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Zheng He
郑和zhèng hé
Zheng He 郑和 zhèng hé was a famous Chinese seafarer of the 15th Century. He was born in Kunyang, a town in the Chinese province of Yunnan. As a child, he was inspired to travel and go on expeditions.

In 1368 CE, the Han Chinese who desperately wanted
China back from the Mongols finally wrestled power back from the Northern and Central Asian invaders. Thus, began the Ming Dynasty, after the fall of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty which had reigned for almost a hundred years. The remaining Mongols turned rebels and some moved westward. Some of the rebels hid out in the south-western province of Yunnan.

in 1381 CE, General Fu Youde and General Lan Yushuahi with hordes of Ming soldiers were dispatched by the first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang to wipe out the remnant Mongol rebels in Yunnan. The military engagements were, however, multi-pronged; as they included capturing boys and young men to beef up the human resource of the Ming Palace.

These male captives became members of the Palace Eunuchs. (During the Ming
Dynasty and other Chinese Dynasties as well, eunuchs were important personnel of the Palace as they often entrusted with many government positions. The positions included, but were not limited to, guardians of harems, court officials and servants. Some eunuchs were even made advisers to the Emperor. Eunuchs were favored because they could not have families of their own. Castrated, they were unable to father children.

Ten years after he was born in Kunyang, Ma He (later to be known as Zheng He) was captured by an army of Ming soldiers who were bent on getting rid of Mongol rebels in the area. Whisked to the Grand Palace in Beiping (later to be known as Beijing) some 2000 kilometers away, Ma He was assigned to work for the Prince of Yan, Zhu Di. Like many other male captives, Ma He was castrated. However, he did not yield to the forced deformity that was bestowed upon him.

Instead, he worked diligently and intelligently. Ma He was determined to succeed. He had the courage, strength and looks. He was even reputed to be almost seven feet tall! Soon, he gained the favor of Zhu Di and rose above all eunuchs.

Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang passed away and was succeeded by Emperor Jianwen. In 1399 CE, civil war erupted with the Battle of Jingnan. Zhu Di fought against the second Ming Emperor Jianwen to gain control of Nanjing, the capital of the Ming
Dynasty. Ma He fought well for Zhu Di. He was fearless and gallant. In 1402, Zhu Di's army with Ma He's strategic leadership captured Nanjing.

Zhu Di became the third Ming Emperor. As a reward, he bestowed Ma He the title "Zheng"; hence the name we used today to refer to this great voyager: Zheng He.

Zheng He continued to be invaluable service to Emperor Zhu Di. Zheng He was so revered that he was also given the name "Sanbao" (meaning: The Three Treasures of The Three Jewels).

In 1405 CE, Zheng He was honored with the responsibility to lead 27,800 crew members in 62 seafaring vessels to voyage from Nanjing to the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. That was to be the first of seven of Zheng He's renowned voyages.

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Zheng He
郑和 zhèng hé
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Pelaut Cina terkemuka pada kurun ke-15. Laksamana Zheng He 郑和 zhèng hé mengetuai angkatan laut Cina dalam tujuh pelayaran di antara tahun 1405 dan 1433.

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