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Merchants, migrants, missionaries, and globalization in the early-modern Pacific

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2006

Luke Clossey
Department of History, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada E-mail:


In 1571 the founding of Manila made possible regular transpacific trade and thus forged the missing link in the global trade network. American interest in China and Japan soared to new heights. In the next two centuries this attraction fuelled other globalizing exchanges—parallel to the commercial ties—across the Pacific. Thousands crossed the ocean to create the America’s first Asian diaspora communities, and Mexico became Europe’s clearinghouse for information about Asia. The most intense connection was missionary, for churchmen in America worked with one eye relentlessly turned to East Asia and dreamed of the possibility of evangelization, and of its alluring dangers. These exchanges, and the attendant expanding mental horizons, evince enough similarities with modern globalization to warrant incorporation into that concept.

© London School of Economics and Political Science

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