Language of diplomacy

Portuguese, a Trade language; miscegenated population; India, Sri Lanka; China and Japan

By Observatory of the Portuguese Language

Trade language (1500) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

A "língua franca" also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when not one of the speakers' native languages.

The Chafariz d'El-Rey (King's Fountain) in the Alfama District, Lisbon (1570) by anonymousObservatory of the Portuguese Language

In 1578, about 20% of the 250,000 inhabitants of Lisbon were black.

16th-century Engraving of Lisbon, Portugal. (1598) by Georg Braun and Franz HogenbergObservatory of the Portuguese Language

In 1578, about 20% of the 250,000 inhabitants of Lisbon were black.

View of the Ribeira Palace in Lisbon, Portugal. (1598) by Georg Braun and Franz HogenbergObservatory of the Portuguese Language

In the first centuries of contacts, countless Africans were brought to Portugal to be instructed in the faith, culture and Western languages.

Some landed in Lisbon as free men, were representatives of the court of Mani Congo, ambassadors, relatives of the royal family. Of these, a few became interpreters (then called "languages"), catechists and priests.

A German doctor who visited Portugal in 1494 claimed to have seen many black young men who had been, or were being, educated in Latin and Theology, with the aim of returning them to the island of S. Tomé, the kingdom of Congo or any other as missionaries, interpreters and emissaries of D. João II.

The State of India or Portuguese India (1505) by Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa)Observatory of the Portuguese Language

The State of India or Portuguese India was, above all, a group of port cities and fortresses installed on the coast of Africa and Asia, from the Cape of Good Hope in the west to Moluccas, Macau and Nagasaki in the east.

Individual possessions were conquered or acquired through the establishment of a contract with the respective governor.

Its existence dates back to the years 1505 to 1961, suffering geographical variations over its more than four centuries of existence. It was founded in 1505.

The first viceroy was D. Francisco de Almeida, who established his government in Cochin. In 1510, the capital of the State of India was transferred to Goa.

Portuguese Ceylon, was a Portuguese territory in present-day Sri Lanka (1518) by Marco RameriniObservatory of the Portuguese Language

In Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Portuguese was used for all contacts between Europeans and the native population; several kings of Ceylon spoke fluent Portuguese and Portuguese names were common in the nobility.

When the Dutch occupied the coast of Ceylon, mainly under the orders of Van Goens, they took steps to stop the use of the Portuguese language.

However, he was so ingrained among the inhabitants of Ceylon that even the families of the Dutch bourgeoisie began to use the Portuguese language.

In 1704, Governor Cornelius Jan Simonsz said: "if you speak Portuguese in Ceylon, you are understood everywhere".

Portuguese-Chinese dictionary manuscript (1588) by Matteo Ricci, Michele Ruggieri, Sebastian FernandezObservatory of the Portuguese Language

First page of (the main text of) the Portuguese-Chinese dictionary manuscript, compiled by Fr. Matteo Ricci, Fr. Michele Ruggieri, and the Chinese (Macau) Jesuit lay brother Sebastian Fernandez in Zhaoqing, Guangdong.

Written between 1583-1588.

Portuguese Father Tomás Pereira was Vice-President of the Court of Mathematics in Beijing, an organ of the imperial court dedicated to astronomical issues and which operated under the auspices of the Beijing Astronomical Observatory.

The Portuguese arrived in Japan, on the island of Tanegashima (1543) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Japan

The Portuguese arrived in Japan, on the island of Tanegashima, in 1542 or 1543

Namban folding screens (16th/17th century) by Kano Domi (attrib.)MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art

Nambam screens

The arrival of the Portuguese in Japan

Namban Screen (1601/1610) by Kano schoolNational Museum Soares dos Reis

Namban folding screens (16th/17th century) by Kano Domi (attrib.)MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art

Namban representation of a Portuguese Carrack (1616) by Kanō NaizenObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Namban representation of a Portuguese Carrack

The carrack were round-sailed ships, and had three masts.

The first specimens had a capacity of 200 to 600 tons, but by the time the Portuguese used them in India's career it reached values of 2000 tons.

Screens showing "southern barbarians" (1600) by Unknown authorObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Screens showing "southern barbarians".

The Nanban Trade ("Trade with the barbarians of the South") in the history of Japan comprises the period from the arrival of the first Portuguese, in 1543, until their expulsion in 1639. This period of nanban-jin presence generated transformations in the political sphere , cultural, artistic, technological and linguistic, namely the introduction of Christianity by S. Francisco Xavier in 1549.

Japan - Shotgun Festival (1999) by K. W. TAM/LUSA, Portuguese News AgencyObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Three snipers from Tanegashima shoot in the streets of the capital, during the Festival da Espingarda, which takes place annually to celebrate the arrival of the Portuguese on the island in 1543.

Amakusa Collegio Museum (天草コレジヨ館)


A replica of the press brought to Japan by the Jesuits can be seen at the "Amakusa College" museum.

Reproduction of the press taken to Japan by Valignano (1597) by Kawaura Sakitsu Tourist GuideObservatory of the Portuguese Language

From 1591 to 1597, there was a Jesuit college and seminar called "Amakusa Collegio" in the city of Kawaura, south of the city of Amakusa.

Amakusa Collegio was built to train Japanese missionaries and, thanks to the press brought to Japan by the Portuguese.

Various types of books were printed there, such as texts for the missionaries, Aesop's Fables and the traditional Japanese history "Heike-monogatari".

1,500 copies or more are said to have been printed at Amakusa Collegio at that time, while circulation in Europe was 300-500 copies.

Francisco Xavier. Japanese portrait from the Nanban period. (1600) by Unknown authorObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Francisco Xavier. Japanese portrait from the Nanban period.

Francisco had a strong impact in Japan, being the first Jesuit to go there on a mission. He took with him paintings of the Virgin Mary and the Virgin with Jesus. These paintings helped him to explain Christianity to the Japanese, since the communication barrier was huge, since Japanese is a language different from all the ones that the missionaries had found until then.

Credits: Story

- Prof. Dr. Lucilene Reginaldo, State University of Feira de Santana, Brazil
- Kanō Naizen
- Kobe City Museum
- Kano Domi (attribute)
- National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon
- Prof. Dr.Boxer, 1989: 14-15
- Marco Ramerini
- Soares dos Reis National Museum, Porto
- Yuichi Furukawa, Marketing department Amakusa Takarajima tourist association.
- LUSA, Portuguese News Agency.

Author: Francisco Nuno Ramos, Observatory of the Portuguese Language

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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