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The South China Coast in French and Dutch Literature

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The article examines a number of pieces of early French and Dutch writing about the South China coast. The first is the journal of a Swiss mercenary named Ripon, who was employed by the Dutch East India Company and ventured in the East from 1617 to 1627; the second is a group of journals by Isaac Titsingh, Andreas Everard van Braam and Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes, describing their embassy to Emperor Qianlong in 1794–95; and finally there are a series reports by Dutch Protestant and French Catholic missionaries from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Such Western sources can be an important supplement to the often scant Chinese sources for certain periods. Sources recording the same event but written by different authors and in different languages can provide an informative range of perspectives and serve to complement each other. And a range of different sources in different languages may combine to produce a fairly full historical picture of a given topic.


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