2. Entering the Golden Age
2.1. A Golden Age Lasting Half a Century
2.2. Facing the Challenge of Other Colonial Powers
2.3. The Ming Government Strengthens Its Control
2.1. A Golden Age Lasting Half a Century
Twenty years after the Portuguese first set foot in Macao, the settlement entered a golden age. From the 1580s until the 1630s, Macao flourished as a key port that linked the interflow of the East and the West.
During this golden period, Macao became an important trading port linking the economy between the East and the West. First, Macao was an important pivot of the trade route that ran from Portugal to India, China and Japan. After the Portuguese had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, they opened up the trade voyage from Europe to India, and then, from Goa in India, they started the trade route linking China and Japan. With their residence in Macao and normalization of relationship with China, the trade voyage became very lucrative. To begin with, due to the disturbances along the southeast coast of China by the Japanese pirates and Japan's aggressive war against Korea, normal trade between China and Japan had ceased for a long time. Therefore, Portuguese nearly monopolized the trade between China and Japan. Second, through the window of Macao the Portuguese could purchase a large number of specialties such as raw silk and silk cloth, which the Japanese were so fond of that they were willing to buy in large quantities at high prices. Third, China used silver for currency, and the price of silver was quite high in China, while Japan was rich in silver, and used gold currency, so the conversion ratio of silver to gold in Japan was much lower than that in China. The Portuguese merchants exchanged China's gold and other local products to Japan for Japan's cheap silver, and then purchased goods in China again with the silver they got in Japan, exploiting the price differences to the full. Through such buying and selling, they gained huge profits. Fourth, the Europeans loved China's specialties including silk and porcelain and certain Japanese products. So the trade voyage carrying specialties of the Far East to Portugal from Macao via India was lucrative too.
Under such circumstances, the Portuguese regarded Macao as the centre for trade in the Far East. From May to June, they took a carrack or carracks out of Goa with the summer monsoon directed by the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage. With 300 - 1,600 tons of a deadweight capacity, the carrack could carry hundreds of people. Usually, the ships were loaded to the full with woolens, scarlet cloth, crystal and glass ware, Flemish clocks, Portuguese wines, Indian chintzes, cotton and silver which was plentiful in Latin America and shipped eastward through many hands. When arriving at Malacca, the Portuguese merchants would usually stop for a while and exchange part of the goods on board for goods produced in Southeast Asia and Indo-China, such as spices, aromatic woods, Shark fins and deer hides. When reaching Macao, they would exchange silver and most of the goods on board for Chinese goods like raw silk, silk cloth, gold, lead, tin, mercury, sugar, musk, cotton yarn, cotton cloth and others.
In the summer of the next year, the Portuguese would continue voyage eastward by the southwest monsoon. At first, they had anchored at ports like Bungo, Hizen and Omura, but in 1571, Nagasaki became Japan's fixed foreign trade port. In Japan, the Portuguese could always quickly sell out the Chinese goods like raw silk, silk cloth and gold at high price. Afterwards they brought a large quantity of silver, a few other local products and quite a few slaves, who were Japanese or the soldiers and citizens captured by the Japanese army in Korea, and returned to Macao with the northeast autumn monsoon of the same year.
After returning to Macao, the Portuguese purchased large quantities of Chinese silk cloth, porcelain, gold and other commodities. They also purchased "Chinese slaves", males or females, from Chinese traffickers in persons, who either kidnapped or bought them. Then in the autumn of the same year or sometimes in the autumn of the next year, the third year after they set out from India, they would return to Goa by the autumn monsoon. In India, they possibly sold a large portion of the goods produced in the Far East at high prices, and with that money, they bought specialties produced in the countries of Southwest Asia. Especially, because the Indians believed in Buddhism, using gold to decorated the Buddha statues, the price of gold was even higher than that in Japan. So the gold brought from China could exchange for much more silver than in other places.
From Goa to Macao, from Macao to Nagasaki, from Nagasaki to Macao and from Macao to Goa, the Portuguese were able to make a lot of money at every link of their trade voyage, and could very well earn over 100,000 gold coins in the whole trade voyage, excluding the 50,000 gold coins that they handed over to Malacca customs on their way back to India, the 60,000 cruzados they paid to Goa customs, and the profits from shipping the goods from Asia back to Europe. This trade voyage to China and Japan, with Lisbon as its first starting place, Goa as the second starting point and Macao as the pivot, became a most lucrative one among all the trade voyages run by the Portuguese at that time.
Of course, the trade with China and Japan evolved a lot of risks. For instance, the typhoon in the Pacific Ocean often capsized ships and drowned people. From the beginning of the 17th century, the wanton interception and plunder by Dutch ships created even more serious man-made calamities. In addition, there were many unexpected disasters. The incident causing the heaviest losses for the Portuguese started on November 30, 1608, when a serious waterfront fracas occurred between the Macaonese and the crew of a Japanese junk with Shogunal licence (Goshuin-sen). The Japanese crews went ashore and made provocations, injuring a Portuguese official who came to mediate. The Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage, Andre Pessoa, and the angry soldiers and citizens made a counterattack, killing and capturing nearly a hundred Japanese crewmen. In the autumn of 1609, the news reached Japan, and the Japanese government decided to punish Andre Pessoa, who was trading in Nagasaki then. They assembled troops and launched an attack on the carrack directed by Pessoa on the evening of January 3, 1610. When the ship was on fire, Pessoa ignited the powder magazine on the ship, and he himself, with over a million taels of gold and silver and nearly 3,000 piculs of raw silk, were all blown up and sank into the sea.
Whenever the Portuguese were short of capital because of various disasters they suffered, they usually would turn to the Japanese merchants to borrow money in the forms of respondentia. Later on, this kind of borrowing became a regular practice and an important source of financing. As respondentia could not be paid back until the Portuguese returned to Japan next year, the risk involved was enormous. Therefore, the interest rate was very high, usually 28%-35%, sometimes 40% or 50%. As the trade with Japan was rather lucrative, this kind of borrowing could still bring huge profits to the Portuguese.
The Portuguese in the Far East, including the Portuguese authorities in Macao, the Portuguese Viceroy to India and even the king of Spain, all attempted to make a fortune through this trade voyage. In 1619, the Portuguese Viceroy to India changed the ways of selecting the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage. The trade privilege was sold to the highest bidder at open auction so as to increase the revenue. In this year, Jeronimo de Macedo de Carvalho bought three years' voyage (1620 - 1622) to China and Japan with 48,000 xerafines; in 1621, Lopo Sarmento de Carvalho purchased the next three years' voyage (1623 - 1625) with 68,000 xerafines. Another next three years' voyage to China, Japan and the Philippines went Sarmento in 1629 at a price as high as 306,000 xerafines.
The Portuguese authorities in Macao negotiated with the Portuguese Viceroy to India for many times, attempting to hold the profits reaped from this trade voyage for local fortification. In 1623, they realized their aim, because of the fierce attack on Macao launched by the Netherlanders the year before. In 1630 and thereafter, the Portuguese in Macao tried to hinder Sarmneto, who had bought the trade privilege, from sailing out of Macao over and over again. In 1631, they even selected their own Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage. After these struggles, the Senate in Macao roughly controlled the trade with Japan from 1632 to 1634; those merchants who could go to Japan to trade that year were published by the Senate before hand. But the King of Spain had got a direct control over this trade by 1635. He sent to Macao a Crown Agent of the Japan Voyage and made him concurrently assume the duty as Ouvidor of Macao. Part of the trade profits was used to pay the salary of the Portuguese Governor of Macao and his guarding force, and the rest belonged to the Royal Exchequer. However, no matter whose pocket the profits finally fell into, Macao was brimming with vitality as the pivot of this voyage, so the Portuguese in Macao led a very rich life indeed.
In the meantime, Macao was also one of the starting points of the voyage from China to the Philippines, Mexico and Peru. Before the Portuguese settled in Macao, the Chinese merchant ships had already sailed from Zhangzhou and other ports in China to Manila. From the middle of 1570s, usually about twenty to thirty Chinese merchant ships sailed to Manila every year. At that time, the Portuguese were still hostile to the Spanish, and there was no trade link between Macao and Manila. Even after 1581, when the King of Spain concurrently assumed the title of Monarch of Portugal, there were still few Portuguese ships going from Macao to Manila, because of the agreement reached between the Portuguese Cortes and the King of Spain, which strictly forbade any trade link and intercourse between Portuguese colonies and Spanish colonies. From 1587 to 1609, according to documentary records, there were only four Portuguese merchant ships sailed to Manila.
During the first two decades of the 17th century, the situation changed. With the Dutch becoming more and more threatening, the common enemy forced the Portuguese and the Spanish to improve their relationship and develop trade with each other. In the meantime, because of the implementation of the twelve years' truce agreement between Spain and the Netherlands, the Dutch in the Far East reduced their attacks on the Portuguese and Spanish merchant ships, but increased their plundering of the Chinese merchant ships sailing to Manila. The Dutch looted about eleven Chinese ships in 1617 alone. Their hostility forced the Chinese authorities to adopt a policy banning maritime trade with foreign countries, and gave the Portuguese the opportunity to replace the Chinese merchants. Finally, in order to control the trade between China and the Philippines, the Portuguese reached an agreement with the Spanish, stipulating that the Chinese goods for the Spanish would be provided by the Portuguese and the Spanish would give them a fixed quota of profits. For all these reasons, the trade between China and the Philippines from 1619 to 1639 was almost completely monopolized by the Portuguese, and Macao became a main port for the trade between China and the Philippines with many ships sailing from Macao to Manila every year.
These ships setting out from Macao all sailed by the north wind in the winter, and returned from Manila by the summer monsoon in May or June of the next year. The commodities, worth a total annual value of 1.5 million Pesos, shipped from Macao to Manila, came from China, Japan, India and other countries, included raw silk, silk cloth, food, furniture, cotton, porcelain and iron frying-pans, mainly from China. The so-called "commodities" also included many slaves either captured or "bought" by the Portuguese from oriental countries. Some Chinese commodities were consumed by the local inhabitants, but the rest of them, mainly raw silk, silk fabrics, cotton cloth, porcelain, pottery and handicrafts, were transshipped by the Spanish to Mexico and their other colonies in Latin America. When the goods were shipped to Mexico, a large amount of cotton cloth and porcelain were used by the inhabitants, while most of the raw silk was woven into fabrics by the local textile factories and then shipped to Peru, another Spanish colony.
The goods that the Spaniards shipped from Mexico to Manila at first included velvet and other fabrics produced in Spain, and linen cloth, bacon, detergent, raising and others produced in France and some other countries. However, after passing through many hands and places, the price of these commodities rocketed up, and they could hardly compete with cheap and good quality Chinese goods in Manila. Later, the Spaniards only shipped a little wine, olive oil and dyestuff to Manila, bringing mostly coins made of silver produced in Peru, Mexico and other countries, which were rich in silver. What was brought back by the Portuguese from Manila, besides sumu, cotton and beeswax produced in Southeast Asia, and some dyestuff from Mexico, mostly was silver from Latin America. It is estimated that from 1619 to 1631 the silver shipped from Manila to Macao was worth about 1.35 million pesos.
Just like the trade with Japan, the trade with the Philippines brought the Portuguese huge profits as well. Especially after gaining almost a monopoly of trade between China and the Philippines, with the raw silk and silk fabrics they shipped to Manila, they were able to reap 100% profits through a return voyage. Therefore, the Portuguese in Macao turned a deaf ear to the repeated injunctions forbidding the trade between Macao and Manila by the King of Spain and Portuguese Viceroy to India. From 1623, the Portuguese authorities in Macao even openly encouraged the illegal trade and pleaded with the Portuguese Viceroy to India for a formal approval of the trade. The Portuguese Viceroy to India had acquiesced in what the Portuguese in Macao did for a long time. In 1629, when the King of Spain reluctantly approved this trade, the Portuguese Viceroy to India sold the privilege of trade between Macao and Manila together with the trade privilege with China and Japan by open auction. However, smuggling seemed more advantageous to the Portuguese in Macao, because they need not pay any tax to the King of Spain. At Manila they also tried every means to evade taxes. For instance, in 1627, the Portuguese merchant ships carried large quantities of goods to Manila and brought back to Macao a large amount of silver worth one million pesos, but the tax they paid to the Manila authorities was only 9,092 pesos. From the 1620s, this trade voyage linking Southeast Asia and Latin America made Macao even more prosperous.
In addition, Macao also had trade links with the Greater and Lesser Sunda Islands. The Portuguese in Macao carried out trade with indigenous inhabitants on Sulawesi Island of the Greater Sunda Islands very early, with Makasar at the southwest of the Sulawesi Island as the goods distributing centre. The Portuguese usually arrived at Makasar in November or December and returned to Macao in May of the next year. The commodities they brought with them were mainly raw silk and silk fabrics. The commodities provided by the indigenous inhabitants were mainly sandalwood from Timor, cloves from the Moluccas and diamonds from Borneo. Sometimes after arriving at Makasar, the Portuguese continued their voyage to Timor Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands to purchase sandalwood and capture and buy slaves. Although the Dutch at that time had set up their most powerful stronghold in the Far East at Jakarta not far from Makasar, the Dutch almost did not send any ships to cruise in the water area, so this trade voyage was quite safe.
However, this voyage was not very important then. Around 1625, the goods the Portuguese bought from Makasar every year were only worth 60,000 silver dollars. The King of Spain and the Portuguese Viceroy to India paid little attention to this trade, and it was neither monopolized by the monarch as the case with the trade with China and Japan, nor forbidden by him like the trade with the Philippines. Any Portuguese merchant could try their luck there. Therefore, the trade between Macao and the Greater and Lesser Sunda Islands gained steady development during 1620s to 1630s, and became another factor promoting the further prosperity of Macao's economy.
The international trade via Macao played a certain role in promoting the economic development of China and other countries concerned. Prevented by law from engaging in international trade, Chinese merchants stood by helplessly, while the trade, which was quite beneficial to China, was unexpectedly undertaken by the merchants from distant lands. Besides some gold, the commodities exported by China were mostly agricultural products and products of side-occupations like raw silk, silk cloth, cotton cloth, porcelain and handicrafts. And what was imported by China contained few specialties from other countries; the bulk was silver, which China was in shortage of. According to incomplete statistics, before 1631, the silver imported by China via the Philippines was as much as over 14 million taels, about 2.1 times of the total output of the officially-run silver mines from 1043 to 1434, 3.8 times of the annual revenue of the Ming government in Wanli period (1573 - 1619). With a total of nearly 100 million taels, even more silver came from Japan from 1550s to 1630s. For instance, in 1636 alone, as much as 2.35 million taels of silver came to China from Japan. According to reliable calculations, about half of the silver produced at that time in Japan, which was rich in silver, was exported to China. In addition, China obtained a large quantity of silver from Portugal, India and other countries.
The importation of so much silver, and the export of local products, had a profound impact on China. International demand stimulated the development of commodity production in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas. Capitalist sprouts appeared in the areas, mainly the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong, grew rich from the trade. Meanwhile, the plentiful supply of silver made possible the so-called "Single whip" (Yitiaobian Fa) tax reform enacted in the Wanli period (1573 - 1619). Under the new system, covee and taxes paid in kind were commuted to a single payment in silver. This tax reform, which was convenient to the people, was welcomed by the commonalty.
In addition, the international trade via Macao had a quite positive effect upon many countries concerned in Asia and Latin America. The cheap Chinese goods of good quality shocked their natural economy that combined farming with weaving, promoted their production and circulation of commodities, enlarged the scope of money usage, and propelled local development. As to the various countries in West Europe, the trade with the Far East opened a new field of activity for the burgeoning bourgeoisie, enabling the development of commerce, navigation and industry to reach an all-time high, which, in turn promoted a quick development of the internal revolutionary factors within the collapsing feudal society.
Of course, the trade in Macao also led to espionage activities endangering China and the Chinese people under its cover. For instance, besides secretly shipping China's lead to Japan for the Japanese to make bullets used in the aggressive war against Korea and China; some Portuguese informed the Japanese of the situation in China; some even went so far as to bring the Japanese disguised as "Franks" to Guangdong to spy on China. What specially needed to be blamed at was that quite a few Portuguese colluded with Chinese and Japanese traffickers in human beings, defying the bans reiterated by the governments of China, Japan and Portugal and the Portuguese authorities in Macao , and wantonly carrying out a cruel slave trade in China, Japan and other countries. Hatred for the traffic in human beings was one of the important reasons for the repeated demand of the Chinese people that the Portuguese be expelled and for the Japanese government's ban on Catholicism. The monstrous crimes committed by the Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese traffickers in human beings must be written down in the history of Macao.
During this golden period, Macao also became the centre in the Far East in spreading Catholicism. Portuguese missionaries came to Macao hot on the heels of Portuguese merchants. As mentioned before, one of the persons arriving at Macao the first was a missionary named Gregorio Goncalves, who arrived in Macao in about 1555, and built a thatched cottage as the first local church. In 1562, the Jesuits began to arrive at Macao, and to do missionary work in China under the order of the King of Portugal. The second year, at least eight Jesuit missionaries arrived. After some time, they were joined by Dominican, Franciscan and Augustinian missionaries. By November 1633, a number of nuns had come to Macao as well. These missionaries were of different nationalities, including Italian, German, French, Swiss and other countries. But, according to the verdict of the Pope, the King of Portugal had the so-called "Patronage". Before coming to the East, they had to go to Lisbon to pledge loyalty to the King of Portugal first. Then sent as missionaries by the King of Portugal, they took the Portuguese merchant ships and came to the Far East via Goa. After their arrival, they built many churches and monasteries, including the St. Clare Convent.
Among the missionaries, the Jesuits were the most influential ones. They set up a primary school as early as 1565, and upgraded it to St. Paul's University College in 1594. The college was the first Western-style university in the Far East, teaching theology, philosophy, Latin etc.. With a library, an observatory and a pharmacy attached, it soon became a famous university in the Far East. In 1602, the Jesuits began to build St. Paul church after the church they built at the initial period of their arrival had twice caught on fire. And this most magnificent church in the Far East was completed in the end after thirty-five years' construction.
From May 1563, with the arrival of Melchior Carneiro, Macao became the residence of a Catholic governor. Nevertheless, at that time the Pope had no clear idea about Macao Bishopric, so its jurisdiction was not clearly defined. on January 25, 1576, through Portuguese efforts, the Vatican issued a decree formally establishing Macao bishopric which included China, Japan and some other places. Because the first bishop quitted his post before assuming it, the actual first bishop of Macao Bishopric, Dom Loonardo de Saa, took up his post in 1582.
It was natural that the missionaries assembled in Macao would give a full play to their talent in Macao first. Gregorio Goncalves, who arrived the earliest, succeeded in converting several Chinese inhabitants to Catholicism the next year. Afterwards, the missionaries tried every means possible to spread Catholicism among the Chinese inhabitants and tried to attract their attention with religious rites. On the eve of Easter in 1563, they held a grand parade to commemorate St. Veronique with the "Holy Body" accompanied with music, dancing and over 600 lanterns and torches. This scene made a Chinese teenager plead for christening on the spot. Later on, groups of Chinese inhabitants, including peddlers, interpreters and employees of the Portuguese accepted christening one after another. Before long, the number of local Catholic followers reached several thousand.
After Melchior Carneiro's arrival at Macao, he tried to restrict the Portuguese unhealthy behaviour, and persuaded the Chinese "outsiders" to believe in Catholicism and accept christening. He also established a hospital for poor people and a charitable society to care for the poor, convincing the Portuguese authorities agree to use 0.5% of the Portuguese customs tariffs as charity fund. Through the efforts of Carneiro and others, the number of Chinese converts was further increased. One of the converts was Zheng Zhilong, who became a notorious pirate later on, but one of his sons, Zheng Chenggong, turned out to be a national hero, who retrieved Taiwan from the hands of the Dutch. It is worth pointing out that the Western missionaries discriminated against the Chinese followers. For instance, for a quite long period, the Chinese serving in churches and monasteries could only take sundry duties with no one assuming a higher post. Even some Westerners complained at such injustice. Just like the emerging of a miracle, in only a few dozen years, Macao became the only Catholic stronghold in China with a forests of churches and a large group of Catholics.
The purpose of the Western missionaries' assembling in Macao was to spread Catholicism in China. Because the Ming government had a watchful lookout, in the initial twenty odd years, although the missionaries petitioned the Ming government over and over again and tried all possible means, they still failed to gain any foothold in the interior of China. In the spring of 1575, because a Jesuit missionary lured a young acolyte away from Canton to Macao and made him become a convert, the Guangdong authorities announced that they would detain the Portuguese merchant ships, confiscate the goods on board and destroy their settlement. The Portuguese in Macao were forced to spend some money on the Chinese officials and then made the "astray lamb" return to Canton. Thereafter the inhabitants in Canton called the missionaries "children kidnapper", and became even more hostile towards them. The Portuguese authorities in Macao was also afraid that these reckless missionaries would did such foolish things as intruding themselves into the interior of China without permission, irritating the Chinese authorities and endangering the very survival of the Portuguese settlement in Macao, so they also kept a watchful eye over these adventurers.
Under such circumstances, the churches and monasteries in Macao were shrouded in a disappointed and gloomy atmosphere for a long time. Some missionaries complained that it was even more difficult to knock the door of China open than the door of a convent. Some even advocated launching a war of aggression against China, claiming that only soldiers could clear the way for the missionaries.
In July 1578, Alexander Valignan, the Inspector of the Jesuit Society in India, arrived at Macao. After studying China's national conditions, he held that to spread Catholicism in China, it was necessary to assign some missionaries to study the Chinese language in Macao, and seize every opportunity that might appear. According to Valignan's suggestion, the Italian Jesuit Michele Ruggieri, assigned by the Bishop in India, came to Macao in July 1579. Upon his arrival, he studied the spoken and written Chinese language and did necessary preparations for disseminating Catholicism in the interior of China. The other missionaries mocked at Ruggieri's studying Chinese, denouncing it as a futile effort. However, after Ruggieri's mastered Chinese and learned about Chinese customs, he was able to befriend with the Chinese officials by presenting them with rare Western articles. To the surprise of all, he was allowed to enter and reside in Zhaoqing of Guangdong Province.
Afterwards, through years' efforts, Ruggieri's successor Matteo Ricci met with even greater success. Matteo Ricci came to Macao to study Chinese in 1582. From 1595, he went deep into the big cities like Nanjing, Nanchang, Beijing and others. He respected the Chinese ritual customs of revering the Heaven and offering sacrifices to ancestors and Confucius, and succeeded in spreading Catholicism in China by using the disseminating of Western science and technology as his means. The missionaries thus followed suit and studied Chinese language and culture in Macao one after another, awaiting their opportunity to enter the interior of China. According to statistics, starting from Ruggieri to the last years of the Ming dynasty, dozens of Jesuits entered inland via Macao.
The missionaries who had gone inland still kept close relations with Macao. Besides accepting direct guidance from the Macao church authorities for a very long time, most of their living costs in the interior of China was provided by the merchants in Macao; the rare articles needed in associating with the Chinese nobility were purchased from Macao or donated by rich merchants in Macao; certain religious articles needed in doing missionary work were shipped in from Macao; if the inland missionaries wanted to directly report their work to the Jesuits or the Vatican, they had to return to Macao first and then sail back to India. In 1617, because Alphones Vagnoni and his assistants doing missionary work in Nanjing openly assembled the followers at night and dispersed them by daytime like the Bailian, Wuwei and other illegal religious groups of China, and colluded with the foreigners at Macao, the Ming government ordered to deport them to their own countries under escort. By bribing the officials in Guangdong like the Deputy Surveillance Commissioner and others, they sought asylum in Macao and reentered the interior of China under another name in 1623, after the anti-Catholicism movement had calmed down. Finally, most of the missionaries entering inland returned to Macao, when they were too old to work, or suffered serious illness, and were buried there, leaving many missionaries' tombs in Macao.
Through the vigorous activities of the Jesuits, Catholicism was spread in China again during the last years of the Ming dynasty. Catholic churches were built in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and many other famous cities in succession, and a group of distinguished officials, including Xu Guangqi, Li Zhizao, Yang Tingjun and others, accepted christening one after another. By 1636, there were already about 38,000 Chinese Catholics. Later on, Catholicism penetrated into the imperial palace with many concubines and kinsmen of the Emperor converted into Catholicism. In the light of such circumstances, the Vatican made China a quasi-diocese and upgraded it to diocese soon afterwards. Therefore, Macao became the springboard for Catholicism to enter the interior of China.
In the meantime, Macao turned into a base for the Catholic missionaries to do missionary work in other countries in the Far East as well. After the Portuguese had settled in Macao, Macao became a spot which the Jesuit missionaries going to Japan had to pass. In 1565, the Jesuits in Macao built a house to receive their brothers who came from India by merchant ships and would continue their voyage to Japan next year. During the ten years after Malacca and Macao became separate bishoprics in 1576, Japan was under the Governor of Macao Bishopric, so the Jesuit missionaries in Macao and those in Japan had an even closer relationship.
Because the Jesuits in Japan achieved quite "fruitful results", even inducing many Buddhist monks to become converts, the Portuguese in Macao, no matter whether they were monks or laymen, all supported these missionaries with great enthusiasm. As their expenditure was very large and it was difficult for the others to support them, the Portuguese merchants often donated large sums of money, and from 1578 on, they put aside 50 piculs out of the total of 1,600 piculs of silk that they could get from China every year for the Jesuit missionaries to bring to Japan for sale. In this way, the Jesuits were ensured earnings of several thousand gold coins a year. The Jesuits, however, were still dissatisfied. In order to earn more money, they even engaged in smuggling activities, which forced the Portuguese Governor to India to issue an order prohibiting anybody from shipping Chinese raw silk to Japan secretly without authorization, and gave the missionaries of other bodies the opportunity to denounce their activity as violating religious rules, and to satirize them for their mixture of God and Mammon.
In 1587, the Japanese government banned Catholicism in Japan. On February 5, 1597, Japanese officials crucified more than 30 missionaries and Japanese believers at Nagasaki. Macao became an asylum for the Jesuit missionaries and Japanese Catholics who had been driven out of Japan. Some missionaries, however, with the help of the Portuguese merchants, disguised themselves businessmen or soldiers, and secretly slipped into Japan at the risk of their lives. Just in four years from 1615 to 1618, as many as about 20 missionaries got into Japan from Macao. Some of them who were ferreted out were severely punished along with their accomplices by the Japanese government. For instance, in 1620, the Captain-Major of Japan Voyage, Jeronimo de Macedo de Carvalho, was taken into custody in Omura and died there in 1632. In addition, the Japanese government sent some agents to Macao to keep an eye on every merchant ship sailing to Japan, so as to prevent the missionaries from slipping into Japan again. The Portuguese authorities, deterred by the threat of the Japanese government, feared that the trade with Japan should be cut off, so they conscientiously saw to it that no more missionaries in Macao went to Japan.
The missionaries assembled in Macao were unwilling to remain out of the limelight and tried to find a new field for their exercises. Beginning in 1625, some missionaries followed Portuguese merchants to Siam. In 1627, they also entered the north of Vietnam which had established trade links with Macao at that time. Thereafter, the St. Paul's University College actively trained missionaries to go to Indo-China, and the Portuguese merchants in Macao also provided them with a large sum of money. What they reaped there was far better than that in China. Within about twenty years, in the north of Vietnam alone, about 180,000 people had accepted christening.
As a base to spread Catholicism in the Far East, Macao's role in world history was very complicated. In the 16th and 17th century, after travelling thousands of kilometres, the Catholic missionaries came to the Far East to disseminate the religion which they firmly believed could save all the living beings in the world. They expected the nationalities in the Far East, especially the Chinese and the Japanese, to become adherents. They feared no difficulties, gave no thought to their personal gain or loss, and showed a noble spirit of devotion. But there was no denying the fact that no matter whether they were subjectively conscious of it or not, their another important task in the Far East was to clear the way for the Portuguese and Spanish merchants and even for their colonialist army. In 1596, a Spaniard, dizzy with success, laid bare this secret before the Japanese.
However, when the Jesuits were allowed to enter the interior of China, Portugal itself had already fallen into a status as Spain's subordinate. The Portuguese in Macao were even unable to fend for themselves; there were already no more Portuguese army holding fusils behind the Jesuits entering the interior of China. In the meantime, the Jesuits followed Matteo Ricci's suit: they respected the customs of the Chinese people and took the dissemination of Western science, technology and culture as the means of spreading religion. Therefore, the spreading of Catholicism in China in the last years of the Ming dynasty caused no harm to Chinese society at all. Quite a few Jesuit missionaries, like Matteo Ricci and Johann Adam Scall von Bell, not only won the reverence and appreciation among the Chinese people then, but also among the Chinese people today.
It was different story with Japan. The formation of a strong religious force combined with a quick spreading of Catholicism among the Japanese feudal lords and common people caused Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his successors to fear that the force of the church should shake their rule. That was why they practiced religious persecution in Japan for a long time. Thereby the conflicts among the feudal lords and between the feudal lords and the peasants sharpened, touching off the Shimabara Uprising, great in strength and impetus. This uprising led to the conservative feudal forces gaining ground, and they carried out a closed door policy lasting two hundred years. The policy resulted in Japan's standstill in economy and culture and lagging far behind the Western countries.
Meanwhile, Macao was also a bridge for the cultural exchanges between the East and the West during this period. First, Macao became a place of confluence of the eastern and Western cultures. In this tiny place, besides many Chinese and Portuguese, there were also people from European countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Britain, people from other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, India, Malaysia and Cambodia, and the black slaves from Africa. The people of the yellow, white and black races all lived together. Due to the fact that the Ming government basically adopted a policy of letting each minority live in its own way, the Portuguese residing in Macao could only control the black slaves and force the Chinese Catholics to Europeanize, but could not force other people to observe their customs. Basically, the Chinese and Portuguese inhabitants in Macao lived in their own way of life, disseminating their own cultures. Therefore, in Macao and in the northern part of Macao Peninsula, with the convergence of the eastern and Western cultures, there was a scene woven with colourful European and Asian styles and features.
In folk customs, the Chinese inhabitants still greeted the Spring Festival in the midst of crackling of firecrackers, and celebrated the Duanwujie Festival (the Dragon Boat Festival, on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese traditional calendar) with dragon-boat racing. Among the Chinese inhabitants, there were still scholars who gained official rank or scholarly honour through studying and taking part in imperial examinations, and young widows who refused to remarry were respected and praised as chaste women. Among the Portuguese, it was the women rather than the men that had the last say. In regard to marriage, man and woman married each other for love, with no go-between. They usually got up in the afternoon, busied themselves in various activities in the evening and at night, and did not go to bed till the small hours. Whenever festivals came, their most popular performance was piercing bulls to death. Of course, each viewed the other's customs as exotic and strange.
In the religious sphere, there appeared a phenomena of peaceful co-existence among Catholicism, Buddhism, Taoism and other religions, which was unique in the world at that time. In Macao, there were a large number of Catholic missionaries and thousands of Catholic believers. Every Sunday, the music of pipe organs and the singing of the choir echoed in the sky from the churches; whenever important Catholic festivals came, there would be grand parade carrying the "Holy Body" and "Holy Image" and marching along the streets. The majority of the local Chinese people still believed in Buddhism, Taoism and other local sects. Besides the famous A-Ma Temple, they built Lin Fong Temple and Kun Iam Temple in the early period of the 17th century. These three temples and other smaller ones attracted a large number of pilgrims; male and female worshipers came in a continuous stream. Thus the ringing of the church bell and the striking of the temple bells and drums in the morning and evening composed Macao's unique music.
In architecture, buildings of Chinese style and Western style also co-existed, giving the place a special charms. The Chinese official buildings and the houses built by the Chinese inhabitants were all of Chinese style. Especially notable was the A-Ma Temple, a typical Chinese building with carved beams and upturned eaves. The houses the Portuguese lived in were mostly buildings of two storeys in the Southern European style. there were various shapes, square, round, triangular, hexagonal and octagonal, and among them stood the St. Paul church with its towering cross, "grand, mysterious and unique in China". At first glance, Macao seemed completely Western.
In the medical field, the Chinese inhabitants mainly relied upon Chinese doctors and herbs. The Portuguese, under the auspice of Bishop Melchior Carneiro, built a hospital for both the Chinese and foreign people in 1569, and later on established a special hospital for lepers. These two hospitals were the first Western style hospitals to treat both the Chinese and foreign patients by Western doctors with Western medicine on China's land.
Under the circumstance of co-existence of various cultures, the mutual influence was to be expected. At the same time, because Portuguese women living in Macao were very few, many Portuguese men married women from Japan, China, Malaysia and other Asian countries. As a result, there were quite a few children with mixed blood, making the merging of eastern and Western cultures much easier.
Among Macao's Chinese inhabitants and the inhabitants from other Asian countries, the interpreters, merchants and peddlers, who had the most contact with the Portuguese, learned the Western language, wore Western clothes and ate food of Western style, living a way of life that combined the East with the West. Workers in workshops set up by the Portuguese learned the science and technology of cannon-casting, ship-building, clock-making and the use of firearms. The skill at pistol firing of some Chinese was even envied by the Westerners. Many Asian people also appreciated Western music, painting and sculpture very much. Some Japanese Catholic followers, who mastered the art of sculpture, made an important contribution to the construction of the grand St. Paul's Church, enabling this church of Western style to be combined with oriental architectural style.
The missionaries who were going to enter the Chinese inland all studied the Chinese language and China's traditional culture enthusiastically. The ordinary Portuguese were also deeply influenced by the oriental culture in their daily life. Delicious Chinese foods appeared on their dining tables, and the Chinese-style furniture, like colourfully painted screens, became favourite handicrafts in their homes. The Portuguese women seemed to especially love the oriental culture. At home, they all liked to wear embroidered Japanese kimonos; when going out, they were sure to have a Japanese fan in hand as a decoration. The consequence of the mutual influence of eastern and Western cultures was very unusual in China then.
Macao was also a window for Western culture to pass into China's interior. To begin with, the Jesuits from Macao actively disseminated Western science and technology in the interior. Most of the Jesuit missionaries were learned Western scholars. After repeated setbacks, they realized that before doing missionary work they should have to gain the respect of the Chinese people, and the best way was to win over people's support with academic learning. Therefore, they all regarded the display Western science and technology as an important means to spread Catholicism.
From late Ming period until the dynasty's collapse, the Jesuit missionaries brought to China a large quantity of books, maps, medicine and strange implements like clocks, telescopes and prisms through Macao. The French Jesuits, Nicolas Trigault and others, brought 7,000 books collected from various countries in Europe to China once. By teaching and writing articles directly in Chinese and cooperating with Chinese famous scholars in either writing or translating books, they taught the Chinese intellectuals Western mathematics, logic, physics, astronomy, geography, mechanical engineering, biology, medicine, pharmacology, music and the fine arts. The books like Taixi Shuifa (The Water-Taming in the West), Geometry and The Atlas of the World, which were either written or translated in cooperation with Xu Guangqi, Li Zhizao and others, and the Chongzhen Almanac, which they took part in revising, had an extremely strong influence among the Chinese intelligentsia and in Chinese society. For various reasons, a considerable part of science and technology the Jesuits brought to China was not the latest achievements in the West. Nevertheless, as they brought Euclid's geometry, Gregorius' almanac and the knowledge about world geography into China after all, their historical contributions could not be denied.
At the same time, other Western people who entered the interior of China via Macao also disseminated Western science and technology in China. Among them, the most distinctive ones were soldiers with firearms and craftsmen making the weapons. At the beginning of the 17th century, Manchu (Manzhou) aristocrats were gaining power. At the suggestion of Xu Guangqi, who were training the soldiers, and his close friend Li Zhizao and others, the Ming government bought Western guns twice from Macao in 1620 and 1629 respectively, and asked the Portuguese to send gunners, craftsmen and Jean Rodriguez, a Jesuit missionary, who acted as an interpreter at first, to teach the Chinese soldiers how to fire the gun, and to teach the Chinese craftsmen how to cast shells.
In 1626, in a battle against heavy odds at Ningyuan, General Yuan Chonghuan of the Ming ordered the artillerymen trained by the Portuguese to fire the Western cannons, killing and wounding a large number of the enemy, and defeated the so-called "invincible" Manchu army for the first time. In 1627, the Ming army again applied the new tactics of "relying upon a fortified cities and firing big cannons" in the defence of Ningyuan and Jinzhou, and once more inflicted a heavy loss upon the "iron cavalry" of the Manchu army. In 1629, when Jean Rodriguez and a Portuguese officer, Gonzalves Texeira-Correa, and others were on the way to carry ten big cannons to Beijing, the Manchu army had just been intruding into the inside of the Great Wall again. The news that the foreigners had joined the defence of Zhuozhou, a city close to Beijing, with their cannons scared the Manchu army away at once. After this, the power of Western cannons was known to all, and the Emperor Chongzhen ordered the Jesuit missionary Jean Adam Schall von Bell to cast a large number of Western cannons. The Manchu aristocrats tried to copy the cannons as well, and from 1631 on, the Manchu army had always brought "the great generals with red clothes", cannons covered in red, wherever they went. Thus, the Portuguese contributed to the development of the military science and technology in China.
Finally, Chinese people who had been to Macao also disseminated Western science, technology or knowledge about the West in China. Some craftsmen who had worked in the gun-making foundry at Macao cast Western-type guns in the interior, becoming the technical backbone to improve firearms for the Ming government. The craftsmen from the county seat of Xinhui, near Macao, succeeded in weaving velvets comparable to imports after learning the technology, increasing the varieties of China's textile. Some people who had been to Macao often told their friends and relatives about what they had seen or heard there. For instance, Liu Tianyu, who visited Macao about the beginning of 17th century, told his friends about Western music, fine arts, food and sculpture, which had fascinated him. He said: "Seeing the sculptures, I almost wanted to talk to them many a time, and I did not part with them until I had looked at them over and over again."
Especially noteworthy was the great dramatist Tang Xianzu's detour through Macao in 1591. He wanted to see the local conditions and customs, so he went to Macao on his way to Xuwen when he was relegated, because he had criticized of the court. As a result of his visit, he wrote down such poems as "Listening to the Interpreter of Xiangshan", "The Verses Composed Orally at Xiangshan Ambergris Testing Office", "Meeting Foreign Merchants in Macao" and so on. In these poems he described the Portuguese merchants as:
Not living an idyllic life with mulberry trees,
Down from carracks in clothes glittering with jades.
Portuguese girls were portrayed as:
Prettiest at fifteen: foreign girls,
Morning dressing with water of rose.
He ridiculed the Ming government for its spending a huge sum of money on the purchase of ambergris:
Thousands of taels of silver spent were considered as nothing,
Protecting court by smoke screen was only a wishful thinking.
And soon afterwards, he introduced the conditions of Macao in his immortal masterpiece "The Peony Pavilion", known to every household in China, and he made the hero in the opera, Liu Mengmei, tour Macao, thus displaying Macao's strange and special scenery on the stage directly for the first time. In addition, the Western missionaries and soldiers who entered China through Macao also contacted with Korean envoys coming to China, and through their hands, telescopes, Western cannons and Western books translated into Chinese passed to Korea.
Third, Macao was also a channel for oriental culture to spread westward. As early as the middle of the 16th century, Jesuits who planned to go to China and the Portuguese in Goa tried to learn about conditions in China through places like Macao. Later on, after their arrival in China, they described what they saw in China in books so as to introduce them to people in Europe. While the Jesuits were living in Macao and the interior, they collected and translated a large number of Chinese classics, like The Four Books and The Five Classics. The Jesuits meticulously wrote books introducing China, drew maps of China and sent these translations, writings and maps to Europe via Macao, enabling Europeans to have a better understanding of China. In particular, the book De Christiana Expeditione Apvd Sinas Svscepta ab Societe Jesv. Ex P. Mathhaei Ricij Eiusdem Societtis Comentarijs by Trigault Nicolas, and published in Latin in Rome in 1615, caused a sensation throughout Europe. It was the first time that Europe had been introduced in such vivid detail to China's geography, history, political system, science, technology, customs and habits. Within a very short period, it was reprinted more than ten times in Latin, French, German, Spanish and Italian. By the middle of 1630s, some Western travellers arrived at Macao. The most famous ones were Peter Mundy, a British traveller, and Marco D'Avalo, an Italian. Through their writing, the European readers learned the latest development of Macao and the interior of China.
The Portuguese merchants who frequently shuttled between Europe and Asia brought to Europe a large number of handicrafts that could be called art treasures representing Chinese national culture. The porcelain they brought back was regarded as art, and collected by the royal families of various countries or used as necessary decorations by the wealthy families, and the lacquers were used as a display to beautify their home by the nobilities. The Portuguese merchants also brought to Europe peculiar plants from China. They collected these plants from Macao, the interior of China and other countries in Asia and cultivated them in Macao. Among them a kind of orange tree peculiar to China was brought back to Portugal in 1626 by the first Portuguese Governor of Macao, Don Fransico Mascarenhas, and from Portugal these trees were passed to other European countries. Until today, Europeans still call this fruit tree the "mandarin orange".
As Macao was the centre of the Portuguese in the Far East to do trade and carry out missionary work, the culture of the Far East passed to the West via Macao as well. For example, Japanese folded fans were very popular among Western ladies. At the end of the 17th century, the aristocratic ladies in the French Palace always had a folded fan made of silk in their hands as a decoration to show their elegance, regardless of the seasons. Of great interest is a travel book written by four Japanese nobles who believed in Catholicism and went to Vatican via Macao in 1581. In the book, they recorded their impressions of the great adventure in Macao in 1590 after eight years' touring in the Eurasian continent. In the book they described the economy and culture of China, the trade between Macao and Japan, the routes of communication between the East and the West and the local conditions and customs in some European countries. This book of travelling notes was written in Japanese and translated by missionaries into Latin and published in Macao in the same year. It was treasured by people in the West and regarded as an important book for understanding the communication between the East and the West.
The cultural exchanges via Macao were of positive significance to both China and the West. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, the communication between the East and the West had been cut off, and knowledge about China obtained by earlier generations of Europeans had faded away. When Macao took up its role as a cultural bridge, people in the West had more comprehensive contact with Chinese culture than ever before. From then on, Marco Polo's travelling records about in China were no more regarded as cooked up stories by an Italian merchant, and Europeans began to have a more correct understanding of China and its culture. In the meantime, the thought of the Chinese ancient scholars broadened the vision of the Western scholars, who were strictly bounded by traditional feudal and religious ideology then. The enlightenment pioneer Rene Descartes and others all absorbed ideological nourishment from Chinese ancient philosophy. At least part of the idea of "rationality first", advocated by the enlightenment later on, came from China. The achievements reached by the Chinese handicrafts were also admired by the people in the West very much. They tried to copy China's porcelain with blue painting and lacquers painted in colour, learned to draw paintings in a Chinese way, and built gardens of Chinese style. The appreciation of "Chinese style" and "Chinese taste" caused the Western art to have a Chinese flavour at the end of the 17th century; this was the so-called Rococo Style.
On the Chinese side, after Macao began to play its role as a cultural bridge between the East and the West, people in China also contacted the Western culture comprehensively for the first time. Through the contacts of this time, the Chinese intellectuals enlarged their vision. They knew for the first time that the earth was round and the conditions of the various countries in the world, which shocked a lot of China's traditional ideas. Before this, it was Song and Ming Lixue (a Confucius school of philosophy) that had dominated the Chinese ideological and academic circles for a long time, and the literati and officialdom were fond of empty talking of so-called "knowing your own mind", "enlightening your intuitive knowledge". In the wake of the contacts with Western science and technology, progressive intellectuals represented by Xu Guangqi enthusiastically studied Western science and technology, seeking real learning to govern the country. A fresh style of study came into being, which influenced scholars until the beginning of the Qing dynasty. Moreover, some intellectuals paid attention to the absorption of Western science and technology and copied the more advanced apparatuses. Their efforts enabled China to narrow the gap, which was not very wide in the first place, in science and technology between China and the West. In particular, the success in copying Western firearms was of direct significance to the war of Zheng Chenggong's successful recovery of Taiwan from the Dutch at the beginning of the Qing dynasty, and to the battle repelling Tsar Russia's army in the valley of the Amur River.
The golden period of Macao continued into the 1630s, lasting more than half a century. During this period, Macao's international status was higher than that of Canton, Nagasaki, Manila, Malacca or Jakarta. It was the most famous commodity distribution centre in the Far East, China's most important window to communicate with the outside world, and the most prosperous and marvelous Portuguese settlement in Asia.
2.2. Facing the Challenge of Other Colonial Powers
After becoming a pivot of communication between China and the West, Macao made other Western colonial powers all drool with envy. By the later period of the 16th century, Portugal's hegemony over the sea had declined. In order to prevent other colonial powers from seizing this settlement in China, the Portuguese were engaged in fierce struggles against their enemy in the political, economic and military fields.
The earliest challenger was Spanish, Portugal's age-old enemy in Europe. To obstruct the Spanish from expanding their influence in the Far East, the Portuguese in Macao had egged the Filipinos on to resist the Spanish invasion in 1565. After the Spanish conquered the Philippines, the Portuguese were afraid that the Spanish should get their fingers into the trade with China, so they maligned the Spanish to the Chinese officials over and over again. In 1576, they urged the Vatican to set up Macao bishopric, including China, Japan and other places, with Portugal's King having the patronage. One of their purposes was to keep Spanish missionaries from penetrating into China.
At that time, indeed the Spanish colonialists had the wild ambition to invade and occupy China, quite a few Spanish missionaries voluntarily served as the advance force of the colonial army. But the five Spanish Franciscans and three Spanish soldiers who made their way into Canton in June 1579 might be different from their compatriots, whose action was mainly out of their religious fanaticism. Nonetheless, the Portuguese hated them all the same, and told the Chinese officials that they were spies masqueraded as monks, and as soon as they returned home, the Spanish navy would come to seize China's cities. The Spaniards were thus driven away by the Guangdong authorities, and they had to retreat to Macao, a place hostile to them. In Macao, the Governor of the Bishopric, Melchior Carneiro, treated them fairly, letting them stay in a monastery. However, the secular Portuguese authorities expelled them before long, and jailed a Portuguese priest who had warmheartedly helped them, accusing him of collusion. Therefore, the Spaniards bitterly admonished their compatriots not to go to China or to have any intercourse whatsoever with the Portuguese, so as to deny the Portuguese any excuse to slander the Spanish before Chinese officials.
In 1580, the Spanish army invaded Portugal proper, and the Spanish King Philip II acceded to the Portuguese throne. Once Portugal had been reduced to Spain's subordinate, it became even more difficult for the Portuguese to resist the Spanish influence in Macao. In the spring of 1582, the Spanish Jesuit, Alonco Sanches, came from Manila to Macao with orders to persuade the Portuguese to accept Philip II as the King and to ask the Portuguese for the establishment of trade between the Philippines and China. He contacted with the upper strata of the Portuguese at first, then went canvassing among the ordinary civilians and the Jesuits, and finally made the Portuguese authorities in Macao take an oath of allegiance to the dual monarch in a ceremony held on December 18, 1582. The Portuguese authorities in Macao demanded that the trade between the Philippines and China be carried out through Macao. On the surface, this was to prevent the Chinese officials from discerning the fact that Portugal and Spain were under the same monarch now, and to avoid Chinese officials' interference. In 1583, in conformity with the autonomous municipality system in Portugal, the Portuguese in Macao changed the settlement into an autonomous city. The essence of these actions was to continue Portuguese resistance to Spain's encroachment by making limited political concessions while maintaining economic independence.
Therefore, in spite of the fact that the Portuguese in Macao had already become subjects of the Spanish king, it was still difficult for Spain to expand its colonial influence in Macao. Initially, the Spanish Jesuit Alomco Sanches tried to subject Macao to the church of Philippines by sending a large number of Spanish missionaries to Macao and persuaded the Portuguese missionaries to accept the financing and leadership of the Spanish church. The Portuguese first focused their attention on resisting the intrusion of the influence of the Spanish church. In 1583, religious circles in Macao asked the Spanish in the Philippines not to send anyone to Macao, no matter whether he was monk or layman. The Bishop of Macao also wrote to the Bishop of Manila asking him to make a clear delimitation of the bishoprics of Manila, Macao, Malacca and others, to express the idea that Macao bishopric did not subordinate to the church of the Philippines. Some Portuguese raised some even more radical slogans such as "Wipe out the Spaniards!" "Wipe them out even if they are missionaries!" "Wipe out especially the missionaries!"
In the early summer of 1584, a Spanish official of accountantship in the Philippines, who was in Macao on business, arrogantly claimed various rights for Spain in China. Portuguese indignation grew even stronger, when Sanches ordered the local missionaries to coordinate the Spanish army to invade China. Even missionaries like Michele Ruggieri, who had once expressed loyalty to Sanches, opposed this action. Thereafter, the Portuguese authorities began to expel the Spanish monks and missionaries and to take over the monasteries built by the Spanish. In 1584, Portuguese friars took over the Convent of St. Francis, forcing the Spanish brothers to leave Macao. Four years later, the Portuguese Dominicans again occupied the Convent of St. Domingo, which had been newly built by their Spanish counterparts. The Portuguese in Goa sang the same tune as the Portuguese in Macao. They brushed aside the appeal raised by the Spanish friars and even promulgated decrees prohibiting friars other than the Jesuits from going to China, so that even Spanish Augustinians armed with a Papal bull could hardly get a foothold in Macao. At that time, the English navy had inflicted heavy losses upon the Spanish "Invincible Armada". In order to stabilize his rule and avoid even more serious conflicts caused by the friars, the King of Spain issued an order strictly prohibiting Spanish friars from going to China. And the Portuguese friars succeeded in finally taking over the Spanish Augustinian convent in Macao.
With the Spanish armada utterly defeated, the Spanish colonialists had to give up their presumptuous plan to occupy China, and changed their policy into one of trying to trade with China. Thereafter, the Portuguese were even more committed to preventing the Spanish from carrying out direct trade with China in places like Macao. In 1590, according to an order of the Spanish Queen, the Spanish Viceroy to the Philippines sent a delegation to Macao with funds from the Royal Court to purchase military supplies for the defence works in the Philippines. In addition, these Spaniards also wanted to buy Chinese products for the inhabitants of Manila. In order to demonstrate Spain's good intentions, the Viceroy to the Philippines promised the Portuguese authorities in Macao compliance with their demands and other benefits. The Portuguese in Macao, however, feared that the Spaniards' this action would become the starting point for direct trade between China and Spain. Rejecting Spain's "friendliness", they sealed up the merchant ship and its cargos.
The Spanish King had to send an official to Macao to investigate the incident. As the King was afraid that the local Portuguese would be even more hostile to Spain, he could not but yield to their demand, and in 1954 issued an order prohibiting his subjects in the Philippines and Mexico from trading directly with China. Soon afterwards, in 1595, the Portuguese Viceroy to India directed the Portuguese authorities in Macao that trade with China was a right the king reserved for the Portuguese in Macao, and they should do everything possible to prevent the Spanish from having direct intercourse with China.
At that time, the Chinese officials were eager to develop foreign trade and had once asked the Spanish coming to Macao why they did not trade with China like the Portuguese. Upon discovering that it was the Portuguese that had created difficulties, the Chinese officials were angry and scolded the Portuguese officials, saying on the spot that the place where they stayed belonged to the Chinese Emperor, and they had no right to interfere in China's foreign trade. Seizing the opportunity, the Spanish Viceroy to the Philippines ordered Don Juan de Zamudio to sail a frigate to China. But some top officials of Guangdong did not want the Spanish to trade in Guangdong, because the ships from the Philippines used to trade in Fujian. The Portuguese watchfully defended the channels leading to Macao, keeping the Spanish out. When Zumudio arrived near Macao, he and his men had no way to get in. One month later, they moved to moor at Hutiaomen (Tiger Jumping Gate), several dozens of miles west of Macao, where they held talks about trade with the Chinese authorities.
Dom Paulo de Portugal, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage, decided to expel these Spaniards with force. The Portuguese inhabitants were afraid that the Chinese authorities might retaliate, and all opposed his decision. Paulo had to ask for instructions from the Portuguese Viceroy to India. Meanwhile, he personally protested to the Spanish envoy on the one hand; on the other hand, he sent a delegation to Canton, requesting the Chinese authorities to expel the Spaniards from the place or allow him to do it. The Viceroy of the Two Guangs and his subordinates knew the ulterior motivation of the Portuguese. At first, they took no notice of the Portuguese, and later on, ordered them to stop interfering. Nonetheless, Paulo got permission from Goa to use force. He launched an abortive night raid by sea, attempting to burn the Spanish frigate. Just at that time, another Spanish warship commanded by Don Luiz Dasmarinas sank in the sea near Guangdong because of a strong wind. Dasmarinas sent two soldiers to Macao and Canton respectively to ask for help. The Chinese officials allowed these Spaniards to stay at Hutiaomen before their return. The Portuguese authorities arrested the soldiers asking for help, and sent someone to Canton again to accuse the Spanish as pirates and criminals.
Because the Spanish at the Hutiaomen had "the intention of building houses and getting settled down" i.e. setting up an illegal settlement there, the Deputy Surveillance Commissioner Zhang Banghan sent troops there and "issued a strict order to set fire to the place where the Spaniards gathered". Zamudio was forced to lead the frigate back to the Philippines, and Dasmarinas left for Macao by a Chinese junk, which he had bought, demanding a release of the arrested Spanish soldiers. The Portuguese authorities flatly refused, and tried to force them to leave China at once. When their efforts failed, the Portuguese launched a fierce attack upon the Spaniards with several armed ships, and this bitter battle ended in a draw. Finally, the Spanish in the Philippines had to send a ship to fetch Dasmarinas and the others back. Seeing that the Portuguese would try every possible means to prevent them from establishing direct trade link with China, the Spanish relinquished the attempt for a quite long time.
By the beginning of the 17th century, in order to resist the common enemy, the Dutch colonialists, the Portuguese in Macao and the Spanish in the Philippines improved their relation. In the 1720s, invited by the Portuguese, the Spanish sent troops to Macao to help them to defend the city; and the trade between Macao and Manila also developed very quickly, becoming a pillar of Macao's economy. However, in the course of trade, the Portuguese only could go to Manila, the Spanish were still not allowed to come to Macao at their discretion. Those who entered Macao without permission still encountered Portuguese hostility or would even be expelled by the Portuguese by force.
A more serious threat to the Portuguese in Macao came from the Dutch, with whom the Portuguese had originally maintained good relation, until the end of the 16th century, when an uprising against the Spanish rule in the Netherlands took place. The Dutch came to Macao for the first time on September 27, 1601. In the early morning of that day, a Dutch fleet consisting of two warships and one pinnace, commanded by Jacob Van Neck, sailed near Macao unexpectedly on their way to Canton, after they had failed to capture the Portuguese fortress of Tidore in the Moluccas. Van Neck believed that this city with a forest of buildings in the Spanish style would be Macao, so he sent a skiff to reconnoitre the place, flying a large white flag. When the Portuguese saw these ships of unknown origin, they felt very nervous and hurriedly moved their dependents and property to the Jesuit College, which stood on a small hill, preparing to make it their last stand. Meanwhile, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage Dom Paulo de Portugal promptly dispatched several armed ships and had the Dutch skiff captured. Next early morning, the Dutch pinnace unwisely approached the Inner Harbour and was also seized by four Portuguese ships. When his request for the release of the twenty captives was refused, Von Neck had no choice but to sail away from Macao on October 3.
Contrary to the Portuguese attitude, the Guangdong Tax Supervisor Li Feng met the Dutch commander and allowed the Dutch to tour Canton for nearly one month. The Ouvidor in Macao wanted to execute the Dutch prisoners as soon as possible, for fear the Chinese authorities would ask for an extradition and release them, or even allow them to stay and trade in Macao. Though the prisoners tried to save their lives by becoming Rome Catholic converts at the eleventh hour, the Portuguese still executed seventeen of them as pirates, with only one agent and two under-age youngsters gaining freedom after being sent to Goa under escort.
This atrocity quickly resulted in disaster. The annoyed Dutch deployed a number of warships at the Strait of Malacca, the only course on the sea between Goa and Macao, to intercept the Portuguese ships from Macao. In March 1603, a Portuguese carrack of 1,500 tons, "Santa Catarina", fully loaded with valuable goods like Chinese porcelain and a Macaonese junk laden with provisions for Malacca became the first targets of Dutch revenge. The Dutch shipped the goods from the "Santa Catarina" to Amsterdam, where they caused a sensation. The goods were sold at auction for a total of 3.5 million guilders.
The news that "Santa Catarina" had been captured reached Macao on July 30, causing all the Portuguese to feel dejected. The very night that piece of news reached Macao, a much more soul-stirring incident happened in the harbour of Macao. In the harbour was anchored the carrack scheduled to sail to Japan that year. Laden with over 1,400 piculs of raw silk and a large quantity of other goods, it was to set out the next morning, so all the sailors were making preparations ashore. All of a sudden, three Dutch warships that had been hiding behind small islands nearby appeared. They kidnapped the carrack and opened fire on Macao. The Portuguese were scared out of their wits, and they dared not load any goods onto other ships for nearly ten whole days. The sailors of the merchant ships of various countries went ashore one after another, so as to escape the possible misfortune of being captured by the Dutch. Macao did not return to normal until August 10, when the Dutch burnt the unfortunate carrack and sailed to the ocean.
The successive loss of two carracks with fully loaded goods made the local Portuguese merchants and missionaries almost bankrupt, while the Dutch became aware of the benefits gained through looting the Portuguese and showed even more interest in Macao. In June 1604, the Dutch Admiral Wybrant Van Warwyck himself led a fleet towards Macao. Blown off coast by Typhoon, the fleet went to the Penghu (Pescadores) Islands instead. As a result, they decided to intercept the merchant ships sailing from Macao to Japan in the Taiwan Straits, and in the same time they attempted to establish a trade relationship with China. Because the Dutch had occupied China's territory and looted the merchant ships from Macao, the Chinese government refused to trade with the Dutch. Meanwhile, as the Chinese navy stood in combat readiness, and cut off the food supply to the Dutch, they were forced to leave the Penghu Islands in the end.
In July 1607, the Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Cornelis Maatelieff, arrived near Macao. Like Warwyck, Maatelieff attempted to establish trade relation with china, while hindering the Portuguese merchant ships from sailing to Japan. Andre Pessoa, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage, on the one hand, sent someone to play up the ferocity of the Dutch before the Chinese officials; on the other hand, he drove the Dutch fleet away losing one of his six armed ships. The second Dutch attempt to replace the Portuguese in China was defeated as well. Afterwards, although a twelve years' truce between Spain and the Netherlands was signed in 1609, the Dutch warships continued their attacks on Portuguese merchant ships in Malacca Straits. Starting from about 1611, the Portuguese Viceroy to India had to send warships to escort the merchant ships. In order to avoid the Japanese government's suspicion, the escort fleet did not go beyond Macao. So the Dutch warships moved to the Taiwan Straits and the area near Japan, and continued to inflict heavy losses upon the Portuguese. Moreover, the frequent movements near Macao by the Portuguese escort ships aroused the Chinese authorities' serious concern, and the seamen of these warships clashed with the Macaonese quite often. Under these conditions, the Portuguese had to end the convey.
In 1618, the Portuguese stopped using carracks or galleons in the Far East, preferring galliots of 300 to 400 tons. These smaller ships were equipped with long oars and oarsmen as well as sails and guns, and could repel small Dutch warships and shake off larger Dutch pursuers, so Portuguese's losses were somewhat reduced. Nonetheless, the Portuguese were no longer a match for the Dutch on the high seas, and lost their control of the Far East trade.
The Portuguese were afraid that the Dutch would attack Macao, so they had no choice but to fortify the city. As early as about 1605, they recruited many Japanese mercenaries in succession, and built city wall in the area north of the St. Paul church. The wall was built without the authorization of the senior Chinese officials, but the local Chinese officials were bribed into acquiensence. In an attempt to legalize their wall-building, the Portuguese sent three men of importance to Canton with generous gifts in 1612, trying to canvass among the important officials of Guangdong for their consent to strengthen Macao's defence. In 1615, when the truce between Spain and the Netherlands was about to expire, they quickened the building of fortifications by a secret order from the King of Spain.
Between 1608 and 1615, the Portuguese completed Battery of Sao Francisco and Battery of Bomparto, which controlled Praya Grande and a battery at the entrance to the Inner Harbour near A-Ma Temple. In 1617, with the financial support and directly participation of the Jesuits , the magnificent Fortress of St. Paulo, also called "the Monte", was built at the top of the Monte Hill. And in 1622, a wall linking the Monte in the north and the coast in the east near the battery of Francisco was completed. The Chinese authorities expelled the Japanese mercenaries from Macao in 1614, so the Portuguese authorities in Macao began to recruit Portuguese as musketeers in 1616, with the soldiers in Macao reaching one hundred men in 1621. In addition, breaking through the blockade line of the Anglo-Dutch Fleet, the Portuguese shipped in more than ten cannons from Manila, making up the critical shortage of heavy weaponry in Macao. By 1621, the defence of Macao was much better than it had been ten years before.
Just at the time when the Portuguese were rapidly strengthening their fortifications, the Dutch laid down a plan to attack and capture Macao. The plan was first made in 1609. At that time, the Dutch had already established a trade base at Hirado of Japan. But they quickly discovered that they were no match for the Portuguese who could supply the Japanese market with large quantities of Chinese raw silk and silk fabrics. Therefore, they wanted to capture Macao, and turn it into a Dutch trade foothold in China. In 1616, the Dutch Governor to Batavia Jan Pieterszoon Coen became a fanatical advocator of this plan. From 1619 on, he advocated that capture of Macao not only would deprive the Portuguese of their ability to supply the Japanese market with Chinese silk products, and knock off the most important pillar of Portuguese Asian kingdom, but also would gain means direct access to the wealth and products of China, which the whole world coveted.
In 1619, England and the Netherlands signed a "Treaty of Defence", and established a fleet of defence consisting of twenty-four warships with the English and Dutch East Indian Companies providing twelve respectively. Coen and his English allies intensified the collection of military intelligence about Macao, making concrete preparations for capturing the city. They considered that Macao was not in a position effectively to resist a serious attack and could easily be taken by a force of fifteen hundred men. So at the beginning of 1622, when truce between Spain and the Netherlands expired, Coen ordered Cornelis Reijersen to lead a fleet consisting of eight warships against Macao.
Coen's instruction said, whether Macao was attacked or not was decided by Reijersen and his council in the last minute, but he had to obtain a base along the Chinese coast by hook or by crook. he was to establish a settlement in Penghu Islands with fortresses, and if the Chinese should refuse to trade with the Dutch merchants, he was to strictly blockade the Chinese coast, attack all the Chinese ships, and send the captured Chinese to Batavia to be used as labourers in Java and Bonda, so as to force the Chinese to yield.
Before the rendezvous of the fleet's main force, two Dutch warships and two English warships of the "Fleet of Defence" arrived near Macao on May 29 to carry out Coen's order to blockade Macao. On June 21, when the Dutch main force arrived, the two Dutch warships joined them. Including the warships that joined the convoy on the way to Macao, the Dutch fleet had thirteen warships and 1,300 soldiers, including a group of Japanese, who had asked to participate on their own initiative. Because Coen thought that it would be as easy as falling off a log to capture Macao, and was unwilling to let the English dip their fingers in the pie, the city of Macao, he had ordered Reijersen to deny the English any share in the expected booty before the fleet left Batavia. Understandably, the English decided not to participate in the battle.
The sudden appearance of the Dutch fleet was a surprise to the Portuguese. It was in the busy trading season with many Portuguese going to Canton to purchase goods to be shipped to Japan. Moreover, about thirty Portuguese soldiers, invited by the Ming government, had left Macao for Beijing with four cannons at the end of the previous year. Therefore, Macao's defence force consisted of only fifty musketeers, about a hundred civilians armed and able to fight, and a number of African black slaves. The Portuguese had to fight this life-and-death war against fearful odds.
On the evening of June 22, Reijersen ordered three spies to land near Mongha to reconnoitre the terrain. On June 23, Reijersen himself reconnoitred the topography in a small boat and decided to make Cacilha Beach north of Guia Hill the place of landing. In order to attack in the west while making a feint in the east, in the afternoon of that day, three Dutch warships sailed near Praya Grande Bay and heavily bombarded Battery of Sao Francisco. Meanwhile, the Dutch crews shouted to the Portuguese defenders that they would be the master of Macao tomorrow and would rape all the women after killing all the men over twenty years old. At sunset, the Dutch warships sailed away from Praya Grande, but their crews trumpeted and drummed for the whole night, celebrating the morrow's victory.
Lopo Sarmento de Carvalho, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage and the commander-in-chief of the Portuguese defenders, also ordered all the batteries to celebrate for victory, so as to overwhelm the enemy in spirit. He inspected all the fortified posts at night, took the lead in digging out trenches at Cacilha Beach, and pointed out that it was impossible to get any mercy from the heretic foes, encouraging the soldiers and citizens to fight to the bitter end.
At daybreak on June 24, two Dutch warships fired at Battery of Sao Francisco even more ferociously. The defenders retaliated with equal determination and destroyed one of the warships right away. About seven o'clock, Reijersen led 800 men, embarked thirty-seven small boats, and landed at Cacilha Beach under the cover of ferocious cannon fire from the warships, and drifting smoke from a barrel of damp gunpowder. About 150 defenders led by Antonio Rodriguez Cavalhino carried out blocking action by the newly dug trenches on the beach. A lucky shot into the smoke wounded Reijersen in the belly, and he was forced to go back to the flag ship, ordering Captain Hans Ruffijn to direct the fighting on his behalf. Ruffijn quickly assembled his troops and captured the beachhead at the cost of 40 casualties. The Dutch army unloaded three field-pieces, and with about 200 men as a rear guard, 600 Dutch soldiers marched in steps towards Macao along the foot of the Guia Hill. At first, they met only minor blocking actions by skirmishers. When they arrived at a small spring called Fontinha, they entered into the firing range of the uncompleted St. Paulo Fortress. The Jesuits at the fortress were actively engaged in the fighting. A shell fired by an Italian Jesuit, Father Jeronimo Rho, hit a barrel of gunpowder, which exploded in the midst of the Dutch formation with devastating results.
This unexpected disaster shook the fighting will of the Dutch troops. Now, they were afraid that the Portuguese might be lying in the bamboo groves nearby, so they changed the direction of their attack, beginning to climb the Guia Hill, which overlooked Macao. There were about thirty Portuguese and black slaves stationed on Guia. With large rocks on the hill as cover, they fired at the Dutch troops bravely, while the dense battle formation of the Dutch could do little in retaliation and was not able to capture the summit. Then the Dutch troops were already dog-tired after three hours of fighting under a scorching sun. Their ammunition was almost used up, and they had never imagined that the resistance of the Portuguese would be so stubborn. After urgent discussion, the senior officers decided to occupy a commanding elevation near the Guia Hill to enable their troop to retreat safely to the Cacilha Beach.
The Portuguese discerned the Dutch intention and occupied the commanding position before them, and the Dutch troops had to retreat. Sarmento, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage, who took part in the fighting himself, resolutely gave the signal for a counter-attack by shouting "Saint James and at them!". Suddenly the Portuguese soldiers, citizens, friars and priests with various kinds of clothes dashed at the enemy. Especially the numerous half-drunk slaves, with swords and spears in hands, were too courageous to face. The sporadic firing from the Dutch troops could not prevent the Portuguese from counter-attacking and the death of Captain Ruffijn, who had been encouraging his men to stand fast at the critical moment, quickened the debacle of the Dutch troops.
Seeing that the situation was so serious, the rear guards of the Dutch troops at the Cacilha Beach hurried on board without firing a shot. For fear that the chaotic defeated troops might overturn the boats while trying to get on board, the crews sailed the landing boats to the deep water in haste, leaving many Dutch soldiers wading across the water to drown or become shooting targets for the Portuguese. Only because many of the slaves leading the charge abandoned the pursuit to take the clothes and other items from the dead, did many of the Dutch invaders make good their escape.
When the fighting was over, the Dutch had 136 dead and 126 wounded, with seven captains, four lieutenants and seven ensigns killed and one captain and a group of soldiers taken prisoner. In addition, several hundred Japanese and Indonesians were either wounded or killed. Moreover, the invaders left behind almost all their weapons including cannons, fusils, flags and so on. The defending side had only four Portuguese persons, two Spaniards and a few black slaves killed, and dozens wounded. Because of their bravery in fighting, a group of slaves were liberated in the battlefield by their owners right away. When hearing the deeds of the black slaves, the Deputy Surveillance Commissioner awarded them 200 piculs of rice. As that date was the Feast-day for St. John, some people claimed that during the fierce fighting St. John made His Holy Soul felt at the Monte. Thereafter, the Portuguese worshiped St. John as one of the main Patron saints of Macao. Meanwhile, in order to celebrate this unprecedented great victory, they made June 24 the "City Day" of Macao.
The defeated Hollanders, however, invaded and captured the Penghu Islands later on, looted Chinese ships and killed Chinese merchants, forcing China to fight against their piracy. Under the Chinese navy's counter-attack, they left Penghu, but occupied the southern part of Taiwan as an alternative. Thus, for some time, the Dutch did not make provocations to Macao itself, but intercepted the Portuguese merchant ships shuttling between Macao and Nagasaki instead. Because the Hollanders had dominance on the sea, the threat faced by the Portuguese of Macao was far from over. So in 1623, at the written request of the Senate in Macao, the Spanish Viceroy to the Philippines sent 200 Spanish soldiers to Macao. Soon afterwards, the first Portuguese Governor of Macao, Dom Fransico Mascarenhas, brought 100 Portuguese soldiers from Goa with him, enabling Macao to have a regular garrison thereafter. Mascarenhas and his successors stepped up the building of the city wall and fortresses. They built a city wall around the north-east and south-west part of Macao, completed the Fortress of St. Paulo and the fortresses at the summits of the Penha Hill and the Guia Hill, and converted the batteries at Praya Grande and near the A-Ma Temple into strong Fortresses. Those who took part in building up the defence works included Portuguese, Chinese and the Dutch prisoners. For the sake of survival, these Dutch prisoners headed by Captain Guia worked quite hard in building the city wall and the fortress at the Guia Hill. That is the origin of the name of the hill in Portuguese.
In the meantime, the gun-foundry established by Maneol Tavares Bocarro produced large quantities of bronze or iron cannons urgently needed in city defence. Due to excellent technology, this foundry was called by the Portuguese in the Far East the best Cannon casting factory in the world. The copper needed for casting was bought from Japan. After Lopo Sarmento de Carvalho, the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage, bought over 4,000 odd piculs of copper from Japan at the beginning of the 1630s, the Portuguese in Macao not only had enough big cannons themselves, but even exported cannons to China and other countries in South-East Asia, making Macao a famous cannon-casting centre in the Far East.
By 1640, Macao had four fortresses and five bulwarks, with seventy cannons mounted in all, which could fire twelve pounds to forty pounds of shells. In addition, it had twenty field-pieces and many redoubts and trenches. There were over one thousand Portuguese including those born in Asia and about 5,000 slaves who could take up arms to fight, including 2,000 of them could take part in field fighting as good musketeers. The defence of Macao had never been so strong.
While the Portuguese were strengthening their defence, the Dutch colonialists resumed their invasion of Macao. after one fleet about to attack Macao had sunk in a typhoon, the Dutch sent out four warships in the early summer of 1627 to intercept a Portuguese merchant fleet sailing eastward to Japan from Macao. The Portuguese authorities in Macao hurriedly provided Manila with 20,000 pesos, asking the Spanish authorities to dispatch two warships to escort the fleet. And the rich merchants of Macao, headed by Tomas Vieira, quickly turned five merchant ships into warships, which immediately set out to sea to attack the Dutch warships. After fierce fighting, the Portuguese boarded the Dutch flag ship, killed twenty odd seamen, took thirty odd officers and men including the captain prisoners, and captured a lot of cannons, shells and money. Soon afterwards, the Dutch heard the news that the Spanish warships would arrive presently soon, and they had to leave Macao in a hurry.
Three years later, because a large number of Portuguese soldiers went to assist the Ming government troops in resisting Qing army's attack, the Dutch prepared to attack Macao again, making the Portuguese nervous. However, nothing came of it. In 1635, when the relationship between Japan and Portugal had deteriorated because of missionaries' behaviour, the Dutch tried to incite the Japanese to join them in attacking Macao. Some Japanese nobles tried to obtain from the Dutch the information about the distance between Portuguese proper and Macao, and whether Macao could be captured with fifty warships and so on, and laid down a plan of invasion to capture the Fortress of Guia first, then occupy the whole city. But at the conference of high ranking officials, the opinion against the attacking of Macao prevailed, and this plan too was shelved. After Zheng Chenggong launched a war to recover Taiwan in 1661, the Dutch authorities in Batavia ordered the twelve Dutch warships garrisoning Taiwan to attack Macao in case the Chinese recovered Taiwan. Nevertheless, they returned to Batavia directly rather than taking another chance on Macao, because Macao was well fortified. The Dutch threat towards Macao, which had lasted for half a century, was finally removed.
Since the beginning of the 17th century, besides the Spanish and the Dutch, newly arrived English had also posed a threat to the Portuguese control of Macao. After opening trade with Japan in 1613, the English ships of the East India Company attacked the Portuguese ships sailing to Japan together with the Dutch. Beginning in April 1620, the English warships participating in the Anglo-Dutch Fleet of Defence ferociously intercepted Portuguese ships sailing in and out of Macao in the whole area from Japan in the east to India in the west. In 1620 and 1621, the English ships approached Macao several times, reconnoitring the topography of Macao. In May 1622, two English ships joined the Dutch warships in blocking Macao, but as the Dutch did not want the English to get a finger in the Macao business, the English looked on with folded arms, while the Dutch launched an attack on June 24.
In 1623, the relationship between England and the Netherlands deteriorated, but the English remained a deadly enemy of the Portuguese. By 1634, when the English East Indian Company and the Portuguese Viceroy to India signed an interim agreement concerning armistice and free trade with China, the English no longer posed a military threat to Macao, but remained a commercial rival of the Portuguese in Macao.
At that time, the Dutch were strictly blockading the Malacca Straits, almost cutting off communication between Goa and Macao. In order to obtain the cannons urgently needed by Goa, the Portuguese Viceroy to India specially permitted the English merchant ship "London" of the East Indian Company to sail to Macao to bring one hundred cannons and a large quantity of copper materials to Goa. When the "London" was about to set off from Goa, the Portuguese sent two agents on board to prevent the English from getting ashore in Macao. When the ship arrived at Macao, although the Portuguese authorities in Macao and two Portuguese agents had made painstaking efforts, they still failed to prevent the English from disembarking. The English did some business with Chinese merchants and said that they could provide opium at low price, with an aim to induce the Chinese officials to allow them to trade again. This behaviour made the Portuguese authorities in Goa and Macao very angry. The Portuguese Governor of Macao complained that the arrival of "London" cost them a lot in taxes to the Chinese Emperor and bribes to the Chinese officials. The Portuguese successor to the viceroyship in India also claimed that nothing was more harmful to Portuguese commercial interests than allowing the English to go to Macao. After that, the English were excluded from Macao for many years.
Following the English Ship "London", the English Courteen Association, specially chartered by King Charles I, sent six armed ships headed by John Weddell to China to trade in 1635. After anchoring near Macao on June 25, 1637, Weddell sent three representatives to visit the Portuguese Governor of Macao with a letter from the King. The Portuguese received them with hospitality, but they did not want England to be involved in the trade with China. On the other hand, once the English had seen Macao with their own eyes, a wild ambition dawned upon them that having a firm foothold, they could quickly take over all the business from the Portuguese. On July 27, the Governor of Macao lied to the English, saying that the Chinese would not allow another nation to trade with them; even the Spanish who had the same king as the Portuguese did not succeed in getting such a permission. Weddell and his compatriots noticed that it was the Portuguese who hindered the trade between England and China purposefully, so they prepared to sail directly to Canton.
At that time, the Portuguese were prohibited from going into the Pearl River, so the Chinese officials, promising trade, asked weddell to wait at the mouth of the Pearl River. But Weddell was bent on forcing his way into Humen. When intercepted, his men opened fire on the Chinese garrison, captured Chinese batteries, and looted Chinese civilian ships. In order to ease the tension, Regional commander Chen Qian, Deputy Surveillance Commissioner Zheng Jinguang sent Li Yerong, a former interpreter of Macao, whose Portuguese name was Paulo Noretty, to tell the Portuguese, to hold talks with the English. Afterwards, with the support of Chen Qian and others, Li Yerong brought five Englishmen and some goods and money to Canton. In the meantime, another group of Englishmen took a small boat with many goods on board and sailed along the Pearl River to a place called Pazhou. The Portuguese Governor of Macao was very worried. He wrote to Weddell, protesting his forcing his way into China without the permission of the Dual Monarch and the Portuguese Viceroy to India, pointing out that the English trade with China had harmed the interests of the Portuguese, and demanding their immediate withdrawal from the Chinese coast. At the same time, the Portuguese authorities in Macao sent delegates to Canton, and claimed to the Chinese officials that these Englishmen were rascals, thieves and beggars, who came to China with ulterior motives, hatching a sinister plot. The top officials of Guangdong, who had originally opposed allowing the English into provincial capital, hurriedly sent troops to track down and arrest the Englishmen who had arrived at Canton and Pazhou. The troops confiscated the English goods and arrested Jie Bangjun, Ye Gui and the Chinese merchants who were trading with them secretly.
Weddell at first took a mocking attitude toward the Portuguese demands. Afterwards, when the Chinese army drove his ships away, he and his men wantonly set fire to Chinese ships, and shelled Chinese villages and towns. They did not sail to Macao until they heard that a Chinese fleet from Fujian Province was approaching at full speed. Meanwhile, Weddell wrote to the Portuguese Governor and the Senate, protesting the conspiratorial activities of the Portuguese and demanding compensation for the losses.
At that time, Zheng Maohua, the Acting Military Commander of the Two Guangs and his assistants saw that the English attacks were no laughing matters. They had no stomach for punishing the invaders, but wanted to end the incident as soon as possible. They thought that since a group of "chiefs of the foreigners were kept in the interior" and the English warships "were roaming about on the outer sea", "if these chiefs were not handed over to Macao quickly, and if we wiped out the English resolutely, the problem might get worse". Therefore, they decided to keep Macao as the spot for China's foreign trade and send the arrested English to Macao, so that the responsibility to repatriate the English would be shouldered by the Portuguese in Macao. They ordered the Portuguese officials in Macao to come to Canton to "sign an undertaking and bring back the Englishmen and their goods with them".
The Portuguese Governor of Macao wrote to Weddell, on the one hand denying any responsibility, and on the other hand trying to persuade Weddell to change his attitude. He suggested to Weddell that through Portuguese authorities' negotiation with the Chinese authorities, the detained Englishmen and goods might be released. Weddell accepted this advice as well as the Governor's terms for the deal, namely, the English should leave China peacefully, and never come back again. Afterwards, the Ouvidor of Macao brought back the Englishmen and the Chinese goods purchased legally by the Englishmen, and the Portuguese authorities in Macao traded secretly with the English. Meanwhile, quite a few Portuguese merchants asked the English ships to ship large quantities of goods for them by pulling the wool over the Portuguese authorities' eyes, because the English ships could pass Malacca Straits safely. So in fact, the English fleet lingered in the China sea.
Zhang Jingxin, upon assuming the office of the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, found out the situation. He ordered the Deputy Surveillance Commissioner to take up his station at Xiangshan, and instruct the Vice Prefect for Coastal Defence of Canton Prefecture to go to Macao himself with other Chinese officials to denounce the Portuguese illegal actions and order them to force the red-haired foreigners (English) to leave immediately". He declared that if this matter were delayed further, both the Portuguese and the Chinese officials in Macao would be punished. On December 29, the English fleet finally left the Chinese coast. Because of this setback, the English merchants did not come to China for several years.
The struggle between the Portuguese and the other Western colonialists was a component part of the fierce struggle of the European powers scrambling for colonies and rights to carry out trade and missionary work worldwide. In order to maintain their own interests, the Portuguese tried all means possible to prevent other Western countries from establishing direct trade relations with China in Macao and elsewhere. This was both disadvantageous to the economic and cultural exchanges between China and Western countries, and harmful to the further prosperity of Macao. Meanwhile, their settling in Macao was a root cause for other colonialist empires casting a greedy eye on Macao over and over again. As for the invasion of the Dutch, to some extent, it was brought about by the Portuguese themselves.
Given that colonial powers like Spain and the Netherlands harboured a wild ambition to invade and loot China by force, the repelling of the Spanish by the Portuguese before the 17th century, and especially their brave resistance against the Dutch invaders at the beginning of the 17th century, helped China defend Macao and played a certain role in shielding the Guangdong coastal area. And Macao became an important link in the coastal defence of the south-east of China at that time. Therefore, in 1622, when the Portuguese faced with the attacks by the Dutch, the Guangdong authorities sent them wine and rice, and made a demonstration of force to support the Portuguese. After they won the day on June 24, "the officials and people of Guangdong were filled with exultation", and "praised them over and over again"; the Ming central government was happy about "Macao's not becoming another Penghu" and "praised the Portuguese" too.
It is also worth noting was that when the strongholds of the Portuguese in the Far East had fallen into the hands of other Western powers one after another, only Macao was one of the few exceptions. The Portuguese in Macao had fought bravely for their own survival, when they had the vast and culturally-developed empire of China at their back. The other Western powers knew very well that Macao was China's territory, and that it was only with special permission from the Chinese Emperor that the Portuguese could settle in Macao. They learned finally that the Chinese were not cowards as they expected at first; rather, the Chinese were staunch fighters who looked death calmly in the face in fighting to defend their motherland. The European were forced to think twice before trying to capture Macao, and Chinese resistance made it impossible for them to encircle Macao for many years as they did to Malacca. In fact, the Portuguese in Macao were more or less shielded by the Chinese Empire.
2.3. The Ming Government Strengthens Its Control
After the basic formation of the jurisdiction system over Macao in the 1580s, by the beginning of the 17th century, namely, at the beginning of Macao's golden age, the Chinese officials had not taken any further measures to strengthen jurisdiction over "the foreigners in Macao" or maintain a close watch over them. At that time, quite a few Chinese officials, yielding to the Portuguese imperiousness, dared not suppress the behaviour of the Portuguese violating the law, but after accepting bribes, even "allowed them to violate the law underneath despite of posing a ban on the surface".
Dai Yao, who assumed the post of Viceroy of the Two Guangs in 1598, was a muddleheaded and incompetent official. During the twelve years he was in office, the Chinese control over Macao became weaker and weaker. For example, when the Dutch warships led by Jacob Van Neck confronted the Portuguese in Macao, many officials advised Dai Yao to drive the Dutch away with force, but Dai Yao stood for "letting foreigners attack foreigners", i.e. letting the Portuguese and Dutch fight each other. He thought: "if the Portuguese are defeated, we will let the Dutch trade with us"; "what may be lost from the Portuguese in Macao could be compensated for by the Dutch". Therefore, he just ordered the Chinese warships to stay several miles away to watch the result. In his eyes, Macao seemed to be no man's land for which the foreigners could fight at will.
Such being the case, it is no wonder the Portuguese should have become overbearing, and violate Chinese law. For instance, they secretly solicited the Japanese gangsters, whom the Ming government was expelling, to become their hatchet men; they secretly allowed Japanese merchant ships with Shogunal licences to trade in Macao; they anchored their merchant ships at prohibited places to evade import duties; they secretly bought the goods shipped to Macao by the Chinese profiteers, so that they could share the profits of export duty evasion; they sent boats to the entrance of Macao harbours to protect the smugglers from questioning by the Chinese officers and soldiers; whenever the Chinese officials restricted them a little, they instigated the black slaves to make trouble in a boisterous way at the Chinese office in Macao. Although in the period of over ten years, the Portuguese had not created big troubles, the men of deep insight all knew that such a situation would not last long. Wang Linting, who came to Macao to handle a case in 1601, thought that Macao, where the foreigners assembled, was a cancer in the south; only we did not know what would become of it and when it would rupture.
The relatively calm situation ended in 1605, when a series of incidents that shocked the Chinese court and commonalty took place in Macao. In 1605, in order to cope with the threat of the Dutch, the Portuguese authorities in Macao built a city wall in the area north of St. Paul's Church without permission of the Chinese authorities. When they were questioned by Chinese officers and soldiers, the Japanese hired by the Portuguese went so far as to kill their interrogators. Later on, the Portuguese stopped building for a while, for they thought the Dutch would not come for the time being. But the inability of the Chinese local officials to stop the arbitrary actions of the Portuguese could not but worry Chinese insiders.
In the same period, the Jesuits in Macao built a small church without permission at the Green Island, which lay to the west of the Macao Peninsula and outside of the Portuguese settlement. They said that they were using the small island as a recreational centre for the students of St. Paulo's University College. The Magistrate of Xiangshang County Zhang Dayou sent troops to dismantle the church in about 1606 to stop the Portuguese encroachment. The Chinese officers and men and some Chinese inhabitants in Macao landed at the island, expelled the Jesuits and their servants, and burnt down the church. After the Chinese officials returned to Macao, a group of Portuguese openly retaliated. They first ransacked the Chinese officials' offices, and then beat up and kidnapped a Chinese official, who, it was said, had torn up a portrait of St. Michael. Only because the Portuguese authorities in Macao did not want to deteriorate the situation further, was the Chinese official released. Finally, after negotiating with the authorities of Xiangshan County, the Portuguese were allowed to use the island, but they were required to install an obvious sign bearing the Chinese Emperor's reign tittle in gold to show that the island was a part of the Chinese Empire. Then, this incident ended with a compromise.
Soon afterwards, at the beginning of 1606, there occurred an incident causing a great disturbance, which originated from intrigue among the brothers in Macao. After the death of Bishop Leonardo de Saa in 1597, the Portuguese archbishop of Goa named Michele de Santis administrator of Macao. As Santis had been expelled from the Society of Jesuits and had then become an Augustinian, he was rather hostile to the numerous local Jesuits. At the beginning of 1606, Santis saw a priest attached to his party mistreat a Franciscan friar. At the friar's request, Valentim Carvalho, rector of the Jesuit college prepared to defend his honor according to the canon, but Santis obstructed the process. Carvalho, as apostolic delegate and judge, excommunicated the administrator, while Santis in turn placed the entire city under interdict. The residents of Macao were divided into two opposing camps.
The group supporting Santis knew that as the Captain-Major of the Japan Voyage and other powerful men as opposites, there was no way to win, so they finally decided in desperation to risk, inciting the Chinese inhabitants to oppose the Jesuits. Santis' followers spread rumours among the Chinese people that the Jesuits were colluding with the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese in an attempt to kill all the Chinese in Macao and then to conquer China. The leader of the invading army and the future emperor of China they said would be a Jesuit, Lazzare Cattaneo, who had followed Matteo Ricci to Beijing, Nanjing and other places. Soon afterwards, whether because he was egged on by someone or had been taken in by the rumours, a Chinese scholar wrote an essay accusing Cattaneo of systematically spying on China's interior and assembling the followers in many cities. The essay said that when the Portuguese warships, which had already set out from Portugal, arrived, Cattaneo and his army with the reinforcements from Japan and Malacca, would conquer China, reducing the Chinese to slaves.
This rumour spread all over Macao like wildfire. The Chinese inhabitants horrified and fled inland one after another. Before long, the only people who remained in Macao were the Portuguese and their black slaves. When the Viceroy of the Two Guangs Dai Yao got the news, he hurriedly ordered the army and navy of the province to assemble, cut off all the trade with the Portuguese, prohibited food from being shipped to Macao, and pulled down about one thousand civilian houses outside Canton city, lest they be used by the enemy as cover while attacking Canton. Without food, famine fell upon Macao quickly. The Portuguese authorities were anxious. They sent a "most humble" delegation in haste to meet Dai Yao to proclaim their innocence, saying that as a small group of merchants, they dare not even dream of such a wild ambitious idea as conquering China. Then, Dai Yao agreed to let the Chinese merchants to enter Macao to trade again. In fact, he made these merchants go there to have a look at the actual situation. After careful observation, the merchants found no evidence that the Portuguese were prepared to invade China.
Just at that time, it was reported that a former Chinese Catholic tried to blackmail a Chinese lay brother Huang Mingsha (Francis), and then accused him of being a spy for Cattaneo. Huang Mingsha's cruel torture and death in prison at the end of March fueled to the flames of Chinese suspicion of Macao. Luckily, the senior officer commanding the army and navy of the province did not act rashly. Instead, he sent someone to Macao to investigate. In particular, the newly-appointed Deputy Surveillance Commissioner sent a very experienced officer to visit Cattaneo. The officer interviewed Cattaneo and visited the college, where Cattaneo stayed, and all the churches, hotels and hospitals in Macao one by one. He found that there was no weaponry or ammunition in these places at all, and verified that these places were not arsenals. The tense situation relaxed and trade between China and foreign countries restored to normal.
Although it was a nonsense talking that Cattaneo and others attempted to conquer China with force, it did arouse a strong indignation of the Chinese people, for some Portuguese in Macao should have made such disturbances in the region of the two Guangs, causing so many people to be homeless. In the spring of 1607, i.e. the second year after the incident, Lu Tinglong, a provincial graduate from Fanyu County, Guangdong Province, went to the capital to take part in national examination. He wrote a memorial to the throne suggesting "to drive all the foreigners out of Haojing harbour to Langbai, which was located on outer sea, to retrieve Haojing". In regard to this suggestion, "it was put on the shelf because of mountains of difficulties" after court discussion.
In 1613, when the Japanese pirates threatened the coastal area of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, the Guangding authorities were very worried about the security of the coast too, because the Portuguese in Macao recruited Japanese desperadoes. The court and commonalty in China raised the issue of expelling foreigners in Macao again. At that time, some people argued that all the Portuguese "had to be expelled with force so as to uproot the trouble caused by the foreigners". A typical opinion was that "we should not tolerate the foreigners to encroach upon Haojing and the interior", and the Portuguese "ought to be moved to the outer sea of Langbai to trade on the ships as in the past, so that an inner danger could be removed". Guo Shangzhong, a Geishizhong (supervising secretary), was of the latter opinion. In his memorial to the throne "Keeping a Lookout of the Macao and Li Nationality" on September 6, 1613, he pointed out: "The evildoers like the Japanese pirates are troubles of the border area", while "the foreigners in Macao are troubles in the heartland and an entrenched enemy". He held that unless there was no other alternative, it was not necessary to expel them with troops. One could simply explain to them China's principle of not allowing foreigners to stay inside China. He said, at first, we should provide the foreigners in Macao with one or two years' tax holiday to compensate their cost for housing, then we could ask them to send away the Japanese and black slaves, and finally we would order them to leave Macao with all their dependents within a definite time. Thereafter, we should allow them to anchor at Langbai in the outer sea to trade as before.
Other officials, especially those who were from Guangdong or had held office there argued that although allowing the Portuguese to stay in Macao had a lot of disadvantages, "like an ulcer on one's back", but driving them out to Langbai would cause detrimental results too. First, the local tax revenue would suffer. As a pivot of trade between China and Foreign countries, Guangdong was known as "a good place to reap tax revenue"; besides the 400,000 taels of silver as payment for soldiers and as fee for warships and weapons a year, Li Feng, the tax inspector sent by the Shenzong Emperor several years ago, increased Guangdong's annual tax quota to over 200,000 taels, which, though cut by 20,000 taels soon afterwards, was still three times larger than that of any other province. Therefore, the Guangdong officials had to levy exorbitant taxes and passed the fund for soldiers' salary as tax. The diverted fund of soldiers' salary still had to be made up through extorting money from people. As a result, people had to take out chickens, pigs, melons and fruits, anything they possessed, to pay the taxes, and still the tax quota could not be met. If the "foreigners in Macao" were driven to Langbai, the 20,000 taels of tax silver originally from Macao would vanish, and the Guangdong authorities would have even more difficulties in coping with the tax problem. Guo Shangbin and others knew this situation very well, and they complained many times that "Guangdong was exhausted by the tax burden", and explained that the reason for the Guangdong officials' unwillingness to drive out the foreigners in Macao "was nothing but this 20,000 taels of silver".
Second, expelling the Portuguese from Macao would harm the trade between China and foreign countries. The Guangdong officials knew clearly that because the cruel exploitation by the court for many years, Guangdong was already "wealthy and rich only in name, but poor and struggling in reality", and that "the Guangdong people's life blood had been exhausted". With the minorities' repeated revolts and then Han people's complaints heard everywhere, Guangdong had only foreign trade to rely upon. Foreign trade, legal or illegal, provided the margin of survival for many Guangdong people, and kept them from rising up in arms. If this trade were cut off to expel the foreigners from Macao, the consequences would be dreadful. Therefore, Wang Yining, the Ward-inspecting Censor for Guangdong, who originally had been inclined to drive out the "foreigners in Macao", noticed this problem as well. In April 1613, he pointed out: "the coastal area of Guangdong is saline, and is short of local products"; now "because of the coming of foreign merchant ships, the merchants from everywhere gather here, and the market is kept thriving"; "it would be better not to close the door and the foreign trade market in Guangdong".
Third, with expulsion of the Portuguese, the coast of Xiangshan would be deprived of a protective screen. The Guangdong officials regarded the Portuguese, with their experience in armed combat, were useful in keeping pirates away from the coast. Huo Yuxia, a famous person in Guangdong, pointed out: "as the Xiangshan coast has Macao as its shield, pirates such as Lao Wan, Zeng Yiben, He Yaba and the like dared not to cast a greedy eye on it, and the whole area is stable and quiet"; if the "foreigners in Macao" were removed, the Guangdong authorities would have to defend the place themselves, and it would be no easy task.
Fourth, the Guangdong authorities were afraid that they might lose the control of the foreigners. Zhang Minggang, who assumed the post of Viceroy of Two Guangs in 1610, presented a memorial to the throne in 1613, explaining this idea very clearly. He said that Macao was located in the heartland of Xiangshan County. With the armed force defending it along the coast and "the daily necessity of the foreigners in Macao depending upon us, in case they should have any ulterior motivation, we can cut the throat of them without bloodshed". If the "foreigners in Macao" were driven out to Langbai, which faced an endless vast ocean, the merchant ship would have no fixed places to anchor. Under such circumstances, how could we interrogate the foreign ships coming and going? How could we intercept the traitors who should help the enemy? And we would have no way to intervene, if they should collude with Japanese pirates and brew provocations. So if the "foreigners in Macao" were driven out, it would be even more difficult for the Guangdong authorities to keep an eye on them.
While putting forward these different considerations, these officials also expounded their own views about how to strengthen the government's control over the Portuguese in Macao. Among them, Zhang Minggang was of the opinion that "special attention should be paid to reiterating the ban, i.e. forbidding any traitors from the interior to enter Macao and forbidding any Japanese to come inland, so as to strengthen the defence in Macao". In short, Zhang recommended letting the Portuguese continue to stay in Macao, but enjoining the Chinese officials to keep a more watchful eye on them and strengthen the jurisdiction over them.
To compare the two opposing positions as represented by Guo Shangbin and Zhang Minggang, which the people at the time considered as square tenon and round mortise, the starting point of both was the need to preserve peace along the coast of Guangdong. The main difference between the two stands was that those of the former stood for a strict separation between Chinese and foreigners, and usually propagandized that non-Chinese had to be driven out of China, while the latter paid more attention to economic problems that involved social security as well. It is obvious that driving the Portuguese to Langbai was neither helpful to Chinese authorities' control over the Portuguese nor to the trade between China and foreign countries. Therefore, the position taken by Zhang Minggang and others, which benefitted the ruling class as a whole in collecting more taxes from foreign trade, and tallied with the Shenzong Emperor's fondness for gold and jewels, inevitably won the support from people of all walks of life engaged in foreign trade. And the Ming government adopted this approach at last too.
When the above debate was still going on, Zhang Minggang had already taken a series of measures to strengthen China's jurisdiction over Macao. Starting from 1610, Macao entered a new period of greater Chinese control. During this period, the first person who left his footprints in the history of Macao was Cai Jishan, a newly appointed Magistrate of Xiangshan County. Cai Jishan and Zhang Minggang basically had an identical view of the Macao problem. As soon as Cai assumed his post, he investigated the conditions of Macao, and suggested to Zhang Minggang "ten stratagems to control Macao". Zhang was impressed by his suggestions and adopted quite a few of them. Before long, when a Portuguese official violated the Chinese decree, the Chinese officials in Macao punished him according to Chinese law. Some Portuguese in Macao openly declared that they would make troubles in Macao in retaliation. Hearing the news, Cai Jishan hurried to Macao with a few guards. Upon his arrival, he immediately dispersed the crowds of the Portuguese inhabitants following the trouble-makers, and had a trouble-maker, "a ferocious Portuguese", arrested and brought before the court. The criminal was punished with beating according to the law of the Ming dynasty.
In the past, the criminal Europeans, other than those who were executed for murdering Chinese inhabitants, were left to be punished by the Portuguese authorities according to the laws of their own country. They had never been punished with beating. The crime committed by this "ferocious Portuguese" this time, however, was no ordinary offence, but defying the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. Thus, Cai Jishan resolutely punished him according to the Chinese law, and forcefully punctured the arrogance of the Portuguese colonials who had dared to look down upon China's sovereignty over Macao.
Afterwards, in 1611, the Chinese officials had a trial of strength with a Portuguese escort fleet coming to Macao for the first time. At that time the Portuguese galleons that were equipped with guns could carry goods as sell, so the Chinese authorities demanded the nine Portuguese galleons to pay tax according to the regulations. Dom Diogo de Vasconcelos de Menezes, the commander of this fleet, refused to pay tax on the grounds that these ships were royal warships and threatened the Chinese officials with force. The Guangdong authorities imposed a blockade around Macao, cutting off the food supply. As a result, the local Portuguese in Macao, who were dissatisfied with Diogo originally, became even more so. They seized several ship captains and forced them to pay taxes to the Chinese authorities. As Diogo continued to resist, local citizens assembled before the Senate to protest against his action. At last, the Senate intervened and consented to pay 4,870 taels silver of tax on behalf of the warships for the sake of ending the suffering in Macao as early as possible. From then on, the Chinese officials were more carefully on the lookout for all the coming ships, for fear that the Portuguese warships, which could carry goods, should evade taxation. And in fact all Portuguese galleons had to pay taxes to the Chinese authorities, when they entered the harbours of Macao.
By 1613, in the memorials to the throne about "keeping a lookout on the foreigners in Macao", Wang Yining and other Chinese officials demanded the expulsion of the "Japanese" residing in Macao. Zhang Minggang responded with several measures. He ordered Deputy Surveillance Commissioner Yu Anxing and the Magistrate of Xiangshan County Dan Qiyuan go on an inspection tour of Macao. On arrival, they immediately ordered the Portuguese to confess their crime of secretly harbouring Japanese without permission, which violated the ban. The Chinese officials said that they "would not kill the Japanese, but order them back home". Very soon, 123 Japanese boarded a ship for Japan, thus, a "hidden danger" was removed after dozens of years. Of course, not all of these Japanese were necessary to be desperadoes, and in fact quite a few were Japanese Catholics escaping the Japanese government's persecution. But because the Ming government hated bitterly the Japanese piracy, and it was too difficult to distinguish pirates from common inhabitants, so the Ming government did not allow any Japanese to stay in Macao. At about the same time Yu and Dan arrested and severely punished a group of human traffickers who sold Chinese people to foreign slave traffickers, dealing a heavy blow at these criminals.
Afterwards, for the sake of preventing the Portuguese from violating the Chinese law, Yu Anxing laid down "the Bans (Imposed) by Haido Fushi (the Deputy Surveillance Commissioner for Coastal Inspection of Guangdong Province)", warning the Portuguese sternly that they either abided by the ban, or would be driven out of Macao all together. The contents of the ban included prohibiting the foreigners in Macao from bringing in Japanese slaves, selling or buying Chinese persons, building any new houses, and prohibiting unmarried merchants to disembark their ships. In the next year i.e. 1614, Zhang Minggang, the new Viceroy of the Two Guangs, and Zhou Yinqi, the Ward-inspecting Censor for Guangdong, revised "the Bans by Deputy Surveillance Commissioner". They deleted the prohibition of unmarried merchants from disembarking, added the two articles of prohibiting the warships which could carry merchant goods from evading taxation, and prohibiting the purchasing of smuggled goods, and allowed Yu Anxin to have the bans carved on a stone and to put it in the Senate, ordering the foreigners in Macao to abide by the bans forever. The five articles of "the Bans by Deputy Surveillance Commissioner" run:
1. It is forbidden to have any Japanese slaves. Any European merchant, either old or new, who dares to hold Japanese as slaves or carry them on board his ships, must be arrested and severely punished according to the military law, and those who have witnessed it should inform the Chinese authorities, or they will be punished along with offenders.
2. It is prohibited to sell or buy Chinese persons. European merchants, old or new, are prohibited from buying the sons or daughters of the Chinese. If this law is violated and the crime is reported by others, the offenders must be pursued, arrested and severely punished.
3. It is forbidden for galleons to evade taxation by passing themselves off as warships. All foreign ships reaching Macao are required to enter the harbour of Macao and wait for taxation. Those ships that anchor at Dadiaohuan, Maliuzhou or elsewhere will be considered to have ill intentions. These ships must be burnt along with the goods on board, and the persons on board are to be executed too.
4. It is prohibited to purchase smuggled goods. All the goods for foreign trade are to be sent to the provincial capital and sold fairly after paying taxes. If any profiteer should ship the goods secretly to Macao and sell them to the foreigners directly, he is to be sent to Chinese office and the case is to be reported to the Intendant of Canton Circuit. All the goods intercepted are to be given to the first informer, while the ships and other means of transportation will be confiscated. Anyone who dares to violate the ban and buy such goods will be punished together with the smugglers.
5. It is forbidden to build new houses without authorization. Except for existing houses built by foreigners in Macao, which may be repaired in their original style, anyone who dares to build new houses or to add rooms to the old buildings, in other words, to build anything new without authorization, will be severely punished. All newly built houses will be dismantled and burnt.
The measures taken by Zhang Minggang and others were praised by people at that time. Shen Defu, the author of Wanli Yehuo Bian (A Collection of What was Written While out of Office in the Wanli Period (1573 - 1619)) thought that what Zhang Minggang did might tally with the concrete conditions in Macao; because the territory of China was large and time and tide changed all the time, one should not be a stick in the mud. He also said: "today the foreigners in Macao are safely blocked and we have not heard any news of their creating troubles." Even Guo Shangbin, whose opinion originally was entirely different from that of Zhang Minggang, also praised Zhang as "having done the best in governing the coastal area of Guangdong", and said "the people would feel secured when they knew they had strong backing" in his memorial to the throne. These words showed that at that time, Guo Shangbin, at least to a certain degree, also supported Zhang Minggang's stand and measures towards Macao.
At the beginning of 1617, the Chinese officials discovered that the Jesuits "misled the Chinese masses with Catholism" in Nanjing. The Ming government drove the Jesuits to Macao, ordered them to return home with a deadline, and discussed the Macao problem again. After discussion by the officials in the Ministry of Defence, the newly appointed Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Zhou Jiamo, the Governor of Guangdong, Tian Shengjin, and others, thought that "Macao was only a tiny place without strategic passes to be relied upon; the only road to Xiangshan could be cut off by passes"; with very limited strength of the foreigners in Macao, it seemed that we could live in peace with them; and it was not necessary to take such measures as driving them out of Macao. And the Guangdong officials were not sure whether the Portuguese had wild ambition or not". Therefore, they decided to take preventive measures to further strengthen the control over Macao.
One of such important measures was to order the Vice Prefect for Coastal Defence of Canton to station at the garrisoning area of Yongmo Battalion, one day walking distance to Macao, to establish a headquarter of Canjiang (vice brigade commander) at Yongmo and dispatch a thousand soldiers to guard the region. The tasks of the troops were to defend the Barrier Gate, and to prevent the Portuguese merchants from going to Canton, and smuggling. In 1621, the Ming government moved the Vice Brigade Commander Headquarter from Yongmo to Qiangshan, several kilometers west of the Barrier Gate, clutching the throat of Macao, and built a stronghold there. The stronghold was called "Qiangshan Zhai" in Chinese, and "Caza Branca" in Portuguese. The garrisoning troops were also greatly increased. There were an army of 700 soldiers led by two assistant company commanders and other four low rank military officers, and a naval force of 1,200 seamen led by three assistant company commanders and four other low ranking officers with fifty boats of various kinds. These troops garrisoned the places around Macao, keeping a watchful eye on the Portuguese both on land and on the sea.
While the Ming government was strengthening its control over Macao, some Portuguese still violated the Chinese laws. Therefore, Chinese officials often punished the Portuguese offenders. At that time, Macao was faced with the danger of Dutch invasion, and needed to consolidate its fortifications, but the Chinese authorities did not understand the situation fully. After 1615, the Portuguese stealthily built the city wall and batteries without the permission of the Ming government, seriously violating the just promulgated "the Bans by Deputy Surveillance Commissioner", so the Chinese officials investigated the matter. In 1620, the Portuguese again built houses and defence works on Green Island perhaps out of the consideration that if Macao were to fall into enemy hands, the Green Island, which was outside of the settlement, could serve as the last stronghold. In order to stop their reckless actions, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, Chen Bangzhan, sent the Assistant to the Provincial Administration Commissioner, Feng Conglong, and others to the island to dismantle the illegal buildings. The Acting Deputy Surveillance Commissioner Xu Ruke sent the troops garrisoning Macao to assist them. Because of the stern action of the Chinese authorities, the Portuguese dared not resist. Within two days, all the illegal constructions on the island had been pulled down by the Chinese troops.
In June 1621, because of the fierce battle against the Dutch, the Chinese officials stopped intervention in Macao's fortifications for a while. In 1624, the first Portuguese Governor of Macao, Dom Fransico Mascarenhas, built the city wall again and a fortress at Patane, which was surrounded by high wall and linked with the St. Paul's Fortress by a curtain. Mascarenhas made the fortress at Patane his residential place. It was said that he was preparing to build a palace and a tall tower within the fortress. Thus the Chinese in Macao suspected his motives, and a rumour spread that the Portuguese had reported to the Portuguese Monarch that they had occupied a Chinese place, and that a Portuguese prince would be sent there to defend the place.
The Viceroy of the Two Guangs, He Shijin, and other Chinese officials could not tolerate the building of such a fortress with a curtain on the Chinese territory by the Portuguese. They ordered the Portuguese authorities to pull them down. Mascarenhas presumptuously defied the order. After serious discussion, He Shijin and Cai Jishan, who was newly promoted to Circuit Intendant of Lingxi, adopted a series of measures. First, they stopped supply of food to choke the throat of the foreigners, and controlled the foremen who had special relations with the foreign chiefs. Then they surrounded Macao with troops, arrested the traitors and made the refugees return". The Chinese officials also sent spies to Macao to sharpen the internal struggle of the Portuguese by exploiting the conflict between Mascarenhas and the Senate, which opposed confronting the Chinese authorities openly. The conflict finally caused a mutiny against the governor. The Portuguese soldiers who went out prying about were arrested by the Chinese troops "in one vigorous effort".
In order not to starve, Mascarenhas was at last forced to send his representatives to knock on the Barrier Gate, and to express his willingness to raze the fortress and the city wall, expel the traitors and let the Portuguese be subjects of the Chinese emperor; Mascarenhas also agreed "to increase annual poll tax by 10,000 taels of silver and to write all these promises down". From March 31 to April 10, 1625, the Portuguese and Chinese foremen and labourers led by Chinese officials razed the buildings at Patane and the curtain connecting the fortress with the Monte and the city wall facing inland, giving another heavy blow to the Portuguese colonialists who violated the decree of the Ming government. From then on, the Portuguese paid a poll tax, and were listed as subjects of China under quite strict control by the Ming government.
By 1625, the Ming government allowed the Portuguese to build the city wall facing the sea in the southern coastal area to resist the invasion of the Dutch. Later on, due to bribery and mediation by the Portuguese, the Chinese authorities secretly agreed to allow them to rebuild the razed part of the city wall in the north. By 1630s, the wall around Macao was completed. From then on, the city wall in effect became the demarcation line of the Portuguese settlement in Macao. The area of the northern part of the peninsula, i.e. north of the wall, except the fortresses at the top of Guia Hill and a few other places, was beyond the Portuguese settlement. Meanwhile, three Chinese offices of Tidiao (subordinate executive), Beiwo (official dealing with Japanese pirates) and Xunji (official patrolling to arrest thieves and smugglers) were all within the city wall, and the Chinese officials could very well go in and out of this city either by water or by land, continuing to fully exercise the state sovereignty over Macao.
To sum up, since the beginning of the 17th century, when the Portuguese frequently violated the Chinese law, the Ming government had adopted stratagems to strengthen jurisdiction and keep a more watchful eye on them. With ten years' efforts, the Ming government greatly increased its knowledge of and control over Macao, reducing the possible damage to Guangdong by the Portuguese colonialists, and maintaining the only hub of communication between China and the West and the only window and stage for cultural exchanges between China and the West.
The Portuguese in Macao now understood their conditions again. Since Macao was far from India and the Chinese emperor had far greater numbers of armed forces than the Portuguese could possibly assemble there, not to mention that a mere stoppage of food-supply would suffice to ruin the city, it would never be a good idea for the Portuguese to wage war on China. Moreover, China could do the Portuguese irreparable harm merely by refusing to trade with them, which alone would overwhelm any victories the Portuguese might win. Therefore, whatever grievances the Portuguese might have, they should never think of breaking with China. In the meantime, the influential figures of the Ming government like Xu Guangqi pointed out that the government should distinguish the "foreigners in Macao" (i.e. the Portuguese) who were obedient from the "foreigners with red hair" (i.e. the Dutch) who were not, and that was why the Chinese court decided to let the Portuguese continue their stay in Macao.