Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai and retainer of Date
Masamune, the daimyo of Sendai. He led an embassy to Mexico and then
Europe between 1613 and 1620 (called the Keichō Embassy), after which
he returned to Japan. He was the first-ever Japanese official
ambassador to the Americas and arguably Europe, and became the key
protagonist in the first recorded instance of Franco-Japanese
relations. Although Hasekura's embassy created a strong impression in
Europe, it happened at a time when Japan was moving towards the
suppression of Christianity, so that European monarchs such as the
King of Spain ultimately denied the trading agreements Hasekura had
been seeking. Hasekura returned to Japan in 1620 and died of illness a
year later, his embassy seemingly ending with few results in an
increasingly isolationist Japan.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Teenaged Edward III was crowned King of England, but the country was
ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.
Jesuit priests José de Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega established a
mission at São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga, which grew to become
São Paulo, Brazil.
The first Winter Olympic Games opened at the foot of Mont Blanc in
General Idi Amin seized power from President of Uganda Milton Obote,
beginning eight years of military rule.
Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landed on Mars and rolled into
Eagle crater, a small crater on the Meridiani Planum.
Wikiquote of the day:
I do not believe they are right who say that the defects of famous men
should be ignored. I think it is better that we should know them.
Then, though we are conscious of having faults as glaring as theirs,
we can believe that that is no hindrance to our achieving also
something of their virtues. -- W. Somerset Maugham