It is now believed that China's Zheng He reached East Africa long before any European explorer
How did a coin from the early 1400s get to East Africa, almost 100 years before the first Europeans reached the region? The answer seems to be with Zheng He, also known as Cheng Ho - a legendary Chinese admiral who, the stories say, led a vast fleet of between 200 and 300 ships across the Indian Ocean in 1418.
Until recently, there have only been folk tales and insubstantial hints at how far Zheng He might have sailed.
Then, a few years ago, fishermen off the northern Kenyan port town of Lamu hauled up 15th Century Chinese vases in their nets, and the Chinese authorities ran DNA tests on a number of villagers who claimed Chinese ancestry.
The tests seemed to confirm what the villagers have always believed - that a ship from Zheng He's fleet sank in a storm and the surviving crew married locals, meaning some people in the area still have subtly Chinese features. ...
via BBC News - Could a rusty coin re-write Chinese-African history?.