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The Location of China

The Location of China

(p.167) 6 The Location of China
The Indies of the Setting Sun
Ricardo Padrón
University of Chicago Press

In the new era of transpacific colonization and trade initiated by Miguel López de Legazpi and Andrés de Urdaneta, some Spaniards expected that the Philippines would serve as a staging ground for spectacular conquests on the Asian mainland. The only war for control of China that was ever fought, however, played out on paper, as Spanish Sinophobes competed with Sinophiles to define the Middle Kingdom as either a brittle and tyrannical polity ripe for military conquest, or a powerful, practically utopian society that could only be approached peacefully through diplomacy and Christian evangelization. Even such Sinophiles as Bernardino de Escalante and Juan González de Mendoza, however, agreed with the Sinophobes that China was best understood as the keystone of the transpacific west that belonged by international agreement to Spain, not the transasiatic East that belonged to Portugal.

Keywords:   Bernardino de Escalante, Juan González de Mendoza, Francisco Sande, China, early modern Sinology, travel narrative

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