19세기 중반 남부베트남의 대외교역과 베트남 상인층의 성장
The Rise of Vietnamese Overseas Traders in Southern Vietnam during the Middle of the 19th Century
This article focuses on the existence of Vietnamese overseas traders who replaced Chinese settlers in the field of overseas trade during the middle of the 19th century. From the 17th century, southern Vietnam (Gia Dinh) was developed by the initiative of Chinese settlers. Especially overseas trade was dominated by Chinese, and this domination lasted to the following centuries. However, central court launched a tough anti-Chinese policy from the middle of the second emperor Minh Mangs reign (1820-1841). As a result, Chinese activities in the field of overseas trade were significantly reduced. This well-known Image of historic process has prevented historians from paying appropriate attention to the Vietnamese role and capability in commerce. And the history of Vietnam from the 1830s is frequently described as self-exclusive from outside world with the declination of overseas trade. However, we need to pay attention to the facts that southern Vietnam always had enough items, rice for example, to attract overseas buyers; the central court never insisted overseas trade should be prohibited; and Vietnamese also had a strong potential in commerce. These conditions in accordance with the anti-Chinese policy lead to an assumption that Vietnamese maritime traders might have extended their maneuvers into the field of overseas trade that had mainly been occupied by the Chinese settlers. Pieces of evidence recently found reveal the substantial examples of Vietnamese maritime activities during this time. While the activities of Chinese settlers were strictly banned, Vietnamese merchants were increasingly sailing overseas for trade. For example, documents from Singapore such as The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser show us southern Vietnamese junks and boats crewed by Vietnamese continuously visiting Singapore after 1830s. The activities of Vietnamese maritime traders are discovered in the various parts of Vietnamese official documents including the court chronicle (Thuc Luc). French missionaries and some Church records of southern Vietnam inform us, as a concrete example, of an experienced Vietnamese overseas trader like Gam, who occasionally sailed overseas during 1840s. Square-rigged court vessels (quan thuyen) excluding any crew of Chinese settlers were continuously sailing to ports in the island Southeast Asia region during this time. As a whole, the 19th century Vietnamese overseas trade should not be regarded as declination, but as progression if we do not miss the activities of Vietnamese maritime traders. At the same time, it was also an unprecedented Vietnamization of the overseas trade in both private and government sectors.
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