prefix , 'Chinese, relating to China') is the process by which non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han-Chinese culture, language, so ...
surname Ma and the title ''hajji'', which suggests that they had made the
pilgrimage to Mecca The Hajj (; ar, حَجّ ' "wikt:pilgrimage, pilgrimage"; sometimes also spelled Hadj, Hadji or Haj in English) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a Fard, man ...
. In the autumn of 1381, a
Ming The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an eth ...

Ming
army invaded and conquered Yunnan, which was then ruled by the Mongol prince
Basalawarmi Basalawarmi ( xng, ᠪᠠᠵᠠᠯᠠᠸᠠᠷᠮᠠᠢ, , died January 6, 1382), commonly known by his hereditary title, the Prince of Liang, was a descendant of Kublai Khan and a Yuan Dynasty loyalist who fought against the ascendant Ming Dyn ...
, Prince of Liang. In 1381, Ma Hajji, Zheng He's father, died in the fighting between the Ming armies and Mongol forces. Dreyer states that Zheng He's father died at 39 while he resisted the Ming conquest, while Levathes states that Zheng He's father died at 37, but it is unclear if he was helping the
Mongol Army Mongol military tactics and organization enabled the Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, seco ...
or was just caught in the onslaught of battle. Wenming, the oldest son, buried their father outside Kunming. In his capacity as Admiral, Zheng He had an epitaph engraved in honour of his father, composed by the Minister of Rites Li Zhigang on the
Duanwu Festival The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional holiday which occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the festival varies from year to year on the Gregorian cal ...
of the third year in the Yongle era (1 June 1405).


Capture, castration and service

Zheng He was captured by the Ming armies at Yunnan in 1381. General
Fu Youde Fu Youde () (d. 20 December 1394) was a Chinese general and a highly competent commander in the Ming navy. Early life Fu Youde came from an humble background in Anhui Anhui (; Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocke ...
saw Ma He on a road and approached him to inquire about the location of the Mongol pretender. Ma He responded defiantly by saying that the Mongol pretender had jumped into a lake. Afterwards, the general took him prisoner. He was
castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical or dental specialty t ...

castrated
at some point between the age of 10 and 14, and was placed in the service of the Prince of Yan. Ma He was sent to serve in the household of Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan, who later became the
Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third List of emperors of the Ming dynasty, Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424. Zhu Di was the fourth son ...

Yongle Emperor
. Zhu Di was eleven years older than Ma. Enslaved as a eunuch servant, Ma He eventually gained the confidence of Zhu Di, who, as his benefactor, would gain the allegiance and loyalty of the young eunuch. Since 1380, the prince had been governing Beiping (later
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
), which was near the northern frontier, with hostile Mongol tribes. Ma would spend his early life as a soldier on the northern frontier. He often participated in Zhu Di's military campaigns against the Mongols. On 2 March 1390, Ma accompanied the Prince when he commanded his first expedition, which was a great victory, as the Mongol commander
NaghachuNaghachu ( mn, Naγaču, script=Latn; ; d. 1388), also written as Nahacu, was an ethnic Mongol leader and general of the Northern Yuan dynasty in Manchuria, which was under Liaoyang province of the former Yuan dynasty. Originally a Yuan official ...
surrendered as soon as he realized he had fallen for a deception. Eventually, he gained the confidence and trust of the prince. Ma was also known as " Sanbao" during his service in the household of the Prince of Yan. This name was a reference to the
Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, an ...

Buddhist
Three Jewels In Buddhism, the Three Jewels, Triple Gem, or Three Refuges are the supports in which a Buddhist Refuge in Buddhism, takes refuge by means of a prayer or recitation at the beginning of the day or of a practice session. These Three Jewels are: * T ...
(, also known as
triratna The Triratna ( pi, or ; sa, or ) is a Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, mora ...

triratna
). This name could also be written , literally "Three Protections." Ma received a proper education at Beiping, which he would not have had if he had been placed in the imperial capital, Nanjing, as the
Hongwu The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398) Zhu Yuanzhang (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1368 to 1398. As famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed t ...

Hongwu
Emperor did not trust eunuchs and believed that it was better to keep them illiterate. The Hongwu Emperor purged and exterminated many of the original Ming leadership and gave his
enfeoffed In the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fal ...
sons more military authority, especially those in the north, like the Prince of Yan.


Adulthood and military career

Zheng He's appearance as an adult was recorded: he was seven ''
chiThe initialism CHI may refer to: Health *Catholic Health Initiatives Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is a national Catholic healthcare system, with headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. CHI is a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed, in 19 ...
'' tall, had a waist that was five ''chi'' in circumference, cheeks and a forehead that was high, a small nose, glaring eyes, teeth that were white and well-shaped as shells, and a voice that was as loud as a bell. It is also recorded that he had great knowledge about warfare and was well-accustomed to battle. The young eunuch eventually became a trusted adviser to the prince and assisted him when the
Jianwen Emperor The Jianwen Emperor (5 December 1377 – 13 July 1402) was the second Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1398 to 1402. His personal name was Zhu Yunwen (). The era name A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign Sovereign ...

Jianwen Emperor
's hostility to his uncle's feudal bases prompted the 13991402 Jingnan Campaign, which ended with the emperor's apparent death and the ascension of Zhu Di, Prince of Yan, as the
Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third List of emperors of the Ming dynasty, Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424. Zhu Di was the fourth son ...

Yongle Emperor
. In 1393, the Crown Prince had died, thus the deceased prince's son became the new heir apparent. By the time the emperor died (24 June 1398), the Prince of Qin and the Prince of Jin had perished, which left Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan, as the eldest surviving son of the emperor. However, Zhu Di's nephew succeeded the imperial throne as the
Jianwen Emperor The Jianwen Emperor (5 December 1377 – 13 July 1402) was the second Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1398 to 1402. His personal name was Zhu Yunwen (). The era name A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign Sovereign ...

Jianwen Emperor
. In 1398, he issued a policy known as ''xuēfān'' (), or "reducing the feudatories", which entails eliminating all princes by stripping their power and military forces. In August 1399, Zhu Di openly rebelled against his nephew. In 1399, Ma He successfully defended Beiping's city reservoir Zhenglunba against the imperial armies. In January 1402, Zhu Di began with his military campaign to capture the imperial capital Nanjing. Zheng He would be one of his commanders during that campaign. In 1402, Zhu Di's armies defeated the imperial forces and marched into Nanjing on 13 July 1402. Zhu Di accepted the elevation to emperor four days later. After ascending the throne as the Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di promoted Ma He as the Grand Director (, ''tàijiān'') of the Directorate of Palace Servants (). During the
Chinese New Year Chinese New Year ( ), Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year New Year is the time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , t ...

Chinese New Year
on 11 February 1404, the Yongle Emperor conferred the surname "Zheng" to Ma He, because he had distinguished himself defending the city reservoir Zhenglunba against imperial forces in the Siege of Beiping of 1399. Another reason was that the eunuch commander also distinguished himself during the 1402 campaign to capture the capital, Nanjing. In the new administration, Zheng He served in the highest posts as Grand Director and later as Chief Envoy () during his sea voyages. Over the next three decades he conducted seven of the voyages on behalf of the emperor of trading and collecting tribute in the eastern Pacific and Indian Oceans. In 1424, Zheng He traveled to
Palembang Palembang () is the capital city of the Provinces of Indonesia, Indonesian province of South Sumatra. The city proper covers on both banks of the Musi River (Indonesia), Musi River on the eastern lowland of southern Sumatra. It had a populat ...

Palembang
in Sumatra to confer an official seal and letter of appointment upon Shi Jisun, who was placed in the office of Pacification Commissioner. The ''Taizong Shilu'' 27 February 1424 entry reports that Shi Jisun had sent Qiu Yancheng as envoy to petition the approval of the succession from his father Shi Jinqing, who was the Pacification Commissioner of Palembang, and was given permission from the Yongle Emperor. On 7 September 1424, Zhu Gaozhi had inherited the throne as the Hongxi Emperor after the death of the Yongle Emperor on 12 August 1424. When Zheng He returned from Palembang, he found that the Yongle Emperor had died during his absence. On 7 September 1424, the
Hongxi Emperor The Hongxi Emperor (16 August 1378 – 29 May 1425), personal name Zhu Gaochi (朱高熾), was the fourth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1424 to 1425. He succeeded his father, the Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ...

Hongxi Emperor
terminated the undertaking of further treasure voyages. On 24 February 1425, he appointed Zheng He as the defender of Nanjing and ordered him to continue his command over the treasure fleet for the city's defense. On 25 March 1428, the Xuande Emperor ordered Zheng He and others to take over the supervision for the rebuilding and repair of the
Great Bao'en Temple
Great Bao'en Temple
at Nanjing. He completed the construction of the temple in 1431. On 15 May 1426, the
Xuande Emperor Ming Emperor Xuande playing Golf The Xuande Emperor (; 16 March 1399 31 January 1435), personal name Zhu Zhanji (朱瞻基), was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Vi ...

Xuande Emperor
ordered the Directorate of Ceremonial to send a letter to Zheng He to reprimand him for a transgression. Earlier, an official petitioned the emperor to reward workmen who had built temples in Nanjing. The Xuande Emperor responded negatively to the official for placing the costs to the court instead of the monks themselves, but he realized that Zheng He and his associates had instigated the official. According to , the nature of the emperor's words indicated that Zheng He's behaviour in the situation was the last straw, but there is too little information about what had happened earlier. Nevertheless, the Xuande Emperor would eventually come to trust Zheng He. In 1430, the new
Xuande Emperor Ming Emperor Xuande playing Golf The Xuande Emperor (; 16 March 1399 31 January 1435), personal name Zhu Zhanji (朱瞻基), was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Vi ...

Xuande Emperor
appointed Zheng He to command over a seventh and final expedition into the "Western Ocean" (Indian Ocean). In 1431, Zheng He was bestowed with the title ''Sanbao Taijian'' (), using his informal name Sanbao and the title of Grand Director.


Expeditions

The
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Succ ...
and the expanding Sino-Arab trade during the 14th century had gradually expanded Chinese knowledge of the world since "universal" maps previously displaying only China and its surrounding seas began to expand farther and farther southwest, with much more accurate depictions of the extent of Arabia and Africa. Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming government sponsored seven naval expeditions. The
Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third List of emperors of the Ming dynasty, Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424. Zhu Di was the fourth son ...

Yongle Emperor
, disregarding the
Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 ...
's expressed wishes, designed them to establish a Chinese presence and impose imperial control over the Indian Ocean trade, impress foreign peoples in the Indian Ocean basin, and extend the empire's tributary system. It has also been inferred from passages in the ''
History of Ming The ''History of Ming'' or the ''Ming History'' (''Míng Shǐ'') is one of the official Chinese historical works known as the ''Twenty-Four Histories The ''Twenty-Four Histories'' (), also known as the ''Orthodox Histories'' (), are the Chines ...
'' that the initial voyages were launched as part of the emperor's attempt to capture his , which would have made the first voyage the "largest-scale manhunt on water in the history of China." Zheng He was placed as the admiral in control of the huge fleet and armed forces that undertook the expeditions. Wang Jinghong was appointed as second in command. Preparations were thorough and wide-ranging, including the use of so many linguists that a foreign language institute was established at Nanjing. Zheng He's first voyage departed 11 July 1405, from
Suzhou Suzhou (; ; , Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and c ...

Suzhou
and consisted of a fleet of 317 ships holding almost 28,000 crewmen. Zheng He's fleets visited
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
,
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
,
Siam ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai language, ...

Siam
(Thailand),
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...
, India, the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
, and
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...

Arabia
, dispensing and receiving goods along the way. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver,
porcelain Porcelain () is a ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant Corrosion is a Erosion, natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide, ...

porcelain
, and silk, and in return, China received such novelties as
ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circums ...

ostrich
es,
zebra Zebras (, ) (subgenus ''Hippotigris'') are African equines with distinctive black-and-white striped Animal coat, coats. There are three Extant taxon, living species: the Grévy's zebra (''Equus grevyi''), plains zebra (''E. quagga''), and the ...

zebra
s,
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

camel
s, and
ivory Ivory is a hard, white material from the tusk Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcification, calcified structure found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to Mastica ...
from the . The
giraffe The giraffe is a tall African mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''c ...

giraffe
that he brought back from
Malindi Malindi (known as Melinde in antiquity) is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River The Athi-Galana-Sabaki River is the second longest river in Kenya (after the Tana River (Kenya), Tana River). It has a total length of , and drain ...

Malindi
was considered to be a ''
qilin The qilin (; ) or kirin is a legendary hooved chimerical n plate, c. 350–340 BC (Louvre, Musée du Louvre) The Chimera ( or , also Chimaera (''Chimæra''); Greek language, Greek: , ''Chímaira'' "she-goat"), according to Greek mythology, ...

qilin
'' and taken as proof of the
Mandate of Heaven The Mandate of Heaven () is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events While Zheng He's fleet was unprecedented, the routes were not. His fleet followed long-established, well-mapped routes of trade between China and the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
that had been used since at least the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
. That fact, along with the use of a more-than-abundant number of crew members who were regular military personnel, leads some to speculate that the expeditions may have been geared at least partially at spreading China's power through expansion. During the
Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Cao Wei, Wei, Shu Han, Shu, and Eastern Wu, Wu. The Three Kingdoms period started with the End of the Han dynasty, end of the Han dynasty#East ...

Three Kingdoms
Period, the king of Wu sent a 20-year diplomatic mission led by Zhu Ying and Kang Tai along the coast of Asia, which reached as far as the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
. After centuries of disruption, the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
restored large-scale maritime trade from China in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans and reached as far as the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. When his fleet first arrived at
Malacca Malacca, officially the State of Malacca, is a Federated state, state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca. Its capital is Malacca City, dubbed the Historic City, which has been liste ...

Malacca
, there was already a sizable Chinese community. The ''General Survey of the Ocean Shores'' (, ''Yíngyá Shènglǎn''), composed by the translator
Ma Huan Ma, MA, or master Academia *Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA or AM) is the holder of a master's degree awarded by University, universities in many countries. The degree is usually co ...
in 1416, gives very detailed accounts of his observations of people's customs and lives in the ports that they visited. He referred to the expatriate Chinese as " Tang" people (). Zheng He generally sought to attain his goals through diplomacy, and his large army awed most would-be enemies into submission. However, a contemporary reported that Zheng He "walked like a tiger" and did not shrink from violence when he considered it necessary to impress foreign peoples with China's military might. He ruthlessly suppressed pirates, who had long plagued Chinese and Southeast Asian waters. For example, he defeated Chen Zuyi, one of the most feared and respected pirate captains, and returned him to China for execution. He also waged a
land war The Land War ( ga, Cogadh na Talún) was a period of agrarian agitation in rural Ireland that began in 1879. It may refer specifically to the first and most intense period of agitation between 1879 and 1882, or include later outbreaks of agitatio ...
against the
Kingdom of Kotte Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...

Kingdom of Kotte
on
Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...

Ceylon
, and he made displays of military force when local officials threatened his fleet in Arabia and East Africa. From his fourth voyage, he brought envoys from 30 states, who traveled to China and paid their respects at the Ming court. In 1424, the Yongle Emperor died. His successor, the
Hongxi Emperor The Hongxi Emperor (16 August 1378 – 29 May 1425), personal name Zhu Gaochi (朱高熾), was the fourth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1424 to 1425. He succeeded his father, the Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ...

Hongxi Emperor
(r. 14241425), stopped the voyages during his short reign. Zheng He made one more voyage during the reign of Hongxi's son, the
Xuande Emperor Ming Emperor Xuande playing Golf The Xuande Emperor (; 16 March 1399 31 January 1435), personal name Zhu Zhanji (朱瞻基), was the fifth Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1425 to 1435. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Vi ...
(r. 1426–1435) but, the voyages of the Chinese treasure ship fleets then ended. Xuande believed his father's decision to halt the voyages had been meritorious and thus "there would be no need to make a detailed description of his grandfather's sending Zheng He to the Western Ocean." The voyages "were contrary to the rules stipulated in the Huang Ming Zuxun" (), the dynastic foundation documents laid down by the
Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 ...
:
Some far-off countries pay their tribute to me at much expense and through great difficulties, all of which are by no means my own wish. Messages should be forwarded to them to reduce their tribute so as to avoid high and unnecessary expenses on both sides.
They further violated longstanding Confucian principles. They were only made possible by (and therefore continued to represent) a triumph of the Ming's eunuch faction over the administration's
scholar-bureaucrat 220px, A 15th-century portrait of the Ming official egrets on his chest are a "mandarin square">Egret_(bird).html" ;"title="Jiang Shunfu. The decoration of two Egret (bird)">egrets on his chest are a "mandarin square", indicating that he was a c ...
s. Upon Zheng He's death and his faction's fall from power, his successors sought to minimize him in official accounts, along with continuing attempts to destroy all records related to the Jianwen Emperor or the manhunt to find him. Although unmentioned in the official dynastic histories, Zheng He probably died during the treasure fleet's last voyage. Although he has a tomb in China, it is empty since he was
buried at sea Burial at sea is the disposal of human remains in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, and is done by private citizens in many countries. Burial-at-sea services are conducted at many different locations ...
. Zheng He led seven expeditions to the "Western" or Indian Ocean. Zheng He brought back to China many trophies and envoys from more than thirty kingdoms, including King Vira Alakeshwara of
Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...

Ceylon
, who came to China as a captive to apologize to the Emperor for offenses against his mission. Zheng He wrote of his travels:
We have traversed more than 100,000 '' li'' of immense water spaces and have beheld in the ocean huge waves like mountains rising in the sky, and we have set eyes on barbarian regions far away hidden in a blue transparency of light vapors, while our sails, loftily unfurled like clouds day and night, continued their course s rapidlyas a star, traversing those savage waves as if we were treading a public thoroughfare....


Sailing charts

Zheng He's sailing charts, the
Mao Kun map Mao Kun map, usually referred to in modern Chinese sources as Zheng He's Navigation Map (), is a set of navigation charts published in the Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 13 ...
, were published in a book entitled the ''
Wubei Zhi The ''Wubei Zhi'' (; ''Treatise on Armament Technology'' or ''Records of Armaments and Military Provisions''), also commonly known by its Japanese translated name Bubishi, is the most comprehensive military book in Chinese history. It was comp ...
'' (''A Treatise on Armament Technology'') written in 1621 and published in 1628 but traced back to Zheng He's and earlier voyages. It was originally a strip map 20.5 cm by 560 cm that could be rolled up, but was divided into 40 pages which vary in scale from 7 miles/inch in the Nanjing area to 215 miles/inch in parts of the African coast. Investigation into folios 19V to 20R of the Mao Kun Map which covers the Indian Ocean including South India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and East Africa suggests that it is a composite of four maps, one for Sri Lanka, one for South India one for the Maldives and one for around 400 km of the East African coast, no further south than 6 degrees south of the Equator. Each of these maps is positioned at a different orientation to fit with the ocean currents and winds required of a sailing chart, rather than a formal map. The analysis also suggests that Arabic-speaking pilots with a detailed knowledge of the African coast were involved in the cartography. There is little attempt to provide an accurate 2-D representation; instead, the sailing instructions are given using a 24-point compass system with a Chinese symbol for each point, together with a sailing time or distance, which takes account of the local currents and winds. Sometimes depth soundings are also provided. It also shows bays, estuaries, capes and islands, ports and mountains along the coast, important landmarks such as pagodas and temples, and shoal rocks. Of 300 named places outside China, more than 80% can be confidently located. There are also fifty observations of stellar altitude.


Size of ships

Traditional and popular accounts of Zheng He's voyages have described a great fleet of gigantic ships far larger than any other wooden ships in history. The most grandiose claims for Zheng He's 1405 fleet are entirely based on a calculation derived from an account that was written three centuries later and was accepted as fact by one modern writer; rejected by numerous naval experts: * "
Chinese treasure ship A Chinese treasure ship (, literally "gem ship") is a type of large wooden ship in the fleet of admiral Zheng He, who led Treasure voyages, seven voyages during the early 15th-century Ming dynasty. According to British scientist, historian and ...
s" (), used by the commander of the fleet and his deputies, nine-masted, about long, wide, with four decks. * Equine ships (), carrying horses and tribute goods and repair material for the fleet, eight-masted, about long and wide. * Supply ships (), containing staple for the crew, seven-masted, about long and wide. * Troop transports (), six-masted, about long and wide. * Fuchuan warships (), five-masted, about long. * Patrol boats (), eight-oared, about long. * Water tankers (), with 1 month's supply of fresh water. Six more expeditions took place from 1407 to 1433 with fleets thought to be of comparable size.
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
and
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
both described multi-masted ships carrying 500 to 1,000 passengers in their translated accounts.
Niccolò de' Conti Niccolò de' Conti (c. 1395–1469) was an Italian merchant, explorer, and writer. Born in Chioggia, who traveled to India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countrie ...
, a contemporary of Zheng He, was also an eyewitness of ships in Southeast Asia, claiming to have seen five-masted junks weighing about 2,000 tons. There are even some sources that claim some of the treasure ships might have been as long as . On the ships were navigators, explorers, sailors, doctors, workers, and soldiers, along with the translator and diarist Gong Zhen. The largest ships in the fleet, the Chinese treasure ships described in Chinese chronicles, would have been nearly list of world's largest wooden ships, twice as long as any other wooden ship recorded thereafter until the 20th century, surpassing Admiral Nelson's HMS Victory, HMS ''Victory'', long, which was launched in 1765, and the Vasa (ship), ''Vasa'' of 1627. The first ships to attain long were 19th century steamers with iron hulls. Many scholars consider it unlikely that any of Zheng He's ships were in length and have proposed much shorter lengths, as low as . One explanation for the seemingly-inefficient size of the colossal ships was that the 44 largest Zhang treasure ships were used only by the Emperor and imperial bureaucrats to travel along the Yangtze for court business, including reviewing Zheng He's expedition fleet. The Yangtze river, with its calmer waters, may have been navigable by these treasure ships. Zheng He, a court eunuch, would not have had the privilege in rank to command the largest of the ships, seaworthy or not. The main ships of Zheng He's fleet were instead six-masted 2000-liao ships.Xin Yuanou: ''Guanyu Zheng He baochuan chidu de jishu fenxi (A Technical Analysis of the Size of Zheng He's Ships).'' Shanghai 2002, p. 8 That would give Builder's Old Measurement, burthen of 500 tons and a displacement tonnage of about 800 tons. However recent finds after the discovery of the Longjiang shipyards site from 2005 indicate the ships sourced tropical hardwood from Indonesia and were lined with palm fibres and concrete to maintain seaworthiness for a hull of much larger proportions. The rudder remains suggest the highest end of estimates were possible, supporting the 1962 find nearby of a bracket, in diameter for steering a vessel of as stated in the court documents, and dated to about 600 years. However, authorities agree that more is needed to be found to establish the true length.


Death

One theory is that Admiral Zheng He died in 1433, during or shortly after the seventh voyage. Another is that Zheng He continued to serve as the defender of Nanjing, dying in 1435. A tomb was built for Zheng He at the southern slope of Cattle Head Hill,
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
. The original tomb was a horseshoe-shaped grave. It is a cenotaph believed to contain his clothes and headgear. In 1985, the tomb was rebuilt following a Muslim style.


Legacy

Zheng's voyages were long neglected in official Chinese histories but have become well known in China and abroad since the publication of Liang Qichao's ''Biography of Our Homeland's Great Navigator, Zheng He'' in 1904.Hui Chun Hing.
''Huangming Zuxun'' and Zheng He’s Voyages to the Western Oceans
. ''Journal of Chinese Studies'', No. 51 (July 2010). Retrieved 17 October 2012.


Imperial China

In the decades after the last voyage, Imperial officials minimized the importance of Zheng He and his expeditions throughout the many regnal and dynastic histories they compiled. The information in the Ming Taizong Shilu, Yongle and Ming Xuanzong Shilu, Xuande Emperors' official annals was incomplete and even erroneous, and other official publications omitted them completely. Although some have seen that as a conspiracy seeking to eliminate memories of the voyages, it is likely that the records were dispersed throughout several departments and the expeditions, unauthorized by and in fact counter to the Huang Ming Zu Xun, injunctions of the dynastic founder, presented a kind of embarrassment to the dynasty. State-sponsored Ming naval efforts declined dramatically after Zheng's voyages. Starting in the early 15th century, China experienced increasing pressure from the Northern Yuan dynasty, surviving Yuan Mongols from the north. The relocation of the capital to Beijing in the north exacerbated this threat dramatically. At considerable expense, China launched annual military expeditions from Beijing to weaken the Mongolians. The expenditures necessary for the land campaigns directly competed with the funds necessary to continue naval expeditions. Further, in 1449, Mongolian cavalry ambushed a land expedition personally led by the Zhengtong Emperor at Battle of Tumu Fortress, Tumu Fortress, less than a day's march from the walls of the capital. The Mongolians wiped out the Chinese army and captured the emperor. The battle had two salient effects. Firstly, it demonstrated the clear threat posed by the northern nomads. Secondly, the Mongols caused a political crisis in China when they released the emperor after his half-brother had already ascended and declared the new Jingtai Emperor, Jingtai era. Not until 1457 and the restoration of the former emperor would political stability return. Upon his return to power, China abandoned the strategy of annual land expeditions and instead embarked upon a massive and expensive expansion of the Great Wall of China. In that environment, funding for naval expeditions was simply absent. However, missions from Southeastern Asia continued to arrive for decades. Depending on local conditions, they could reach such frequency that the court found it necessary to restrict them. The ''
History of Ming The ''History of Ming'' or the ''Ming History'' (''Míng Shǐ'') is one of the official Chinese historical works known as the ''Twenty-Four Histories The ''Twenty-Four Histories'' (), also known as the ''Orthodox Histories'' (), are the Chines ...
'' records imperial edicts forbade Java, Champa, and Siam from sending their envoys more often than once every three years.


Southeast Asia


Veneration

Among the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, Zheng He became a figure of folk veneration. Even some of his crew members who happened to stay in some port sometimes did so as well, such as "Poontaokong" on Sulu Archipelago, Sulu.Tan Ta Sen & al.
Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia
'. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009. .
The temples of the cult, called after either of his names, Cheng Hoon or Sam Po, are peculiar to overseas Chinese except for a single temple in Hongjian originally constructed by a returned Filipinos, Filipino Chinese in the Ming dynasty and rebuilt by another Filipino Chinese after the original was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. (The same village of Hongjian, in Fujian's Jiaomei township, is also the ancestral home of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino.)


Malacca

The oldest and most important Chinese temple in Malacca is the 17th-century Cheng Hoon Teng, dedicated to Guanyin. During Dutch East Indies, Dutch colonial rule, the head of the Cheng Hoon Temple was appointed as chief over the community's Chinese inhabitants. Following Zheng He's arrival, the sultan and the sultana of Malacca visited China at the head of over 540 of their subjects, bearing ample tribute. Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca, Mansur Shah (r. 1459–1477) later dispatched Tun Perpatih Putih as his envoy to China, carrying a letter from the sultan to the Ming emperor. The letter requested the hand of an imperial daughter in marriage. Malay (but not Chinese) annals record that in 1459, a princess named Hang Li Po or Hang Liu was sent from China to marry the sultan. She came with 500 high-ranking young men and a few hundred handmaidens as her entourage. They eventually settled in Bukit Cina. It is believed that a significant number of them married into the local populace, creating the descendants now known as the Peranakan. Owing to this supposed lineage, the Peranakan still use special honorifics: ''Baba (honorific), Baba'' for the men and ''Nyonya'' for the women.


Indonesia

The Indonesian Chinese, Chinese Indonesian community have established temples dedicated to Zheng He in Jakarta, Cirebon, Surabaya, and Semarang. In 1961, the Indonesian Islamic leader and scholar Hamka credited Zheng He for playing an important role in the development of Islam in Indonesia. The ''Brunei Times'' credits Zheng He with building Chinese Muslim communities in
Palembang Palembang () is the capital city of the Provinces of Indonesia, Indonesian province of South Sumatra. The city proper covers on both banks of the Musi River (Indonesia), Musi River on the eastern lowland of southern Sumatra. It had a populat ...

Palembang
and along the shores of
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines. These Muslims allegedly followed the Hanafi school in the Chinese language. The ''Malay Annals'' also record a number of Hanafi mosques in Semarang and Ancol, for instance were converted directly into temples of the Zheng He cult during the 1460s and the 1470s. The Sam Poo Kong temple in Semarang was built to commemorate Zheng He's voyage to Java.


Modern scholarship

In the 1950s, historians such as John Fairbank and Joseph Needham popularized the idea that after Zheng He's voyages China turned away from the seas due to the ''Haijin'' edict and was isolated from European technological advancements. Modern historians point out that Chinese maritime commerce did not totally stop after Zheng He, that Chinese ships continued to participate in Southeast Asian commerce until the 19th century, and that active Chinese trading with India and East Africa continued long after the time of Zheng. Moreover, historical revisionism, revisionist historians such as Jack Goldstone argue that the Zheng He voyages ended for practical reasons that did not reflect the technological level of China. Although the Ming dynasty prohibited shipping with the ''Haijin'' edict, it was a policy of the
Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 ...
that long preceded Zheng He and the ban, so obviously disregarded by the
Yongle Emperor The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third List of emperors of the Ming dynasty, Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1402 to 1424. Zhu Di was the fourth son ...

Yongle Emperor
, was eventually lifted entirely. However, the ban on maritime shipping forced countless numbers of people into smuggling and wokou, piracy. Neglect of the imperial navy and Nanjing dockyards after Zheng He's voyages left the coast highly vulnerable to Japanese wokou during the 16th century. Richard von Glahn, a UCLA professor of Chinese history, commented that most treatments of Zheng He present him wrongly, "offer counterfactual arguments," and "emphasize China's missed opportunity" by focusing on failures, instead of accomplishments. In contrast, Glahn asserts that "Zheng He reshaped Asia" because maritime history in the 15th century was essentially the Zheng He story and the effects of his voyages.


Cultural influence

Despite the official neglect, the adventures of the fleet captured the imagination of some Chinese with some writing novelizations of the voyages, such as the ''Romance of the Three-Jeweled Eunuch'' in 1597.
Blacks in Pre-Modern China
', pp. 121–132.
On his travels, Zheng He built mosques and also spread the worship of Mazu (goddess), Mazu. He apparently never found time for a hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca but sent sailors there on his last voyage. He played an important part in developing relations between China and Islamic countries. Zheng He also visited Muslim shrines of Islamic holy men in the Fujian. In modern times, interest in Zheng He has revived substantially. In Vernor Vinge's 1999 science fiction novel ''A Deepness in the Sky'', an interstellar society of commercial traders in human space are named the Qeng Ho, after the admiral. The expeditions featured prominently in Heather Terrell's 2005 novel ''The Map Thief''. For the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's voyages in 2005, China Central Television produced a special television series, ''Zheng He Xia Xiyang (TV series), Zheng He Xia Xiyang'', starring Gallen Lo as Zheng He. He is also mentioned in part of the main storyline of the first-person shooter game Far Cry 3. The Star Trek series ''Star Trek: Picard, Picard'' further featured an advanced starship named USS ''Zheng He''. There was even a US Navy boat that was acquired for picket duty during World War II that was named USS Cheng Ho (IX-52), ''Cheng Ho'' by its previous owner. In Civilization VI Zheng He is a 'great admiral' unit that grants bonuses to trade and naval combat.


Relics

;Nanjing Temple of Mazu Zheng He built the Tianfei Palace (), a temple in honor of the Chinese mythology, goddess Mazu (goddess), Mazu, in Nanjing after the fleet returned from its first western voyage in 1407. ;Taicang Stele The "Deed of Foreign Connection and Exchange" () or "Tongfan Deed Stele" is located in the Tianfei Palace in Liuhe, Taicang, whence the expeditions first departed. The stele was submerged and lost but has been rebuilt. ;Nanshan Stele To thank the Mazu (goddess), Celestial Wife for her blessings, Zheng He and his colleagues rebuilt the Tianfei Palace in Nanshan, Changle County, Fujian Province as well before they left on their last voyage. At the renovated temple, they raised a stele, "A Record of Tianfei Showing Her Presence and Power" (), discussing their earlier voyages. ;Sri Lankan Stele The Galle Trilingual Inscription in Sri Lanka was discovered in the city of Galle in 1911 and is preserved at the National Museum of Colombo. The three languages used in the inscription were Chinese, Tamil language, Tamil, and Persian language, Persian. The inscription praises Buddha and describes the fleet's donations to the famous Tondeswaram temple, Tenavarai Nayanar temple of Tondeswaram frequented by both Hinduism, Hindus and Buddhism, Buddhists. ;Tomb and Museum Zheng He's tomb in Nanjing has been repaired and a small museum built next to it, but his body was buried at sea off the Malabar Coast near Calicut, in western India. However, his sword and other personal possessions were interred in a Muslim tomb inscribed in Arabic. The tomb of Zheng He's assistant Hong Bao was recently unearthed in Nanjing as well.


Commemoration

In the People's Republic of China, 11 July is China National Maritime Day, Maritime Day (, ''Zhōngguó Hánghǎi Rì'') and is devoted to the memory of Zheng He's first voyage. Initially Kunming Changshui International Airport was to be named Zheng He International Airport. In 2015, Emotion Media Factory dedicated a special multimedia show "Zheng He is coming" for amusement park Romon U-Park (Ningbo, China). The show became a finalist of the amusement industry prestigious Brass Rings Awards by IAAPA. Zheng He is the namesake of the ROCS Cheng Ho (PFG2-1103), ROCS ''Cheng Ho'' missile frigate in Taiwan. The People's Liberation Army Navy ship ''Type 679 training ship, Zhang He (AX-81)'' is a Chinese training ship named for him. Like her namesake, she serves as a goodwill ambassador for China, becoming the first Chinese Navy ship to visit the United States in 1989 and completing a circumnavigation of the globe in 2012. The China National Space Administration has named its proposed sample-return mission, sample-return spacecraft ZhengHe (spacecraft), ZhengHe. Its mission to explore Near-Earth object#Near-Earth asteroids, Near-Earth asteroid 469219 Kamoʻoalewa, 2016 HO3 is scheduled to launch in 2024.


Gallery

File:Zheng He's tomb, Nanjing.jpg, Zheng He's tomb in
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
File:Museum in honour of Zheng He in Nanjing.jpeg, Museum to honor Zheng He, Nanjing File:Zheng He Gallery in Malacca.JPG, Gallery of Admiral Cheng Ho in Malacca File:Admiral Zhenghe.jpg, Zheng He Wax sculpture, wax statue in the Quanzhou Maritime Museum


See also

* Chang Yuchun * Chinese exploration * CMA CGM Zheng He * Fei Xin * Galle Trilingual Inscription * Hong Bao * Hui people, Hui *
Ma Huan Ma, MA, or master Academia *Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA or AM) is the holder of a master's degree awarded by University, universities in many countries. The degree is usually co ...
*
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the Dynasties in Chinese history, ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynas ...

Ming dynasty
* Ming Shi-lu * Romon U-Park * Timeline of the Ming treasure voyages * Zhou Man * Zhu Di * Man-cheti


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * ** ** ** * * * * * * *


Further reading

* *
''Shipping News: Zheng He's Sexcentenary''
– China Heritage Newsletter, June 2005, . Published by the ''China Heritage Project'' of The Australian National University. *


External links


World History Encyclopedia - The Seven Voyages of Zheng He

Zheng He – The Chinese Muslim Admiral



BBC radio programme "Swimming Dragons".

TIME magazine special feature on Zheng He (August 2001)




at peopledaily.com (25 September 2006) *
Newsletter, in Chinese, on academic research on the Zheng He voyages
{{DEFAULTSORT:Zheng, He 1371 births 1430s deaths 14th-century Chinese people 15th-century Chinese people 15th-century explorers Year of death uncertain Burials at sea Chinese admirals Ming dynasty diplomats Chinese explorers Chinese Muslims Explorers of China Explorers of Asia Explorers of Africa History of Kerala Hui people Medieval Chinese geographers Medieval Islamic travel writers Ming dynasty eunuchs Naval history of China People from Kunming Scientists from Yunnan Treasure voyages Yongle Emperor 15th-century diplomats Explorers of India