List of Zheng He’s Expeditions (1431)

From a stone marker erected March 31, 1431, at a temple near the port where Zheng He’s fleets set off on their expeditions.

… From the time when we, Zheng He and his companions, at the beginning of the Yongle period [1402-1424] received the Imperial commission as envoys to the barbarians, up till now seven voyages have taken place and each time we have commanded several tens of thousand government soldiers and more than a hundred ocean-going vessels. Starting from Tai Chang [a city near Shanghai] and taking the sea we have by way of the countries of Champa [Vietnam], Siam [Thailand] Java [Indonesia], Cochin [India] and Calicut [India] reached Hormuz [Iran] and other countries of the western regions, more than 30 countries in all, traversing more than one hundred thousand li [~500 meters] of immense water spaces …

On arriving in the outlying countries, those among the foreign kings who were obstructing the “transforming influence” (of Chinese culture) and were disrespectful were captured alive, and brigands who gave themselves over to violence and plunder were exterminated.

Consequently, the sea route was purified and tranquilized and the natives, owing to this, were enabled quietly to pursue their avocations. All this is due to the aid of the goddess [to whom this marker is dedicated]. … we have written an inscription on stone and have moreover recorded the years and months of our voyages both going and returning in order to make these known forever.

I. In the third year of Yongle (1405) commanding the fleet we have gone to Calicut [India] and other countries. At that time the pirate Chen Zuyi and his followers were assembled at Palembang [Indonesia], where they plundered the native merchants. We captured that leader alive and returned in the fifth year (1407).

II. In the fifth year of Yongle (1407) commanding the fleet we went to Java [Indonesia], Calicut [India], Cochin [India], and Siam [Thailand]. The kings of these countries all presented as tribute local products, and precious birds and rare animals. We returned in the seventh year (1409).

III. In the seventh year of Yongle (1409), commanding the fleet we went to the countries (visited) before and took our route by the country of Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. Its king Alagakkonara was guilty of a gross lack of respect and plotted against the fleet. Owing to the manifest answer to prayer of the divine power, the plot was discovered and thereupon that king was captured alive. In the ninth year (1411) on our return he was presented to the throne as a prisoner; subsequently he received the Imperial favor of returning to his own country.

IV. In the twelfth year of Yongle (1414), commanding the fleet, we went to Hormuz [Iran] and other countries. In the country of Semudera [Indonesia] the false king Sekandar was marauding and invading his country. Its king had sent an envoy to the Palace Gates in order to lodge a complaint and to request assistance. Approaching with the official troops under our command we have exterminated and arrested (the rebels), and silently aided by the divine power we thereupon captured the false king alive. In the thirteenth year (1415), on our return he was presented (to the Emperor as a prisoner). In that year the king of the country of Melaka [Malaysia] came in person with his wife and sons to present tribute.

V. In the fifteenth year of Yongle (1417) commanding the fleet we visited the western regions. The country of Hormuz [Iran] presented lions, leopards with gold spots and western horses. The country of Aden [Yemen] presented a kirin of which the native name is tsu-la-fa (giraffe), as well as the long horned animal (oryx). The country of Mogadishu [Somalia] presented zebras as well as lions. The country of Brawa [Somalia] presented camels which run one thousand li as well as camel-birds (ostriches). The countries of Java [Indonesia] and Calicut [India] presented the animal mi-li-kao [translation unknown]. All presented local products the like of which had never been heard of before and sent the maternal uncle or the younger brother (of the king) to present a letter of homage written on gold leaf as well as tribute.

VI. In the nineteenth years of Yongle (1421) commanding the fleet we conducted the ambassadors from Hormuz [Iran] and the other countries, who had been in attendance at the capital for a long time, back to their counties. The kings of all these countries presented local products as tributes even more abundantly than previously. VII. In the fifth year of Xuande (1430), starting once more for the foreign countries in order to make known the imperial commands, the fleet has anchored at the foot of the temple and recalling how previously we have on several occasions received the benefits of the protection of the divine intelligence we have hereupon inscribed a text on stone.

Source:  Ming-Yang su, Seven Epic Voyages of Zheng He in Ming China (1405-1433): Facts, Fiction and Fabrication, 2005, pp. 35-39 (accessed at