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Visitors and Settlers: Notes on Timor and the Chinese as Cultural and Economic Brokers (Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries)

Pages 139 - 164


Research Centre for Communication and Culture Catholic University of Portugal / Foundation for Science and Technology

1 Roderich Ptak, “Some References to Timor in old Chinese Records”, Ming Studies 17 (1983), p. 37, 42 n. 1.

2 Roderich Ptak, “The Transportation of Sandalwood from Timor to China and Macao c. 1350–1600”, in Roderich Ptak (ed.), Portuguese Asia: Aspects in History and Economic History (16th and 17th Centuries) (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1987), pp. 89–90.

3 Roderich Ptak, “The Northern Trade Route to the Spice Islands: South China Sea – Sulu Zone – North Moluccas (14th to early 16th century)”, Archipel 43 (1992), p. 31.

4 Armando Cortesão, (ed.), The Suma Oriental of Tomé Pires. An Account of the East from the Red Sea to Japan Written in Malacca and India in 1512–1515, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1944), I, p. 204; Maria Augusta da Veiga e Sousa (ed.), O Livro de Duarte Barbosa. Edição crítica e anotada. 2 vols. (Lisbon: CNCDP / IICT, 1996–2000), II, pp. 392–393.

5 Among the most relevant works, on the Portuguese side, are Luna de Oliveira, Timor na História de Portugal, 2 vols. (Lisbon: Agência Geral das Colónias, 1949); Gonçalo Pimenta de Castro, Timor. Subsídios para a sua História (Lisbon: Agência Geral das Colónias, 1954); Artur Teodoro de Matos, Timor Português, 1515–1769. Contribuição para a sua História (Lisbon: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, 1974) and Fernando Augusto de Figueiredo, Timor. A Presença Portuguesa (1769–1945), unpubl. PhD diss. (Porto: Faculdade de Letras, Universidade do Porto, 2004, available online at and published version (Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Históricos da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2011).

6 For instance, Geoffrey C. Gunn, Timor Loro Sae: 500 Years (Macao: Livros do Oriente, 1999), René Pélissier, Timor em Guerra – A Conquista Portuguesa, 1847–1913 (Lisbon: Editorial Estampa, 2007; original French version: Timor en guerre: le crocodile et les Portugais, 1847–1913, Orgeval: R. Pélissier, 1996), and Hans Hägerdal, Lords of the Land, Lords of the sea. Conflict and adaptation in early colonial Timor, 1600–1800 (Leiden: KITVL Press, 2012).

7 Two letters from Rui de Brito to Afonso de Albuquerque, 6 January 1514, in Basílio de Sá (ed.), Documentação para a História do Padroado Português do Oriente/Insulíndia, 6 vols. (Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1954), I, pp. 54, 72; letter from Pero de Faria to King Manuel, 5 January 1517, in A. da Silva Rego (ed.), As Gavetas da Torre do Tombo, 12 vols. (Lisbon: JICU, Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, 1967), VI, p. 355.

8 Francisco Mendes da Luz, (ed.), “Livro das Cidades e Fortalezas que a Coroa de Portugal tem nas Partes da Índia”, Boletim da Biblioteca da Universidade de Coimbra 21 (1952), p. 144.

9 “Orders Delivered to the Captains of Melaka”, British Museum, Add. 28433, fl. 67v.

10 Rui Loureiro, “Discutindo a Formação da Presença Colonial Portuguesa em Timor”, Lusotopie (2001), pp. 147–149.

11 Manuel Godinho de Erédia, História de Serviços com Martírio de Luís Monteiro Coutinho, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (Lisbon), codex 414, fls. 14–16 [on-line in]; letter from the Bishop of Melaka to the King, 31 December 1588, in Paulo Jorge de Sousa Pinto, The Portuguese and the Straits of Melaka, 1575–1619. Power, Trade and Diplomacy (Singapore: NUS Press, 2012), pp. 289, 295.

12 Anthony Reid, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450–1680 (New Haven / London: Yale University Press, 1993), II, p. 213.

13 Francisco Rodrigues Silveira, Reformação da Milícia e Governo do Estado da Índia Oriental (Lisbon: Fundação Oriente, 1996), p. 90.

14 R. H. Barnes, “Avarice and Iniquity at the Solor Fort”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 143.2/3 (1987), pp. 208–236.

15 Manuel Lobato, “Timor”, in A. H. de Oliveira Marques (ed.), História dos Portugueses no Extremo Oriente, vol. 1, t. II: De Macau à periferia (Lisbon: Fundação Oriente, 2000), pp. 351–374, 363–369.

16 Jacques Arago, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World, in the Uranie and Physicienne corvettes commanded by Captain Freycinet during the years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820; on a scientific expedition undertaken by order of the French Government. In a series of letters to a friend, by J. Arago, draftsman to the expedition (London: Treuttel and Wurz, Treuttel Jr & Richter, 1823), p. 213.

17 Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, 8 vols. (London: W. Strahan, 1783), vol. I, p. 271.

18 Ptak, “Some References”, pp. 38, 44 n. 17.

19 Ptak, “The Northern Trade Route”, p. 33.

20 Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China (Cambridge University Press, 1959), III, pp. 501–502.

21 Geoff Wade (trans.), Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an Open Access Resource (Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore),, accessed November 20, 2013.

22 René Servoise, “La concepcion de l'ordre mondial dans la China Impériale”, Revue Française de Science Politique 23.3 (1973), pp. 550–569.

23 Wang Gungwu, “Ming foreign relations: Southeast Asia”, in Dennis Twitchett and John K. Fairbank (eds.), The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 8: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 301–332.

24 Claudine Salmon, “Srivijaya, la Chine et les marchands chinois (Xe—XIIe s.). Quelques réflexions sur la société de l'empire sumatrais”, Archipel 63 (2002), pp. 57–78.

25 Craig A. Lockard, “‘The Sea Common to All’: Maritime Frontiers, Port Cities, and Chinese Traders in the Southeast Asian Age of Commerce, ca. 1400–1750”, Journal of World History 21.2 (Jun. 2010), pp. 219–247.

26 Roderich Ptak, “Jottings on Chinese Sailing Routes to Southeast Asia, especially on the Eastern Route in Ming Times”, in Jorge dos Santos Alves (ed.), Portugal e a China. Conferências nos Encontros de História Luso-Chinesa (Lisbon: Fundação Oriente, 2000), p. 111.

27 On Fulata and the complexity of early Luso-Chinese relations, see, for example, Roderich Ptak, ”The Fujianese, Ryukyuans and Portuguese (c. 1511 to 1540s): Allies or Competitors?”, Anais de História de Além-Mar 3 (2002), pp. 447–467.

28 Veiga e Sousa, (ed.), O Livro de Duarte Barbosa, II, p. 418; translation from Mansel Longworth Dames (ed.), The Book of Duarte Barbosa. An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and their Inhabitants, II (London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1921, reprt. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1989), p. 215.

29 Leonard Blussé, “No Boats to China. The Dutch East India Company and the Changing Pattern of the China Sea Trade, 1635–1690”, Modern Asian Studies 30.1 (1996), pp. 58–59.

30 Juan Gil, Los Chinos en Manila, siglos XVI y XVII (Lisbon: Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau, 2011), pp. 353–355; Leonard Blussé, “Testament to a Towkay: Jan Con, Batavia and the Dutch China Trade”, in Strange Company: Chinese Settlers, Mestizo Women and Dutch in VOC Batavia (Dordrecht/Providence: Foris Publications, 1988), p. 52; Paulo Jorge de Sousa Pinto, “Malaca, Manila e Batávia. Os chineses ultramarinos no contexto dos impérios europeus na Ásia do Sueste (séculos XVI–XVII)”, in Manuel Lobato and Maria de Deus Manso (eds.), Mestiçagens e identidades intercontinentais nos espaços lusófonos (Braga: NICPRI, 2013), pp. 91–108.

31 William Dampier, A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland, &c., in the year 1699 (London: James Knapton, 1709), p. 50.

32 ibid., p. 40.

33 ibid., p. 78.

34 Leonard Y. Andaya, “The ‘Informal Portuguese Empire’ and the Topasses in the Solor Archipelago and Timor in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 41 (2010), pp. 400–405.

35 C. R. Boxer, The Topasses of Timor (Amsterdam: Koninklijke Vereeniging Indisch Institute, 1947); Francisco Vieira de Figueiredo. A Portuguese Merchant-Adventurer in Southeast Asia, 1624–1667 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1967); Fidalgos in the Far East (Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 174–198.

36 Leonard Y. Andaya, “The ‘Informal Portuguese Empire’, p. 405.

37 Luís Filipe Thomaz, “Timor: O Protetorado Português”, in A. H. de Oliveira Marques (ed.), História dos Portugueses no Extremo Oriente, vol. 2: Macau e Timor. O Declínio do Império (Lisbon: Fundação Oriente, 2000), pp. 502–511.

38 Hans Hägerdal, “Servião and Belu: Colonial Conceptions and the Geographical Partition of Timor”, Studies on Asia III-3 (2006), pp. 49–64.

39 Hans Hägerdal, “Rebellions or Factionalism? Timorese Forms of Resistance in an Early Colonial Context, 1650–1769”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 163.1 (2007), pp. 1–33.

40 John Villiers, “As derradeiras do mundo: The Dominican Missions and the Sandalwood Trade in the Lesser Sunda Islands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, in II Seminário Internacional de História Indo-portuguesa (Lisbon: IICT, 1985), pp. 577–578.

41 Ptak, “The Transportation of Sandalwood”, p. 102–103.

42 Francisco Mendes da Luz, (ed.), Livro das Cidades e Fortalezas que a Coroa de Portugal tem nas Partes da Índia (Coimbra: Biblioteca da Universidade, 1952), p. 132.

43 Miguel Rangel, “Relação das Cristandades e Ilhas de Solor”, in Sá (ed.), Documentação, V, p. 331.

44 King to the Bishop of Melaka D. João Ribeiro Gaio, 13 March 1595, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (Lisbon), Conselho Ultramarino, cod. 281, fl. 325 v; King to the Viceroy, 28 February 1595, in Sá (ed.), Documentação, V, p. 241.

45 Gunn, Timor Loro Sae, p. 82. The Portuguese sources refer to the Chinese presence in Makassar at this point, but with no details. See letter from Father João Nunes to Gosuvino Nickel, 16 December 1655 and anonymous to the same, 1656/1657, in Hubert Jacobs (ed.), The Jesuit Makassar Documents (1615–1682) (Rome: Jesuit Historical Institute, 1988), pp. 141 and 145. For a recent study on the Chinese in this sultanate, see Gabrielle von Kispal-van Deijk, “Ubiquitous but Elusive: The Chinese of Makassar in VOC Times”, Journal of Asian History 47.1 (2013), pp. 81–103.

46 Recent work on this period and the Zheng clan includes: Roderich Ptak, “Zur Befreiung Taiwans vom holländischen Joch: Die Vertreibung der Niederländer durch Zheng Chenggong vor 350 Jahren”, Saeculum 62.1 (2012), pp. 113–134; same and Hu Baozhu, “Between Global and Regional Aspirations: China's Maritime Frontier and the Fujianese in the Early Seventeenth Century”, Journal of Asian History 47.2 (2013), Wei-Chung Cheng, War, Trade and Piracy in the China Seas (1622–1683) (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

47 Leonard Blussé, “Chinese Century. The Eighteenth Century in the China Sea Region”, Archipel 58 (1999), pp. 121–122.

48 Senate of Macao to the Governor of the Bishopric, 2 October 1686, in Arquivos de Macau II.1 (Macao: Imprensa Nacional, 1941), p. 75.

49 Report on the enquiry about the Dutch actions in Timor, 4 September 1703, in Artur Teodoro de Matos, Timor Português, pp. 310–318.

50 António Coelho Guereiro to the King, 29 September 1703, ibid., p. 321.

51 Viceroy to António de Hornay, 7 May 1678, in A. Faria de Morais, Subsídios para a História de Timor (Bastorá: Tip. Rangel, 1934), p. 36.

52 For instance, see the Record of the Senate, 26 September 1689, in Arquivos de Macau III.1 (1964), pp. 13–14.

53 Viceroy to the City Council of Macao, 23 April 1720, in Arquivos de Macau III.9 (1968), p. 112.

54 Viceroy to the Senate of Macao, 18 May 1721, ibid., p. 125.

55 Record of the Council, 2 October 1704, ibid. III.2 (1964), p. 59.

56 Records of the Senate, 23 October 1723 and 12 October 1724, ibid. III.3 (1965), pp. 9–11, 19. On António (de) Albuquerque Coelho, see, for example, Paulo Miguel Martins, Percorrendo o Oriente: A vida de António de Albuquerque Coelho (1682–1745) (Lisbon: Livros Horizonte, 1998).

57 Senate of Macao to António Moniz Macedo, 12 October 1724 and 18 October 1724; reply from the Governor, 13 October 1724, in Arquivos de Macau III.6 (1966), pp. 81–83.

58 Matos, Timor Português, p. 178; Hägerdal, Lords of the Land, p. 348.

59 “Improvement Project of Timor”, Annaes Maritimos e Coloniaes (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1843), p. 73.

60 Robert Williams, “Description of the Straits of Flores or Floris” (1797), in Joseph Huddart, The Oriental Navigator, or New Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies (London: Robert Laurie, 1801), p. 581.

61 Andrew Ljungstedt, An Historical Sketch of the Portuguese Settlements in China (Boston: James Munroe, 1836), pp. 122–123.

62 Records of the Senate, 13 September 1719 and 31 August 1720, in Arquivos de Macau III.2 (1964), pp. 296, 323–325; Order by the Viceroy, 18 May 1721, ibid. III.9 (1968), p. 127.

63 Dampier, A Continuation of a Voyage, p. 79.

64 Letter from the Viceroy of India to the Senate of Macao, 7 May 1723, in Arquivos de Macau III.9 (1968), p. 141.

65 Gunn, Timor Loro Sae, p. 85.

66 Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History, I, p. 271.

67 John Villiers, “The Vanishing Sandalwood of Portuguese Timor”, Itinerario 28.2 (1994), pp. 88–90.

68 Arago, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 188.

69 François Péron, Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes, executé par ordre de Sa Majesté l'Empereur et Roi (Paris: Imprimerie Imperiale, 1807) I, p. 144; see Anne Lombard-Jourdan, “François Péron et Charles Lesueur à Timor. Une chasse au crocodile en 1803”, Archipel 54 (1997), pp. 81–121.

70 Pinto, “Malaca, Manila e Batávia”, p. 104.

71 T. B. Wilson, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World (London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1835), p. 65.

72 William Bligh, A Voyage to the South Sea Undertaken by command of His Majesty (London: George Nicol, 1792), p. 242.

73 Anne Lombard-Jourdan and Salmon Claudine, “Les Chinois de Kupang (Timor), aux alentours de 1800”, Archipel 56 (1998), pp. 406–408.

74 T. B. Wilson, Narrative, pp. 66–67.

75 M. G. L. Domeny de Rienzi, Océanie, ou la Cinquième Partie du Monde (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1836), pp. 208–209; Arago, Narrative of a Voyage, pp. 188, 194.

76 Views on the anti-Chinese moves of the Spanish and Dutch vary. There is a considerable body of literature on these themes. More recent work includes Gil, Los Chinos en Manila (several sections), Kerry Ward, Netwoks of Empire – Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 98–101, and M. C. Ricklefs, “The Crisis in 1740–1 in Java: the Javanese, Chinese, Madurese and Dutch, and the fall of the court of Kartasura”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 139.2/3 (1983), pp. 268–290.

77 Dampier, A Continuation of a Voyage, p. 63.

78 Statute of Judicial Officers, 20 July 1702 in Matos, Timor Português, pp. 295–296. This author identifies “5 Chinese merchants” (p. 191).

79 Viceroy to the Senate of Macao, 4 May 1751, in Arquivos de Macau III.X (1968), p. 8.

80 Anne Lombard-Jourdan, “Un mémoire inédit de F. E. de Rosily sur l'île de Timor (1772)”, Archipel 23 (1982), p. 98.

81 Governor to the Secretary of Navy and Overseas Affairs, 30 April 1785, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (Lisbon), Conselho Ultramarino, 83, box 3, doc. 120.

82 A. Faria de Morais, Sólor e Timor (Lisbon: Agência Geral das Colónias, 1944), p. 163.

83 Arago, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 212.

84 For instance, in 1815 and 1819; Manuel de Arriaga Brum da Silveira to the Secretary of Navy and Overseas Affairs, 31 January 1815, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (Lisbon), Conselho Ultramarino, 62, box 38, doc. 1840; Manuel de Arriaga Brum da Silveira to the Government of Timor, 6 November 1819, ibid. 83, box 5, doc. 182.

85 Gunn, Timor Loro Sae, p. 82.

86 Governor of Timor, 10 June 1816, in Affonso de Castro, As Possessões Portuguesas na Oceania (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1867), p. 294.

87 Oliveira, Timor na História de Portugal, I, pp. 271–274.

88 M. Louis de Freycinet, Voyage autour du Monde, entrepris par Ordre du Roi (Paris: Pillet Ainé, 1828), I, 2, pp. 538–539.

89 “Treaty with Holland about Timor and Solor”, Archivo Universal (Lisbon: Tip. de J. V. P. da Silva, 1860), 3, p. 210.

90 João de Lacerda, “Recordações de Viagem. Cartas ao meu amigo Xavier da Cunha”, Archivo Pittoresco (1867), pp. 309–310; Arago, Narrative of a Voyage, p. 212. See Figueiredo, Timor, pp. 226–230, 375–378 (unpubl. diss.), pp. 373–375, 385–386 (publ. version).

91 For the involvement of Macao in the kuli trade, see Beatriz Basto da Silva, Emigração de Cules – Dossier Macau, 1851–1894 (Macao: Fundação Oriente, 1994).

92 “Improvement Project of Timor”, Annaes Maritimos e Coloniaes (1843), pp. 71–73.

93 Report of José Celestino da Silva, 26 January 1897, in Ministério dos Negócios da Marinha e Ultramar, Relatorio das Operações de Guerra no Districto Autonomo de Timor no anno de 1896 pelo governador do mesmo Districto (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1897), p. 29. On this episode, see Pélissier, Timor em Guerra, pp. 241–242, note 114.

94 “Table no 5 – Existing Ships in Dili”, Annaes Maritimos e Coloniaes (1843), pp. 186–187.

95 Boletim da Província de Macau e Timor, 27 November 1871, pp. 190–193.

96 Ptak, “Some References”, p. 42; same, “The Eastern Rim of Southeast Asia in Late Medieval and Early Modern Chinese Sources”, Nanyang xuebao (Journal of the South Seas Society) 55 (2000), pp. 22–47.

97 Hägerdal, Lords of the Land, p. 263.


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