China and the Oceans in early Ming
In the early 15th century, the coastal states of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean were the sites of a remarkable event, as they received repeated visitations by a large fleet of Chinese ships. Dispatched by the order of the Ming emperor Yongle, they consisted of thousands of men on board the largest wooden ships ever built. The expeditions were all commanded by Zheng He, a eunuch with a long history of service to the emperor.
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