Unique ability[edit | edit source]
Retire (1 charge)
Gain 1 Envoy.
Historical Context[edit | edit source]
The greatest seafarer in 4000 years of Chinese civilization was born c. 1371 AD and raised in the mountainous heart of Asia, hundreds of miles from the nearest port. Moreover, Zheng He wasn't Chinese, but the son of a minor, Muslim official - the boy's birth name was Ma Sanbao - in the Mongol province of the Yunnan taken captive by an invading Ming army in 1382. Ritually castrated, he was trained as an imperial eunuch and assigned to the court of Zhu Di, the bellicose prince of Yan.
By 1390, the renamed Zheng had distinguished himself as a junior officer, skilled at both war and diplomacy, for the prince. The young eunuch became a trusted advisor to Zhu Di and in 1400 when the prince revloted, Zheng served him brilliantly. Defeating the Jianwen emperor in 1402, the prince of Yan established the Yongle line of the Ming dynasty. Seeking to spread Chinese influence, jumpstart the economy, and distract the restless nobles, the new emperor selected Zheng He to outfit and lead a series of missions to the "Western Oceans."
Zheng set sail on his first voyage of exploration in 1405, in command of 62 ships; his fleet sailed south, visiting Champa