The story of Christ spread from Jerusalem all through the world known at that time. The farthest distances traveled on the journey were toward the east, and this was first undertaken by the Apostle Thomas. He reached southern India and reminders of his visit still exist. Over the centuries many missionaries made their way east to the various tribes stretching from Jerusalem through China. This reached a high point when the Portuguese started their exploration in the 15th century. The Jesuit missionaries who accompanied the explorers extended their effort as far Japan, founding with the last missionaries not being allowed to visit the mission in 1641. From the first quarter of the 16th century on the number of missionaries increased as more religious orders began to send their missionaries. Some competed with the Jesuits and others went to areas newly opened to conversion to Christianity and settlement for commercial activities.