Chinese descendants in Kenya

In 15th century the Chinese ship wrecked near the Kenyan town of Lamu. It’s believed that the occupants managed to swim ashore and according to oral tradition after they killed a python and converted to Islam they were allowed to marry the locals. 600 years later Siyu village in Lamu Kenya still have the traces from this event.

A girl in the village, pretty Chinese huh?


The sunken ship is believed to have been part of a mighty armada commanded by Ming dynasty admiral Zheng He, who reached Malindi(Kenya) ealier in 1418.

During his early voyages he gave the locals the gifts from the empire including silk and porcelain and in return he got camels, zebras, Ivory and Giraffe which amazed many Chinese by then. One account suggests that the giraffe was taken from the ruler of Bengal — who himself had received it as a gift from the East Africa— and that it inspired Zheng to visit Kenya a few years later. Nobody knows!

In 2005 Chinese government sent a team of scholars to Kenya and DNA test showed that indeed some of the locals were descendants of Zheng shipwreck sailors.


A 19 year old woman was given scholarship to study Chinese traditional medicine in China after her DNA repeatedly showed evidence of Chinese ancestry.

Chinese porcelains as early as Tang dynasty have been found in East African Coast. After all Swahili Coast received visitors from everywhere except the Japanese, Mongols etc and and maybe the Americas.

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