Philippines, permanently converting much of the population within three generations. The Portuguese and the regulars of several other nations had also achieved substantial numbers ofbaptisms in China, Indochina, Indonesia, and Japan - although much of the progress achieved in the latter region was beginning to crumble by 1650 as the Tokugawa Shogunate launched a broad movement of Christian persecution.
The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were to witness a continuing expansion of Christianity in certain areas of the world. Spain and Portugal pursued their conversions in the Americas, moving into the Californias and parts of Amazonia and Patagonia. In British and French North America, conversions remained relatively limited, although the period saw a huge influx of permanent European settlers, professing a wide variety of Christian denominations and sects. The eighteenth century also marked the advent ofthe first systematic Protestant missions activity, especially under the influence of the Pietists, who sponsored missionary efforts in North America, Africa, and India. But perhaps the most spectacular new conversions occurred among black African slaves on plantations across the Americas and the Caribbean. Free blacks from the nascent United States would themselves play an important role in proselytizing certain regions of West Africa.
Elsewhere, however, Christian missions experienced major disappointments and setbacks. In the eighteenth century, state-sponsored attacks on the Christian clergy and laity spread from Japan to China, Indochina, Siam, and Korea. Moreover, by the second half of the eighteenth century almost all areas of the world saw a sharp decline in the numbers of missionaries and a general flagging of energy. In part, it was a question of non-western nations coming increasingly to identify Christianity with European political and cultural imperialism. But in part the decline was also related to developments occurring within Europe itself: to the increasing rivalries for empire between European nations; to the pope's rejection of Jesuit efforts to adapt Christian rites to non-European cultures; to the broad attacks on the regular clergy by several European regimes, culminating in the suppression of the Society of Jesus; and to a sharp decrease in recruitment among both regular and secular clergies.
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