Old and new, this statue of one of the first Portugues explorers to set foot in China in 1513, backlit by massive neon signboard for modern Emperor Casino.
“After sailing many miles across the sea, Jorge Alvares and his crew dropped anchor in Tamao, an island located at the mouth of the Pearl River. This was to be the first time the Portuguese ever to set foot in the territory known as China, the mythical “Middle Kingdom.”
Some letters from Italian merchants at that time recorded the first trade between the Chinese and Portuguese, claiming they “were not authorized to land as locals said that by allowing foreigners to enter their houses, they were violating social customs.”
Even still, Jorge Alvares sold all the goods to local businessmen at a fair price.
Two years later, a commercial fleet under the command of Rafael Perestrelo began an expedition from Goa in India, with the hope of further trade with the people on the Pearl River.
The fleet profited greatly from this expedition and earnings were at a record high, with most of their commodities being made in the Southeast Asia countries.
Very few Chinese people knew who they were trading with and where this country was and how exactly to name the Portuguese. Instead they just called the foreigners Da Xi Yang Guo Ren (people from the Atlantic Ocean countries).
Rafael Perestrelo was even once quoted as saying, “being a very good and honest people, the Chinese hope to make friends with the Portuguese.”
Since then, the two countries began an exchange in culture and trade that would span for nearly 500 years.”