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Chapter Summary

This part of the book briefly introduces the history of Vietnamese maritime trade, the internal political unrest versus economic enlargement from the early sixteenth century and after, the expansion of the country’s foreign trade, and the lively presence of foreign merchants in northern Vietnam in the seventeenth century. The sixteenth-century political crisis caused severe devastation of Vietnam’s agriculture and conscriptions required by the incessant military campaigns, compounded by natural disasters, largely contributed to regular crop failures. By the early seventeenth century, Vietnamese silk had become so popular on the regional market that the French priest Alexander de Rhodes, who first arrived in northern Vietnam in 1627, noted that this product, together with aloes wood, was among the most important of the merchandise which lured Chinese and Japanese merchants to trade with Tonkin.

Keywords: Dutch; Japan; seventeenth century; Vietnam; Vietnamese maritime trade



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