Jorge Álvares statue in Macau
|Born||Late 15th century|
|Died||July 8, 1521|
|Known for||First European explorer to reach China by sea during the Age of Discovery|
In May 1513, Álvares sailed under the Portuguese Malacca captain Rui de Brito Patalim in a junk from Pegu. The expedition was accompanied by five other junks. Álvares himself was accompanied by two other Portuguese mariners.
Álvares made first contact on Chinese soil on an island near the historic city of Guangzhou in southern China in May 1513. The location of the island, which the Portuguese called Tamão, is not exactly known except that it is in the Pearl River Delta, and scholarship has suggested islands such as Lantau Island and Lintin Island as potential candidates. Upon landing on Tamão, Álvares raised a padrão from the king of Portugal. Based on information from their captain, they hoped to find trade. Soon after this, Afonso de Albuquerque, the Viceroy of the Estado da Índia dispatched Rafael Perestrello—a cousin of Christopher Columbus—to seek trade relations with the Chinese. In a ship from Malacca, Rafael Perestrello landed on the southern shores of Guangdong later that year in 1513.
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