The Defences of Macau

The Defences of Macau: Forts, Ships and Weapons over 450 years

Richard J. Garrett
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xwdt7
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  • Book Info
    The Defences of Macau
    Book Description:

    The forts built from the early seventeenth century onwards, the ships that defended Macau’s waters, the weapons that armed the facilities and the soldiers and sailors who manned them all are carefully detailed in The Defences of Macau. These forts, cannon and small arms were a familiar part of society for hundreds of years, and a significant part of Macau’s heritage. Macau is fortunate in having so many artifacts remaining, but very little research has been done on them. Richard Garrett, a retired civil engineer and an expert in antique weapons, addresses this gap by identifying many rare and unique weapons. More than 200 illustrations, many in colour, serve as a visual record of what has survived. Some of the forts are included among Macau’s World Heritage sites. Many visitors and those interested in the history of the region will be interested in these forts and arms that remain in relative abundance in Macau. The book will also appeal to those scholars specialising in military and arms history.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-575-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
    Richard J. Garrett
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-8)

    News of the Orient and its fabled riches inspired Europeans to explore the possibility of reaching it by ship. Towards the end of the fifteenth century Portuguese sailors rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1510 they established themselves at Goa. The following year they captured Malacca, from where, in 1516, Rafael Perestrello, one of their more adventurous members, took passage on a junk to China. He was able to trade and his trip was so profitable that others were encouraged to follow. The next year a fleet of four Portuguese and four Malay ships set sail for China...

  6. CHAPTER 2 SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY DEFENCES
    (pp. 9-22)

    At first there were no fortifications in Macau. As mentioned previously, the Chinese were suspicious of Portuguese intentions and were careful to prevent them becoming too strong, and a part of this was their objection to the building of forts. The Portuguese controlled the seas and, whether or not they had colonising intentions, they came to realise that direct conflict with the Chinese was not feasible. They therefore accepted the Chinese demands and appeared to coexist peacefully with them.

    Dr. Francisco de Sande reported in 1582 that:¹

    The Portuguese of Macao are still nowadays without any weapons, or form of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE FIRST PHASE OF FORT BUILDING
    (pp. 23-60)

    The methods of construction followed the indigenous practice of Southern China.¹ The main building materials were the local stone, granite, and the local earth, which is a sandy material formed by the decomposition of the granite over the millennium. This decomposed granite is partly self-cementing but with the addition of lime and chopped straw becomes a splendid building material known as chunambo, or simply chunam.² This mixture is rammed tight in layers between timber shutters, which were progressively moved up to produce a wall of the desired height. The picture of the walls remnants (Figure 8) shows the layering of...

  8. CHAPTER 4 THE YEARS OF PEACE
    (pp. 61-68)

    The first phase of Macau’s fortifications had been built in the boom years when the Portuguese were enjoying good trade with both Japan and China and profits were high. The Dutch had been the first to threaten their monopoly, but the British soon followed them. Captain John Weddell visited peacefully in 1637, anchoring at Macau with a mission to open up trade links with China. The French also wanted to take part in the trade. However, the Portuguese had a head start and because of their good relations with the Chinese authorities, they were able to dominate the China trade....

  9. CHAPTER 5 NINETEENTH-CENTURY DEFENCES
    (pp. 69-82)

    The event that shook the region in the nineteenth century was the Opium War. It started in 1839 and ended with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. Although this was a confrontation between the Chinese and the British, it inevitably had an effect on Macau.

    The Chinese authorities had for some years declared the sale of opium illegal, but the local Mandarins had been bribed to turn a blind eye to the trade which continued to flourish. One of the main reasons for their opposition to the trade was the net export of silver that was used to pay for...

  10. CHAPTER 6 THE SECOND PHASE OF FORT BUILDING
    (pp. 83-102)

    The building material that predominated in the nineteenth century was granite. The use of chunam seems to have been abandoned, possibly due to a shortage of the lime or decomposed granite that were its main ingredients. Brickwork was extensively used for internal structures and concrete also made an appearance.

    The design of the forts was quite simple. Clearly they were not designed to resist a siege or an attack from heavy artillery. They were merely places to mount cannon and their defences were limited to resistance of attacks by foot soldiers armed with rifles. Generally they had loopholes to fire...

  11. CHAPTER 7 TWENTIETH-CENTURY DEFENCES
    (pp. 103-122)

    The start of the twentieth century saw the Portuguese continuing to try to expand their Macau territory. It already included Green Island (linked by a causeway to the main peninsula in 1889) as well as the islands of Taipa and Coloane. However, they also wanted to annex Montanha and Dom João islands and have a part of Lapa. The Boxer rebellion and the siege of the embassies in Beijing seemed to provide an opportunity for them to press their claims, but the Chinese would not agree, even disputing the Portuguese plans to dredge the Inner Harbour.

    During negotiations in 1909...

  12. CHAPTER 8 THE DEFENSIVE ROLE OF THE NAVY
    (pp. 123-140)

    The Portuguese were the great European navigators of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries but, in the East, they had been preceded by the Chinese. Admiral Zheng He had led a number of extensive expeditions that showed that they were capable of sailing the world. However his journeys ceased, probably because the cost was found to be too great. Also many people at the Court were uncomfortable with looking too far afield. Thus when the Portuguese arrived they had little competition except from the Arabs whose dhows were no match for the European ships.

    The Portuguese navigator explorers had been encouraged...

  13. CHAPTER 9 ARTILLERY IN MACAU
    (pp. 141-174)

    The Chinese are famous for having discovered gunpowder. This probably happened as early as the ninth century, but it took them two or three hundred years to refine it sufficiently to use it in firearms. Gunpowder was first used as an incendiary device and there are reports of various bombs and grenades that could be thrown at the enemy. The next step appears to have been fire lances, which were bamboo tubes, filled with powder, and tied to a shaft. The powder used had a relatively low saltpetre content and burnt quite slowly, allowing the primitive flamethrower to burn effectively...

  14. CHAPTER 10 PORTUGUESE SMALL ARMS
    (pp. 175-198)

    The term “small arms” covers all weapons of individual soldiers, but it is often applied to hand firearms only and that is how it is used here. As described in the previous chapter “hand cannon” originated in China and spread to Europe. Hand cannon were fairly crude weapons with a pole-like stock that was either rested on top of the shoulder or tucked under the arm. One hand steadied the gun and the other hand was used to apply a light to some powder in the pan or touchhole. Obviously they were difficult to aim accurately. The light was usually...

  15. APPENDIX I. ACCOUNT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST PIRATES IN 1810
    (pp. 199-202)
    Anders Ljungstedt
  16. APPENDIX II. GUNPOWDER PRODUCTION
    (pp. 203-206)
  17. APPENDIX III. LISTS OF CANNON EXISTING IN MACAU AT VARIOUS TIMES
    (pp. 207-214)
  18. APPENDIX IV. SMALL ARMS DISPLAYED AT THE MACAU SECURITY FORCES’ MUSEUM IN THE SÃO FRANCISCO BARRACKS
    (pp. 215-256)
  19. NOTES
    (pp. 257-268)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 269-276)