In 1514, the Portuguese navigator Jorge Álvares was the first European to reach China by sea. Just over 40 years later, the Portuguese leased Macau from China for an annual rent of about 600 ounces of silver. And then, 14 years after that, the Spanish colonized Manila as the hub of their transpacific trade. By 1600, trade in Chinese goods was in full swing. China became an export powerhouse, and not for the last time.
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