Portuguese navigators began their systematic exploration of the Atlantic Ocean and the west coast of Africa early in the 15th century. However, the idea of attempting to reach the fabulous Orient of drugs and spices by sea seems to have appeared only around 1475, by when Portuguese ships were already sailing the waters of the Gulf of Guinea on a regular basis and the nautical experience acquired in the meantime suggested that it was possible to circumnavigate the African continent…
.... In 1498, by reaching the Indian port of Calicut, VASCO DA GAMA’s maiden voyage finally provided the direct link between Portugal and the long-desired Orient…
... In 1511 the Portuguese fleet with the command of AFONSO DE ALBUQUERQUE conquest MALACCA, important Malay stronghold, where a prosperous trade was made…there the Portuguese met for the first time the mysterious people from the Land of Chins.
As from 1511, the Portuguese settled in strength at the centre of this web of trade routes stretched out in every direction and embraced practically all the Asian ports located to the East of Cape “Comorin”...
... In1513 the first Portuguese travellers reaching the island of Tuen Mun, near Canton, or Tamão as the Portuguese understood the name.
Jorge Álvares , who sailed on board of a Malay junk fitted out by the captain of Malacca, returned to the Portuguese stronghold in 1514 with a precious cargo which included merchandise such as white silk, damasks, brocades, musk, seed-pearls and porcelain, as well as more banal though no less essential goods such as sulphur and saltpetre, used in the manufacture of gunpowder. According the rumours that shortly abounded in Portuguese overseas circles, it would be as advantageous to take pepper from Malacca to China, a voyage that lasted little more that a month, as to take the same quantity of this spice to the Portuguese Kingdom, a long journey that could take more than a year. The Celestial Empire immediately became an important pole of attraction…
... in 1522 the Celestial Empire closed the sea ports to the foreigners...
...in 1530 Fujian junks were once again calling at Malacca where they are enthusiastically welcome by the local officials. Barely three years later, there was news of new voyages of Portuguese ships towards the ports of that Chinese province..
... since 1540 till 1549 the Portuguese have a large establishments on Shuangyu islands of the Zhoushan archipelago, near the Chinese city of Ningbo (Liampo)...
… in 1542 an important event was to lead to enormous changes in Sino-Portuguese relations. A junk belonging to Portuguese merchants, which headed from Siam towards the ports of China on a normal business runs, was blown off course by a typhoon. After drifting for several days, the ship ended up by coming into the port of Tanegashima, on one of the more southerly of the Japanese islands.
Paradoxically, despite the short distance separating Japan from the Celestial Empire - about ten days under sail – official relations between these two far-eastern powers were severed. On the one hand, a long, terrible civil war was being waged in the Japanese islands. Which hindered regular trade.
The Portuguese soon sprang up a triangular trade, linking Malacca to the Chinese ports and these to the Japanese archipelago, based on trading Chinese silk for Japanese silver (between several other products).
....in 1557 after many years of meetings and embassies the Portuguese are finally accepted by the KUANG TUNG mandarins (Canton or Guangzhou) and authorize the establishment of the settlement at the mouth of Pearl River – MACAU....
...in the end of XVII century, PORTUGAL and CHINA claim the position of the big powers in Europe and Asia.

500 years later...Portugal is reduced to his small European greatness…
and integrating the European Community belongs today to a big market with several millions of consumers…

In the 21st Century we cannot follow the heroic exploits in the bygone years…
But with our capacities and acquaintance we could be the correct partner in China or other Far East regions…