The early history of Catholicism in Korea is a unique example of church planting without missionary intervention. Although a few foreign missionaries had attempted to enter Korea in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the Spanish priest Gregorio de Cespedes, who had accompanied the Japanese army as chaplain in 1593-95, these encounters do not seem to have had any consequence.
Of greater significance was the introduction of Catholic ideas through Korean Confucian scholars in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was customary for the King ofKorea to send annual tribute missions to Beijing to present compliments and gifts to the Emperor of China. Some members of these tribute missions came into contact with the Jesuit missionaries who had produced Chinese works explaining both western science and the Catholic religion. Over the years members of the tribute mission returned to Korea with many of these works, including Matteo Ricci's Tianzhu shiyi ('The True Lord of Heaven') and Diego de Pantoja's Qike ('The Seven Victories'). By
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