The ancient Chinese navigator, Zheng He, died because of illness the seventh time he navigated southwest of China. No one really knows where he died. Zheng Yijun, an expert researcher on Zheng He’s life, found evidence that Zheng He died in 1433 in Guli (now Calicut) in India.
According to China News, the researcher Zheng Yijun said that after a person named Zhu Zhanji was made the Xuan Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1426, he planed to restore the tribute-paying system that had existed during the reign of his grandfather, Zhu Di, when he was the sovereign of many parts of the world. The Xuan Emperor ordered Zheng He, the navigator, to make his seventh navigation trip to the west. Zheng He felt that it would be his last trip, and he engraved his navigation history on two stone steles before he took off. One of the steles was set up at the Liujia Harbor in Jiangsu province and the other was at the Wuhu Gate in Fujian province. In April 1433, when Zheng He’s fleet traveled from East Africa to Guli, India, Zheng He died from chronic illness at the age of 62. Guli became his final destination.
Zheng Jiyun’s father, Zheng Hesheng, was a historian who had been researching Zheng He since the 1930s. Zheng Hesheng figured out the times and places Zheng He went on his seven navigation trips to the west based on the stone stele in Liujia Harbor, Jiangsu. Zheng Yijun followed in his father’s footsteps, and has researched Zheng He for over 30 years, and has published over 5 million words on the subject. Zheng Yijun discovered that Zheng He died in 1433 in Guli, India. Zheng Yijun’s work has won him recognition in academic circles.
Zheng Yijun said that there were many countries on the Indian peninsula at that time and Zheng He’s fleet harbored at 6 of those countries. The country Guli was known as the “The best of the western countries” back then. After Zheng He’s fleet arrived in Guli and associated with the local people and officials, he was attracted to the simple and kind customs and people in Guli. After that, every time Zheng He navigated west, he would stop by Guli.
When Zheng He passed away in Guli, and the weather at the time was scorching hot, and the trip back to China would take 3 months. According to China News, Zheng He might be buried in either Calicut, India, or in Semarang in Indonesia.