Monday, October 5, 2009

On October 5

On this day in ...
... 1614 (395 years ago today), a fleet of Japanese ships carrying Ambassador Hasekura Tsunenaga arrived in Spain, at the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Hasekura's mission, known as the Keichō Embassy, had begun the prior year and already included Spanish ports of call in North America. Hasekura was the "first Japanese political envoy to visit the American continent." He tried to negotiate trade agreements in Madrid, where he converted to Roman Catholicism, and eventually traveled to the Vatican to meet with the Pope (above) (credit). Having failed to secure trade pacts, Hasekura returned to Japan and died from illness. No Japanese embassy would return to Europe for 200 years.

(Prior October 5 posts are here and here.)

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