The Manuel de Agote collection

Manuel de Agote, and Enlightenment-age Basque in the Far East

dibujoagoteManuel de Agote y Bonechea (b. Getaria, 1755, d. Getaria, 1803) made the first of his trading voyages across the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific at the age of 24, working for the Cadiz-based company Ustáriz, San Ginés y Cía. In 1787 he was posted to Canton and Macau as the chief representative of the Royal Company of the Philippines in China. The diaries that he kept during his stays abroad and his voyages between 1779 and 1798 show him to be a well-educated, highly observant man. His shrewd views on the Far East were not limited to matters of trade: his writings are also highly interesting from political, anthropological and cultural viewpoints.

On his journeys Agote also engaged in substantial mapmaking work, and drew up charts and outlines of certain islands, stretches of coast and cities in the Pacific. He was also an excellent sketch and watercolour artist, who produced detailed illustrations of whatever caught his interest.

The works by Manuel de Agote on deposit at the Shipping Museum are a highly valuable source of information on relations with East Asia, and especially China, in the late 18th century.

Manuel de Agote himself and his writings have been the subject of several studies at the Museum. For more information see the following:

PERMANYER UGARTEMENDIA, Ander: "Españoles en Cantón: los Diarios de Manuel de Agote, primer factor de la Real Compañía de Filipinas en China (1787-1796)", Itsas Memoria. Revista de Esudios Marítimos del País Vasco, 7, Untzi Museoa-Museo Naval,San Sebastián, 2012, pp. 523-546.

Agote’s Diaries

Los Dibujos de Agote


 

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