Date of Birth: 09/10/1623
The Jesuit in the service of the Chinese emperor
Ferdinand Verbiest was the eldest of the children of Belgian bailiff and tax collector. He studied humanities Ferdinand under the Jesuits; comprehend the secrets of philosophy and mathematics Verbiest went to the Lelie College College. Jesuit Verbiest himself formally began September 2, 1641-th. Some time Verbiest studied in Seville (Seville) Theology; received the title of priest, he continued his studies in Rome (Rome) - which, by the way, and became interested in astronomy.
Initially Ferdinand was planning to go on a mission to the Spanish possessions in Central America (Central America); true, however, these plans were not destined - Verbiest was sent to the Far East (Far East). The Catholic Church had planned due to these lands to partially compensate `poteryannyh` efforts to actively develop in Europe the Protestant movement of the faithful.
In 1658-m Verbiest - as part of a whole group of missionaries - sailed from Lisbon (Lisbon) in China. In 1659-m boat approached them to Macau (Macau); up to this point, alas, it survived only 10 passengers - among whom was Ferdinand. For some time he worked in Shanxi (Shanxi); missionary work, he actively combined with the research in the field of astronomy.
In 1661-m Chinese Emperor died; his heir was only 7 years old, and who have taken power into its hands regents Jesuits pretty disliked. For the missionaries in China started relatively hard times. In 1664-m members of the mission sent to prison - and for a long time, going to be executed; save the priests in the literal sense of the word divine intervention - first part of the prison destroyed the mighty power earthquake, then a huge meteor appeared in the sky. The death sentence was replaced expulsion; escaped expulsion of only four - including Verbiest.
In 1669-m Kangxi Emperor (Kangxi Emperor) sent to prison last of the regents and took the reins in their hands. Almost immediately, the emperor took the decision pretty serious problems scientific sense - Chinese scientists have concluded that the calendar used is not accurate enough and needs serious corrections. A special contest astronomers on behalf of the European science Verbiest was able to give more precise data - for which he received the position of Head of Mathematics Council and director of the Beijing Observatory. For the Jesuits expelled like the elevation of their fellow heralded a premature end of the link; Opponents Verbiest (and the worst enemy of the Jesuits, in principle) Guansan Yang (Yang Guangxian) was sentenced to the death penalty itself, which at one time threatened the Jesuits (though later, the death sentence was replaced by reference).
Verbiest has established itself quite quickly in highly talantlivymuchenym and that in the framework of the current situation was perhaps more importantly, was able to become a good friend of the emperor. Change the calendar that was only the first major project of Ferdinand - he translated into Chinese a number of textbooks, rather actively taught geometry, philosophy and music, and, of course, do not forget about the missionary work. It is thanks to China Verbiest received a new aqueduct, 132 guns hitherto unseen quality set of star charts and much more. Among other things, Verbiest experimented with steam engines; in fact, some historians tend to attribute Ferdinand creating the world`s first self-propelled steam wagon.
Died Verbiest Beijing January 28, 1688-th, after a fall from a horse raging; his body was buried in a specially created once for another great missionary, Matteo Ricci (Matteo Ricci), cemetery Zhalan cemetery.