Cheng Ho’s Sacrifice

“In 1405 an armada of 317 enormous junks, some reported to be as large as 500 feet in length and 150 feet in width, began the first of seven epic voyages that would take place over the next three decades. Traveling as far as the coasts of India, Persia, Africa, and
even perhaps Australia, Cheng Ho’s armadas brought trade and tribute to China. . . . One final fact left me pondering for some time. Cheng Ho was a eunuch. He had been castrated, at the age of thirteen, along with the other young prisoners with whom he was
taken, and placed in service to Chu Ti. As Chu Ti rose to become emperor, Cheng Ho rose along with him. But had the sacrifice been worth the reward?” – from A Floating Life by Tad Crawford (Chapter 12)

This statute of Cheng Ho is in Stadthuys (Red Square) in Melaka, Malaysia on the route of the western fleet’s journeys. Photograph by hassan saeed from Melaka, Malaysia [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http:/
/creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Some believe Cheng Ho could have reached the Americas before Columbus. His life and voyages are amazing. Link: http://geography.about.com/od/historyofgeography/a/chengho.htm

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