Matteo Ricci (Li Madou) (1552-1610), an Italian, was one of the most famous missionaries in Chinese history.
He entered theRomanAcademyof the Society of Jesus when he was 20 years old. He arrived inMacaoin 1582, andGuangzhouin 1583. Soon he got the approval to establish the first missionary organization and church on the Chinese mainland and won the support from local officials. Then he began to study Chinese culture, to adopt a Chinese way of life, and to wear Chinese-style costume. In addition, he spread the western mathematics, geography, astronomy and calendar toChina.
He stayed inGuangzhoufor 20 years before arriving inBeijingin the name of paying tribute to the emperor. He presented some gifts to the emperor and got a favorable opinion from the latter. The emperor asked him to act as an official in the government and offered him a residence.
In 1610, he died inBeijingat the age of 57. The emperor laid off a graveyard for him and inscribed on the monument to his grave.