François Caron

François Caron (1600-1673), was a French Huguenot refugee to the Netherlands who served the Dutch East India Company (the "Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie" or VOC, literally "United East India Company") for 30 years, rising from cabin boy to Director-General at Batavia, only one grade below Governor-General. [Asia Society. (1874). [http://books.google.com/books?id=ez0OAAAAIAAJ&q=francois+caron&dq=francois+caron&lr=&pgis=1 "Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan," p. 29.] ] He was later to become Director-General of the French East Indies Company (1667-1673).Frazer, Robert Watson. (1896). [http://books.google.com/books?id=axg3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA42&dq=francois+caron&lr=#PPA42,M1 "British India," p. 42.] ]

He is sometimes considered the first Frenchman to set foot in Japan: [References [http://books.google.com/books?lr=&q=Fran%C3%A7ois+Caron+premier+Fran%C3%A7ais+Japon] :
- "Si on peut dire de lui qu'il était français, il est probablement le seul français qui ait visité le Japon sous l'ancien régime." Diderot ; le XVIIIe siecle en europe et au Japon, Colloque franco-japonais ... - Page 222 by Hisayasu Nakagawa - 1988
- "En 1635 ce fut le tour de François Caron, sur lequel nous voudrions nous arrêter un moment, ... comme le premier Français venu au Japon et à Edo." Histoire de Tokyo - Page 67 by Noël Nouët - Tokyo (Japan) - 1961 - 261 pages
- "A titre de premier représentant de notre langue au Japon, cet homme méritait ici une petite place" (Bulletin de la Maison franco-japonaise by Maison franco-japonaise (Tokyo, Japan) - Japan - 1927 Page 127)
] he was actually born in Brussels to a familly of French Huguenot refugees; ["Colbert avait alors sous la main François Caron, qui, né en Hollande de parens français, avait été embarqué pour le Japon dès l'âge le plus tendre". Societe de la Revue des Mondes, François Buloz, Page 140 [http://books.google.com/books?lr=&q=Fran%C3%A7ois+Caron+premier+Fran%C3%A7ais+Japon&sa=N&start=10]
"Francois Caron was born in 1600 of Huguenot parents, who were then settled in Brussels, but who shortly after his birth moved to the United Provinces." A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam (1986) [http://books.google.com/books?lr=&q=Fran%C3%A7ois+Caron+Huguenot]
] but he only became a naturalized citizen of France when he was persuaded by Colbert to become head of the French East Indies Company, which was intended to compete with the Dutch and the English in Asia. [Yavari, Neguin "et al." (2004). [http://books.google.com/books?id=98s_RXcO2c4C&pg=PA15&vq=francois+caron&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_search_r&cad=0_1&sig=MHMQYsfbJHwsOUX6Ufyvgi5UUCU "Views From The Edge: Essays In Honor Of Richard W. Bulliet," p. 15.] ]

Japan

Caron began as a cook's mateOtterspeer, Willem. (2003). [http://books.google.com/books?id=dUv3dF7aDycC&pg=PA355&dq=francois+caron&lr=&sig=9B0wimfu0tFScUNrfqkkxzp1YGc "Leiden Oriental Connections, 1850-1940," p. 355.] ] on-board the Dutch ship "Schiedam" bound for Japan, where he arrived in 1619. His language skills had developed; and in 1627, he traveled to Edo as the interpreter for the VOC mission to the shogunal capital. [see above] ] He is not quite the first known instance of Franco-Japanese relations, since he was preceded by the visit of Hasekura Tsunenaga to France in 1615.

Caron stayed in Japan for over twenty years, from 1619 to 1641, [Caron lived in Japan from 1619 to 1641. "A Collector's Guide to Books on Japan in English" By Jozef Rogala, p.31 [http://books.google.com/books?id=29cty-eprmgC&pg=PA31&dq=Fran%C3%A7ois+Caron+years+Japan&ei=DrbASNjkKJzayATrmPiJDg&sig=ACfU3U22eUcPvD3B42fwRk_cEkMFPpDBpg] ] eventually becoming the VOC's "opperhoofd" (chief "factor" or merchant) in Japan. During this period, he married a Japanese woman (Eguchi Jūzaemon) and had six children. [see above] ] His entire family followed him to Nagasaki when the Japanese forced the Dutch to abandon their outpost at Hirado; The family moved with him to Batavia when he left Japan in 1641. [Leup, Gary P. (2003). [http://books.google.com/books?id=-I6owJcCOdwC&pg=PA8&vq=francois+caron&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_search_r&cad=1_1&sig=qeBYWXO1H90j21UV0YpUPBEPx0g "Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900)." pp. 8,] [http://books.google.com/books?id=-I6owJcCOdwC&pg=PA106&vq=francois+caron&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_search_r&cad=1_1&sig=DV1RC4iXUtvOznoxsAPZqDIZF78 106.] ]

In 1626, Caron was working in Hirado as full assistant.

On April 9, 1633, Caron was promoted as a senior merchant, making him the second ranking Company official in Japan. On February 12, 1639, he succeeded Nicolaes Couckebacker as President and head of the Company's trade in Japan.

The Company's headquarters were moved from Hirado to Dejima in Nagasaki in 1641.

Return to the Netherlands

In 1641, Caron's Japan contract with the company expired, and he went to Batavia awaiting a transfer to Europe. At that time, he was nominatedmember of the Council of the East Indies, the governing body of the VOC in Asia, next to the Governor-General.

On December 13, 1641, Caron sailed back to Europe as commander of the merchant fleet.

New assignements in Asia

Although he was rewarded handsomely for his services with a capital of 1500 gilders, he again left for Asia in 1643 aboard the "Olifant". In September 1643, he headed an army of 1700 men against the Portuguese in Ceylon.

In 1644, Caron was then named governor of Formosa (Taiwan); and he was the chief VOC official on the island until 1646. [Campbell, William. (1903). [http://books.google.com/books?id=OpdMq-YJoeoC&pg=PA213&dq=francois+caron#PPA75,M1 "Formosa Under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Records," p. 75.] ] During this period, Caron his achievements included restructuring the production of rice, sulfur, sugar and indigo, and moderating the trade with Chinese pirates.

He had to return to Batavia in 1646. In 1647, he was appointed Director-General, second in command after the Governor-General. In 1651, Caron was recalled to the Netherland, due to allegations of private trade, but he successfully defended his case, and was able to resign with honor from the Company.

Appointment with the French East Indies Company

The arenas of French rivalry with England and Holland expanded to Asia in 1664 when the French Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert persuaded Louis XIV to grant a patent to a newly-contrived French East Indies Company. Somehow Colbert managed to entice Caron into accepting a leadership role in this nascent enterprise. He became the company's Director General in 1667. [see above] ]

This was perceived as treason by the Dutch, and Caron was banned eternally from the Provinces.

Madagascar

In 1664, François Caron, sailed to Madagascar. The Company failed to found a colony on Madagascar but established ports on the nearby islands of Bourbon and Île-de-France (today's Réunion and Mauritius). In the late 17th century, the French established trading posts along the east coast.

India

Caron succeeded in founding French ouposts at Surat (1668) and at Masulipatam (1669) in India;Pope, George Uglow. (1880). [http://books.google.com/books?id=xpABAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA266&dq=francois+caron&lr= "A Text-book of Indian History," p. 266.] ] and Louis XIV acknowledged those successes by awarding him the Order of St. Michael. [see above] ] He was "Commissaire" at Pondicherry between 1668 and 1672. The French East India Company formally set up a trading centre at Pondicherry in 1673. This outpost eventually became the chief French settlement in India.

In 1672, he helped lead French forces in Ceylon, where the strategic bay at Tincomalee was captured and St. Thomé (also known as Meilâpûr) on the Coromandel coast was also taken; [see above] ] however, the consequences of his military success was short-lived. The French were driven out these modest conquests while Caron was en route to Europe in 1673. [see above] ]

He died as his ship sank off Lisbon on April 5, 1673, as he was returning to Europe.

Honors

* Order of St. Michael, 1672

Works

* (1636). "Beschrijvinghe van het Machtigh Coninckryck Japan und Siam." Amsterdam (in Dutch).Jozef Rogala. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books?id=29cty-eprmgC&pg=PA31&dq=francois+caron&lr=&sig=8oZkVquKwf1O02BwljuOyjXn8OI#PPA30,M1 "A Collector's Guide to Books on Japan in English: A Select List of Over 2500 Titles with Subject Index," pp. 30] -31.]
* (1646). "Beschrijvinghe van het Machtigh Coninckryck Japan."] Amsterdam (in Dutch). [Otterspeer, [http://books.google.com/books?id=dUv3dF7aDycC&pg=PA355&dq=francois+caron&lr=&sig=9B0wimfu0tFScUNrfqkkxzp1YGc#PPA356,M1 p. 356.] ]
* (1648). [http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.flc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~michel/serv/eujap/17thc/caron/francois_caron1648.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~michel/serv/eujap/17thc/caron/index.html&h=761&w=508&sz=152&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=6T7KPO2YhKlLMM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=95&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfrancois%2Bcaron%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_de%26sa%3DN "Beschrijvinghe van het Machtigh Coninckryck Japan."] Amsterdam (in Dutch).
* (1663). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
] Nürnberg (in German).
* (1663). "A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam" (translated by Roger Manley). London: Samuel Broun & John de l'Ecluse. [see above] ]
** (1671). "A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam." London: Samuel Broun & John de l'Ecluse. [reprinted from the 1663 English edition]
** (1935). "A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam" (Introduction and notes by Charles R. Boxer). London: Argonaut. [see above] ] [reprinted from the 1671 English edition]
* (1672). [http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.flc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~michel/serv/eujap/17thc/caron/francois_caron1648.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~michel/serv/eujap/17thc/caron/index.html&h=761&w=508&sz=152&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=6T7KPO2YhKlLMM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=95&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfrancois%2Bcaron%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_de%26sa%3DN "Wahrhaftige Beschreibung zweyee mächtigen Königreiche Japan, Siam, und Corea."] Nürnberg (in German).

Notes

References

* Campbell, William. (1903). [http://books.google.com/books?id=OpdMq-YJoeoC&dq=francois+caron&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Formosa Under the Dutch: Described from Contemporary Records."] London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd.
* Danvers, Frederick Charles. (1888). [http://books.google.com/books?id=cak9AAAAIAAJ&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Report to the Secretary of State for India in Council on the Records of the Records of the India Office: Records Relating to Agencies, Factories and Settlements not Now Under the Administration of the Government of India."] London: Printed for Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO), by Eyre and Spottiswoode.
* Frazer, Robert Watson. (1896). [http://books.google.com/books?id=axg3AAAAMAAJ&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "British India."] London: G.P. Putnam & Sons.
* Leup, Gary P. (2003). [http://books.google.com/books?id=-I6owJcCOdwC&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900)."] London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 10-ISBN 0-826-46074-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-826-46074-5
* Otterspeer, Willem. (1989). [http://books.google.com/books?id=dUv3dF7aDycC&printsec=frontcover&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_r "Leiden Oriental Connections, 1850-1940."] Leiden: Brill. 10-ISBN 9-004-09022-3; 13-ISBN 978 9-004-09022-4 (paper)
* Pope, George Uglow. (1880). [http://books.google.com/books?id=xpABAAAAQAAJ&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "A Text-book of Indian History."] London: W. H. Allen.
* Jozef Rogala. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books?id=29cty-eprmgC&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "A Collector's Guide to Books on Japan in English: A Select List of Over 2500 Titles with Subject Index."] London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 1-873-41091-3; 13-ISBN 978-1-873-41091-2 (paper)
* Yavari, Neguin, Lawrence G. Potter and Jean-Marc Ran Oppenheim (2004). [http://books.google.com/books?id=98s_RXcO2c4C&dq=francois+caron&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Views From The Edge: Essays In Honor Of Richard W. Bulliet."] New York: Columbia University Press. 10-ISBN 0-231-13472-X; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-13472-9 (cloth)

ee also

*Nanban trade period
*Franco-Japanese relations


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