By Francine McKenzie Lucia Coppolaro
This booklet explains the explanations and outcomes of the intersection of 2 transformative international forces - alternate and clash - when you consider that 1500. The 9 ancient case reports - interspersed over 500 years and spanning the globe - make a tremendous ancient contribution to the iconic debate approximately even if exchange makes peace much more likely.
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Additional resources for A Global History of Trade and Conflict since 1500
Trade could not happen without the infrastructure, legal regulation and security that the state alone can supply. This chapter goes back to the first encounters between Portuguese merchants and Chinese officials in the 1510s, encounters that were closely followed by observers at the time and have been carefully scrutinized by historians subsequently, on the hunch that we may have read past what actually happened at that time in our rush to confirm what happened later. One way of opening up these encounters is to see them from the perspective of Ming China.
The naval stand-off between Vice Commissioner Wang Hong and Duarte Coehlo did not take place until 27 June 1521, four years after the date of this entry. It was a later development, which means that an editor must have inserted it to lend retroactive sense to an earlier situation. In the summer of 1517, it was not yet clear which way the Ming state would go on maritime trade, nor was it entirely clear how the Portuguese would conduct themselves or how that would play out in Beijing. The facts are that Wu Tingju had been persuasive in opening up trade around 1514, Chen Boxian and others were counselling limitation in 1514–15 (just as Portuguese vessels started to arrive), and the court between then and 1517 prevaricated over the course it wanted to take.
Indeed, the conflict that the Portuguese sowed had precisely the opposite effect. Although Portugal did manage to acquire the use of the peninsula at Macao as a trading base in 1557, it lost the opportunity to build a more effective commercial relationship that might have staved off the decline of its brief Asian empire. The second consequence has to do with how this bit of history has come to be thought of and what larger impression of Chinese foreign relations it has created. Shutting out the Portuguese has been treated as the original sin of Chinese foreign relations, sufficient to prove the claim that the Ming was lost in a haze of ‘consciously anachronistic grandeur’ that prevented it from responding intelligently to the coming of Europeans.