Zheng He (Chinese: 鄭和; 1371-1433) was an explorer, diplomat, and admiral from Ming Dynasty China. Zheng He was the leader of a very large fleet of Chinese ships that traveled all over the Indian Ocean and Southwest Asia. Zheng He was an eunuch of China's Imperial Court. The fleet that Zheng He commanded had 317 ships that were very large. 28,000 Chinese soldiers were on board these ships.
Zheng He was born in Yuannan Province. His birth name was Ma He (Chinese: 馬三寶). He came from Kunyang, which was Mongolian territory. In 1381, the Ming Dynasty sent an army to stop the Mongolian rebellion. Zheng He was captured and became a servant. Because Prince Zhu Di wanted him as his eunuch servant he had him castrated. This was in 1385 when he was 13 years old. Ma He became a servant at the Imperial Court. The name, Zheng He, was given to him by the emperor. Also the name Sanbao was used for him meaning "Three Treasures".
In his first three journeys he visited the countries of Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka. In his fourth to seventh journeys he went as far as the east African coast. In his journeys he gave the countries he visited gifts of silk, porcelain, gunpowder and other gifts. He got lots of unusual gifts as well, including giraffes and zebras.