Volume 2, Chapter 6, Section 2c -- Narrative of the first Voyage of Vasco de Gama to India and back, in the years 1497, 1498, and 1499 (from the meeting with the Zamorin of Calicut onward; concluded).
From this place they went forwards to the city of Calicut, and were taken at their arrival into another pagoda similar to the former. After this, on entering the city, the crowd was so great that they could hardly make their way through the streets. The general was astonished to see such multitudes, and praised GOD for having brought him in safety to this city, humbly beseeching his divine mercy so to guide him on his way that he might accomplish the objects of his expedition, and return safely into Portugal. At length the pressure of the crowd became so great that the bearers were unable to get forwards, and the whole company were forced to take shelter in a house. They were here joined by the Kutwal's brother, a nobleman who was sent by the king to accompany the general to the palace, and had many Nayres along with him. The procession again set out, preceded by many trumpets and sackbuts sounding all the way; and one of the Nayres carried a caliver, which he fired off at intervals. After they were joined by the Kutwal's brother, the mob gave way for the procession to pass, and shewed as much reverence as if the king himself had been present. There went in the procession at least 3000 armed men, and the multitudes of spectators, in the streets, at the doors and windows, and on the roofs, were quite innumerable. The general was well pleased at his honourable reception, and said pleasantly to those of his company, "They little think in Portugal how honourably we are received here."
The procession arrived at the palace an hour before sunset. Though only constructed of earth, the palace was very extensive and seemed a handsome structure, having great numbers of trees interspersed among the different buildings, with pleasant gardens full of fine flowers and odoriferous plants, and many fountains; as the Zamorin never goes out of the palace while resident in Calicut. On arriving at the palace, several Caymals and other noblemen came out to receive the general, who led him to a large square immediately in front of the gates, whence they passed through four several courts, at the gate of each of which there were ten porters who were obliged to lay about them with sticks among the people to clear the way. On coming to the gate of the house in which the king resided, they were met by the chief Bramin, or high priest of the royal household, a little old man, who embraced the general, and conducted him and his people into the palace. At this time the people pressed forwards with much eagerness to get a sight of the king, which they very seldom do as he goes very rarely out of the palace; and the multitude was so great that some of them were stifled in the throng, which would likewise have been the case with two of our men, if they had not gone on before, with the assistance of the porters, who severely hurt many of the mob, and forced them to make way.
On passing the last gate, the general and his attendants entered along
with the noblemen into a great hall, surrounded with seats of timber raised
in rows above one another like our theatres, the floor being covered by
a carpet of green velvet, and the walls hung with silk of various colours.
The king was of a brown complexion, large stature, and well advanced in
years. He lay on a sofa covered with a cloth of white silk and gold, and
a rich canopy over his head. On his head he had a cap or mitre adorned
with precious stones and pearls, and had jewels of the same kind in his
ears. He wore a jacket of fine cotton cloth, having buttons of large pearls
and the button-holes wrought with gold thread. About his middle he had
a piece of a white calico, which came only down to his knees; and both
his fingers and toes were adorned with many gold rings set with fine stones;
his arms and legs were covered with many golden bracelets.
Close to his sofa there stood a gold shallow bason on a gold stand, in which was betel, which the king chewed with salt and areka. This last is a kind of fruit about the size of a nut, and is chewed all over India to sweeten the breath, and is supposed to carry off phlegm from the stomach and to prevent thirst. The king had likewise a gold bason on a golden stand, into which he spat out the betel when chewed; and a gold fountain with water for washing his mouth. The king was served with betel by an old man who stood close to the sofa; all the others who were in the presence held their left hands to their mouths, that their breaths might not reach the king; and it is thought unseemly for any one to spit or sneeze in the presence.
When the general entered the hall in which the king sat, he stooped or bowed down three times according to the custom of the country, lifting up his hands as one that praised God. The king immediately made signs for the general to draw near, and commanded him to be seated on one of the seats; and the rest of the Portuguese came forwards, making similar reverences, and were likewise commanded to sit down opposite the king. Water was then presented to all the company to wash their hands, which was very refreshing, for, though it was then winter, they were very hot. They were then presented with figs and jakas, and the king was much pleased to see them eat, laughing at them and conversing with the old man who served him with betel. Our people being thirsty, called for water, which was brought to them in a golden ewer, and they were directed to pour the water into their mouths as it is reckoned injurious to touch the cup with their lips. They accordingly did as they were directed; but some poured the water into their throats and fell a coughing, while others poured it beside upon their faces and clothes, which much amused the king.
After this, the king desired the general by an interpreter, to speak to those who were present as to the purpose of his coming to Calicut. But the general was not satisfied with this, and signified that he was ambassador from the king of Portugal, a powerful prince, and that Christian princes were not used to receive the embassies of other sovereigns by means of a third person, but by themselves in person in the presence only of a few of their principal persons; and this being the usage of his country, he chose to deliver his message only to the king himself. The king agreed to this, and commanded the general and Fernan Martinez who acted as interpreter, to be conducted into another chamber, which was adorned with as much magnificence as the first.
As soon as the king entered this chamber, he took his seat on a sofa, attended only by his interpreter, the chief Bramin, the old man who served him with betel, and the comptroller of his household. The king then asked the general, from what part of the world he was come, and what were his desires. He answered, that he was ambassador from the king of Portugal, the most powerful of the Christian sovereigns in the west, both in extent of dominions, numbers of people, and riches. That he and his predecessors, hearing that there were Christian kings and princes in the Indies, of which the Zamorin of Calicut was the chief, were exceedingly desirous of sending some of their captains to discover the way, that they might enter into friendship with the king of this country as brothers; and for this reason he had been sent to his highness: not that the king his master had any need of his riches, having abundance already and more than was needed both of gold and silver and other valuable things. That all the former captains who had been sent at great charges upon this discovery, after having employed a year or more in vain and having consumed all their victuals, had returned again into Portugal. But that the present king Don Manuel, being anxious to bring this great enterprize to a successful conclusion, had entrusted him with command of three ships well supplied with provisions, commanding him not to return to Portugal without discovering the way to the Christian king of Calicut, and would certainly order his head to be cut off if he returned without fulfilling his orders. The said king his master had given him two letters to deliver to his highness, which he would present next day as it was now somewhat late; when he would convince his highness that the king of Portugal was his friend and brother, and should request of [[his]] highness, in confirmation of friendship, to send an ambassador to the king of Portugal, as was the custom among Christian princes.
The Zamorin expressed his satisfaction with this embassy, and told the general that he made him welcome to his capital; and, since the king of Portugal desired to be his friend and brother, he would be the like to him, and should send an ambassador to him as desired. The Zamorin then made inquiry into many circumstances respecting Portugal; how far distant it was from Calicut, how long the general had been upon the voyage, and other things: And as it grew late, the king allowed him to retire, first asking him whether he would reside with the Moors or the Malabars; but as the general chose rather to have a house to himself, the king gave orders to a Moor who was his factor, to accompany him, and to provide him with everything necessary for his accommodation.
Leaving the palace late, it being now towards ten o'clock, the Kutwal
and the rest who had accompanied him there, escorted him back to where
he was to lodge; and as they were on their way, all on foot, there fell
such rain that the streets ran in torrents, insomuch that the factor gave
orders to some of the people to carry our general on their backs. The general
was displeased at this and at the delay, and asked angrily at the factor
if he meant to carry him all night through the streets. The factor made
answer that he could not do otherwise, as the city was large and much scattered.
He then conducted him into his own house to rest for some time, and procured
a horse for him to ride; but, as the horse had no saddle, the general preferred
going on foot. At length he was brought to a very good lodging, to which
his people had previously brought all his baggage.
Next day being Tuesday, the general was greatly rejoiced to see so promising a commencement of his business, and resolved upon sending a present to the Zamorin; upon which he sent for the Kutwal and the king's Factor, to whom he shewed the present which he proposed sending. This consisted of four capotas or cloaks of scarlet cloth, six hats, four branches of coral, twelve almasares, a box containing seven brass vessels, a chest of sugar, two barrels of oil, and a cask of honey. The Kutwal and Factor laughed in derision at this present, saying, that this was no fit present for their king, the poorest merchant presenting one more valuable. They desired him rather to send gold, as the king would accept of nothing else. The general was offended at this, saying, if he had been a merchant he would have brought gold; but, being an ambassador, he had brought none. That what he now offered were his own goods, and not belonging to the king his master; who, being uncertain if he should ever reach Calicut, had given him nothing to offer as a present to the Zamorin. But at his next coming, knowing now certainly the route, the king his master would send gold and silver and other rich articles. To this they answered, that these things might be, but it was the custom of this country for every stranger who had speech of the king to make him a present in proportion to the greatness of his rank. The general replied it was very proper their customs should be observed, and therefore he desired to send this present, which he could not make more valuable, for the reasons already assigned; and if they would not suffer it to be carried to the king, he should send it back to his ships. They answered he might do so, for they would not consent to have such a present sent to the king.
The general, much displeased, said he would go speak with the king himself, and would then return to the ships, meaning to have informed the king of all that had passed in regard to the intended present. This they said was very proper; but, as they would be detained long at court in attending him, they were obliged in the mean time to go upon other business, and would return to escort him to court, as the king would be angry if he went without them, he being an entire stranger; and besides, he could not go in safety unaccompanied, because of the great numbers of Moors who resided in that city. Giving credit to their words, the general consented to this arrangement, and said he would wait for their return, which he expected would be without delay: But they did not return all that day, as they had been gained over by the Moors to thwart the purposes of the general
The Moors in Calicut had received information of the transactions of the Portuguese at Quiloa, and of the taking of the sambuco off Melinda; and knowing that we were Christians, were very jealous of our arrival at Calicut. Bontaybo had told the Moors that our purpose was not merely to discover Calicut from curiosity, but that spices were in great estimation in Portugal, which abounded in gold and silver, and to which all kinds of merchandize was at present transported that went from Calicut by way of the Red Sea; and finally, that the settlement of a direct trade by the Portuguese with Calicut would tend greatly to the profit of the Zamorin. All this the Moors very well understood. But considering that we were Christians, they believed if we should establish trade with Calicut, that their own commodities would fall in price, and most of their profits be destroyed. Wherefore they consulted together how to induce the Zamorin to take the general prisoner, to seize our ships, and to kill all our men; that they might not return into Portugal with any intelligence concerning Calicut.
Upon this they associated themselves with some of those who were in greatest credit with the Zamorin, to whom they procured access, and represented to him that he ought not to be deceived by the Christians, for the general was no ambassador as he pretended, but a pirate who went about to rob and plunder wherever he came. They asserted having received undoubted intelligence of this from their factors in Africa; where after entering into a friendly correspondence with the xeque, who even visited the general in his ship, gave him many presents, and provided him with a pilot to bring him to Calicut, he had battered the town with his ordnance, and killed several of his subjects. That he had afterwards taken some sambucos laden with merchandize, treating the xeque and his subjects like enemies. In like manner they misrepresented the conduct of the general at Mombaza and Melinda, turning every thing that had occurred to his dishonour. They reasoned from these misrepresentations, that he could not be an ambassador sent to maintain peace and amity, as he would not, in that case, have been guilty of these base hostilities, and would assuredly have brought the king a present worthy of the sovereign he pretended to come from.
The king was much amazed at this discourse, and told the Moors that he would consider and determine what was proper for him to do. The Moors also told the Kutwal of all that they had said to the king, with whom he was in great credit, and requested of him to persuade the king not to listen to this embassage. The Kutwal then went to the king, who told him all that the Moors had said, and the Kutwal advised him to do as the Moors had requested. On this the king changed his good intentions towards the general, yet endeavoured to conceal his purposes. The Moors then waited on the general under pretence of friendship, offering to instruct him how best to conduct himself, saying that it was customary for all persons who came from other places to Calicut on business with the king to bring him a present. On this the general shewed them the present he had proposed making, which the Kutwal and the factor had made so light of; and, with whom they agreed, saying it was by no means a fit present, and would rather seem a mockery, and give offence. Even Bontaybo agreed in this opinion; and asked the general why he had not brought better things, as he knew that Portugal abounded in all manner of rich commodities. But the general excused himself as formerly, by saying that it was quite uncertain whether he might ever have come to Calicut.
The general remained the whole of this day in his lodgings, much displeased that the Kutwal and Factor had not returned according to promise, and was at one time resolved to have gone to court without them; yet thought it better to wait till next day. In the afternoon of the Wednesday, the Kutwal and Factor made their appearance, when he mentioned his dissatisfaction at their long absence; but they talked of other things, and gave him no answer on that subject. At length they accompanied him to the palace; but the king, having greatly changed his mind towards him, made him wait three hours for admission, and then ordered that only two of his people should be admitted into the presence along with himself. Though the general considered this separation of his people as not looking well, he went into the presence attended by Fernan Martinez and Diego Diaz, his interpreter and secretary. The king did not receive him so well as formerly, and said with a severe countenance that he had expected him all the preceding day. Not willing to give him the true cause of his absence, lest it might lead to a conversation respecting the present, the general said he had tarried at home to recover from the fatigue of his long voyage.
On this the king observed, that he pretended to have been sent on an embassy of friendship from a rich and powerful king, and that he did not well understand what kind of friendship was intended, since he had sent him no present. To this the general answered, that it was not to be wondered that the king his master had sent no present to his highness, considering the extreme uncertainty of his being able to come to this place by a way never before attempted, and unknown till now. But now that the way was discovered, and God spared him to return to Portugal, his master would assuredly send him princely gifts, worthy of them both. And if his highness would have the goodness to give credit to the letters which he had brought from the king his master, he would there learn the intentions of the king of Portugal in sending him to Calicut. Instead of desiring to see the letters, the king asked him whether he was sent in search of stones or of men; and if sent to discover men, how came it that the king his master had sent no present? And since it was manifest that he had brought him nothing, he demanded of him to send him the golden image of the Virgin, which he understood was in his ship.
The general, much concerned to find the king so much changed towards him, on account of not bringing him a present and amazed at this strange demand, said that the image of the Virgin Mary of which his highness had been told, was only of wood gilt, and not of gold; and besides, as this holy image had protected him during his long perils on the sea, and had brought him so far in safety, he was unwilling to part with it. The Zamorin made no reply to this, but immediately demanded that he should produce the letters from the king of Portugal. One of these was written in the Portuguese language, and the other in Arabic; and the general explained that this had been done, because the king his master did not know which of these might be understood in the dominions of his highness: And, since he now knew that Portuguese was not understood in India, whereas Arabic was, he requested that some Christian of the Indies who understood Arabic might be employed to interpret the letter, because the Moors were known to be enemies to the Christians, and he was afraid lest they might purposely give it a wrong interpretation. The king gave orders to this purpose, but no Indian could be found who was able to read the letters, or at least who would acknowledge that he could read them.
Seeing that it was now necessary that it should be read by the Moors, the general requested that Bontaybo should be one of those appointed for the purpose, placing more reliance on him than the others, as he was an acquaintance. The king accordingly commanded the letter to be read by him and other three Moors; who, having first read it over to themselves, interpreted it aloud to the king, to the following effect: "As soon as it became known to the king of Portugal, that the king of Calicut was one of the mightiest kings of all the Indies and a Christian, he was anxious to establish a treaty of amity and commerce with him, that he might procure spices, which were in great abundance in his country, and to procure which the merchants of many parts of the world trade thither. And if his highness would give a licence to send for spices, he would send many things from his kingdom which were not to be had in the dominions of his highness; or if these things were not satisfactory, of which the general could shew him some samples, he was willing to send money, both gold and silver, to purchase the spices. And finally referring his highness to the general for further information."
On hearing this letter interpreted, and being desirous that his revenues might increase by the resort of many merchants to his dominions, the Zamorin evinced his satisfaction at what he had heard; and assuming a more friendly deportment towards the general, asked him what were the articles of merchandise that could be had from Portugal. De Gama named many different kinds; particularly mentioning such as he had samples of along with him, and likewise their money, and requested permission to go on board his ships that he might bring these things to his highness, offering to leave four or five of his men in his lodgings during his absence. Giving now more credit to the general than to what had been said by the Moors to his prejudice, the king told De Gama he might go on board when he pleased, taking all his men with him, as there was no call for any of them remaining on shore. He likewise said the general might freely bring his goods on shore, and sell them to the best advantage.
The general was greatly satisfied with this permission, of which he had no hopes at the first, on seeing the unfriendly reception he had met with at the commencement of his audience. He went back, therefore, to his lodging, accompanied by the Kutwal; and the day being near a close, he deferred returning on board that night.
De Faria gives a somewhat different account of what passed at this second audience. "It was wonderful that the zamorin, not knowing how to be properly assured of the truth, should rely on the faith of him who was accused by his ministers. For, as if he had really known in what detestation the Portuguese hold a lie, although to their own advantage, he sent for De Gama, and told him plainly that he had been informed his embassy was all a counterfeit, and that he was some banished man or a fugitive; yet at the same time offered, even if it were so, to give him a kind reception, and to make him handsome appointments in his service; and promised to rely entirely on his word for information respecting the truth of the whole story. De Gama heard the king to an end with a firm countenance, and declared himself highly sensible of the confidence reposed in him. He then proceeded to answer all that had been alleged against him, which he completely overturned by irrefragable argument in a long and eloquent speech, preserving the utmost gravity and composure throughout the whole. The zamorin eyed him steadfastly the whole time, hoping to be enabled to judge of the truth or falsehood of his assertion by his countenance; and concluded, from the unconcernedness of his looks, the eloquence of his words, and the firm gravity of his whole demeanour, that no deceit could lurk under such appearances of sincerity, that the Moors had accused him maliciously, and had imposed on his ministers. He therefore frankly allowed De Gama permission to return to his ships, and to land his merchandise, if he had any; saying that while that was doing, he would prepare a satisfactory answer to the letter of the king of Portugal."On the next day, being the last of May, the Kutwal sent a horse to the general to carry him to Pandarane; but having no furniture, he requested to be supplied with an andor, which was sent accordingly, when De Gama immediately set out for Pandarane, all his people accompanying him on foot. The Kutwal remained at Calicut, but a considerable number of Nayres escorted the general on his way.
When the Moors learnt that the general was gone to the ships, they went together to the Kutwal, making large offers of money to him, if he would pursue the general, and detain him a prisoner under some feigned pretence; when they would take some opportunity of having him slain, in such way that the blame should not attach to the Kutwal. And when he objected that the Zamorin might punish him for detaining the general contrary to his orders, they engaged so to deal with the Zamorin as to obtain his pardon for that offence. Induced by a large bribe, and encouraged by this promise, the Kutwal followed De Gama in such haste that he soon passed our men, who lagged behind on account of the great heat. On overtaking De Gama, he asked by signs why he was in such haste, and where he was running to? The general answered in the same manner, that he was running to avoid the heat.
On coming to Pandarane, as his men were not come up, the general declined going into the town till they should arrive, and went into a house to get shelter from the rain. The people did not get to the town till near sunset, having lost their way; on which the general said if it had not been for their absence he would have been by this time on board. The general immediately desired the Kutwal to order him to be furnished with an almadia or pinnace, to carry him and his people on board; but the Kutwal said it was now late, and the ships so far away that he might miss them in the dark, for which reason he had better stay till next day. The general then said, if he were not immediately furnished with an almadia, he would return to the king and complain that he was detained contrary to his license, and even mentioned as if he meant to return immediately to Calicut. To dissemble the more, the Kutwal said he might have thirty instead of one, if he needed them, and pretended to send out to procure almadias, while at the same time he commanded the owners to hide themselves that they might not be found.
In the meantime, while messengers were dispatched on pretence to seek almadias, the general, having a strong suspicion that evil was intended towards him, walked leisurely along the water side, and sent off Gonzales Perez and two other mariners, to go on before and endeavour to find Nicholas Coello with his boats, and to caution him to keep out of the way, lest the Kutwal might send off to seize his boats and men. While Perez and the others were absent on this errand, it drew far into the night; and not choosing to go off till he learnt what success Perez had met with, he at length agreed to stay all night. Having placed De Gama in the house of a Moor for the night, the Kutwal pretended that he would go in search of the three mariners who were absent; but he did not return till next morning. The general then required to have an almadia to carry him and his people on board. Before answering, the Kutwal spoke some words to his Nayres in their own language, and then desired the general to give orders to have the ships brought near the shore, on which he should have leave to depart. On this the general became still more afraid that some treachery was intended; yet answered boldly, that he would give no such order while he remained on shore, as that would make his brother believe he was a prisoner and had issued this order under restraint, on which he would immediately depart for Portugal without him.
The Kutwal then threatened stoutly that he should never be allowed to go off, unless he complied with this demand. The general, in return, declared he should immediately return to Calicut if not allowed to go on board, and make a complaint of his conduct to the king. The Kutwal even dared him to do this, yet took care it should not be in his power, as he had ordered the doors to be kept shut and guarded by armed Nayres, to prevent any of the Portuguese from going out. Yet it was the will of God that the Kutwal dared not to kill the general or any of his men, although the Moors had bribed him with a great sum of money, and notwithstanding his great credit with the Zamorin. His anxiety to have the ships brought near the shore was, that the Moors might be able to board them and kill all their people; and, seeing it in this light, the general was equally determined to prevent their nearer approach. Finding he could not prevail on the general to command the ships to be brought near the shore, and having no pretence to justify either keeping him prisoner or offering him any wrong, the Kutwal next endeavoured to persuade him to order the sails and rudders on shore; at which the general only laughed, saying the king had given full permission to go on board without any such conditions, and assured him the king should be fully informed of all his unjust proceedings.
The general and his people now pretended to be in want of necessaries from the ships, and requested leave to send some of his people on board, while he should remain on shore; but this the Kutwal refused, and our people began to be seriously alarmed. At this time Gonzalo Perez returned, supposing the general at liberty and that he waited for him and his companions. Perez informed De Gama that he had seen Coello, who waited for him with the boats near the shore. The admiral was exceedingly anxious that the Kutwal should not know of this circumstance, lest he might send out a number of armed almadias to capture them; and therefore urged Perez to return secretly to give Coello warning to return to the ships and keep constantly on the alert for fear of an attack. When Coello got this intelligence, he immediately set off, and the Kutwal caused him to be pursued by several almadias full of armed men, but he made his escape. The Kutwal made another attempt to induce the general to order his brother to bring the ships near the shore, but in vain; for the general told him, his brother, even if he were to write such an order, would not obey, or, were he disposed to do so, the other officers in the ship would prevent him. The Kutwal observed that he could not give credit to this, as he was sure anything he commanded would be obeyed. But no arguments could prevail on the general to this measure, which he was satisfied was meant for facilitating the destruction of the fleet to gratify the Moors.
The whole of this day was spent in this manner, and in the night our people were confined in a large paved yard surrounded with walls, and under even a stronger guard than attended them during the day; and even the general began to fear as well as the men, that they would be separated from one another. Yet he trusted, when the Zamorin should come to know the usage they had received, he would give orders for their release. That night, the Kutwal came to sup with the general and sent a supply of fowls and rice. Finding that he could not prevail over the constancy of De Gama, he determined at last to set him at liberty. Next day, therefore, being Saturday the second of June, he desired the general, since he had promised to the king to bring his merchandise on shore, that he ought to do so; as it was the usage of all merchants who came to Calicut to land their goods and crews, and not to return to their ships till all was sold; and he promised, when this was done, to give him free liberty to depart. Although the general gave very little credit to his fair words, he yet said, if the Kutwal would provide almadias for the purpose, he would order his goods on shore; but was certain his brother would not allow the boats to leave the ships while he was detained on shore.
The Kutwal was now content to get the goods into his power, as he understood from the general they were of great value, and allowed the general to send off a message to his brother. He therefore sent off a letter by two of his men, in which he gave his brother an account of his situation, confined to his lodging but otherwise well used, and desiring him to send some of the merchandise on shore to satisfy the Kutwal; but, directing him, in case he was much longer detained, to believe that he was kept prisoner by order of the Zamorin; whose only object was to get the Portuguese ships into his power, not having time to arm his own ships for that purpose. For this reason, if [[he was]] not set at liberty immediately after the goods were landed, he required his brother to return without delay to Portugal, and inform the king of all that had happened; that the trade of so fine a country might not be lost to his country. And farther, to inform the king in what state he remained, trusting that his royal master would send such an armament as would enforce his restoration to liberty.
On receiving this letter, and a circumstantial relation from the messenger of all that had happened on shore, Paulo de Gama immediately sent the goods; but said in answer to the general, that he could not answer to his honour to return to Portugal without him, and he trusted God would enable the small force he had still in the fleet, with the aid of his ordnance, to compel the Kutwal to liberate him. On the merchandise being landed, the general delivered it over into the custody of Diego Diaz as Factor, with Alvora de Braga as his clerk, whom he left in a house provided for them by the Kutwal; after which he went on board the ships. He then refused to send any more goods on shore, till those already there were sold and paid for, and determined not to run himself again into danger by venturing on shore after what had already passed. At this the Moors were grievously vexed, as they thought it more easy for them to have destroyed him on land than on board the ships. On purpose to entice him to land once more, the Moors made a mock of his goods, pretending they were good for nothing, and did all in their power to prevent them from selling.
Thinking that the Zamorin knew nothing of all these transactions, he sent him an account of the whole five days afterwards, by his Factor, of all that had happened, and of the injurious conduct of the Moors respecting the sale of the goods. The king seemed much offended by these proceedings, sending the general word that he would punish all those who had used him ill, yet the Kutwal remained unpunished. The king likewise sent seven or eight merchants of Guzerate, who were idolaters, to buy the goods, accompanied by an honest Nayre, to remain with Diaz at the factory to defend him against the Moors. Yet all this was only done colourably, that the Moors might not appear to suborn the merchants; for these men bought nothing, and even beat down the price of the commodities, to the great satisfaction of the Moors; who now boasted that no person would buy our goods any more than they. Yet none of the Moors durst venture to our factory, after they heard a Nayre was stationed there by the king's order. If they did not love us before, they hated us ten times worse now, and when any of our men landed, they used to spit on the ground in contempt, calling out "Portugal! Portugal!" But by the especial order of the general, our people took no other notice than merely laughing at their insolence.
As none of the merchants would buy our goods, the general supposed that this was occasioned by their being lodged at Pandarane, where none of the merchants of Calicut resided; and requested leave, by a messenger, from the Zamorin, to have the goods removed to the city. This permission was immediately granted, and the king issued orders to the Kutwal to see them removed, and even to pay the persons who carried them, that nothing belonging to the king of Portugal might be subject to any charges in his country. The general would not trust himself any more on shore, although Bontaybo, who frequently came off to visit him, advised him to wait on the king, lest the great credit of the Moors might again prevail over his mind. But considering this man as a Moor, the general never put much trust in him, nor informed him of his intentions; yet always received him kindly, and gave him money and other gifts, that he might bring him intelligence of what was passing on shore.
After the Portuguese merchandise was removed to Calicut, the general
permitted one man daily from each of the ships to go on shore, to see the
city and to purchase any thing they had a mind for; always taking especial
care that one party returned on board before another landed. Our people
were courteously received and entertained by the natives, and were even
lodged in their houses occasionally. They bartered several things on shore,
such as bracelets of brass and copper, pewter, and other European articles,
for the productions of the country, as freely and quietly as if they had
been in Lisbon. Fishermen, and others of the idolaters came off to the
ships, selling fish, cocoa-nuts, and poultry, for biscuit or money; while
others came off with their children, merely to have a sight of our ships.
On all these occasions, the general commanded them to be well treated and
to have food given them, to conciliate the people and to secure the friendship
of the Zamorin. This continued till the tenth of August, during which time
the ships had always some of the natives on board.
Seeing the quietness of the people, and their familiarity with his men, who never met with any injury from the Moors or Nayres, the general believed the Zamorin was willing to preserve friendship and peace with the subjects of Portugal, and determined upon establishing a factory in Calicut for the sale of his commodities, although very little of what was landed had as yet been sold. By this means, he hoped to lay a sure foundation for the establishment of trade, against the next expedition which the king his master might send, if GOD pleased to send him home with the intelligence of the discovery. Accordingly, with the advice and concurrence of the captains and other principal officers of the fleet, he sent a present by Diego Diaz to the Zamorin, consisting of scarfs of different colours, silks, corals, and various other articles. Diaz was desired to say to the king, that the general begged his highness to excuse his presumption in sending such a present in token of his entire devotion to his service, having nothing worthy of the acceptance of so great a prince. That the time now drew near when it would be necessary to depart on his return to Portugal; and therefore, if his highness meant to send an ambassador to the king of Portugal, he had better give orders that he might soon be ready to embark. Presuming upon what his highness had already agreed to, and on the kindness hitherto shewn to him and his people by his highness, he requested permission to leave a factor and clerk in Calicut along with his merchandise, as a memorial of peace and amity between his highness and the king of Portugal, as a testimony of the truth of the embassy with which he had been entrusted, and in pledge of farther embassy from the king his master as soon as the discovery was made known. He likewise prayed his highness to send on board as a full confirmation of his having actually made the voyage to India, a bahar of cinnamon, another of cloves, and a third of some other spices, which should be paid for by the factor out of the first sales of the goods in his possession.
It was four days after Diaz received this order before he could get access to the Zamorin, though he went every day to the palace for this purpose. At length he was admitted to audience; and on seeing Diaz with his present, the king asked him what he wanted in so stern a manner that he was afraid of being killed. After delivering the message from the general and wishing to deliver the present, the king refused to see it, and commanded that it should be delivered to his Factor. The answer he gave to the message was, that since the general wished to depart he might do so, but must first pay him 600 serasynes, according to the custom of the country.
Diaz, on his return to the factory with the present intended for the king, was accompanied by many of the Nayres, which he thought was from respect: but immediately on entering the house, the Nayres remained at the door, forbidding him or any other person to go out. After this, a proclamation was made through the city, forbidding any boat or almadia to go on board our fleet on pain of death. Yet Bontaybo went off secretly, and gave warning to the general not to venture on shore or to permit any of the people to land; as he had learned from the Moors, that any who might do so would surely lose their lives. Bontaybo said farther, that all the fair words of the king proceeded from dissimulation, that he might entice the general and his people on shore to kill them all; all which evil intentions were occasioned by the Moors, who made the king believe that the Portuguese were thieves and pirates, who had come to Calicut to steal such merchandise as should be brought there; and who had come to spy out the land, that they might return with a great armament to invade his dominions. All this was confirmed by two Malabar idolaters, and the general was in great uncertainty how best to proceed on the present emergency.
That same night, after dark, a Negro slave belonging to Diaz came off, with the information that Diaz and Braga were made prisoners, and with an account of the answer which the king had given to his message, what he had ordered to be done with the present, and of the proclamations which were made through the city. Diego Diaz, being anxious to have these things communicated to the general, had bribed a fisherman to carry this man on board, as he could not well be recognized in the night owing to his colour. The general, though much offended at these injurious proceedings, was unwilling to depart till he might see the end of these things, and therefore waited to see whether anyone might come off to the ships. Next day, being Wednesday the 15th of August, only one almadia came off, in which there were four boys, who brought fine precious stones for sale. Although the general believed they were spies, he received them kindly, and gave no hints of having heard that Diaz was made a prisoner; expecting that others of more importance might come on board through whom he might procure the enlargement of Diaz and Braga. By these boys he wrote to Diaz, but couched in such a manner that it might not be understood if it fell into any other hands. The letter was delivered according to its direction, and the boys told the king of their reception on board, by which he believed that the general knew not of the imprisonment of his people. On this he sent off other persons to the ships, who were strictly enjoined not to disclose the treatment which the factor had experienced. This was done out of policy to deceive the general and to detain our ships, till the king might be able to send his own fleet to set upon him, or till the ships might arrive from Mecca to take him prisoner.
Some of the Malabars continued to come off daily, all of whom the general commanded to be well entertained, as he saw none of sufficient importance to be detained. But, on the Sunday, six principal Malabars came on board, attended by fifteen men in another pinnace. Believing that the king would liberate Diaz and Braga in return for these men, he made them all prisoners; and sent a letter in the Malabar language, by two of the native boatmen, to the king's factors, demanding his factor and clerk in return for those men he had detained on board. On perusal of this letter, the king's factor communicated the same to the king, who commanded him to take the Portuguese to his own house, that he might not appear to have had any hand in their detention; and then to restore them to the general in return for the Malabars, whose wives had made a great clamour about the detention of their husbands.
Seeing that his people were not sent on board, the general weighed anchor on Wednesday the 23d of August and set sail, meaning to try if this shew of going away would have the effect of recovering Diaz and Braga, in return for these Malabars whom he had detained. The wind being contrary, he came to anchor in an open road, four leagues from Calicut, where the ships remained till the Saturday. As there was no appearance of getting back his people, De Gama again set sail; but for want of wind had to come again to anchor, almost out of the sight of land. An almadia now came to the ships with certain Malabars, who said that Diaz and the others were in the king's palace, and would be assuredly sent on board next day. Not seeing the detained Malabars, these people believed they had been all put to death. This affected delay proceeded entirely from craft, that they might gain time to fit out the Calicut fleet, and for the arrival of the ships from Mecca, when their combined force might environ [[=surround]] and destroy the Portuguese. The general ordered these messengers to go back to Calicut, and not to return without his men or letters from them, as otherwise he should sink them; and that if a satisfactory answer was not sent him without delay, he would cut off the heads of all the Malabars whom he had detained. The Malabars returned to Calicut with this message; and a wind springing up, the general made sail, and came to anchor off Calicut about sunset.
Next day, seven almadias came off to the fleet, in one of which were Diego Diaz and Alvora Braga, the others being filled with many of the natives. These people, however, were afraid to come on board, and put Diaz and Braga into the boat which was astern of the general's ship, and then put off to a little distance, waiting for the generals answer. Diego told the general, that when the king learnt of his having sailed, he sent for him to the palace, assuming a pleasant countenance as pretending to be ignorant of his imprisonment, and asked him why the general had kept his subjects as prisoners on board. On being told the reason, he said the general was in the right. He then asked if his own Factor, who was present, had extorted any presents; for he well knew that one of his predecessors had been put to death not long before, for taking bribes from merchant strangers. After this, the king desired Diaz to request the general to send him the stone pillar having the cross and the arms of Portugal, which he had promised to set up; and to know whether he would leave Diaz as factor in Calicut. Diaz likewise presented a letter for the king of Portugal, which was written on a palm leaf by Diaz, and signed by the Zamorin, to the following effect:
"Vasco de la Gama, a gentleman of thy house, came to my country, of whose arrival I was very glad. In my country there is abundance of cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and precious stones. The commodities I wish to procure from your country are silver, gold, coral, and scarlet."Convinced of the duplicity of the Zamorin, De Gama made no answer to the message; but sent back all the Nayres whom he had detained, desired them to tell the king he should return the others who were in custody, on receiving back his merchandise. He sent however the stone pillar which had been required. On the next day Bontaybo came on board, saying that the Kutwal, by order of the Zamorin, had seized all his property, alleging that he was a Christian who had come overland to Calicut as a spy from the king of Portugal. Bontaybo said, he was sure this bad treatment had proceeded from the suggestion of the Moors; and, as they had seized his goods, he was sure they meant personal violence, on which account he had made his escape.
The general gave him a kind reception, offering to carry him to Portugal, promising that he should recover double the value of his goods, besides, that he might expect to be well rewarded by the king of Portugal. To this arrangement Bontaybo gladly consented, and had a good cabin assigned him by order of the general. About ten o'clock the same day, three almadias full of men came off to the ships, having some scarfs laid on their benches, as being part of our goods; and these were followed by four other almadias, one after the other. The Malabars pretended that they had brought off all the goods, which they offered to put into his boat, and required him in return to deliver up the rest of the prisoners. But convinced this was a mere deception, the general desired them to go away, as he would have none of their merchandize, and was resolved to carry the Malabars to Portugal as witnesses of his discovery. He added, if God spared his life, he should convince them whether the Christians were thieves, as the Moors had made the king of Calicut believe, who had therefore treated him with so much injustice. He now commanded several cannon to be fired, on which they were afraid and made off.
It was certain, if the king's ships had been afloat that they would have been sent to attack our ships; but they were all hauled upon shore on account of the winter season. Wherefore we may attribute it to Providence that our ships happened to arrive here at this season, that thereby they might escape and carry home news of having discovered the Indies, to the great advancement of the Catholic faith.
Although greatly rejoiced at having made the discovery of the route to Calicut and the Indies, he was much distressed at the behaviour of the Zamorin, believing that the next expedition that might be sent out would be subject to great danger; but as he was unable to do any thing more at this time, he consoled himself with the knowledge he had thus acquired of the safe navigation, and that he had procured specimens of the spices, drugs, precious stones, and other commodities which were to be procured at this place. Having now nothing to detain him here, he departed from Calicut, carrying with him the Malabars whom he had made prisoners; as he hoped by their means a good agreement might be entered into with the Zamorin on sending out the next fleet from Portugal. On the Thursday after his departure, being becalmed about a league from Calicut, about sixty tonys, or boats of the country, came off to the fleet filled with soldiers expecting to have taken all our ships. But the general kept them off by frequent discharges of his artillery, though they followed him an hour and a half. At length there fell a heavy shower of rain attended with some wind, by which the fleet was enabled to make sail, and the enemies returned to the land. He now proposed to direct his course for Melinda; but made little way along the coast, by reason of calms.
At this time, having in mind the good of the next ships which might come to Calicut, he thought fit to send a soothing letter to the Zamorin, which was written in Arabic by Bontaybo; in which he apologized for having carried off the Malabars, as evidences of his having been at Calicut. He said he was sorry that he had left no factor, lest the Moors might put him to death; and that he had been deterred by the some cause from having frequently landed himself. That, notwithstanding all that had happened, the king his master would be glad to have the friendship of the Zamorin, and would assuredly send him abundance of all those commodities he might need; and that the trade of the Portuguese to his city would henceforth redound to his great profit. This letter was entrusted to one of the Malabars, who was set on shore and ordered to deliver it to the Zamorin.
Continuing his course along the coast, the fleet came on the ensuing Thursday among certain rocky islands, from one of which that was inhabited there came off several almadias, having fish and other victuals for sale. The general treated these people kindly, giving them shirts and other articles to their great contentment; and, with their approbation, set up a cross on the island, which was named El padron de Sancta Maria. As soon as night approached, and the wind began to blow from the shore, the fleet made sail, always keeping near the land. On the Thursday after, being the 19th of September, they came in sight of a pleasant high land, off which lay six little islands, where he came to anchor. Going here on shore in search of fresh water, a young man was met with, who was or pretended to be a Christian. This person carried our men to a river, where they found a spring of excellent water issuing out of the rock; and for his services they gave him a red nightcap. Next morning four natives came off in a small boat, with many gourds and cucumbers for sale. These people said that their country produced cinnamon, and two of our people were sent onshore to see whether this were true, who brought with them two green boughs which were said to be cinnamon, of which they had seen a large grove, but it turned out only to be the wild kind. At their return, these men were accompanied by more than twenty natives, who brought hens, gourds, and cows milk for sale, and who said, if the general would send some of his men on shore, he might have abundance of dried cinnamon, hogs, and poultry: But he dreaded treachery, and would not allow any of his people to go on shore.
Next forenoon, when some of our men went to a part of the shore at some
distance from the ships to cut wood, they suddenly came in sight of two
boats lying close to the land, and returned with intelligence of what they
had seen; but the general would not send to inquire what these might be
until after dinner. In the mean time, one of the men in the top gave notice
that he saw eight large ships out at sea, which were then becalmed. The
general gave immediate orders to have everything in readiness in case of
an attack, and as the wind served both fleets, they soon came within two
leagues of each other. The enemies perceiving our fleet approaching, fled
towards the shore; but one of their rudders breaking, the men belonging
to that ship escaped in their boats, and Coello immediately took possession,
expecting to find it laden with rich commodities. Nothing was found however,
except cocoa-nuts and a kind of sugar called melasus, which is prepared
from palms or date trees. He also found on board many bows and arrows,
swords, spears, and targets. The other seven ships were run aground, so
that our ships could not get near them, as drawing too much water; but
our people followed in their boats, and drove them out of their vessels
by firing upon them with their ordnance. Next day, while our fleet was
at anchor, seven men came off from the land in an almadia, who reported
that these eight ships had been sent by the Zamorin from Calicut to capture
our fleet, as they had been informed by some of the fugitives.
From this place the general removed to the island of Ansandina, at a short distance, where he was told he might procure good water. This island is very small, and only a league from the continent. It contains several woods, and two cisterns, or conduits, built of freestone, one of which is six feet deep, supplied with excellent water from certain springs; and the sea around has great quantities of fish. Before the Moors traded with India, this island was well inhabited by the native idolaters, having many goodly buildings, and especially some fine pagodas. But when the Moors resorted to this coast from the Red Sea, they used to take in their wood and water at this place, and abused the inhabitants so intolerably that they abandoned the place, and pulled down most of their pagodas and all their other buildings. These Gentiles were natives of that part of the continent which belongs to the king of Narsingas, and used often to repair thither to perform their devotions to three black stones which were in a chapel of one of the pagodas, which still remains. This island is called Ansandina in the Malabar language, which signifies the Five Islands, and is so named because there are other four islands round about.
Coming to anchor here, the general sent Coello on shore with an armed escort, to examine the country, and to see if there were any convenient place for new-graving their ships' bottoms, as they had been long at sea and had a long run before them. Everything being found convenient, and the measure approved of by all the captains, it was determined to lay their ships successively aground for this purpose. The ship called the Berrio was first laid on shore; and while occupied in repairing and cleaning her bottom, many of the natives came off from the continent to sell victuals to our people. While this was going forwards two small brigandines were seen rowing towards our ships, ornamented with flags and streamers on their masts, beating drums and sounding trumpets, and filled with men who plied their oars. At the same time, five similar vessels were seen creeping along shore, as if lying by to help the others if needful. The Malabars who supplied our people with provisions, warned the general to beware of these vessels, which belonged to pirates who roamed about in these seas, robbing all they met under pretence of peace. The general believed he might have taken these two vessels, if he had allowed them to come close up with his ships, but did not choose to run any risk; wherefore, as soon as they came within gun-shot, he ordered all the cannon belonging to the two ships which remained afloat to be fired at them; on which, calling out in a loud voice, Tambarane! Tambarane! which is their name for God, they fled away. Nicholas Coello, who was in his boat, followed after them, firing off his ordnance; but the general, fearful of any mischance, called him back by signal.
Next day, when the general and all his men were on shore at work upon the Berrio, twelve natives, who appeared to be men of some consequence, came to the island in two small paraos, and presented a bundle of sugar canes. These people asked permission to go on board the ships, as they had never seen any such before; but the general was much offended with this, fearing they might be spies. While engaged in conversation with these men, another two paraos made their appearance, having as many men. But those who came first, seeing the general displeased, advised these new comers not to land. When the Berrio was repaired, the general's ship was brought aground to receive the same attentions.
While the general and the other captains were on shore, busied in the repairs of the San Michael, there came one day a man in a little parao, seemingly about forty years old, and not of that country, as he was dressed in a sabaco, or gown of fine cotton reaching to his heels, his head covered with a kerchief or towel, which partly covered his face, and wearing a faulchion or crooked cymeter at his girdle. Immediately on landing, he went up and embraced the general, as if he had seen or known him before, and treated the other captains with the same politeness. He told them he was a Christian, born in Italy, and had been brought when a child into the Indies. That he now dwelt with a Moorish lord named Sabayo, who ruled a certain island called Goa, about twelve leagues from thence, and who had 40,000 horsemen on that island. That as his dwelling was now among the Moors, he conformed externally to their worship, though in his heart a Christian. That learning certain men had come in ships to Calicut, such as had never been seen before in the Indies, and that no one understood their language, he immediately understood that they must be Frangnes, for so the Christians are named in the Indies. That he was desirous of seeing them, and had asked leave of Sabayo to come and visit them; which, if he had not obtained, he would have died of vexation. That Sabayo had not only granted him leave for this purpose; but desired, if he found the strangers to be from his country, to offer them anything they might stand in need of which his country produced; particularly spices and provisions. And besides, if they would come and live with him, Sabayo would entertain them honourably, and give them sufficient to live on.
The general asked many questions concerning the country of Sabayo and other things, to which he made answer. After which he requested to have a cheese from the general, to send on shore to a companion, as a token of having been well received. The general suspected some mystery in this man, yet ordered a cheese and two new loaves to be given him, which he sent away to his companion. He continued talking with great volubility, and sometimes so unguardedly as to raise suspicions of his being a spy. On this Paulo de la Gama, who particularly suspected him, inquired of some of the natives if they knew who this man was; they immediately told him he was a pirate, who had boarded many other ships while laid aground. On receiving this information, the general ordered him to be carried on board his ship, then aground, and to be whipped well till he should confess whether all that he had said was true or false; also, what was his purpose in coming thither, and whether he were actually a Moor or a Christian. He still insisted that he was a Christian, and that all he said was true, declaring the information given by the natives to be entirely groundless.
The general now ordered a more cruel torment to be inflicted to extort confession, causing him to be hoisted up and down by the members: when at length he declared he would tell the truth. He then acknowledged himself a spy, sent to discover how many men the general had, and what were their weapons, as he was much hated on all that coast for being a Christian; and that many atalayas or foists were placed in all the bays and creeks of the coast to assail him, but dared not till they were joined by forty large armed vessels that were getting ready to fall upon him. But he said he knew not certainly when these vessels might be ready. The general now ordered him to be confined under hatches, intending to carry him into Portugal, as a fit person to give the king his master intelligence respecting the Indies, and ordered him to get refreshing victuals, and that his cure should be looked well after.
On receiving this information of the designs of his enemies, the general would stay no longer than was necessary for completing the repairs of his own ship, which was got ready in ten days. About this time, the general was offered 1000 fanons for the ship which had been taken by Coello; but he refused to sell anything to his enemies, and ordered her to be burnt. When the general's ship was ready, and the fleet had taken in a supply of water, they departed from the island of Ansandina, or Anchediva, on the 5th of October 1498, steering directly out to sea on their course for Melinda. After sailing about 200 leagues from that island, the Moor whom they had taken prisoner, seeing no prospect of escape, now made a full and true confession. He acknowledged that he lived with Sabayo, the lord of Goa, to whom word was brought that the general was wandering about in those seas, like one who knew not where he was, upon which orders were given to fit out a powerful fleet to make him prisoner. In the mean time, learning that the general was at the isle of Anchediva, Sabayo commanded him to go thither to visit him, to get intelligence of his strength and intentions, and to endeavour to entice him to Goa; where it was Sabayo's intentions to make him and all his people prisoners, and to employ them in his wars against the neighbouring princes, as they were reported to be valiant men. After this confession, the general gave this man better treatment, allowing him both clothes and money. Some time afterwards he became a Christian, by the name of Gaspar de la Gama, taking his name of Gaspar from one of the three kings of the Magi, and his surname from the general, who stood god-father at his baptism.
The general pursued his course for Melinda, where he proposed to take on board an ambassador from the xeque of that place. In the early part of this voyage he endured severe storms and contrary winds, which were succeeded by calms, during which the heat of the sun was quite insufferable, and the voyage much delayed, insomuch that water began to grow scarce, and the people had to be put on short allowance. Owing to these circumstances, the people were afflicted with the same disease in their gums, from which they had formerly suffered such great distress in the river of Good Signs, on the outward voyage. Their arms and legs also swelled, and many tumours broke out over their bodies, proceeding from a pestilent stinking humour, which threw them into a flux, of which thirty persons died. From the continuance of calms and contrary winds, and the mortality among the people, the whole company became amazed, and believed they should never be able to get out from their present distressing situation; insomuch that they solicited the general to return to Calicut, or some other part of India, and submit to what God might appoint, rather than to die on the sea of these terrible diseases, for which there was no remedy, especially as both provisions and water began to fail. De Gama reasoned with them to little purpose, as they had been now four months at sea, and there hardly remained sixteen persons in each ship able to do duty, some of whom even were afflicted with the diseases of which the others had died. It is even said that Paulo de la Gama and Nicholas Coello had agreed to return to India, if any wind should spring up that would have served for the voyage.
At length a favourable wind sprung up unexpectedly, and in sixteen days they came in sight of land on Wednesday the 2nd of February 1499, at which the mariners were much rejoiced, and soon forgot all their past troubles and dangers. As they came near the land towards evening, the general gave orders to keep their heads out to sea during the night, to avoid rocks or shoals. As there were no persons on board who knew where they were, a Moor alleged they had steered direct for Mozambique; saying there were certain islands 300 leagues from the shore, and directly over against that place, where the natives were continually subject to the disease which had been so fatal to our men. When morning came, they stood towards the land, when they came before a large and goodly city, surrounded with walls, having fair and lofty houses, and a large palace on a height in the middle of the city, seeming to be a magnificent building. This city is called Magadoxo, and stands on one side of the Gulf of India on the coast of Ethiopia, an hundred and thirteen leagues from Melinda, the situation of which I shall explain hereafter. Knowing this to be a city of the Moors, he would not stop at this place, but commanded many shots of ordnance to be fired as he sailed past.
Not being sure how far it was to Melinda, and fearing to overshoot that port, he lay too every night; and on Saturday the 5th of February, lying over against a village of the Moors, named Pate, 103 leagues from Magadoxo, there came off eight terradas, or boats of that country, filled with soldiers, and making direct for our fleet, from whence we shot off so many pieces of ordnance, that they soon fled back to the shore, and our people could not follow for want of wind. Next Monday, being the 7th of February, the fleet arrived at Melinda. The king immediately sent off his congratulations to the general on his arrival, with a present of fresh provisions. De Gama sent Fernan Martinez on shore to return the compliments of the king, to whom he sent a present. On account of the great number of sick on board, the fleet stopped here for ten days, during which time he caused a land-mark to be erected on shore, with leave of the king, as a token of friendship. Having provided provisions and water for the ships at this place, he departed on the morning of Wednesday the 17th of February, taking with him an ambassador from the king of Melinda, to negotiate a treaty of perpetual peace and friendship with the king of Portugal.
Considering that there were not sufficient men remaining for navigating all the ships, the general and the other captains agreed to burn one of them, and the San Rafael was chosen to be sacrificed, because she was all open, and had not been brought aground at Anchediva when the other two were repaired. Accordingly, after taking out all her stores and merchandize, which employed them during five days, she was burnt at certain shoals, called the Shoals of St. Raphael. During these five days, the fleet procured a considerable quantity of hens from a village on the coast called Tangata. Leaving this place, the two remaining ships came on the 20th February to the island of Zenziber, which is in six degrees of S. latitude, at ten leagues distance from the continent. This is a considerable island, having other two in its neighbourhood, one called Pemba, and the other Moyfa. These islands are very fertile, having abundance of provisions, and great quantities of oranges. The inhabitants are Moors, who are by no means warlike and have few weapons, but are well clothed in silk, and cotton vestments, which they purchase at Mombaza from the merchants of Cambaya. The women are ornamented with jewels of gold and silver, the former being procured at Sofala, and the latter from the island of St. Lawrence, or Madagascar. Each of these three islands has a separate king, who, with all their subjects, are of the Mahometan religion.
When the king of the island of Zenziber was informed of the arrival of our ships, he sent immediately to compliment the general, accompanied with great presents of the fruits and other productions of the country, and requested his friendship, to which the general gladly agreed and sent suitable answers. After remaining here eight days for refreshments, the general departed on the 1st of March, and came to anchor beside the isle of St. George in the bay of Mozambique. Next day he caused a mark to be erected on this island, where he went on shore and heard mass; and departed thence without any intercourse with the inhabitants of Mozambique. On the 3rd of March, he came to the island of St. Blas, where the ships remained for some time to take in water, and to provide a stock of sea wolves, and solitarios, which were salted to serve as provision for the remainder of the voyage, and for which they were most thankful to God. Departing from thence, they were driven back by a westerly wind right contrary; but Providence sent them a fair wind, by means of which they doubled the Cape of Good Hope with infinite pleasure on the 20th of March, all the remainder of the crews being now strong and in good health, with the cheering prospect of speedily returning to Lisbon. They now had a fair wind, which lasted them twenty days, and sped them on towards St. Jago. The fair wind now failed them and delayed their voyage. Trying the lead on Thursday the 25th of April, they found twenty-five fathom; and the least water they had all that day was twenty fathom, on which account the pilots concluded they were on the shoals of the Rio Grande.
Of the rest of this voyage, till the arrival of the general at the island of St. Jago, I have found no account; except that, when approaching that place, Nicholas Coello parted company one night with the general, and made direct for Portugal, that he might carry the first intelligence to the king of the discovery of India; and arrived at Cascais on the 10th of July 1499. He went immediately to the king, whom he informed of all that had befallen the general in his discovery of the Indies, and of the commodities which had been brought from thence; of which discovery, and of the prospect which it held out of a direct trade with India by sea, the king was as glad as when he had been proclaimed king of Portugal.
After the separation of Coello, De Gama pursued his voyage for the island of St. Jago, both because his brother Paulo was sick with consumptive complaints, and because his ship was in very bad condition; all her seams being open. At that island, he freighted a caravel, in hope of being able to get his brother home to Portugal, and left John de Sala in charge of his own ship, to have her repaired and new-rigged before proceeding for Lisbon. The general and his brother left St. Jago in the hired caravel for Lisbon; but the disease of Paulo de Gama increased so rapidly, that he was forced to put in at the island of Tercera, where Paulo de Gama departed this life like a good Christian and a worthy gentleman. When he had buried his brother, Vasco de Gama set sail for Portugal, and arrived at Belem in September 1499; having been two years and two months absent on this voyage. Of 108 men whom he had taken with him, only fifty came home alive; which was a large proportion, considering the great and numerous dangers they had gone through.
When the general had returned thanks to God for his preservation and success, he sent notice of his arrival to the king, who sent Diego de Sylva y Menesis, Lord of Portugalete, and many other gentlemen, to conduct him honourably to court, which they did through a prodigious concourse of people, eager to see the man who had made so wonderful a voyage, and whom they had long thought dead. Being come into the presence, the king honoured him as one who by the discovery of the Indies had done so much for the glory of God, for the honour and profit of the king of Portugal, and for the perpetual fame of the Portuguese name in the world. The king made him afterwards a knight, and gave him and his heirs permission to bear the royal arms of Portugal, as also to set at the foot of the escutcheon two does, which are called gamas in the Portuguese language. He also gave him a perpetual pension or rent-charge of 300,000 rees yearly, out of the tythe fish in the village of Sinis, in which he was born, and a promise of being made lord of that village; and till these grants were executed in form, he allowed him 1000 crowns a-year; which, after the royal grants were made, reverted to the house of the Contratation of the Indies. It was also granted that when the trade with India should be established, he might bring home spices to the value of 200 ducats yearly, without paying any duty. He also gave him other possessions and rents, and a note of remembrance or promise to make him a lord. Nicholas Coello was promoted to be a gentleman of the royal household, and received possessions and rents to bear his charges. The king himself, in consequence of these discoveries, assumed the new title of Lord of the conquest and navigation of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and the Indies.
 Astley, I. 24. a.
 Called in Astley sharafins.--Astl. I. 36.
 De Faria says that this fleet belonged to a pirate named Timoja, of whom frequent mention will be made hereafter; and that the eight ships were so linked together, and covered over with boughs of trees, that they resembled a floating island.--Astl. I. 38. a.
 More probably Anche-diva, or Ange-diva.--Astl. I. 38. b.
 These vessels seem more probably to have been the squadron of Timoja. --Astl. I. 38. c.
 Frangnes, Franghis, or Feringays, a common name all over the East for Europeans; assuredly derived from the Francs or French, long known as the great enemy of the Mahometans, by their exploits in the crusades.--E.
 De Faria says this person was a Jew, and that he made the sign of the cross from the shore to be taken on board.--Astl. I. 39. b.
 Or rather one of the three kings of Collen.--Astl. I. 39.
 Since called Cuama.--Astl. I. 39. c.
 Magadoxo is in lat. 2° 20' N. and about 45° 40' E. long.--E.
 Pate stands on the coast of Zanguebar, on the Rio Grande, one of the mouths of the river Zebee, in lat. 1° 50' S. and about 41° 20' E. long. --E.
 De Faria says this ship was lost on the shoals called after her name but the men were saved.--Astl. I. 40. a.
 De Faria alleges that Coello was separated by a storm near Cape Verd, and arrived at Lisbon, thinking De Gama had got home before him.--Astl. I. 40. b.
 De Faria says fifty-five, and that they were all rewarded by the king.--Astl. I. 40. c.
 The translator values this pension at 200l. a-year, perhaps equal in present value to 2000l.--E.
 This does not appear to have been actually done until his return from India the second time, as will be mentioned hereafter.--E.
 According to Astley, but without quoting any particular authority, De Gama had a grant from the king of the title of Don for himself and his descendants, and a pension of 3000 ducats: Coello was raised to the rank of Fidalgo, or gentleman, and had an appointment of 100 ducats yearly.--Astl. I. 40.
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