O Pinhal or Mount Ya, situated at the mouth of Xijiang, was well known for the Naval Battle of Yamen in 1279. This made the mount a historical and cultural symbol in the heart of the Han Chinese. Few people could imagine that the Portuguese, Spaniards and Dutch had reached China Sea and competed to win a commercial port at this mount in three hundred years.
After the Portuguese were allowed to reside in Macao, they kept moving about among Guangdong islands and harbors. The Pinhal had become their important porto da veniaga, or port of trade. Catholic rituals were operated by Jesuits in Pinhal, which were regarded as blasphemous conducts to the Quanjie and Dazhong Temples and the Chinese faith. The Portuguese also purchased Chinese children for religious purposes. All these pushed Lin Huichun, the magistrate of Xinhui, to adopt military actions against the Portuguese of Pinhal, and expelled them in 1569. The fact that Portuguese merchants could reside in Pinhal illustrated Guangdong authorities' weak control of neighboring islands. Obviously it offered some opportunities to the the followers, such as the Spaniards and the Dutch.
At the end of 1598, the Spanish captain Don Juan Zamudio was authorized to anchor and merchandise temporarily in the port of Pinhal. Not long after, another Spanish captain Luis Pérez das Marias was also allowed to enter the port. With this, the Portuguese of Macao were anxious that the Spaniards would imitate their tricks and probably be allowed to reside in Pinhal just like them in Macao. In this case, military conflicts broke out between them, and ended with Luis Pérez das Marias' evacuating at the beginning of 1600.
In the next year, the valiant Dutch followed the Spaniards closely and participated in this combat of Pinhal. In September 1601, a Dutch fleet commanded by Captain Jáquez Van Neck attempted to reach the so called Pinal. However, owing to their ignorance of the Guangdong coastal regions, the Dutch reached Macao instead of Pinhal. The Portuguese had learned a lesson from the precedent incident of 1598-1600. They hastily executed seventeen Dutch sailors in case the Chinese government might extradite them. On the other hand, although there were different opinions inside the Guangdong government, Dai Yao the Governor-General of Guangdong & Guangxi adopted the policy of ″using one barbarian against the other″ and remained neutral on the surface. Jáquez Van Neck had to leave China Sea after failing to rescue his countrymen.
The pullout from Pinhal turned the attention of the Spaniards and the Dutch to Taiwan. In 1622, when the Dutch intercepted several Spanish documents, they discovered that the Spaniards of Manila were planning to construct a fortress in Taiwan. Thereby, they made decisions to take preemptive actions and succeed in constructing the Kasteel Zeelandia in 1624. The Spaniards built the fort San Salvador in Quelung two years later. Since then, the contention of the three forces transferred from Pinhal to the Island of Taiwan, and the former dismal and remote Taiwan began to play a significant role in the global economy and politics.
李庆 戚印平. 晚明崖山与西方诸国的贸易港口之争[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2017, 3(3): 20-.
Li Qing Qi Yinping. Western Countries' Competitions and Conflicts on the Port of ″O Pinhal″ in the Late Ming Dynasty. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2017, 3(3): 20-.