original name : Ma Sanbao
Zheng He was from a Hui (Chinese Muslim) family. His father was a hajji, a Muslim who had made the hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. His family claimed descent from an early Mongol governor of Yunnan province in southwestern China as well as from King Muhammad of Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan). The family name Ma was derived from the Chinese rendition of Muhammad.
Yunnan: The name Yunnan has been in use since the region was made a province under the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty (1206–1368). Literally meaning “South of the Yun,” it denotes the location as south of the Yun Range (Yun Ling, “Cloudy Mountains”). Although richly endowed with natural resources, Yunnan remained an underdeveloped region until relatively recent times; for centuries the ethnic, religious, and political separatism of the province posed obstacles to the efforts of a central government to control it.
Occupation: Explorer and Fleet Commander
Born: 1371 in Yunnan Province, China
Best known for: Treasure Ship voyages to India
Zheng He's first voyage lasted from 1405 to 1407
In the early 1400s, Zheng He led the largest ships in the world on seven voyages of exploration to the lands around the Indian Ocean, demonstrating Chinese excellence at shipbuilding and navigation.