Writing on Chinese History: António de Gouveia and the Monarchia da China (1654)

  • Cristina Costa Gomes University of Lisbon. School of Arts and Humanities.


This article focuses on the analysis of the Portuguese Jesuit António de Gouveia (c.1592-1677) and his monumental work Monarchia da China dividida por seis edades (Monarchy of China, Divided in Six Ages). Completed in January 1654, in Fuzhou 福州, this is undoubtedly the least known of Gouveia's works, although it is often mentioned. Despite being one of the earliest histories of China written by a European in a Western language, and based on Chinese sources, the Monarchia da China remains unpublished and calls for a systematic study. To the best of our knowledge, there are two manuscripts of this work. The most well-known is a copy dating from the eighteenth century kept at the National Library of Spain, in Madrid. However, we came across a second manuscript, in the Archivo de España de la Compañia de Jesús (henceforth AESI-A), in Alcalá de Henares, which we conclude to be the original autograph one. Therefore, it is from this latter manuscript, with its ca. 500 folios, that we are preparing the first critical edition of the work. This edition will include a biographical study of António de Gouveia, as well as other still unpublished significant textual production, namely his active and passive epistolography.

Sep 17, 2020
How to Cite
Gomes, .... (2020). Writing on Chinese History: António de Gouveia and the Monarchia da China (1654). Orientis Aura: Macau Perspectives In Religious Studies, 0(3), 17-32. Retrieved from
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