Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

A Preliminary Study on Reorganization of the Shipping Goods Market Department of Guangdong Province in Late Ming Dynasty

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

A Preliminary Study on Reorganization of the Shipping Goods Market Department of Guangdong Province in Late Ming Dynasty

Article excerpt

Abstract

In the Ming Dynasty, the China overseas trade management administrations, the shipping goods market departments, declined. However, historical materials show that the shipping goods market department of Guangdong Province had been especially enhanced in the overall decline trend. At present, the academia has not paid enough attention to this phenomenon. Based on the historical materials, a preliminary analysis shows that the chief tax inspector Li Feng was in charge of the taxes of Guangdong Province in the late Wanli period (from September 4, 1573 to August 18, 1620) in the Ming Dynasty, and he forced to change the original power structure of the shipping goods market department. The change of the original power structure was one of key factors which strengthened the shipping goods market department of Guangdong Province. The deeper reason was the change of Guangdong overseas trade situation in the late Ming Dynasty. The change made the shipping goods market department to do corresponding adjustments of its management mechanism.

Key words: The late Ming dynasty; China overseas trade management administrations; The shipping goods market department of Guangdong; Reorganization; the late Wanli period

INTRODUCTION

Guangdong has a superior geographical location and a long overseas trade tradition. In ancient China, Guangdong had a leading position in Chinese overseas trade for a long time, "and in Jin Dynasty, the South and North Dynasties, Guangzhou had a bigger shipping goods market." (Peng, 1999, p.21) The Tang Dynasty imitated the "market supervision department" of Sui Dynasty, and set up the shipping goods market office in Guangzhou, Guangdong. Setting up the shipping goods market department was the beginning of establishing customs to manage the foreign trade in the history. Subsequently, Song Dynasty established shipping goods market departments again in Guangzhou, Mingzhou and Linan, referred to the "three departments", and the Guangzhou's shipping goods market was the most prosperous department. "In the late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty, the Quanzhou's market was more prosperous (Peng, 1999, p.21)", but Guangzhou's shipping goods market still ranked the second in domestic ports. In the early Ming Dynasty, shipping goods market departments were set up in Fujian, Guangdong, Jiaochi and Yunnan. In Zhengde and Jiajing periods of Ming Dynasty, the governments enforced the ban on maritime trade in the south and east China, and shipping goods market departments of Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong were closed. However, in the Wanli period, the Guangdong's shipping goods market department was different from Zhejiang's and Fujian's and it recovered vitality. In the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, the ports were closed. After "Sanfan rebellions", the central government recovered Guangdong's shipping goods market department in the nineteen year of Kangxi (1680) and set up Guangdong's customs in the twentyfourth year of Kangxi (1685) with ending the system of shipping goods market department. In Guangdong, the system of shipping goods market department had a strong position and was particularly prominent in the history of China foreign trade system. In the Ming Dynasty, the system evolution should be especially analyzed because of its importance. However, the past study on this issue has more focused on the Fujian part or general discussion. Especially, it is the lack of in-depth study on Guangdong's shipping goods market department and its development in the overall decline trend. This paper tries to find the particularity and explore its causes.

1. REORGANIZATION OF THE SHIPPING GOODS MARKET DEPARTMENT OF GUANGDONG PROVINCE IN THE LATE MING DYNASTY

Since Tang and Song Dynasties, the power of shipping goods market departments had been strengthening. In this situation, the shipping goods market department of Guangdong Province also had a great development. In the early Ming Dynasty, the provisions of shipping goods market departments were "Ningbo opens to Japan, Quanzhou opens to Ryukyu, and Guangzhou Opens to Zhancheng, Siam, and Western countries" (Zhang, 2000, p. …

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