Jorge Álvares

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Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares.JPG
Jorge Álvares statue in Macau
Born Late 15th century
Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1521
Nationality Portuguese
Occupation Explorer
Known for First European explorer to reach China by sea.

Jorge Álvares (died July 8, 1521) is credited as the first European explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong by sea.


In May 1513, Álvares sailed under the Portuguese Malacca captain Rui de Brito Patalim in a junk from Pegu. The expedition was accompanied by five other junks. Álvares himself was accompanied by two other Portuguese mariners.[1]

Álvares made first contact on Asian soil in the historic Chinese capital of Canton, modern-day Mandarinized Guangdong, Southern China in May 1513.[2] Upon landing, he raised a Padrão from the king of Portugal, where they landed on Lintin Island in the Pearl River estuary.[1] Based on information from their captain, they were to hope to find trade. Soon after this, Afonso de Albuquerque, the Viceroy of the Estado da India dispatched Rafael Perestrello—a cousin of Christopher Columbus[3] to seek trade relations with the Chinese. In a ship from Malacca, Rafael landed on the southern shores of Guangdong later that year in 1513, being the first to actually land on the coast of mainland China.[3]

Álvares later joined the venture of establishing the settlements in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong around 1513 to 1514.[4] This visit was followed by the establishment of a number of Portuguese trading centres in the area, which were eventually consolidated in Macau. In 1517 the Portuguese settlers were in a battle with Imperial Chinese army troops in the region.[5] There is a possibility that Álvares took part in the combat.

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  1. ^ a b Porter, Jonathan. [1996] (1996). Macau, the Imaginary City: Culture and Society, 1557 to the Present. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3749-6
  2. ^ Edmonds. [2002] (2002) China and Europe Since 1978: A European Perspective. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52403-2
  3. ^ a b Brook, 124.
  4. ^ Ride, Lindsay. Ride, May. Fairbank, John K. The Voices of Macao Stones: Abridged with Additional Material by Jason Wordie. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-487-2
  5. ^ China Briefing Media. [2004] (2004) Business Guide to the Greater Pearl River Delta. China Briefing Media publishing. ISBN 988-98673-1-1

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