(Chinese: 鄭和; 1371 – 1433 or 1435) was a Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat, fleet admiral, and court eunuch during China’s early Ming dynasty. He was originally born as Ma He in a Muslim family, and later adopted the surname Zheng conferred by Emperor Yongle. Zheng commanded expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa 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, who Zheng assisted in the overthrow of the Jianwen Emperor, he rose to the top of the imperial hierarchy and served as commander of the southern capital Nanjing.