Celebrated Ming dynasty Chinese admiral, a Muslim eunuch also known as Zheng Ma. His fleet of vast treasure ships sailing around Eurasia in the 1400s is now well known. The idea that Zheng He's fleet could have planted colonies and led to an outward-looking Chinese state is now considered an AH Cliche, even though not that many timelines have used it.
Some additional points should be made:
All attempts to reconstruct Zheng He's treasure ships have suggested that the size may have been exaggerated, as they tend to collapse under the sea pressure. Only one-quarter-scale models have been successfully built. This has led to a running joke that 'the Chinese invented Stardestroyer.net', as there are similar size controversies on that site about the Star Destroyers in Star Wars.
Some bold pseudohistory peddlers (Gavin Menzies, cough) claim that Zheng He discovered California
in 1435. However, if this is so, he then evidently decided to turn around and forget about it. Understandable if you've ever been to LA. He did like the Chinese food though.
According to Hendryk
, if Zheng He was ISOTed
to nowadays, he would be banged up in Guantanamo Bay for being a Muslim working for the Chinese government, who had visited Islamic ports across the Indian Ocean, and attempting to map the American coast. Clearly highly suspicious.