After describing the foundation and life of the Portuguese enclave of Macau on the south coast of China, this chapter focuses on the early abortive missionary attempts in China, including several attempts by Spanish friars from Manila to gain a foothold in China. The key was learning the Chinese language, which was first attempted seriously by the Italian Jesuit Michele Ruggieri, Ricci's fellow shipmate on the voyage from India. A pioneer in the China Mission, Ruggieri accompanied Portuguese merchants from Macau to Guangzhou on trade fairs. Ruggieri also met Alonso Sanchez, an important Spanish Jesuit from the Philippines, who had a different vision of conquering China to spread the Gospels. Thanks to his knowledge of Chinese, Ruggieri gained the good will of Chinese mandarins and opened the door for further contact, thanks to the patronage of Chen Rui. When this high official was dismissed for corruption, Ruggieri was sent back to Macau and it looked as if the mission had failed.
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