Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/1

The Ryukyu Islands, where explorers were sent by Andrade.

Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade (died September 1523) was a Portuguese merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca governor Afonso de Albuquerque. His encounter with the Ming Dynasty in 1517—after initial contacts by Jorge Álvares and Rafael Perestrello in 1513 and 1516, respectively—marked the beginning of direct European commercial and diplomatic contact with China (following medieval trade communities and Marco Polo's travels). Although the mission was initially a success that led the embassy all the way to Beijing, relations were soon soiled by culminating events that led to an extremely negative impression of the Portuguese in China. This included acts of his brother Simão that enraged the Chinese, false reports of the Portuguese being cannibals of kidnapped Chinese children and true reports of their conquest of Malacca, a loyal Ming tributary vassal state. Normalized trade and relations between Portugal and the Ming Dynasty would not resume until the late 1540s and the 1557 establishment of Portuguese rule over Macau.

Andrade was referred to as a "Folangji" (佛郎機) in Ming dynastic archives. Folangji comes from Franques or Franks, which was a generic name the Muslims called Europeans since the Crusades, and which spawned the Indian-Southeast Asian term ferengi. The Chinese adopted the convention when they first thought the Portuguese were related to those Muslim guides and interpreters during Fernão's first encounter and before Europeans directly convened with Chinese.


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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/2

Pedro Álvares Cabra

Pedro Álvares Cabral (c. 1467 or 1468 – c. 1520) was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a fine education. He was appointed to head an expedition to India in 1500, following Vasco da Gama's newly opened route around Africa. The object of the undertaking was to return with valuable spices and to establish trade relations in India—bypassing the monopoly on the spice trade then in the hands of Arab, Turkish and Italian merchants. His fleet of 13 ships sailed far into the western Atlantic Ocean, perhaps intentionally, where he made landfall on what he initially assumed to be a large island. As the new land was within the Portuguese sphere according to the Treaty of Tordesillas, Cabral claimed it for the Portuguese Crown. He explored the coast, realizing that the large land mass was likely a continent, and dispatched a ship to notify King Manuel I of the new territory. The continent was South America, and the land he had claimed for Portugal later came to be known as Brazil. The fleet reprovisioned and then turned eastward to resume the journey to India. Cabral was later passed over, possibly as a result of a quarrel with Manuel I, when a new fleet was assembled to establish a more robust presence in India. Having lost favor with the King, he retired to a private life of which few records survive. His accomplishments slipped into obscurity for more than 300 years. Nevertheless, although he was overshadowed by contemporary explorers, Cabral today is regarded as a major figure of the Age of Discovery.

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/3

Pieter Nuyts in Taiwan in 1629 (Japanese artist).

Pieter Nuyts (1598 – 11 December 1655) was a Dutch explorer, diplomat, and politician. He was part of a landmark expedition of the Dutch East India Company in 1626–27, which mapped the southern coast of Australia. He became the Dutch ambassador to Japan in 1627, and he was appointed Governor of Formosa in the same year. Later he became a controversial figure because of his disastrous handling of official duties, coupled with rumours about private indiscretions. Nuyts acquired some notoriety while Governor for apparently taking native women to his bed, and having a translator hide under the bed to interpret his pillow-talk. He was also accused of profiting from private trade, something which was forbidden under company rules. Some sources claim that he officially married a native Formosan woman during this time, but as he was still legally married to his first wife Cornelia, this seems unlikely. His handling of relations with the natives of Formosa too was a cause for concern, with the residents of Sinkan contrasting his harsh treatment with the "generous hospitality of the Japanese". Nuyts had a low opinion of the natives, writing that they were "a simple, ignorant people, who know neither good nor evil". He was disgraced, fined and imprisoned, before being made a scapegoat to ease strained Dutch relations with the Japanese. He returned to the Dutch Republic in 1637, where he became the mayor of Hulster Ambacht and of Hulst. He is chiefly remembered today in the place names of various points along the southern Australian coast, named for him after his voyage of 1626–27. During the early 20th century, he was vilified in Japanese school textbooks in Taiwan as an example of a "typical arrogant western bully".

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/4

Memorial stone in Oude Kerk indicating a burial date.

Kiliaen van Rensselaer (before 1596 – after 1642) was a Dutch diamond and pearl merchant from Amsterdam who was one of the founders and directors of the Dutch West India Company and was instrumental in the establishment of New Netherland. He became one of the first patroons and ended up being the only successful one, having founded the Manor of Rensselaerswyck in what is now mainly New York's Capital District. His estate lasted as a legal entity until the 1840s, having lived through Dutch and British colonial times, the American Revolution, and eventually coming to an end during the Anti-Rent War. Van Rensselaer was born in the province of Gelderland to a soldier and a homemaker. To keep him from risking his life in the army like his father, he apprenticed under his uncle, a successful Amsterdam jeweler. He too became a successful jeweler and was one of the first subscribers to the Dutch West India Company upon its conception. He may very well be the source of the idea of patroonships and was probably the leading proponent of the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, the document that established the patroon system. His patroonship became the most successful to exist, with van Rensselaer making full use of his business tactics and advantages, such as his connection to the Director of New Netherland, his confidantes at the West India Company, and his extended family members that were more than happy to emigrate to a better place to farm. He was married twice and had at least eleven children, two of whom succeeded him as patroons of Rensselaerswyck. Van Rensselaer died sometime after 1642.

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/5

Dr. Hendrik P. N. Muller

Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller (2 April 1859 in Rotterdam - 11 August 1941 in The Hague, Netherlands) was a Dutch businessman, diplomat, world traveller, publicist, and philanthropist. Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. In his mid-twenties he travelled to Zanzibar, Mozambique, and South Africa for business purposes, but showed himself a keen ethnographer as well, collecting ethnographic artifacts and writing reports about the societies and people he encountered on his way. In 1890, Muller retired from business for personal reasons, and went to Germany to study ethnography and geography. He graduated with a Ph.D. dissertation four years later. In 1896 he was first appointed consul and later consul general for the Orange Free State. Muller held this position all through the Second Boer War and his high-profiled performance as European representative for this Boer republic won him considerable fame and notoriety, which lasted all his life. After the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in 1902 Muller retired to a life of travelling and writing for some years, making Muller a household name with his travelbooks. In 1919 the Dutch government appointed him envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Romania, and later to Czechoslovakia, where he retired in 1932. Muller was a prolific writer. Over the course of his life he published well over two hundred articles, brochures, and books about his travels through the world, about South Africa and the Boers, and about Dutch foreign policy and diplomacy, apart from a range of other subjects. Muller gathered a large fortune with well appointed private investments. He bequeathed his considerable wealth to a private fund in support of academic research and cultural heritage.

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/6

Coronation portrait

Edward VII (9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death on 6 May 1910. He was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V.

Before his accession to the throne, Edward held the title of Prince of Wales and was heir apparent to the throne for longer than anyone else in history. During the long widowhood of his mother, Queen Victoria, he was largely excluded from political power and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite.

The Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including powered flight and the rise of socialism and the Labour movement. He played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet, the reform of the Army Medical Services, and the reorganisation of the British army after the Second Boer War.

Edward fostered good relations between Great Britain and other European countries, especially France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, Wilhelm II of Germany, was poor. Edward presciently suspected that Wilhelm would precipitate a war, and four years after Edward's death, World War I brought an end to the Edwardian way of life.

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/7

Queen Victoria photograph by Alexander Bassano, 1882

Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. At 63 years and 7 months, her reign lasted longer than that of any other British monarch, and is the longest of any female monarch in history. Her reign is known as the Victorian era, and was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom.

Victoria was of mostly German descent; she was the daughter of the fourth son of George III, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. Both the Duke of Kent and George III died a year after her birth, and she inherited the throne at the age of 18 after her father's three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. She ascended the throne when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the king or queen held relatively few direct political powers and exercised influence by the prime minister's advice; but she became the iconic symbol of the nation and empire. She had strict standards of personal morality. Her reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, which reached its zenith and became the foremost global power. Her 9 children and 42 grandchildren married into royal families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

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Portal:Colonialism/Selected biography/8 Maurice Joostens


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