郑和下西洋 Zheng He's Voyages
In the early Ming Dynasty, China was one of the most advanced and developed countries in the world. In order to transmit the national power and strengthen contacts with other countries, Emperor Chengzu sent Zheng He, a senior general and eunuch, on six voyages to the Western Ocean (Southeast Asia west of Brunei and the Indian Ocean) on diplomatic missions. Zheng He's seventh and last voyage was authorized by Emperor Chengzu's successor, Emperor Renzong.
Zheng He (1371-1435 AD), ethnic Hui (Moslem), was born in Yunnan Province. In 1405, Zheng He embarked on his first voyage. His fleet of more than 200 ships carried well over 20,000 men, including sailors, soldiers, technical personnel, interpreters, etc., and large amounts of gold, precious stones, porcelain and silk to be used for trade and as gifts. The fleet set out from Liujiagang in Jiangsu Province, and sailed westward as far as the Red Sea. The round trip took two years. Some of the countries Zheng He visited dispatched envoys bearing tribute to the Ming court on his ships. Subsequent voyages took Zheng He to the eastern coast of Africa. Zheng He's voyages were a great feat in the world's navigation history. There are still many buildings in present Southeast Asia dedicated to his memory.