The Legendary Emperor of the Sea, Zheng He

Zheng He is perhaps China's greatest adventurer. A Muslim, eunuch, and warrior, Zheng He vastly outdid his approximate contemporaries, the Western naval heroes who helped define the global age of exploration. His armada of giant junks was several times bigger than any of the fleets Columbus commanded nearly a century later. With more than 300 vessels and a crew of nearly 30,000 men, Zheng He helped transform China into the region's 15th century superpower.

 
Zheng He's Legacy
Zheng He was raised in the mountainous heart of Asia. He was by origin a Central Asian Muslim in the Mongol province of Yunnan. He was taken captive by an invading Chinese army in 1382, trained as an imperial eunuch, and assigned to the aggressive Prince of Yan. When Prince Yan was made the Yongle emperor in 1402, Zheng He was chosen to lead one of the most powerful naval forces ever assembled.

A Pioneer and Visionary
Between 1405 AD and 1433 AD, Zheng He led seven great western maritime expeditions, traveling from the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and reaching as far west as the east coast of Africa. These seven voyages, unprecedented in size, organization, navigational technology, and range, demonstrated not only the power and wealth of the Ming Dynasty, but also Zheng He's extraordinary command ability. Within just 30 years, Zheng He completed seven voyages that left an indelible impact on the world that linger even to today's modern times.
 


Developed Leading Technology and Knowledge

Zheng He's crew mastered and combined many fields of knowledge: Eastern and Western almanacs, astronomy, geography, nautical charts, celestial navigation, marine sciences, piloting, and shipbuilding and maintenance. He built the largest fleet ever to sail on the ocean up to that time. It had sixty-two large ships about 600 feet long, and they were accompanied by hundreds of smaller vessels. The ships of Columbus and da Gama combined could have been stored on a single deck of a single vessel in the fleet that set sail under Zheng He. These state-of-the-art technologies changed the history of maritime endeavors.


Nurtured the Global Economy
Zheng He's large-scale official trading activities triggered substantial spontaneous grassroots commercial activity as well. As Zheng He's fleets opened new maritime routes, the crewmembers traded various Chinese goods at ports along the way. Chinese silks, porcelain, and tools were highly prized throughout Southeast Asia. Wherever Zheng He's ships stopped, the local people would converge in small boats or on the docks to trade. Some even invited Zheng He's officers and crew to set up stands at the local markets. At this time, Chinese exports such as porcelain, silks, tea, lacquerware, metalware, and copper coins were traded primarily for gems, spices, medicines, and rare animals.


Established Peace and Cooperation

Prior to Zheng He's voyages, there was much turbulence outside of China's borders. Piracy was rampant throughout the waters of Southeast Asia, and no maritime routes were safe. During the course of his voyages, Zheng He used various means to resolve international disputes and maintain the security of maritime traffic. In this way, he linked China's development with that of the region and created lasting stability across a vast region. The successes of Zheng He in mediating conflicts, establishing stability in Southeast Asia, and safeguarding maritime security brought prestige to the Ming Dynasty, and largely benefited the region as well.


Moxa Continues the Quest
Six centuries later, inspired by Zheng He, Moxa follows in his footsteps and sets sail to bring a new era of concepts and ideas to the automation sector. We will present the latest applications being used at key sites around the world and will introduce products that provide the most reliable and economical networking solutions.