Xu Guangqi

Xu Guangqi (Chinese徐光启/徐光启; * April 24, 1562 in Shanghai, † November 8, 1633 in Beijing), also Zixian (子 先) called, was a scholar and minister of the Ming Dynasty.


Xu Guangqi was born in Shanghai into a damaged by Japanese pirates parents house. He grew up in poverty, but received a solid academic education since he was 6 years and put step by step, government officials examinations ( 1581 Xiucai; 1597 Jieyuan; 1604: jinshi ), giving it a career in the highest positions of the empire up to the Minister allowed. As such, he put many of his ideas into practice.

Xu found by acting in China Italian Jesuit Father Ricci to the Catholic faith and was baptized in 1603 with the name Paul. Together with Ricci he translated several Western texts into Chinese and Confucian texts into Latin. Besides Li Zhizao (1565-1630) and Yang Tingyun (1557-1627), he is considered one of the most famous converts of the country, which are called " three pillars of the Christian religion in China " in reference to a Bible passage.

Between 1607 and 1610 lived Xu without government office in Shanghai. During this time he began experiments to improve agriculture, which he could later, when he became Prime implement in policy measures.

Xu died at the age of 71 years in Beijing. The body was transferred to Shanghai. His grave in Guangqi Park is on the list of monuments of the People's Republic of China since 1988.

Xu's granddaughter Candida (1607-1680) supported the Jesuit Philippe Couplet (1623-1693) in the establishment of churches in Jiangnan and was immortalized by him as a Christian lady in a biography.

Work and legacy

Xu left a work of 130 volumes, in which he spread his research. Translated together with Ricci European writings, The Elements of Euclid, and revised the calendar. In his book, Nong - zheng quan -shu ( Compendium of agricultural measures ') he showed steps towards the development of agriculture on: combating locusts, mitigation of floods, land reclamation, improved farming methods, including the introduction of the Philippine sweet potato, as well as water management and expansion of cotton cultivation. This work also had a great influence on the development of Japanese agricultural science by Miyazaki Yasusada.