In the sixteenth century Ming China, having learnt that the Portuguese were still occupying their 'protectorate' of Melaka and that Portuguese merchant pirates were pillaging China's coast, banned trade with Portugal and imprisoned all their officials in China, including their ambassador. In this paper I have compiled the evidence from the records of the Ming dynasty and the various Portuguese accounts to show how the Ming policy of support for the ruler of Melaka and its hostility towards the Portuguese evolved, as not much is known about this episode. Despite the general misconception that relations between Ming China and the Melaka sultanate lapsed after the last voyages of Chinese Admiral Zheng He to Southeast Asia in 1433, tribute missions from Melaka and other countries continued arriving unabatedly in China until the 1520s.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 55-77
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.