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Cleopatre

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The Cleopatre was a warship of the French Oriental Fleet which visited the Kingdom of Ryûkyû briefly in 1846.

Captained by Jean-Baptiste Cecille, the Cleopatre joined the Sabine and a third French ship at Naha on 1846/5/13 (June 6). Cecille requested, as the captain of the Alcmene had two years earlier, that Ryûkyû enter into diplomatic and trade relations with France, and that France be permitted to spread Christianity in the islands. Ryûkyû demurred, arguing they had trade relations only with China and the Tokara Islands, and that they were a poor country of no value to the French, intentionally avoiding admitting any relationship with Tokugawa Japan. The French responded, however, that relations with France would free the Ryukyus from any reliance on Japan, and would also serve to protect them from British imperial intentions. Even so, Ryûkyû refused, and the three French ships departed in the 8th lunar month (September or October on the Western calendar), taking the Catholic missionary Theodore Augustin Forcade with them.

References

  • Marco Tinello, "The termination of the Ryukyuan embassies to Edo : an investigation of the bakumatsu period through the lens of a tripartite power relationship and its world," PhD thesis, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia (2014), 128-129.
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