Portuguese Historiography has developed, from the Nineteenth century to our days, a considerable effort to study the emergence, consolidation and perpetuation of Portuguese maritime empire in Asia between the Sixteenth and the Seventeenth centuries. Some scholars have focused on to the specific cases of Goa, Daman, and Diu (Portuguese India), East-Timor and Macau – creole enclaves where the Portuguese culture adapted itself to local conditions, producing societies that differed indeed from the European mother-culture and the preexistent communities. Little attention has been given to the relations between Portugal and the Asiatic powers, during the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.
On the occasion of the 150 anniversary of the birth of Venceslau de Morais (1854-1929) – the Portuguese version of Lafcadio Hearn – the National Library of Portugal organizes an exhibition and publishes a catalog and this website. It expects to offer a bibliographic and documental record that illustrates the abundance of testimonies of Portuguese travelers, diplomats, merchants and journalists that went through Siam, China and Japan, during the following periods: in China, between the Opium War (1839) and the communist seizure of power (1949); in Japan, between the Meiji’s restoration and the 1945 defeat; and in Siam/Thailand, between the arrival to power of the Chakri dynasty and the ascension of King Bumibhol to the throne, in 1946.
The Portuguese and the Orient: Siam , China and Japan (1840-1940), a major exhibition at the National library of Portugal, runs from November 4th, 2004 through January 6, 2005.
About the catalog
The exibition's catalog, opens with works of António Vasconcelos Saldanha, President of the Portuguese Institute of the Orient and specialist in diplomatic history, Filipe Delfim Santos, Director of the Center for Asiatic Studies, João Lima Pimentel, the Portuguese Ambassador to Thailand, Miguel Castelo-Branco, Head of the Division of Cultural and Scientific Investigation at the National Library and Teotónio R. de Souza, Chair of the History Department at the Lusophone University.