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Fernão Pires de Andrade

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Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade (also spelled as Fernão Perez de Andrade) was a Portuguese merchant and official under the explorer and Malacca governor Alfonso d'Albuquerque. His encounter with Chinese Ming Dynasty marked the start of European connection to China in near-modern times. He was referred to as "Folangji" (佛郎機) in Ming dynastic archives. Folangji comes from Franques, which was a generic name the Muslims called Europeans in general. The Chinese adopted the convention when they first thought the Portugueses were related to those Muslim guides and interpretors during Fernão's first encounter and before Europeans directly convened with Chinese.

After the conquest of Malacca in 1511, not only did the Portuguese monopolizise the European spice trade, but they also met Chinese merchants. D'Albuquerque sent Jorge Alvarez to explore northward, sail along the coast of Guangdong in 1513 and hoist a flag on "Tuen Mun island", (see History of Hong Kong).

King Manuel I authorized a trade mission in 1517 when de Andrade set sail with 7 cannon-armed merchant vessels with a Muslim interpreter on June 17 1517. They appeared at the Pearl River estuary on August 15 and negotiated with Chinese officials for possible silk and porcelain trade at Canton (Guangzhou). Nevertheless, on the one hand the Portuguese sailors, who were requested to stayed ashore, conflicted with and killed some local villagers on Tuen Mun but eventually were outnumbered and defeated by local stationary troops; on the other hand none of the Chinese archives and records that the Chinese officials relied so heavily on to deal with unknown foreigners showed anything about the Portuguese. Ming government denied the trade request but allowed de Andrade to sell all his goods on hand at Canton before leaving.

See also: History of Macau

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Last updated: 10-24-2005 13:47:35
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46