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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > January 2019 > Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts

WHO WERE THE FIRST EUROPEANS IN JAPAN?

MIGRANT LABOUR Japanese warlods employed Portuguese 'pilots' (top left) to steer their own trading vessels
ALAMY

When a Chinese ship arrived at Tanegashima in 1543, the Portuguese travellers Francisco Zeimoto, Antonio da Mota and possibly Fernao Mendes Pinto were aboard, making them the first recorded Europeans in Japan.

Soon, the Portuguese began trading (which included firearms and slaves), built a port and introduced Christianity Other nations got in on the act until the 1630s, when Japan, to end the spread of heretical beliefs, closed itself from the world. This isolationism lasted for 220 years. The only Europeans permitted to remain were the Dutch, but only at a human-made island trading post off Nagasaki, called Deshima.

DO YOU KNOW?

GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY

Japan’s isolation only ended in 1853, when US Navy commodore Matthew Perry sailed four warships into the bay of Edo and demanded – with a show of firepower – that trade be opened

How old is the Scottish flag?

SALT WITH THE WOUND This saltire was flown at the Battle of Culloden – the climactic clash of the Jacobite Rising of 1745
NATIONAL MUSEUMS SCOTLAND X1
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About History Revealed

Today, Che Guevara is best known as one of the 20th century's iconic images. But the events of the Cuban Revolution, in which he was a key figure 60 years ago, would have wide-reaching consequences - including almost bringing about a third world war. What made it such a global affair, with superpowers going eyeball to eyeball? Plus: Cousins Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots have an almighty falling out (leading to one losing her head), outlandish medical cures, Roman Emperor Constantine, the great Thames Frost Fairs of the Victorian era, and more.