Compagnie de Chine

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The Compagnie de Chine was a French trading company established in 1660 by the Catholic society Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement, in order to dispatch missionaries to Asia (initially Bishops François Pallu, Pierre Lambert de la Motte and Ignace Cotolendi of the newly founded Paris Foreign Missions Society).[1] The company was modelled on the Dutch East India Company.[2]

A ship was built in the Netherlands by the shipowner Fermanel, but the ship foundered soon after being launched.[3] The only remaining solution for the missionaries was to travel on land, since Portugal would have refused to take non-Padroado missionaries by ship, and the Dutch and the English refused to take Catholic missionaries.[4]

In 1664, the China Company would be fused by Jean-Baptiste Colbert with the Compagnie d'Orient and Compagnie de Madagascar into the Compagnie des Indes Orientales.

A second Compagnie de Chine was established in 1698.[5]

The Compagnie de Chine was reactivated in 1723.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mantienne, p.28
  2. ^ Asia in the Making of Europe, p.232
  3. ^ Mantienne, p.28
  4. ^ Missions, p.4
  5. ^ The French Image of China Before and After Voltaire - Page 155 by Basil Guy
  6. ^ Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century by Theodore Besterman, p.56 [1]


  • Mantienne, Frédéric 1999 Monseigneur Pigneau de Béhaine Eglises d'Asie, Série Histoire, ISSN 1275-6865 ISBN 2-914402-20-1
  • Missions étrangères de Paris. 350 ans au service du Christ 2008 Editeurs Malesherbes Publications, Paris ISBN 978-2-916828-10-7