European Exploration of South East Asia

In 1509, Diogo Lopes de Sequeira was the first European navigator on record to reach Malacca (Melaka). The city was conquered by a Portuguese expedition commanded by Viceroy Afonso de Albuquerque in 1511. In 1511, Portuguese Antonio de Abreu visited Java, Sumatra and the Moluccas or Spice Islands. In 1513 Alvares">Jorge Alvares was the first European navigator to reach the Pearl River (Canton, China).
In 1521, a Spanish expedition under Fernao Magelhaes (Magellan) reached the Philippine Islands; he died in a fight. In 1529, Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Zaragoza, an eastern equivalent of the Treaty of Tordesillas, which left the Moluccas and the Philippines (the latter named after Spanish Prince Philip, later King Philip II.) in the Portuguese sector.

Pegu, Arakan : it is not recorded when the first Portuguese arrived on the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal. in the 1540es the Portuguese were enemies of Arakan and Bengal, but allied to Pegu.

Siam : In 1544, Portuguese Antonio de Paiva had traveled to Ayutthaya and had been given an audience by the King. During the 1546-1547 Burmese invasion of Siam, Portuguese managed the Burmese artillery, while among the defenders of capital Ayutthaya, Portuguese mercenaries also were in charge of the artillery. In 1553 several Portuguese ships landed in the country, the crew being enlisted into the Siamese army. With them the first Catholic priests entered the country.

Article Siam, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Arakan, from Guide to Thailand
A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Thailand, by Surachai Chumsriphan

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 24th 2003, last revised on November 14th 2004

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