Zheng He Biography
Birthday: September 23, 1371 (Libra)
Born In: Yunnan
Zheng He was a Chinese explorer, sailor, diplomat, fleet admiral, and court eunuch who lived during the late 14th century and early 15th century, and served the early monarchs of the Ming dynasty. Hailing from a Muslim family from the Yunnan province, he was taken captive by the Ming forces during their invasion of the region. He was castrated when he was either 10 or 14 years old. He then entered the service of Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan, who eventually ascended the throne as the Yongle Emperor. His original name was Ma He. It was Zhu Di who later conferred the surname Zheng to him. Between 1405 and 1433, he led several expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa. According to a legend, his larger ships were operated by hundreds of sailors on four decks. They were built twice as long as any wooden ship in recorded history. One of the most trusted advisors of the Yongle Emperor, he helped the other man depose the Jianwen Emperor. Over the course of his career, he became one of the most powerful people in China and was appointed the commander of the southern capital Nanjing.