Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ferno Pires de Andrade

Captain Fern?o Pires de Andrade was a merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca governor Afonso de Albuquerque. His encounter with the Ming Dynasty in 1517—after initial contacts by Jorge ?lvares and Rafael Perestrello in 1513 and 1516, respectively—marked the beginning of direct European commercial and diplomatic contact with China. Although the mission was initially a success that led the embassy all the way to Beijing, relations were soon soiled by culminating events that led to an extremely negative impression of the Portuguese in China. This included acts of his brother Sim?o that enraged the Chinese, false reports of the Portuguese being cannibals of kidnapped Chinese children and true reports of their conquest of Malacca, a . 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.

Andrade was referred to as a "Folangji" in Ming dynastic archives. ''Folangji'' comes from ''Franques'' or Franks, which was a generic name the Muslims called Europeans since the Crusades, and which spawned the Indian-Southeast Asian term ''ferengi''. The Portuguese historian Jo?o de Barros wrote that when a violent storm arose as Albuquerque's fleet entered the vast waters between Sri Lanka and Aceh, a ship commanded by Sim?o Martinho was sunk, but his entire crew was rescued by Fern?o and taken aboard his ship. according to Barros, they fought against this ship for two days, while 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. After two days, the ship surrendered; yet the Portuguese apparently had gained an admiration for the junk and its crew when they nicknamed the ship ''O Bravo'' . The Portuguese crew pleaded with Fern?o Pires to convince Albuquerque that the crew should be spared, freed to go, and viewed as simple vassals of Portugal who were unaware of who they were actually fighting; Albuquerque agreed with this. Barros also noted that while Fern?o Pires was loading Southeast Asian spices onto his ship in Pacem 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. D'Albuquerque sent Jorge ?lvares to explore northward; his expedition sailed along the coast of Guangdong in 1513 and hoisted a flag on "Tuen Mun island". This mission was followed up later that year by Rafael Perestrello, who later traded with Chinese merchants of in 1516, giving an enticing report to other Portuguese on the lucrative trade there, which prompted Andrade to speed up the course of his mission while stalled in Malacca and debating on whether to go to China or Bengal.

Mission of Manuel I to China

Choosing the ambassadors

King 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 back in 1515, so that—as a pharmacist—he could investigate the types of for the benefit of the Portuguese and Europe. Tomé Pires, a royal apothecary 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. After Andrade threatened to sail upriver without permission, the naval commander finally decided to let him pass, granting him pilots to assist his travel.

Andrade's brother and soiled relations

Sim?o de Andrade, brother to Fern?o Pires, sailed from Malacca to China with a small crew on three in August of 1519. Simào immediately made a bad impression upon the Chinese when he built a fort at the center of Tuen Mun, an island designated for all foreigners to trade.

The greatest offense to the Chinese was the supposed kidnapping of children by the Portuguese so they could eat them. Simào continued to defy local Chinese laws at Ningbo, and when his men were cheated on a trade deal with a Chinaman in 1545, Sim?o 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 Sim?o. 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. The newly appointed , Yang Tinghe, soon turned against the powerful eunuch influence at court, which had grown even more powerful under the Zhengde Emperor. Two of his ships were captured in a surprise Chinese attack, while the survivors escaped back to Portugal on the third ship. These encounters and others with the Portuguese brought the first culverins into China, mentioned even by the philosopher and scholar-official Wang Yangming in 1519 when he suppressed Zhu Chenhao's rebellion in Jiangxi.

The prisoners of these sea battles were eventually executed in 1523 for crimes of "robbery in the high seas" and cannibalism, Tomé Pires died while living as a prisoner in China; Two survivors of this embassy were still alive around 1536, when they sent letters to Malacca and Goa detailing plans for how the Portuguese could capture Canton by force. In the early 1550s, Leonel de Sousa—a later Governor of Macau—established positive relations with Ming merchants and officials and, in 1557, the Ming court gave their consent for a permanent establishment of a Portuguese trade base at Macau. Although Fern?o 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 ventured there in 1598.

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