Ever since the late fifteenth century, the port of Patani has featured on the maps of Asian maritime trade. This position steadily advanced under the protective benevolence of Siam to become a commercial pole in the multiple connections between Southeast Asia and the Chinese markets. Its strategic position, a sheltered port halfway between Java and China, attracted Asian investors and traders from various backgrounds (Chinese, Javanese, Malay, Thai, among others). Patani competed with the other ports on the Malay Peninsula (such as Pahang), but above all with those in the Straits of Malacca, such as Malacca itself, for the trade in Chinese products (like porcelains, silks or lacquers) exchanged for clove and nutmeg from Maluku, sandalwood from Timor, and especially pepper from the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java.1 Gradually, over the early years of the sixteenth century, Patani became home to an expanding community of overseas Chinese, many of whom first installed their vessels there before following with their own residences and livelihoods. On occasion dedicated to illegal trading activities with China, on others, they became privateers or pirates. The commercial and financial development of Patani would nevertheless seem to have gone relatively unnoticed by the new players and the first Europeans in the region - the Portuguese.