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Isaac M. Titsingh

Isaac M. Titsingh

*  1745 Amsterdam
† 1812 Paris

Isaac M. Titsingh was born on January 1, 1745, in Amsterdam. First receiving an excellent education from his father, he entered the guild of surgeons in Amsterdam in 1764. The next year, Titsingh was appointed doctor of law at the University of Leiden. In 1765, he left Europe to travel to Asia, beginning his 34 year career with the Dutch East India Company. From 1766 until 1779, he was responsible for administrative activities in Batavia. From 1779 until 1784, he acted as director of the Company on the island of Dejima in the bay of Nagasaki. In the years 1780 and 1782, Titsingh was ambassador to the shogun's court in Tokyo. He later directed the Company's station in Bengal from 1785 to 1792. Titsingh then relocated to Batavia as ordinary counsel of India from 1792 to 1794. The highpoint of Titsingh's career was his appointment as ambassador to the Chinese court in Peking under Emperor Quianlong, where he supervised the festivities during the emperor's sixth period of rule. In 1796, he finally returned to Europe, settling first in London, then in Bath. Titsingh visited Amsterdam in 1801 and then went to Paris, where he lived until his death on February 2, 1812. Towards the end of his life, he was a member of various organizations, including the "Asiatic Society of Bengal" in Calcutta. He was also a fellow of the Royal Society in London. He is considered a pioneer in the area of intermedial understanding.