1st Edition

The Chronicler of China Juan González de Mendoza, between Mission, Empire and History (Sixteenth- to Seventeenth Centuries)

By Diego Sola Copyright 2024
    296 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This monograph provides an analysis and contextualization of an extraordinarily successful book, the History of the Great Kingdom of China (Rome 1585), by the Spanish Augustinian friar Juan González de Mendoza (1545–1618). Within a few years, this book had reached 30 editions and had been translated into several languages, including English. Mendoza’s chronicle shaped the late Renaissance interpretation of China across Europe. It had its origin in an embassy to emperor Wanli of China sent by Philip II, ruler of the Spanish and Portuguese overseas empires in America and Asia. Reconstructing the biography of González de Mendoza with new sources, this volume offers a systematic study of his account of late Ming China, analyzing its reception and influence both in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

    The Chronicler of China is divided into five chapters, covering the Portuguese and Castilian sources that recorded the earliest contacts with China in the sixteenth century, the figure of Mendoza as an ethnographical and political writer, the building of his chronicle on China, the dialogue with his sources and, finally, the footprint of Mendoza’s book in the European Republic of Letters.

    This book, the most complete study on the Augustinian Mendoza and his historical and ethnographical work to date, contributes to a wider understanding of the Iberian contribution to sixteenth-century travel writing and the Western knowledge of China. It will appeal to scholars and students alike interested in the early modern interpretation of China in Europe.

    Prologue: Juan González de Mendoza and the European discovery of China
    Joan-Pau Rubiés

    1 Between Iberia and Cathay

    2 Agent of God and empire 

    3 The “Chronicle of China” 

    4 Visions of the Great Kingdom 

    5 The chronicler’s footprint 





    Diego Sola is Senior Lecturer of Early Modern History at the University of Barcelona, where he obtained his PhD with the Extraordinary Doctoral Prize of the Faculty of History in 2015. His academic research is mainly focused on the Iberian religious in China and the Philippines as cultural creators and mediators during the Early Modern Era (sixteenth to seventeenth centuries), as well as the process of building of a specific image of Asia in the monarchies of Spain and Portugal through the textual productions of the missionaries.