History has it, China and Somalia fough in Mogadishu during China's Greatest Explorer Zheng He reach Mogadishu.
The First Voyage
Twelve months after Zhu Di became the emperor, he suggested several voyages down the Western Ocean (now known as the Indian Ocean). He wanted Zheng He to be the commander, but was unsure as Zheng He was still relatively young. Zhu Di's advisors added onto the confusion by comparing the situation with picking dates- the older a date, the richer its flavor. Thus, Zhu Di sought advice from Yuan Zhongche, a fortune teller, who strongly believed that Zheng He was the best fit for the job. Zhu Di ultimately chose Zheng He and the latter agreed to be the Commander-in-Chief for these voyages. Zheng He had aways been interested in geography. The exact, official reason for these voyages are still unknown, as several important documents regarding the voyages were burnt in the 16th century. The majority claim trading to be the primary motive behind these voyages, but there are a few who believe that the emperor was trying to find Zhu Yunwen, seeking revenge. (see "Battle for Royalty" on "Zhu Di") Some also believe that it was for religious reasons.
China and Somali wars
The Fifth Voyage
The voyage, which began in 1417, was delayed due to the construction of the Forbidden City by Zhu Di. This time, they headed for Africa, extending their trade relations beyond the Western Ocean and the Arab Peninsula. First, they arrived at Quanzhou to stock up on more goods including some paintings.
In Aden, they traded gemstones, bracelets, jewels, and rings. Zheng He was well respected in Aden. Zebras and leopards were also paid to the Yongle emperor (Zhu Di) in tribute. After Aden, the fleet arrived their first African country, Mogadishu. They also arrived Brawa (Somalia) as well as what we now know as Kenya. They traded perfumes, glasses, and carpets.
The people of Mogadishu were hostile towards Zheng He at first and they battled. The former soon surrendered and ended up obeying the admiral's orders.
When Zheng He came back on July 15, 1419, Zhu Di was delighted and gave each captain rewards. On another note, the three kings of Sulu visited China with 340 men on August 8, 1417. One of the kings fell ill and died during the stay. His wife and children remained in China. Their bloodline can still be traced in modern day China with those with the surnames Wen and An.
The Sixth Voyage
In February 2, 1421, officers gathered in the newly created Forbidden City. Qilins were brought to celebrate. Everything was going seemingly well for the Yongle emperor, but his good fortune would not last for long.
Madame Wang of Suzhou was Zhu Di's favorite concubine. She died after the ceremony at the Forbidden City. In the springtime, an accident occured while the emperor was hunting- a result of the emperor's ill horse. Soon, lightning struck the Forbidden City. Many halls were burnt and ruined by fires. Zhu Di receieved criticism for his handling of the repair-work after the accident. He started to become ill. On August 12, 1424, Zhu Di, the much loved Yongle emperor, passed away.
Zheng He, who was 50 years old at the time, was unable to attend the funeral as he and his crew were sailing. The primary objective of the voyage was to return 16 ambassadors back to their home countries. The fleet traded spices, mastic, dragon's blood, and aloe vera in Zufar. In Aden, the fleet received exotic gems, cat's eyes, corals, giraffes, lions, and leopards.
Few records can be found regarding this voyage; most records focused on the death of Zhu Di. The only piece of information known is that in November of 1421, Zheng He cut his journey short and returned to China after learning of the emperor's death. This had led to speculation that the rest of the fleet visited far away lands such as America, the Cape of Good Hope, and even circumnavigated the world. (for more info, please visit http://www.1421.tv
The Seventh Voyage
Zhu Di's grandson, Zhu Zhanji, was the emperor of China during the time of the seventh voyage. Zhu Di had always admired his grandson's intelligence. In 1426, Zhanji, at the age of 26, became the fifth emperor of the Ming dynasty. (Note: Previous to Zhu Zhanji's reign, Zhu Gaozhi was the selected heir. His reign, and his life, did not last long. Months after he was crowned emperor, he passed away.) Zhanji did not seem to have much of an interest for the voyages, but finally on June 29, 1430, the emperor ordered a seventh and final voyage. The voyages were only for trade purposes between Siam and several other appointed kingdoms. It was relatively smaller-scaled as the previous expeditions were heavily criticized for utilizing enormous funds from the government. Previous to the voyages, Zheng He was sent to Nanjing where he built the aforementioned Dabaoen Temple and Glazed Pagoda.
On January 19, 1431, the fleet departed for the final time. They set off to their usual destinations- Vietnam, Malacca, Malaysia, and Siam. In Siam, Zheng He restored peaceful relations between Malacca and Siam. The fleet also arrived Calicut on December 10, 1432. As per usual, the fleet split up. Hong Bao lead the voyage to Hormuz. Hong Bao's fleet even reached Mecca, the Islamic holy land. The king of Mecca sent giraffes and lions back to China.
On the return voyage, Zheng He became very ill. He died at the age of 62. He and his family believed that "A life at sea should die at sea". According to religious customs, he was buried at sea. Wrapped in white cloth, his body was thrown into the ocean, with the backdrop of sailors chanting "Allah is great". Even Zheng He's burial ground is often disputed. Some believe that he died and was buried in Calicut. The voyages came to an end after 28 years.