Zheng He

A Chinese Explorer

China's Greatest Explorer

Zheng He was born in 1371 in the southern China region of Yunnan to a Hui family which was a Muslim Chinese ethnic group. His name was originally Ma He. In China, the family name is said first followed by the given name. "Ma" is short for "Muhammad" in China. He befriended a prince that lived in the imperial household after being captured my the Ming Dynasty army. The prince became emperor and Zheng rose to the highest government position and was given the honorific title of Zheng He.

Claim to Fame

Zheng He commanded many treasure fleets- Chinese ships that traded across Asia and Africa. His objective was to establish trade relationships with various parts of southeast Asia, Arabia, Africa, and India. Because of his expeditions, he expanded Chinese trade greatly.