Distant Lands and Diverse Cultures: The French Experience in Asia, 1600-1700

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9780313308642: Distant Lands and Diverse Cultures: The French Experience in Asia, 1600-1700

Utilizing contemporary accounts of India, China, Siam and the Levant, this study provides rich detail about these exotic lands and explores the priorities that shaped and motivated these bold envoys and chroniclers. Ames and Love offer a fascinating look at the symbiotic nature of cross-cultural interaction between France and the major trading regions of the Indian Ocean basin during the 17th century. During this period of intense French interest in the rich trade and cultures of the region, Louis XIV and his minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert in particular were concerned with encouraging French travelers, both clerical and lay, to explore and document these lands. Among the accounts included here are those of François Bernier, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, and François Pyrard.

Because these accounts reflect as much about the structures and priorities of France as they do about the cultures they describe, Ames and Love hope their analysis bridges the gap between studies on early modern France and those on the major Asiatic countries of the same period. Their findings challenge the current thinking in the study of early modern France by demonstrating that overseas expansion to Asia was of considerable importance and interest to all segments of French society. Specialists in traditional internal French history will find much in this study of European expansion to complement and supplement their research.

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Examines the symbiotic nature of cross-cultural interaction between France and the major trading regions of the Indian Ocean basin.

About the Author:

GLENN J. AMES is Professor of History at the University of Toledo. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has published extensively in the field of European expansion to Asia during the early modern period. His books include Colbert, Mercantilism, and the French Quest for Asian Trade (1996) and Renascent Empire?: The House of Braganza and the Quest for Stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, ca. 1640-1683 (2000). He is currently completing a biography of Vasco da Gama.

RONALD S. LOVE is Associate Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia. Specializing in early modern French history, he has published widely on French wars of religion during the 16th century and French overseas expansion during the Age of Exploration, with a special focus on contacts between the kingdom of Siam and the court of Louis XIV in the 1670s and 1680s. Among his many other publications is a major study of the first Bourbon monarch of Fr

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