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The History Of European Merchants In China

2408 words - 10 pages

The history of the world is bought together by its sophisticated culture and commerce net. Throughout the history, human beings have been taking on varies role in the society, and it has been the human activities kept the history alive, writing down the story of our time. Back in 16th century, an ancient nation was the center of world trading system; this nation attracted countries all over the globe to try to use its cultural and economic superiority for reference, and this nation was China. European countries such as Dutch, England and French had went to Ming and Qing China numerous time, trading had always been their main goal, but the process and strategies have changed throughout the history. There are proves stating that European merchant had taken on an active in Chinese society since Medieval China, which is 13th century. As time goes by, the trade between China and Europe had getting increasingly frequent and more complex. Therefore, this paper focuses on European trading activity with China from 16th century to 20th century, along with trading policy and social status changes.
Portuguese traders came to Macau in 1553, and their initial request was have their goods dry there. At the time, Ming did not have open policy for foreign fleets or merchants to have settlement in China territory, so the Portuguese had to bribe the chief official Wang Bo to gain entre to Macau. It is controversial if Wang Bo had actually taken the bribe, but at the end, Portuguese was able to conducting temporary trade in Macao, only under the condition that Portuguese paying10 percent tariff. The Portuguese were installed at the mouth of the river somewhat in the capacity of a filter, without passing through which no outsider could make contract with the Chinese. However, the reason for Portuguese to trade in Macao was not only because the bribe; during the Ming period, there were constantly Japanese pirates along the coast to attacking passing fleets, with the Portuguese settle down there, it became a force in helping the Chinese government deal with those pirates. Soon in 1557, local official started to allow Portuguese to inhabitant in Macau to conducting trade. Later in 1582, Chen Rui, the chief officer of Canton and Macau area allowed the Portuguese to have rental house in Macau to conduct trade, only under the condition that they will obey the local policy and ruling. This decision was significant because it was the first time Canton government gave diplomatic recognition of Portuguese trading in Macau with rental house. Later, it lead to increasing number of Portuguese merchant settling in Macau, and have gradually changed the local social structure. Macao became the very first region where Chinese government have direct management control but have Portuguese foreign settlement and start trading both locally and globally. Until last Qing dynasty, Ming have kept the managerial method over Macau, it was beneficial not only for the government to have...

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