chapter  1
21 Pages

Jesuit account books and their role in connecting worlds

WithFrederik Vermote

This chapter examines the process of globalisation in this period and the ways in which it affected the finances of the Jesuit missions in China. World historians such as Peter Stearns and Robbie Robertson, who have studied the process of globalisation, do not include the seventeenth or the eighteenth centuries as significant turning points that marked an increase in 'global history'. The chapter analyses the local, regional and global elements, and the overall historical context to improve understanding of the relationship between local histories and global connections, and reveals how globalisation may have affected Jesuit missions in China. It argues that although the Jesuits are often portrayed as global avatars with successful methods, knowledge and intercultural sensibilities to organise their distant missions, their finances betrayed a dependence on mostly local economic sources and benefactors. the chapter offers a new micro-history of China's entangled regional economies and their complicated and ever-changing bi-metallic currencies.