Fernão Pires de Andrade

Fernão Pires de Andrade

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Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade (also spelled as Fernão Peres de Andrade; in contemporary sources, Fernam (Fernã) Perez Dandrade) (died September 1523) was a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 governor Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

. His encounter with Ming China
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in 1517—after initial contacts by Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares is credited as the first Portuguese explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong. The Fundação Jorge Álvares , founded by Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira prior to the handover of Macau, got its name from him also having reached there.-Exploration:In May 1513 Álvares sailed under the...

 and Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Filipa Moniz Perestrello, the wife of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus...

 in 1513 and 1516, respectively—marked the resumption of direct European commercial and diplomatic contact with China. (Even though there were Europeans in Medieval China
Europeans in Medieval China
The term ‘Medieval China’ is quite a misnomer as there was no clear ‘medieval’ period in Chinese history. While the medieval period in Europe spanned over one thousand years, between the fifth and fifteenth centuries, the Chinese Imperial period spans a much greater period of time...

, notably Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

, that period of contact had been interrupted by the fall of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

.) Although de Andrade's mission was initially a success that allowed a Portuguese embassy to proceed all the way to Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, relations were soon spoiled by culminating events that led to an extremely negative impression of the Portuguese in China. This included acts of his brother Simão that enraged the Chinese, false reports of the Portuguese being cannibals of kidnapped Chinese children
Slavery in Portugal
-Ancient era:Slavery was a major economic and social institution in Europe during the classical era. A great deal is known about the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans added Portugal to their empire . It was the province of Lusitania. The name of the future kingdom was derived from Portucale, a...

 and true reports of their conquest of Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

, a loyal Ming tributary vassal state. Normalized trade and relations between Portugal and the Ming Dynasty would not resume until the late 1540s and the 1557 establishment of Portuguese rule over Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

.

Andrade was referred to as a "Folangji" (佛郎機) in Ming dynastic archives. Folangji comes from Franques or Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, which was a generic name the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s called Europeans since the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, and which spawned the Indian-Southeast Asian term ferengi. The Chinese adopted the convention when they first thought the Portuguese were related to those Muslim guides and interpreters during Fernão's first encounter and before Europeans directly convened with Chinese.

India, Sumatra, and Malacca


Fernão Pires de Andrade commanded a vessel in the naval venture of the Portuguese explorer and conqueror Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 from Cochin in India to conquer the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

 in 1511. The Portuguese historian João de Barros
João de Barros
João de Barros , called the Portuguese Livy, is one of the first great Portuguese historians, most famous for his Décadas da Ásia , a history of the Portuguese in India and Asia.-Early years:...

 (1496–1570) wrote that when a violent storm arose as Albuquerque's fleet entered the vast waters between Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Aceh
Aceh
Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

, a ship commanded by Simão Martinho was sunk, but his entire crew was rescued by Fernão and taken aboard his ship. To make up for this loss, the Portuguese captured and commandeered five ships from Gujarat that were sailing between Malacca and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

. The small fleet of Albuquerque engaged an enemy "junk
Junk (ship)
A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel design still in use today. Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty and were used as sea-going vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties, and were used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages...

" ship of the Malaccan "Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

" near an island between Lumut
Lumut
Lumut is a coastal town in the state of Perak, Malaysia, situated about 84 km from Ipoh, 12 km from the town of Sitiawan and it is the gateway to Pangkor Island. It is a quaint little town famous for its beautiful seashell and coral handicrafts...

 and Belawan
Belawan
Belawan is a port city on the northeast coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Located on the Deli River near the city of Medan, Belawan is Indonesia's busiest port outside of Java....

. According to Barros, they fought against this ship for two days. The enemy crew employed tactics of lighting fire to its own ship as a means to burn Albuquerque's ships as they employed ramming techniques and close-range volleys of artillery. Although the ship surrendered; the Portuguese gained such an admiration for the junk and its crew that they nicknamed it O Bravo (The Brave Junk). The Portuguese crew pleaded with Fernão Pires to convince Albuquerque that the crew should be spared and viewed vassals of Portugal who were simply unaware of who they were actually fighting. Albuquerque eventually agreed to this.

While writing of Afonso de Albuquerque's ventures in Sumatra, João de Barros noted that the Chinese were the first to control trade between Sumatra and India, and noted the presence of Chinese people living in Sumatra. Barros also noted that while Fernão Pires was loading Southeast Asian spices onto his ship in Pacem (a kingdom in Sumatra) in order to sell or present them as gifts in China, two different kings were killed and their position usurped. Apparently the usurpation of kings caused little tumult or crisis in this state, as Barros noted any leader there was believed by the locals not to have divine right to rule if he was able to be killed by a royal kinsman. Historian Mark Dion notes that Fernão related the same story in his writing, only adding that a Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 in their society was the only acceptable replacement as ruler.

Initial contact with China


After the conquest of Malacca
Portuguese Malacca
Portuguese Malacca was the territory of Malacca that, for 130 years , was a Portuguese colony.- History :From the writing of the Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Erédia in the middle of the 16th century, the site of the old city of Malacca was named after the Myrobalans, fruit-bearing trees...

 in 1511, not only did the Portuguese monopolize the European spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

 trade, but they also met and traded avidly with Chinese merchants. When Portuguese under Diogo Lopes de Sequeira
Diogo Lopes de Sequeira
Diogo Lopes de Sequeira was a Portuguese fidalgo, sent to analyze the trade potential in Madagascar and Malacca, he arrived at Malacca on 11 September, 1509. He left the next year when he discovered that Sultan Mahmud Shah, the local leader, was devising his assassination...

 had earlier arrived in Malacca in 1509 to open trade relations, he was supported by the local Chinese merchants there (along with Javanese and Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 merchants). D'Albuquerque sent Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares is credited as the first Portuguese explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong. The Fundação Jorge Álvares , founded by Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira prior to the handover of Macau, got its name from him also having reached there.-Exploration:In May 1513 Álvares sailed under the...

 to explore northward; his expedition sailed along the coast of Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 in 1513 and hoisted a flag on "Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun is a town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in Hong Kong which can be dated back to the Neolithic period. In the more recent past, it was home to many Tanka fishermen who gathered at the Castle...

 island". This mission was followed up later that year by Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello
Rafael Perestrello was a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Filipa Moniz Perestrello, the wife of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus...

, who later traded with Chinese merchants of Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 in 1516. He provided an enticing report to other Portuguese on the lucrative trade in China. This prompted Andrade to speed up the course of his mission while stalled in Malacca and debate with his crew on whether to go to China or Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

.

Choosing the ambassadors


King Manuel I
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 authorized a trade mission in 1517 when Andrade set sail with 7 cannon-armed merchant vessels with a Muslim interpreter on June 17, 1517. Andrade had been chosen for this mission in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 back in 1515, so that—as a pharmacist—he could investigate the types of pharmaceutical drugs used in East Asia
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

 for the benefit of the Portuguese and Europe. Florentine
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 merchant Giovanni da Empoli, who had written a report about trade with China while stationed in India, was also chosen for the mission as the chief commercial agent between the Portuguese and Chinese. However, Giovanni would die in China during the early mission on October 15, 1517 when the ship he was on accidentally caught on fire. Tomé Pires
Tomé Pires
Tomé Pires was an apothecary from Lisbon who spent 1512 to 1515 in Malacca immediately after the Portuguese conquest, at a time when Europeans were only first arriving in South East Asia...

, a royal apothecary
Apothecary
Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

 who had also traveled to India and written a landmark work in 1515 on Asian trade, was chosen as the chief ambassador for the mission.

First contact


Although the mission was stalled once they lost a ship in the Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca
The Strait of Malacca is a narrow, stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1414 to 1511.-Extent:...

, they nonetheless landed at the Pearl River estuary on August 15 with eight ships and negotiated with Chinese officials for possible silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 and porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

 trade at Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

. The Chinese naval commander of Nantou (under the jurisdiction of Zhongshan
Zhongshan
Zhongshan , also spelled Chungshan and historically known as Xiangshan or Siangshan, is a prefecture-level city in the south of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province in southern China. Zhongshan, one of the few cities in China with an eponymous name, is named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen who was...

, located at the mouth of the Pearl River) stalled Andrade's small fleet of ships for an entire month while Andrade waited for permission to sail upriver to Canton. After Andrade threatened to sail upriver without permission, the naval commander finally decided to let him pass, granting him pilots to assist his travel.

Once the ships sailed into port at Canton, they alarmed the Chinese residents and officials there by discharging cannon fire, what they believed was a friendly salute since the Chinese merchants had done so when the Portuguese earlier arrived in Malacca. Chinese officials became even more cautious in dealing with the Portuguese, since the deposed King of Malacca had been a loyal tributary vassal to the imperial Ming court. The Portuguese explained that in deposing the Malaccan king, they were helping the Chinese merchants there who were being oppressed under his rule. In the eyes of the Canton officials, this added further negative speculations about the Portuguese visitors, because private Chinese overseas trade was banned under the current hai jin
Hai jin
The Hǎi Jìn order was a ban on maritime activities imposed during China's Ming Dynasty and again at the time of the Qing Dynasty. Intended to curb piracy, the ban proved ineffective for that purpose...

 laws that stated only the Chinese government could conduct foreign trade.


Although the local Canton officials watched the Portuguese and their ships closely, once the provincial authorities
Province (China)
A province, in the context of Chinese government, is a translation of sheng formally provincial level divisions, which is an administrative division. Provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, and the special administrative regions, make up the four types of province of administrative division...

 arrived at Canton they greeted the Portuguese with a warm reception, providing them comfortable lodgings and had their trade goods brought ashore. The Chinese became suspicious once again of Andrade, this time for being a spy, when he sent a ship along the Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 coast to look for further trade prospects, but he left a good impression when he gave the order that any locals who might be harmed by a Portuguese should seek him for redress. Besides exploring Fujian, Andrade sent one of his captains named Jorge de Mascarenhas to explore the Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

 after he heard of their beauty while stationed in Malacca.

Andrade's brother and spoiled relations


Simão de Andrade, brother to Fernão Pires, sailed from Malacca to China with a small crew on three junks
Junk (ship)
A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel design still in use today. Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty and were used as sea-going vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties, and were used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages...

 in August of 1519. Simào immediately made a bad impression upon the Chinese when he built a fort at the center of Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun is a town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in Hong Kong which can be dated back to the Neolithic period. In the more recent past, it was home to many Tanka fishermen who gathered at the Castle...

, an island designated for all foreigners to trade. Soon after, Simão ceremoniously executed a Portuguese and barred other foreigners (mostly Siamese
Thai people
The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

 and other South East Asians) from trading on the island, which drew even more attention to him. When a Chinese official visited the island and began reasserting Ming authority over it, Simão became aggressive and hit him, knocking the official's hat off.

The greatest offense to the Chinese was the supposed kidnapping of children by the Portuguese so they could eat them. In reality, Simão had earned the Portuguese a bad reputation for buying young Chinese slaves
Slavery in Portugal
-Ancient era:Slavery was a major economic and social institution in Europe during the classical era. A great deal is known about the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans added Portugal to their empire . It was the province of Lusitania. The name of the future kingdom was derived from Portucale, a...

, presumably children who were kidnapped from wealthy families after Simão offered local Chinese huge sums of money for child slaves. In fact, some boys and girls from wealthy Chinese families were later found by Portuguese authorities at Diu in western India. However, there were no official reports of Simão's abuses, even though he stayed until September of 1520; yet rumors of his behavior (which became associated with all Portuguese) no doubt reached as far as the court of Beijing, which would soon condemn the Portuguese for this and other reasons.

Although he had left Canton, Simão de Andrade landed at Xiamen
Xiamen
Xiamen , also known as Amoy , is a major city on the southeast coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of and population of 3.53 million...

 and Ningbo
Ningbo
Ningbo is a seaport city of northeastern Zhejiang province, Eastern China. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, the municipality has a population of 7,605,700 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 3,089,180 in the built up area made of 6 urban districts. It lies south of the Hangzhou Bay,...

, establishing settlements there. Simào continued to defy local Chinese laws at Ningbo, and when his men were cheated on a trade deal with a Chinese man in 1545, Simão sent a band of armed men into the town, pillaged it, and took local women and young girls as their captives. The outraged locals banded together and slaughtered the Portuguese under Simão. A similar episode occurred later when Coelho de Sousa seized the house of a wealthy foreign resident in Jinzhou of Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, which led authorities to cut off supplies to the Portuguese; the Portuguese then attacked and ransacked a nearby village for supplies, which prompted Chinese authorities to destroy thirteen of their ships while thirty Portuguese survivors of this settlement fled to the Portuguese settlement at Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 in 1549.

End of the mission



The embassy party left behind in Canton in 1518 proceeded north in January of 1520 with the rest of the Portuguese under Tomé Pires and Fernão Pires de Andrade. The embassy reached Nanjing, where the Zhengde Emperor was touring in May of 1520, granting the Portuguese embassy a quick audience. However, further diplomatic negotiations were to be resumed once the emperor returned to Beijing; hence, the Portuguese embassy was sent there to wait for the emperor's return.

Although no Chinese sources detail the event, Portuguese sources tell of how the Portuguese were summoned on the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month to ceremoniously prostrate themselves before a wall of the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 to seek another audience with the emperor. From Beijing, the Portuguese embassy heard reports that the emperor reached Tongzhou
Tongzhou
Tongzhou may refer to:* Tongzhou, Jiangsu, current Nantong city, a former city in Jiangsu** Tongzhou District, Nantong, in Jiangsu* Tongzhou, Hebei, current Tongzhou District in Beijing, a former city in Hebei* Tongzhou District, Beijing...

 in January of 1521 and had the rebel Prince of Ning executed there. The Portuguese embassy had also become aware that ambassadors from the exiled King of Malacca were sent to Beijing seeking assistance from the Chinese emperor in expelling the conquering Portuguese so that their king could be reinstalled there. The Portuguese also knew of two officials in the Censorate—Qiu Daolong and He Ao— who sent petitions to the throne that condemned the Portuguese conquest of Malacca and that their embassy should be rejected. There were also reports sent to Beijing by Canton officials stating that the Portuguese were bothersome foreigners who sought to build their own trading post.

With the death of the Zhengde Emperor on April 19, 1521, mourning ceremonies were initiated that cancelled all other ceremonies, including the reception of foreign embassies. The newly appointed Grand Secretary
Grand Secretariat
The Grand Secretariat was nominally a coordinating agency but de facto the highest institution in the Ming imperial government. It first took shape after Emperor Hongwu abolished the office of Chancellor in 1380 and gradually evolved into an effective coordinating organ superimposed on the Six...

, Yang Tinghe
Yang Tinghe
Yang Tinghe , style name Jiefu, was a Grand Secretary in the Ming Dynasty under the Zhengde and Jiajing emperors...

, soon turned against the powerful eunuch influence at court, which had grown even more powerful under the Zhengde Emperor. Although Ming officials were of the opinion that only foreign tributary states listed during the beginning of the dynasty should be accepted at court, it was the eunuchs who wanted to expand commercial ties with new foreign countries. These desires were given free rein under the Zhengde Emperor, who was intrigued with and desired to learn about foreign and exotic peoples. However, with his death, eunuch influence at court was challenged by Yang Tinghe, who announced the rejection of the Portuguese embassy under Pires and Andrade the day after the emperor's death; the embassy was forced to leave and arrived back in Canton in September.

Open hostility to reopening of relations


Earlier, in April and May 1521, five Portuguese ships docked at Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun is a town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in Hong Kong which can be dated back to the Neolithic period. In the more recent past, it was home to many Tanka fishermen who gathered at the Castle...

 to begin trading, but were ordered to leave once officials came to the region to announce the emperor's death. The Portuguese refused this demand, so the Chinese sent a naval squadron to drive them out, sinking one ship, killing many, and taking the rest as prisoners (First Battle of Tamao
First Battle of Tamao (1521)
The Battle of Tãmão was a naval battle when the Ming Dynasty Imperial Navy defeated a Portuguese navy led by Simão de Andrade in 1521.-Causes:...

). Two more Portuguese vessels arrived in June, were attacked by Chinese ships, but were able to fend off the Chinese attack. Three more Portuguese ships barely fended off another attack in September, the same month that Fernào Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires arrived back at Canton. Ming authorities would not permit Fernào and Pires to see the prisoners captured in the sea battles and made inventories of their goods and the goods captured from the Portuguese ships.

In August 1522, Martim Afonso de Mello Coutinho arrived at Tuen Mun with three ships, unaware of the conflict and expecting to meet with Chinese officials on establishing consent for a Portuguese trade base in China. Two of his ships were captured in a surprise Chinese attack, while the survivors escaped back to Portugal on the third ship (see Second Battle of Tamao
Second Battle of Tamao (1522)
The Battle of Tamao was a naval battle when the Ming Dynasty Imperial Navy defeated a Portuguese navy led by Martim Afonso in 1522.Tamao was the Portuguese name for Tunmen, also known as Tou-men.-Causes:...

). These encounters and others with the Portuguese brought the first breech-loading
Breech-loading weapon
A breech-loading weapon is a firearm in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel....

 culverin
Culverin
A culverin was a relatively simple ancestor of the musket, and later a medieval cannon, adapted for use by the French in the 15th century, and later adapted for naval use by the English in the late 16th century. The culverin was used to bombard targets from a distance. The weapon had a...

s into China, mentioned even by the philosopher and scholar-official Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming
Wang Yangming was a Ming Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general. After Zhu Xi, he is commonly regarded as the most important Neo-Confucian thinker, with interpretations of Confucianism that denied the rationalist dualism of the orthodox...

 in 1519 when he suppressed Zhu Chenhao's rebellion in Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

.

The prisoners of these sea battles were eventually executed in 1523 for crimes of "robbery in the high seas" and cannibalism, while Tomé Pires was kept prisoner so that he could write letters to the King of Portugal, the Viceroy of Portuguese India
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

, and the Governor of Malacca conveying the new Ming emperor's
Jiajing Emperor
The Jiajing Emperor was the 11th Ming Dynasty Emperor of China who ruled from 1521 to 1567. Born Zhu Houcong, he was the former Zhengde Emperor's cousin...

 message that the Portuguese should leave Malacca and restore it to the rightful rule of its deposed king. By some accounts, Fernão Pires de Andrade simply died while imprisoned; others say Andrade was one of those beheaded when a crime of false credentials was placed upon him after a court examined if his embassy was legitimate or spurious due to negative accounts of the Portuguese (i.e. acts committed by those such as Fernão Pires' brother Simào). Tomé Pires died while living as a prisoner in China; there is speculation on whether Tomé Pires died in 1524 or 1540. Two survivors of this embassy were still alive around 1536, when they sent letters to Malacca and Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 detailing plans for how the Portuguese could capture Canton by force. Other survivors of these missions retired to nearby Lampaco (Lampa) in Guangdong, where a trade post would exist for several decades; in 1537, there were written records of the Portuguese having three warehouses at Lampa, Shangchuan Island
Shangchuan Island
Shangchuan Island also written is the main island of Chuanshan Archipelago on the southern coast of China. Its name originated from São João - Saint John in Portuguese. It is part of the Guangdong province, in the South China Sea...

, and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, and were initially allowed there with the excuse of drying their goods in a storm.

Despite initial hostilities, good relations between the Portuguese and Chinese would resume in 1549 with annual Portuguese trade missions to Shangchuan Island, following an event where the Portuguese helped Ming authorities eliminate coastal pirates. In 1554, Leonel de Sousa—a later Governor of Macau
Governor of Macau
The Governor of Macau was a Portuguese colonial official who headed the colony of Macau, before 1623 called Captain-major . The post was replaced on December 20, 1999 upon the transfer of administration to the People's Republic of China by the office of the Chief Executive of the Macau Special...

— established positive relations through an agreement with Cantonese authorities
Luso-Chinese agreement (1554)
The Luso-Chinese agreement of 1554 was a trade agreement between the Portuguese headed by Leonel de Sousa, and the authorities of Guangzhou headed by Haitao Wang Po, which allowed for the legalization of Portuguese trade in China by paying taxes. It opened a new era in Sino-Portuguese relations, as...

 and in 1557 the Ming court finally gave consent for a permanent and official Portuguese trade base at Macau. Although Fernão Pires de Andrade and his Portuguese comrades were the first to open up China to the West, another significant diplomatic mission reaching all the way to Beijing would not be carried out until an Italian, the Jesuit Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci, SJ was an Italian Jesuit priest, and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission, as it existed in the 17th-18th centuries. His current title is Servant of God....

 (1552–1610) ventured there in 1598.

See also

  • Exploration of Asia
  • History of Hong Kong
    History of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located off the southern coast of China. While pockets of settlements had taken place in the region with archaeological findings dating back thousands of years, regular written records were not made...

  • History of Macau
    History of Macau
    Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. It was administered by Portugal for 442 years, first as a trading post, however self administration was not achieved until the 1840's, it was subsequently turned as a Portuguese territory, until its handover to China in...

  • Vasco Calvo
    Vasco Calvo
    *This article is about a fictional character. The real/historical Vasco Calvo was a Portuguese merchant held prisoner by the Ming empire. Not much is known of him beyond the fact of a letter which he managed to get out....


External links