Volume 6, Chapter 1, Section 6 -- Portuguese Transactions in India, under several governors, from the close of 1515, to the year 1526.
While the great Alfonso de Albuquerque was drawing towards the last period of his life, Manuel, as if he had foreseen that event, sent out Don Lope Soarez de Albergaria to succeed him in the government, with a fleet of 13 ships, carrying a force of 1500 soldiers, many of whom were gentlemen by birth, and still more so by their actions. Among them was Duarte Galvam, a person of learning and judgment, who was sent ambassador to Abyssinia with considerable presents, some for Prester John, and some for the church. On his arrival at Cochin, the new governor offended many by the reservedness of his carriage and manners, and became particularly disagreeable to the rajah, who had been accustomed to the discreet and easy civility of Albuquerque. Don Garcia de Noronha took charge of the homeward-bound ships, and went away after no small disagreement with Soarez. Till this time, the Portuguese gentlemen in India had followed the dictates of honour, esteeming arms their greatest riches; but henceforwards they gave themselves entirely up to trade, those who had been captains becoming merchants; insomuch that command became a shame, honour a scandal, and reputation a reproach. Having entered upon the exercise of his government, he visited the forts, in which he placed new captains, gave out orders, and transacted other affairs of small moment, which serve rather to fill the page than to advance the dignity of history.
In the year 1515, five ships sailed from Lisbon under the command of Juan de Sylveira, three of which arrived in Lisbon, and the other two were lost on the sands of St. Lazarus. By orders from the king, proceeding on information that the Soldan was fitting out a great fleet at Suez, Soarez sailed from Goa on the 8th of February 1516, with 27 sail of vessels of various sizes and descriptions, having 1200 Portuguese and 800 Malabar soldiers on board, besides 800 native seamen, and directed his course for the Red Sea in order to oppose the Mameluke fleet. On arriving at Aden, Miramirzan the governor immediately offered to surrender the place, declaring he would have done so to Albuquerque if that officer had not at the very first proceeded to hostility. The real state of the matter was that the place was indefensible, as Reis Soliman, the admiral of the Egyptian fleet of which Soarez was in search, had beaten down a part of the wall so that the town was defenceless.
Lope Soarez was so much pleased by this flattering offer that he trusted Miramirzan and declined taking possession of the city till his return from the Red Sea, and went away in search of Reis Soliman; but he neither met with him, nor did he take Aden on his return. While on his voyage up the Red Sea, Don Alvaro do Castro with forty men was lost through covetousness, as he so overloaded his ship with goods from some captured vessels that she became water-logged and went to the bottom. Some other ships of the fleet received damage during this part of the voyage. Hearing that Soliman was driven by stress of weather to Jiddah, where he had no means of defence, Soarez determined to sail to that place.
Jiddah or Juddah, the sea-port of Mecca, is a town and harbour of Arabia on the eastern shore of the Red Sea in about 22° of north latitude, situated in a most barren soil composed of deep loose sand, being more calculated for commerce than delight. The buildings are good, but the harbour very bad, and its inhabitants consist partly of native Arabs and partly of foreign merchants. It was fortified by Mir Husseyn after his defeat by Almeyda, under pretence of defending the sepulchre of Mahomet, but in reality for his own security, as he was afraid to return defeated to the Soldan. While he was occupied in constructing the fortifications, Reis Soliman, a low-born Turk of Mitylene in the Archipelago, but a bold and successful corsair, offered his services to the Soldan, and was appointed admiral of the Suez fleet of 27 sail, which was fitting out for the attack of Aden. Mir Husseyn was accordingly discarded and Soliman appointed in his place. After the failure of his attempt on Aden, where he lost a considerable number of men, Soliman made a descent on Zobeid in the Tehamah near the island of Kamaran, where he acquired a considerable booty, from whence he proceeded to Jiddah, where he slew Mir Husseyn. And learning that the emperor of the Turks had slain the Soldan in battle, and subverted the sovereignty of the Mamelukes in Egypt, he surrendered the Egyptian fleet and the port of Jiddah to the conqueror.
Finding the port dangerous, Soarez came to anchor about a league from the city of Jiddah; yet so excellent were some of the cannon of the place, that three or four pieces were able to carry that prodigious distance. Soliman sent a message to the Christian fleet offering a single combat man to man, which Gaspar de Silva and Antonio de Menezes both offered to accept, but Soarez would not allow the combat. Soarez now caused the channel leading up to Jiddah to be sounded, and at this time the inhabitants were much alarmed by the fire of one of the Portuguese vessels; but Soliman appeased the tumult, and made his appearance without [[=outside]] the walls with some of his men, while the walls were filled by vast multitudes of the infidels, who rent the air with loud cries. After two days of inaction, the Portuguese began to complain of the delay; but Soarez appeased his officers by shewing his instructions, in which he was ordered to fight the fleet of the Mamelukes, which could not be accomplished, and not to attack the city, where there might be much danger and little chance of profit.
Though the votes differed in the council of war, it was resolved by a majority to desist from the enterprise against Jiddah, and accordingly Soarez and his armament retired to Kamaran, whence he detached several ships to different parts of the Red Sea. At this place died Duarte Galvam, a learned and ingenious man, who had been employed in several embassies in Europe, and though above seventy years of age was now going ambassador to Prester John. At the time of his death, he told his attendants that his son George and all his men had been cast away in their vessel, and that the inhabitants of the island of Dalac had cut off the heads of Lorenzo de Cosme and others that had been sent to that place. All this was afterwards found true, yet it was utterly impossible that the intelligence could have reached Duarte at Kamaran before his death.
After suffering much distress from famine, of which several men died, and losing seventeen Portuguese who were made prisoners by the Arabs and carried to Jiddah, Soarez set sail from Kamaran and appeared before Zeyla in the kingdom of Adel, on the north-east coast of Africa, a little way out from the mouth of the Red Sea. This place was called Emporium Avalite by Ptolemy, who describes it as a great mart in ancient times. On the present occasion Zeyla was taken with little opposition, being unprepared for defence, and was reduced to ashes. From Zeyla, Soarez went to Aden on the coast of Arabia, but soon found he had been to blame for not taking possession when formerly offered it; as Miramirzan had repaired the wall, and now procrastinated the surrender of his city by various affected delays. Soarez, fearing to lose the season of the trade winds for returning to India, set sail for Barbora on the same coast with Zeyla, which he meant likewise to destroy; but the fleet was dispersed in a storm, and on its being afterwards collected, it was found that more than eight hundred men had perished, from famine, disease, and shipwreck, in this disastrous and ill-conducted expedition.
While these disasters attended Soarez, the city of Goa, where Monroy commanded, was threatened with destruction. According to orders from Soarez, some ships had been taken from the enemy, but with more profit than reputation, though not without danger. One Alvaro Madureira, who had married at Goa, fled to the enemy and turned Mahometan. He afterwards repented and returned to Goa; but again fled to the Moors and brought them to attack the Portuguese ships, which were in imminent danger of being captured. About this time likewise, one Ferdinando Caldera, who was also married at Goa, fled from that city to avoid punishment for some crime he had committed, and joined the Moors; though some say that he was forced to desert by Monroy, who was in love with his wife. However this may have been, Caldera went to serve under Ancostan, an officer of the king of Bisnagar. Don Gutierre de Monroy demanded of Ancostan to deliver him up, which was refused; after which Monroy suborned another person to go over to the enemy to assassinate Caldera; which was done, but the assassin was instantly slain by the Moors.
On the return of Soarez to Goa, being informed of these incidents, he left Monroy to take what satisfaction he thought proper from Ancostan. Monroy accordingly sent out his brother Don Fernando at the head of 150 Portuguese, 80 of whom were horse, and a considerable body of natives, to attack Ancostan. Fernando defeated the Moors at Ponda; but the Moors having rallied defeated him in his turn, and obliged him to retire with the loss of 200 men killed and taken prisoner. On these hostilities, the whole country was up in arms, and Adel Khan the king of Bisnagar ordered his general Sujo Lari to besiege Goa. Lari accordingly endeavoured to cross over into the island at the head of 4,000 horse and 26,000 foot, but was repulsed. In the meantime, as all intercourse was cut off between the island and the continent, the besieged became distressed by want of provisions; but on the arrival of three ships, one from Portugal, one from Quiloa, and the third from China, Lari raised the blockade and the former peace was renewed.
Similar misfortunes took place at Malacca, through the misrule of George de Brito and others, which occasioned all the native inhabitants to desert the city to avoid oppression. In this situation, Mahomet, the exiled king, sent a considerable force to attempt recovering his capital, under the command of Cerilege Rajah his general. Cerilege intrenched his army, and so pressed the besieged that the Portuguese had assuredly been driven from Malacca, had not Don Alexius de Menezes arrived to assume the government with a reinforcement of 300 men.
Antonio de Saldanna arrived in India in 1517 with six ships. In this
fleet one Alcacova came out as surveyor of the king's revenue, invested
with such power as greatly curtailed the influence of Soarez, and having
the inclination to encroach still farther on his authority than he was
warranted. This occasioned great dissensions between the governor and surveyor;
who finding himself unable to prevail, returned into Portugal where he
made loud complaints against the administration of affairs in India. Hence
began the practice of listening to complaints at home against the governors
and commanders employed in India; and hence many took more care in the
sequel to amass riches than to acquire honour, knowing that money is a
never-failing protection from crimes. Soarez sent Juan de Sylveira to the
Maldive islands, Alexius de Menezes to Malacca, Manuel de la Cerda to Diu,
and Antonio de Saldanna with six ships to the coast of Arabia by orders
from the king. The only exploit performed by Saldanna was the capture and
destruction of Barbora, a town near Zeyla but much smaller, whence the
inhabitants fled. Saldanna then returned to India, where he found Soarez
about to sail for the island of Ceylon.
The island of Ceylon, the southernmost land in India, is to the east of Cape Comorin. It is sixteen leagues distant from the continent, to which some imagine that it was formerly joined. This island is about 80 leagues from north to south, and about 45 leagues from east to west. The most southerly point, or Dondra Head, is in lat. 5° 52' N. The most northerly, or Point Pedro, in 9° 48'. In the sea belonging to this island there is a fishery of the most precious pearls. By the Persians and Arabs it is called Serendib. It took the name of Ceylon from the sea by which it is surrounded, owing to the loss of a great fleet of the Chinese, who therefore named that sea Chilam, signifying danger, somewhat resembling Scylla; and this word was corrupted to Ceylon. This island was the Taprobana of the ancients, and not Sumatra as some have imagined. Its productions are numerous and valuable: cinnamon of greatly finer quality than in any other place; rubies, sapphires, and other precious stones; much pepper and cardamoms, Brazil wood, and other dyes; great woods of palm-trees; numbers of elephants which are more docile than those of other countries; and abundance of cattle.
It has many good ports, and several rivers of excellent water. The mountains are covered with pleasant woods. One of these mountains, which rises for the space of seven leagues, has a circular plain on the top of about thirty paces diameter, in the middle of which is a smooth rock about six spans high, upon which is the print of a man's foot about two spans in length. This footstep is held in great veneration, being supposed to have been impressed there by a holy man from Delhi, who lived many years on that mountain, teaching the inhabitants the belief in the one only God. This person returned afterwards to his own country, whence he sent one of his teeth to the king of the island as a token of remembrance, and it is still preserved as a holy relick, on which they repose much confidence in time of danger, and many pilgrims resort thither from places a thousand miles distant. The island is divided into nine kingdoms, Columbo on the west being the chief of these. The others are Galle on the south, Jaula, Tanavaca, Cande, Batecalon, Vilacem, Trinquinimale, and Jafanapatam.
Albuquerque had established a treaty of amity and commerce with the king of Columbo, who furnished the Portuguese with cinnamon; and Soarez went thither at this time, by order of the king of Portugal, to construct a fort at Columbo, and to reduce the prince of that country to pay tribute. On this occasion his fleet consisted of seven galleys, two ships, and eight small vessels, carrying materials and workmen for building the fort, and 700 Portuguese soldiers. At first the king consented to have the fort built, but changed his mind at the instigation of the Moors, and put Soarez to considerable difficulty; but in the end the Moors were put to flight, the fort built, and the king constrained to become a tributary vassal of Portugal, by the yearly payment of 1200 quintals of cinnamon, twelve rings of rubies and sapphires, and six elephants.
At this time Juan de Sylveira returned from the Maldives, where he had taken two ships belonging to Cambaya, and had got permission of the king of the Maldives to erect a fort at the principal harbour. Sylveira went upon a similar mission to Bengal, where he was in great danger; as a young man of Bengal who sailed there with him gave notice of his having taken these two ships, so that he was considered as a pirate. He had [[=would have]] fared worse than he did, but for the arrival of Juan Coello from Pisang, sent by Andrada to the king of Bengal. After passing the winter in Bengal with great difficulty on account of famine, Sylveira set sail, being invited by the king of Aracan to come to his port of Chittagon by a messenger who brought him a valuable present; but all this kindness was only intended to decoy him to his ruin, at the instigation of the king of Bengal. He escaped however from the snare, and arrived at Ceylon as Soarez had finished the fort of Columbo, of which he appointed Sylveira to the command, leaving Azevedo with four ships to guard the sea in that neighbourhood.
About the same time Menezes secured the safety of Malacca, as mentioned before, by supplying it with men and ammunition, and appointed Alfonso Lopez de Costa to the government, in place of Brito who was dying. Duarte de Melo was left there with a naval force; and Duarte Coello was sent with an embassy and present to the King of Siam, to confirm a treaty of peace and amity, and to request of him to send a colony of his subjects to inhabit the city of Malacca, so that the Moors whom he hated as much as the Portuguese, might be forever excluded from that place. All this was agreed to, and as a testimonial of his friendship to the Christians, he caused a great cross, ornamented with the arms of Portugal, to be erected in a conspicuous part of the city of Hudia, where he then resided. Having thus succeeded in his mission, Coello was forced by stress of weather upon the coast of Pahang, where he was received in a friendly manner by the king, who voluntarily submitted to become a vassal to the crown of Portugal, and to pay a cup of gold as an annual tribute. This was done more from hatred to the king of Bintang, than from love to the Portuguese.
The kingdom of Siam was at this time one of the greatest in the east, the two others of greatest consequence being China and Bisnagar. The great river Menam runs through the middle of the kingdom of Siam from north to south, having its source in the great lake of Chiamay in lat. 30° N. and its mouth in 13°, so that the length of this kingdom is 330 leagues. On the west it joins Bengal, on the south Malacca, on the north China, and on the east Cambodia. Its territory contains both mountains and plains, and it is inhabited by many different races of people, some of whom are extremely cruel and barbarous, and even feed on human flesh. Among these the Guei ornament themselves with figures impressed by hot irons. Siam abounds in elephants, cattle, and buffaloes. It has many sea-ports and populous cities, Hudia being the metropolis or residence of the court. The religion of the Siamese agrees in many considerable points with Christianity, as they believe in one God, in heaven and hell, and in good and bad angels that attend upon every person. They build sumptuous temples, in which they have images of vast size. They are very religious, sparing in their diet, much given to divination, and addicted to the study of astrology. The country is exceedingly fertile, and abounds in gold, silver, and other metals. The memorable services of the subjects are recorded that they may be read to the kings. When the king of Siam takes the field, he is able to set on foot a force of 300,000 men and 10,000 elephants.
About this time, Fernan Perez de Andrada arrived at Pisang, where he was well received, but lost his largest ship, which was set on fire by the careless management of a lighted candle, so that he was forced to return to Malacca. From that place Juan Coello was sent to China, meeting with furious storms and other dangers by the way. While on the coast of Tsiompa, taking in fresh water, he was nearly lost. At Patane and other places he established commercial treaties with the native princes, and spent the winter without being able to reach China, being obliged to return to Malacca to refit. After which he again resumed his voyage for China with eight ships. The empire of China is the most eastern in Asia, as Spain is the most westerly in Europe; and opposite to China is the island of Hainan, as that of Cadiz is to Spain. It is almost as large as all Europe, being divided from Tartary by a wonderful wall which runs from east to west above 200 leagues, and ends at a vast mountain or promontory which is washed by the eastern sea of Tartary.
This vast empire is divided into fifteen provinces. Along the coast are those of Quantung, Fokien, Chekiang, Nanking, Xantung, and Leaotung; those of the inland country are Queichieu, Junnan, Quangsi, Suchuen, Huquang, Xensi, Kiangsi, Honan, and Xansi, in all of which there are 244 cities. Its riches are prodigious, and its government admirable above all others. The natives allege that they alone have two eyes, the Europeans one, and that all the other nations are blind. They certainty had both printing and cannon long before the Europeans. The city of Quantung or Canton, which is the principal sea-port, is remarkable for its size, the strength of its fortifications, and the prodigious resort of strangers for trade.
After some considerable difficulties and dangers, Fernan Perez arrived at Canton, where he had a conference with the three governors of the city, to whom he presented Thomas Perez as ambassador to the emperor from the king of Portugal, and requested them to forward him and the present he was charged with. Perez settled a commercial treaty with the governors of Canton; and having concluded his traffic there and at the neighbouring parts, he returned to Malacca, loaded with riches. He was no less welcome there than Menezes had been formerly, as it was reduced to a dangerous situation in consequence of war with the king of Bintang, of which we shall have occasion to give an account in the sequel.
In 1518 Diego Lopez de Sequeira was sent out as governor of India, in reward for his services in Africa and for having discovered Malacca. One of his ships was in danger of perishing at the Cape of Good Hope in consequence of being run against by a great fish, which stuck a long horn or beak two spans length into her side. It was afterwards found that this was a fish called the needle. Soarez immediately resigned the government to Sequeira, and set sail for Portugal with nine ships. On taking possession of the government, Sequeira sent Alonson de Menezes to reduce Baticala in the island of Ceylon, the king of which place had neglected to pay the stipulated tribute; and Juan Gomez was sent to build a fort at the Maldive islands. Sequeira then went from Cochin to Goa, whence he dispatched Antonio de Saldanna to the coast of Arabia, and Simon de Andrada to China.
About this time the king of Bintang attacked Malacca by land with 1500 men and many elephants, while 60 vessels blockaded the harbour. The Portuguese garrison consisted only of 200 men, many of whom were sick, but the danger cured them of their fevers, and everyone ran to repel the enemy. After a severe encounter of three hours the enemy was repulsed with great loss. He continued however before the town for three weeks and then retired, having lost 330 men, while 18 of the Portuguese were slain. On the arrival of reinforcements, having been much injured by frequent inroads from the fort of Maur not far from Malacca, the Portuguese took that place by assault, killing most of the garrison which consisted of 800 Moors, and after securing the spoil burnt Maur to the ground. There were 300 cannon at this place, some of which were brass. Nothing more of any note happened this year, except that Diego Pacheco with most of his men were lost in two ships which went in search of the Island of Gold.
In the year 1519, Antonio Correa concluded a treaty of amity and commerce with the king of Pegu, which was mutually sworn to between him and the king's ministers, assisted by the priests of both nations, Catholic and Pagan. The heathen priest was called the grand Raulim, who, after the treaty or capitulation was read, made according to their custom in the golden mine, began to read from a book, and then taking some yellow paper, a colour dedicated to holy purposes, and some sweet-smelling leaves impressed with certain characters, set both on fire; after which, holding the hands of the minister over the ashes, he pronounced some words which rendered the oath inviolable. By way of a parallel to this solemnity, Correa ordered his priest to attend in his surplice with his breviary; but that was so tattered and torn that it was unfit to be seen by these heathens, on which he ordered a book of church music to be brought, which had a more creditable appearance, being larger and better bound; and opening at the first place which appeared, the priest began the lesson Vanity of Vanities, which answered among these ignorant people as well as if it had been the gospel.
The metropolis of the kingdom is called Bagou, corruptly called Pegu, which name is likewise given to the kingdom. It has the Bay of Bengal on the west, Siam on the east, Malacca on the south, and Aracan on the north. This kingdom is almost 100 leagues in length, and in some places of the same breadth, not including the conquered provinces. The land is plain, well watered, and very fertile, producing abundance of provisions of all kinds, particularly cattle and grain. It has many temples with a prodigious multitude of images, and a vast number of ceremonies. The people believe themselves to have descended from a Chinese dog and a woman, who alone escaped from shipwreck on that coast and left a progeny; owing to which circumstance in their opinion, the men are all ugly and the women handsome. The Peguers being much addicted to sodomy, a queen of that country named Canane, ordered the women to wear bells and open garments, by way of inviting the men to abandon that abominable vice.
On the arrival of Antonio Correa with relief at Malacca, Garcia de Sa resolved to take revenge on the king of Bintang. He therefore gave Correa the command of 30 ships, with 500 soldiers, 150 of whom were Portuguese, with which armament Correa proceeded to the place where the king had fortified himself, which was defended by a fort with a great number of cannon and a numerous garrison. The access to this place was extremely difficult and guarded by a great number of armed vessels; yet Correa attacked without hesitation and carried the fort, which had 20 pieces of cannon, the garrison being forced to retire to the town, where the king still had a force of 2000 men and several armed elephants. The Portuguese, following up their first success, pushed up the river, clearing away all that obstructed them; after which they landed and took the town, killing many of the enemy, and put the rest to flight; the king among the rest fled on an elephant, and never stopped till they came to Bintang. The town above mentioned was plundered and burnt by the Portuguese; and the discomfited king remained long at Bintang unable for any new enterprise against the Portuguese.
The successes of the king of Bintang in the beginning of this war had encouraged the kings of Pisang and Acheen to commit some outrages against the Portuguese; for which reason being now victorious, Garcia de Sa determined to be revenged upon them. Having some success, he fitted out a ship commanded by Manuel Pacheco to take some revenge for the injuries he had sustained; and Pacheco had occasion to send a boat for water rowed by Malays, having only five Portuguese on board, which fell in with three ships belonging to Pisang each having 150 men. Finding it impossible to escape, they boarded the commander with such resolute fury that they soon strewed the deck with the dead bodies of the enemy, and the remainder of the crew leapt overboard, followed by their captain, who was seen hewing them with his cymeter in the water in revenge for their cowardice. The five Portuguese thus obtained possession of the ship, and the other two fled, on which Pacheco returned to Malacca with his prize in triumph, and the captured ship was long preserved as a memorial of this signal exploit. The king of Pisang was so much terrified by this action that he sued for peace, and offered ample reparation of all the injuries he had done to die Portuguese.
In this same year 1519 Diego Gomez went to erect a fort at the principal island of the Maldives; but behaved himself with so much arrogance that the Moors killed ten or twelve of his men. This is the chief of a thousand isles which lie in clusters in that sea, and such is the signification of Male-dive. They resemble a long ridge of mountains, the sea between being as valleys and serving for communications from isle to isle; and about the middle of the group is the large island, in which the king resides. The natives of these islands are gentiles, but the government is in the hands of the Moors. They are so close together, that in many of the channels the yard-arms of ships passing through rub against the shores, or on the trees on both sides. Their chief product is cocoa-nut trees, the kernel of these nuts producing a pleasant and nutritive fruit, while the outer rhind or husk is useful for making cables. There is another sort of these trees growing at the bottom of the sea, having larger fruit than the land cocoa-nut, and which is a more powerful antidote against poison than even the Bezoar stone.
During this same year 1519, a fleet of 14 ships was sent from Portugal to India, which was dispersed to several parts. Some fell in with the coast of Brazil, where fifty men were slain; and Don Luis de Guzman, one of the captains, turned pirate and became very rich, but afterwards met with his deserts. Six stayed at Mozambique. George de Albuquerque the admiral reached India with only four sail. One was driven back to Lisbon. Another watering at Matira lost some men, and six more at Oja, whom the king long kept with kind entertainment; but their ship which left them was lost on a sand bank off Quiloa, and the Moors of that place and of Monfia and Zanzibar slew them all except one man.
After Sequeira had dispatched the homeward bound trade of the season, under the command of Fernan Perez de Andrada, he sailed on the 13th of February 1520 from Goa with 24 sail of ships of various sizes, having on board 1800 Portuguese soldiers, and about an equal number of Malabars and Canarins, bound for the Red Sea. Off the coast of Aden his ship struck on a rock and split in pieces; but the men were all saved, and Sequeira the governor went into the galleon of Pedro de Faria. A Moorish ship was taken at the entrance into the Red Sea, from which they learnt that there were six Turkish galleys at Jiddah with 1200 men, intending to proceed against Aden. The weather prevented the Portuguese from going in quest of the Turkish squadron, and in fact it would have been to no purpose; as on hearing that the Portuguese were in these seas, the Turks hauled their galleys on shore.
While Sequeira was on his voyage for Massua, a small black flag was seen on the disk of the sun towards evening on the 9th of April, being Easter Sunday. On arriving at Massua they found all the inhabitants had fled, yet they found some vessels in the port which they captured. The inhabitants of Massua had fled to the neighbouring port of Arkiko in the dominions of Prester John, and the governor of the town sent a messenger with a letter to Sequeira desiring that he would make peace with the people who had fled to him for protection; at the same time he asked nothing for the town where he commanded, because they were all Christians, and because they had a prophecy among them which foretold the coming of Christians to settle a correspondence with them, and which he now believed to be fulfilled, on seeing the Christian colours. Sequeira sent a courteous answer, and drew nearer the shore, on which several Christians came on board. They told him that their prince had sent several years before an ambassador named Mathew, to a king at the other end of the world whose fleet had conquered India, on purpose to become acquainted with these remote Christians and to demand succour against the Moors; but that the ambassador had never returned.
On hearing this, Sequeira was satisfied that they dealt ingeniously [[=honestly]] with him, as he had actually brought that ambassador along with him, and had orders from the king of Portugal to land him safe in the dominions of Prester John. On this, the ambassador of whom they spoke of was brought before them, to their great mutual joy, as he had been ten years absent from his country. Next day ten monks came from a neighbouring convent of the Vision to visit Mathew, and were received in great ceremony by the priests of the fleet dressed in their surplices. Great rejoicings were made on occasion of this meeting between two such distant nations agreeing in the same faith; and the consequence of this meeting was that those who from the beginning had not acknowledged the supremacy of the Roman pontiff, now submitted to his authority.
The kingdom of Prester John, now first visited by Sylveira, is mostly known by this appellation but improperly, as its right name is the empire of Abyssinia, Abassia, Habesh, or the higher Ethiopia. It received the former appellation from the great king Jovarus, who came to it from the Christians of Tartary, having a cross carried before him like our bishops, and carrying a cross in his hand, with the title of Defender of the Faith, as being a Jacobite Christian. The dominions of this prince are situated between the rivers Nile, Astabora, and Astapus. To the east they border on the Red Sea for 120 leagues, this being the smallest side, as their whole extent is 670 leagues. On the west it borders on those Negroes who possess the great mines of gold, and who pay tribute to the sovereign of Abyssinia. On the north it is divided from the Moors by a line drawn from the city of Suakem to the isle of Meroe in Nubia. On the south it borders on the kingdom of Adel, from the mountains of which country the river Obi descends, and falls into the sea at the town of Quilimane in the kingdom of Melinda.
The kings of Abyssinia pretend to descend from King Solomon by the queen of Sheba or Saba; who being delivered by the way, named her son Melech, and sent him to his father, to be by him declared king of Ethiopia. Whereupon Solomon anointed him, and gave him the name of David, after his grandfather. Solomon likewise appointed him a household, giving him officers of his own, and sent with him as high priest Azaria the son of Zadoc, who stole the tables of the law from the temple of Jerusalem, and carried them along with his new prince. It is affirmed that the descendants of these original officers still possess the same employments. The Abyssinians had some knowledge of the law of Christ from Queen Candace, in whom they glory as being of their country: But their true apostles were St. Philip and St. Mathew. In memory of his descent, the king or emperor of Abyssinia begins the enumeration of his many titles in this manner: "David, beloved of God, pillar of the Faith, descendant of Judah, grandson of David, son of Solomon, son of the pillar of Sion, son of the progeny of David, son of the hand of Mary, &c. Emperor of the higher Ethiopia," &c.
He dwells for the most part in a camp resembling a populous city, and is frequently removing from one part of the country to another. In his messages, he uses a style similar to that of the kings of Portugal and Spain, beginning "I the king." The people are very religious, having many churches and great numbers of monasteries which belong only to two religious orders, that of St. Anthony, and the Canons regular. Those religious persons who live in convents wear long cotton garments; but all the others, and their priests and nuns, are dressed in skins, hardly covering so much as modesty requires. They have no considerable towns, have little learning, no skill in mechanics, and are very rude in their diet and clothing. In such houses as assume any degree of grandeur, all the furniture is brought from other countries. There are as expert thieves in this country as our gypsies are in Europe. This is the substance of what could be gathered by the first discoverers of Abyssinia.
On the news of the arrival of the Portuguese fleet at Massua, and of the return of Mathew the ambassador, the Baharnagash or governor of the province in which Arkiko is situated came there, attended by 200 horse and 2000 foot. After some difference about a proper place of meeting between him and Sequeira, they at length agreed to meet on the sea-shore, and were seated on chairs on the sand, under the burning heat of the sun. At this meeting, Sequeira delivered Mathew the Abyssinian ambassador to the Baharnagash, and recommended to his protection Don Rodrigo de Lima who was sent [[as]] ambassador from King Manuel to the emperor of Abyssinia. They treated likewise about building a fort as a protection against the Moors, either at Kamaran or Massua, and both swore to the sincerity of their friendly intentions on a cross, after which they separated and presents were mutually interchanged.
Don Rodrigo de Lima set forwards on his journey unaccompanied by Mathew,
who soon afterwards died in the monastery of the Vision. Sequeira erected
a great cross in that port, in memory of the arrival of the Portuguese
fleet, and caused many masses to be said in the mosque of Massua. From
that port he went to the island of Dalac, where he burnt the town, previously
abandoned by its inhabitants. He then stood over to the coast of Arabia,
where one galley was cast away in a storm and most of her men lost. Leaving
the Red Sea and sailing along the coast of Yemen, the fleet arrived at
Cape Kalayat, towards the entrance of the Persian Gulf, where George Albuquerque
awaited its arrival. Going from thence to Muscat, Albuquerque was left
to winter there with all the ships, and Sequeira went on to Ormuz with
In this same year 1520, during the expedition of Sequeira to the Red Sea, Chrisna-rao king of Bisnagar [[=Vijayanagar]] collected together a vast army of 35,000 horse, 733,000 foot, and 686 armed elephants, each of which carried a castle on its back with four men. In this army there were 12,000 water-bearers, that all might be supplied without any being under the necessity of dispersing to seek for it. The baggage was immense and the followers numberless, among whom were above 20,000 common women. This prodigious army was collected for the purpose of taking the city of Rachol, then under the power of Adel Khan king of Visiapour [[=Bijapur]], but which had belonged to the ancestors of Chrisna-rao, who had left it in charge to their successors to attempt its recovery. The city of Rachol was naturally almost impregnable, being situated on a high mountain and fortified by several stone walls, with large deep ditches and strong towers, well stored with artillery and other means of defence, and having a garrison of 400 horse, 8000 foot, 20 elephants, and a sufficient quantity of provisions and ammunition to tire out the most patient besiegers.
Chrisna-rao encamped his vast army around the city, to which he gave many fruitless assaults during three months. At length Adel Khan approached to relieve the siege, having an army of 18,000 horse, 120,000 foot, 150 elephants, and many large pieces of cannon. After many skirmishes, the two armies at last joined battle, in which at the beginning Chrisna-rao received much damage; but rallying his innumerable forces, made such havoc among the troops of Adel Khan, that only those escaped from the sword or from captivity who at last moved pity even in their enemies. Besides great riches in the camp of Adel Khan, the victor got 100 elephants, 4000 horses, 400 large cannons, and a great many small ones. Adel Khan made his escape on an elephant; but forty Portuguese who served in his army were all slain after behaving themselves with great valour.
After this great victory, Chrisna-rao resumed the siege of Rachol, but was unable to make any impression on its walls. At this tine one Christopher de Figueredo came to his camp, attended by twenty other Portuguese, bringing some Arabian horses for sale to the king. In discourse with Chrisna-rao respecting the siege, Figueredo asked permission to view the place, and to try what he could do with his Portuguese, which was granted. Figueredo gave two assaults, and being seconded in the latter by the troops of Chrisna-rao, he gained possession of the place. Soon afterwards, Adel Khan sent an embassy to Chrisna-rao, begging the restoration of the prisoners and plunder which had been taken in the late battle and in the captured city. Chrisna-rao offered to restore the whole, on condition that Adel Khan would acknowledge his supreme authority, as emperor of Canara, and come to kiss his foot in token of submission and vassalage. This degrading condition was accepted, but its performance was prevented by several accidents. In the mean while, however, Ruy de Melo, who commanded in Goa, taking advantage of the declining situation of the affairs of Adel Khan, possessed himself of those parts of the continent adjoining to the Isle of Goa, with a force only of 250 horse and 800 Canara foot.
In the same year 1520, Lope de Brito went to succeed Juan de Sylveira in the command of the fort of Columbo in Ceylon, and carried with him 400 soldiers and many workmen, by whose means he made the fort so strong that it raised the jealousy of the natives of Columbo, who at the instigation of the Moors gave over trade with the Portuguese, and besieged the fort for five months, during which the garrison suffered great hardships. At length Antonio de Lemos arrived with a reinforcement of fifty men; with which small additional force Brito ventured to attack the vast multitude of the enemy, whom he completely routed, and matters were immediately restored to their former quiet.
On the change of the monsoon, Sequeira set sail from Ormuz and joined Albuquerque at Muscat, where he found one ship from Lisbon of nine that sailed together, but all the rest came safe afterwards. One of the ships of this fleet, while sailing before the wind beyond the Cape of Good Hope, was stopped all of a sudden. On examining into the cause, it appeared that a sea monster bore the ship on its back, the tail appearing about the rudder and the head at the boltsprit, spouting up streams of water. It was removed by exorcisms, no human means being thought sufficient. By the sailors it was called the Sambrero, or the hat-fish, as the head has some resemblance to a hat. A similar fish, though less, had been seen on the coast of Portugal near Atouguia, where it did much harm.
As the king had sent orders to the governor to build forts at the Moluccas, Sumatra, Maldive, Chaul, and Diu, Sequeira determined upon attempting the last first. Having dispatched the homeward ships from Cochin, he collected a fleet of 48 vessels of various kinds and sizes, on board of which he embarked 3000 Portuguese and 800 Malabars and Canarins. With this great force he appeared before Diu on the 9th of February 1521. Malek Azz, being suspicious that this armament was destined against him, had fortified and intrenched the city with great care. At the arrival of the Portuguese, Malek Azz was at the court of Cambaya, but had left his son Malek Saca with a strong garrison and three experienced commanders.
Observing the strength of the place, Sequeira called a council of war to consult upon what was proper to be done, when it was concluded to desist from the enterprise. The officers of the fleet, though they had all concurred in this decision, and even privately allowed its prudence and necessity, accused the governor of cowardice on this occasion, though his valour was well known. Sequeira accordingly retired to Ormuz for the winter, sending Alexius de Menezes to Cochin with full power to conduct the government during his absence, and several of the other captains went to different ports to trade. Menezes dispatched the homeward trade from Cochin, and sent other ships to various parts of India, some of which went to Sumatra.
The island of Sumatra extends in length from the north-west to the south-east, for about 220 leagues, by 70 in its greatest breadth, and is cut nearly in two equal parts by the equinoctial line. It is separated from Malacca by a narrow strait, and its most southern point is parted from Java by one still narrower. Java is above 100 leagues long by twelve in breadth. To the east of Sumatra is the great island of Borneo, through which likewise the equinoctial passes, leaving two-thirds of the island on the north side of the line. The maritime parts of Sumatra are flat, but the interior is full of mountains, pervaded by many large rivers, and covered by impenetrable woods which even the rays of the sun are unable to pierce. Owing to these circumstances Sumatra is very unhealthy, yet is much resorted to for its rich and valuable productions, and particularly on account of its abounding in gold. Besides gold, it produces white sandal-wood, benzoin, camphor, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, abundance of silk, and abounds in fish and cattle. It has in one part a spring of petroleum or rock oil, and one of its mountains is a volcano.
The original natives of the island are pagans; but the Moors, who came there first as merchants, have possessed themselves of the island as lords ever since the year 1400. Among the inland tribes is one called Batas, who are of most brutal manners, and even feed on human flesh. The Moors who dwell on the coast, use several languages, but chiefly the Malay. Their weapons are poisoned arrows like the natives of Java from whom they are descended, but they likewise use fire-arms. This island is divided into nine kingdoms; of which Pedier was once the chief; but now that of Pacem or Pisang is the most powerful, yet its kings only continue to reign so long as it pleases the rabble.
At this time George Albuquerque was sent to Sumatra, on purpose to restore a king of Pisang who had been expelled and had fled to the Portuguese for protection and aid. On his arrival, having secured the co-operation and assistance of the neighbouring king of Ara, Albuquerque sent a message to the usurper desiring him to resign the kingdom to the lawful prince, who had submitted to the king of Portugal. Genial, the usurper, offered to make the same submission, if allowed to retain possession, but this offer was refused. Albuquerque then attacked Genial in his fort, which was scaled and the gate broken open; yet the usurper and thirty men valiantly defended a tower over the gateway, till Genial was slain by a musket-shot, on which the others immediately fled.
The Portuguese troops, about 300 in number, were opposed by 3000 Moors in the market-place, assisted by some elephants. Hector de Sylveira endeavoured to strike one of these in the trunk with his lance, which the beast put aside, and laying hold of Sylveira threw him into the air, yet he had the good fortune to survive. Two other Portuguese soldiers had better success, as one of them killed the rider and the other wounded the elephant, on which he turned among his own party whom he trampled to death without mercy. The Moors now returned to another post, but with the aid of the king of Ara, they were completely defeated by the Portuguese, 2000 of them being slain. In this battle Albuquerque received two wounds in his face, and four or five persons of note were killed on the side of the Portuguese, besides a great many wounded. Next day the dispossessed prince of Pisang was reinstated with much ceremony, being made tributary to the king of Portugal, and a fort was erected at his capital, as at other places, to keep him under subjection.
At this time Antonio de Brito arrived at Pisang from Acheen, where his brother George de Brito had been slain by the Moors with a great number of men, in a scandalous attempt to rob the sepulchres of the kings of that country of a great quantity of gold they were said to contain. Antonio was now left by Albuquerque in the command of the new fort of Pisang, with three ships which were afterwards of great service against a Moor who infested the coast. On his return to Malacca, of which he had the command, Albuquerque prepared to make war upon the king of Bintang. That island, about 40 leagues from Malacca, is forty leagues in circumference, having two strong castles, and its rivers staked to prevent the access of ships, so that it was considered as almost impregnable. Albuquerque went from Malacca with 18 vessels and 600 men, and finding it impossible to get his ships up, he endeavoured to land his men from boats to attack one of the forts; but the water being up to their middles, and the enemy making a brave resistance, they were forced to retire after losing twenty men, besides a great number wounded.
In the same year 1521, Antonio de Brito sailed for the Molucca islands. These islands are in the middle of a great number of others under the equator, about 300 leagues east from Malacca. There are five principal islands to which the general name of Moluccas is applied, about 25 leagues distant from each other, the largest not exceeding six leagues in circumference. The particular names of these are Ternate, Tidore, Mousell, Macquein, and Bacham. They are covered with woods and subject to fogs, and are consequently unhealthy. These five islands produce cloves, but no kind of food; and the large island of Batochina, which is 60 leagues long, produces food but no cloves. In some of these islands, particularly Ternate, there are burning mountains. Their chief subsistence is of a kind of meal made from the bark of certain trees resembling the palm. There are certain canes that have a liquor in their hollows between the joints, which is delightful to drink. Though the country abounds in animals, the natives eat very little flesh, but live chiefly on fish which their seas produce inexhaustibly. They are very warlike and by no means affable, and are most expert both in running and swimming. Their religion is idolatrous, but we have no account whatever respecting their origins. The Moors had possessed themselves of this country not long before the coming of the Portuguese, as a Mahometan priest who had come along with the first of the Moorish invaders was still alive at the arrival of Brito.
Antonio de Brito was sent on this occasion to build a fort in the island of Ternate, which had been long desired by its king Boylefe. His force consisted of six ships and 300 soldiers, and was increased at the island of Agacim by four sail under the command of Garcia Enriquez. On arriving at Ternate, the old king Boylefe was dead, and the king of Tidore had admitted the Spaniards to settle on his island; yet seeing that the queen who governed Ternate during the minority of her son gave a friendly reception to Brito, the king of Tidore visited him and offered to deliver up the Spaniards to him if he would build the fort on Tidore instead of Ternate. But Ternate was preferred as the most convenient, Brito laying the first stone on the festival of St John the Baptist, the 28th of December 1521.
At this time a private correspondence was carried on between Francis Serram, who resided in Ternate, and Ferdinando de Magallanes in Portugal, which turned to the advantage of Spain and the detriment of Portugal. Magalanes, otherwise named Magellan, was a man of note and a knight of St. Jago, who had served with reputation at Azamor in Africa and in several parts of India. Having solicited for a small allowance usually given in reward of service, and which was refused, he left Portugal and entered into the service of Spain. From his skill in sea affairs, and the correspondence he held with Serram at Ternate, he concluded there might be another way to India; and as the Spaniards had already tasted the fruits of these islands, he wrote to Serram that he hoped soon to be his guest at Ternate, going thither by a new way. He accordingly got the command of five ships with 250 men, some of whom were Portuguese. Sailing from the port of San Lucar de Barameda on the 20th of September 1519, after having renounced his country by a solemn act, he sailed toward the south along the eastern coast of South America.
When past Rio de Janeiro on the coast of Brazil, the men began to grow mutinous, and still more so when they had gone beyond the river of St. Julian on the coast of Patagonia, where they did not immediately find the strait of passage to the Pacific Ocean, and found themselves pinched by the cold of that inhospitable climate. As they proceeded to hold disrespectful discourses against Magellan, both reflecting upon his pretended knowledge, and espousing doubts of his fidelity, which came to his knowledge, he called together all the principal people in his squadron, to whom he made a long and learned discourse. Yet a conspiracy was entered into to kill Magellan, by three of his captains, named Cartagene, Quixada, and Mendoza. Their design however was discovered, on which Mendoza was immediately stabbed, and the other two arrested and punished as traitors; Quixada being quartered alive, while Cartagene and a priest concerned in the plot were set ashore on the barbarous coast. Most of the men were engaged in the conspiracy, but it was necessary to pardon them that there might be seamen for prosecuting the voyage.
Magellan wintered at this place, and some men who were sent about twenty leagues into the interior brought a few natives to the ships, who were of a gigantic stature, being above three yards high. After suffering much through cold, hunger, and continual fatigue, they at length reached the Cabo de las Virgines, in lat. 52° S., so named because discovered on the day of the 11,000 virgins. Below this cape, they discovered the strait of which they were in search, being about a league wide. In their progress, the strait was found in some places wider and in others narrower than its mouth. The land on both sides was high, partly bare, and part covered with wood, among which were many cypress trees. The mountains were covered with much snow, which made them appear very high.
Having advanced about 50 leagues into this strait, another was seen, and Magellan sent one of his ships to explore it; but after waiting much beyond the time appointed for her return, he ordered the astrologer, Andrew Martin, to erect a figure, who answered that she was gone back to Spain, and that the crew had confined the captain, Alvaro de Mesquita, for opposing that measure. This was actually the case, and they were eight months on the voyage. After this event, which gave much vexation to Magellan, he continued his voyage through the straits much against the inclination of his people, and at length got out into the southern Pacific Ocean with three ships, that commanded by Juan Serrano having been wrecked and the men saved with much difficulty.
To escape from the excessive cold of the southern extremity of America, Magellan now shaped his course W.N.W. and when about 1500 leagues from the straits, he found an island in lat. 18° S. and another 200 leagues further on. Having lost his computation for the Moluccas, he discovered several islands in lat. 15° 30' N., and at length came to the island of Subo, in lat. 10° N., being about 12 leagues in circumference. He was hospitably received here, and found the natives of so tractable a disposition, that the king and queen of the island, with their children and above 800 of the inhabitants, were baptised. This prince was at war with a neighbour, and was assisted by Magellan. After two victories, Magellan was slain in a third battle on the 27th of April 1521, together with his astrologer and some others. The baptised king now entered into an agreement with his enemies, and poisoned all the Christians who were on shore.
Those who remained on board, being too few in number to navigate the three ships, burnt one, and set sail with the other two, one of which was the famous Victory, commanded by Juan Sebastian Cano, being the first ship that circumnavigated the globe. They arrived at the Moluccas, where they were well received by the king of Tidore, who was much dissatisfied by the Portuguese having given the preference to Ternate in forming their establishment. At this place they took in a loading of spice, and went thence to Banda, where they completed their cargo by the assistance of a Portuguese named Juan de Lourosa. One of the Spanish ships returned to Ternate, many of the crew having died of a contagious disease, and the small remnant being unable to continue the voyage. They were hospitably received by Antonio de Brito, who relieved and sent them to India, whence they returned to Europe in the Portuguese ships.
The famous ship Victory returned in triumph to Spain, after performing that wonderful Voyage round the World. Her arrival occasioned new contests between the courts of Spain and Portugal, Charles V. and John III. then reigning, because the Molucca islands were considered as belonging to Portugal, according to the former agreement respecting the discoveries of the globe. In the year 1524, a congress of civilians and geographers was held to determine this affair, at a place between Badajos and Elvas; but it was not settled till the year 1526.
In one of the former years, Fernan Perez de Andrada had established a trade at Quantung or Canton in China, which was so exceedingly profitable that every one was eager to engage in it. In the present year 1521, Simon de Andrada was sent by Sequeira to China with five ships, and cast anchor in the port of the island of Tamou opposite to Canton, where his brother had been formerly. The Portuguese ambassador to the emperor of China still remained at that place, but set out soon afterwards up a large river with three vessels splendidly decorated with Portuguese colours, it being a received custom that none but those of China should be seen there, which are gules a lion rampant. In this manner he arrived at the foot of a mountain from which that great river derives its source. This mountainous ridge, called Malexam, beginning at the bay of Cochin-China in the province of Fokien, runs through the three southern provinces of China, Quangsi, Quantung, and Fokien, dividing them from the interior provinces, as Spain is divided from France by the Pyrenees.
Thomas Perez, leaving the vessels at this place, travelled northwards to the city of Nanking, where the king then was, having spent four months in the journey without stopping at any place. The emperor however thought proper to appoint his audience at Peking, a city far distant, to which place Perez accordingly followed. While on the journey, Simon de Andrada behaved himself so improperly in the island of Tamou that an account of his proceedings was sent to court, and Thomas Perez and his companions were condemned to death as spies. The rigour of this sentence was mitigated, but the embassy was not received, and Perez was sent back as a prisoner to Canton, with orders that the Portuguese should restore Malacca to its native king, who was a vassal to China, in which case the embassy would be received; but otherwise the ambassador and his suite were to be put to death, and the Portuguese forever excluded from China as enemies. Simon de Andrada conducted himself with a high hand, as if he had been king of Tamou, where he raised a fort, and set up a gallows to intimidate the people. He committed violence against the merchants who resorted to the port, and bought young people of both sexes, giving occasion to thieves to steal them from their parents. These extravagant proceedings lost nothing in their transmission to court, and were the cause of the severe orders respecting Perez and his followers.
At this time Diego Calva arrived with one ship from Lisbon, and several others from Malacca, and in consequence of this addition to their strength, the Portuguese acted still more insolently than before, and so exasperated the governors of the province that they apprehended several of them, and even contrived to take the last-arrived ship. At the commencement of hostilities Duarte Coello arrived from Malacca with two ships well manned and armed. The Itao, or Chinese admiral in these seas, attacked the Portuguese with fifty ships, and though he did them some damage, he was so severely handled by the artillery that he was forced to retire and to remain at some distance, keeping up a strict blockade. After matters had remained in this state for forty days, Ambrose del Rego arrived with two additional ships from Malacca, and the Portuguese determined upon forcing their way through the Chinese fleet.
The battle on this occasion was very bloody; but in consequence of a gale of wind dispersing the Chinese fleet, the Portuguese were enabled to get away from the island of Tamou. The Itao revenged himself upon such of the Portuguese as had fallen into his hands, and particularly upon Thomas Perez and his companions, who were all slain, and their baggage robbed of the present intended for the emperor, and of all the commodities which Perez had purchased during his residence in China. Such was the profitableness of the China trade at this time that Perez, though only an apothecary of mean parentage, had by this time acquired 2000 weight of rhubarb, 1600 pieces of damask, 400 pieces of other silks, above 100 ounces of gold, 2000 ounces of silver, 84 pounds of loose musk, above 3000 purses or cods of that perfume, called Papos, and a great deal of other commodities.
As Mocrim king of Lasah refused to pay the tribute which was due to the king of Ormuz for the islands of Bahrayn and Catifa on the coast of Arabia, the king of Ormuz was backward in paying the tribute to the Portuguese, alleging his inability on account of not receiving payment from his vassal. On this account a force had been already sent against the king of Lasah, accompanied by some Portuguese auxiliaries, but had been unsuccessful. The king of Ormuz, wishing effectually to humble his vassal, applied to Sequeira for assistance, who consented on purpose to secure the tribute due to the Portuguese. Accordingly in the year 1521, an armament of 200 vessels belonging to the king of Ormuz, having on board 3000 Arabs and Persians, sailed for Bahrayn under the command of Reis Xarafo or Sharafo, accompanied by seven Portuguese ships with 400 soldiers commanded by Antonio Correa. On their arrival at Bahrayn, Mocrim was found well prepared for their reception, having 300 Arab horse, 400 Persian archers, 20 Turkish musketeers besides some natives armed with firelocks, and above 11,000 native troops armed with different weapons. He had besides thrown up strong intrenchments and redoubts, well provided with cannon, and these formidable military preparations were under the charge of experienced commanders.
The Persian Gulf, which intervenes between Arabia and Persia, takes its name from the latter, as the more noble country. This famous gulf begins at Cape Jasques or Carpela, in lat. 26° N., and ends at the mouth of the river Euphrates, having many cities, rivers, woods, and islands along its northern or Persian shores. On the other or Arabian shore, beginning at Cape Mozandan or Musaldon, named Assaborum by the ancients, and ending where it meets the other side at the Euphrates, there are only four towns. One of these, Catifa or Al Katif, is opposite the island of Bahrayn, where is the pearl-fishery. This island is 30 leagues in circumference, and seven leagues long, and is 110 leagues from Ormuz. The principal product of this island is tamarinds, but it has likewise all the other fruits that grow in Spain. The largest town is of the same name with the island, besides which there are about 300 villages, inhabited by Arabs and Moors. The air is very unhealthy. The pearls found here, though not in such abundance, are more valuable than those of Ceylon in India, or of Hainan in China. On the continent of Arabia, opposite to Bahrayn is the city of Lasah, of which Mocrim was king.
Having formed his dispositions of attack, Correa landed at the head of 170 Portuguese, giving orders to Reis Xarafo to send assistance wherever he might see it necessary. Ayres Correa, the brother of the Portuguese commander, led the van or forlorn hope of fifty men, all of whom were knee deep in water. The Portuguese assaulted the trenches with great bravery, and were opposed with much resolution by the enemy, headed by the king; and after some time both parties were so much fatigued by the heat as to be under the necessity of taking some respite, as by mutual consent. After a short rest, the attack was renewed, and the king being shot through the thigh, of which wound he died six days afterwards, his men lost heart; and great numbers of them being killed and wounded, they fled, leaving a complete victory to the Portuguese. During the whole engagement, Reis Xarafo looked on from his vessel as an unconcerned spectator; but when afterwards the body of the deceased king was carried over to Lasah for interment, he went there and cut off his head, which he sent to Ormuz. In this engagement the Portuguese had seven men killed and many wounded, but the island was effectually reduced. For this exploit, Correa had the title of Bahrayn added to his name, and was authorized to bear a king's head in his coat of arms, which is still borne by his descendents.
In this same year 1521, the Zamorin of Calicut made war against Cochin at the head of 200,000 men; and although only forty Portuguese were in the army of Cochin, and but thirty of these armed with muskets, the enemy retired in dismay. At this time likewise Diego Fernandez de Beja, who had been left before Diu, came to join Sequeira at Ormuz, having been attacked by some vessels belonging to Malek Azz, whose double-dealing was now apparent. To prevent certain frauds that had been practised by the native officers of the customs at Ormuz, Sequeira thought proper to appoint Portuguese officers in that charge, which so exasperated the natives that they endeavoured to shake off the yoke, as will appear hereafter.
Being determined to resume the plan of establishing a fort at Diu, Sequeira sent back Beja to that place with four stout vessels, with orders to hinder all ships from entering the port. Beja executed these orders for some time effectually, and even took some vessels; but Malek Azz came against him with a number of ships well armed with cannon, sunk one of the Portuguese galleons, and did much damage to the others which were becalmed; but on the wind springing up, the vessels of the enemy were forced to retire. While Sequeira was on his voyage from Ormuz against Diu, he captured a vessel by the way, and divided the Moorish crew among his ships. Those who were put on board the ship commanded by Antonio Correa set fire to the powder-room, by which the poop was blown into the air and the vessel sunk; in which miserable catastrophe the brave conqueror of Bahrayn perished..
Owing to these misfortunes, Sequeira desisted from the enterprise against Diu, and went to Chaul, where he found Ferdinando Camelo, who had brought permission from Nizam al-Mulk to build a fort at that place, chiefly to favour the importation of horses for his own use, as that trade was then confined to Goa. The building of the fort was accordingly begun without delay. As Malek Azz suspected that the establishment of the Portuguese at this place might lessen greatly the trade of Diu, he made his appearance off Chaul with above fifty vessels, and sunk a large Portuguese ship just come from Ormuz. Azz continued to blockade the port of Chaul for three weeks, doing much damage to the squadron which was opposed to him; yet the construction of the fort went on with all diligence. Learning that his successor was arrived at Cochin, which rendered his presence necessary at that place, Sequeira forced his way through the enemy, leaving his nephew Henry de Menezes to command the fort, and Antonio Correa with the charge of the ships.
After the departure of Sequeira for Cochin, Aga Mahomet, who commanded the fleet belonging to Malek Azz, did every thing in his power to hinder the construction of the fort. To secure the entrance of the river, the Portuguese had erected a redoubt or bulwark on the side opposite the fort, which was commanded by Pedro Vaz Permeo with a garrison of thirty men. Mahomet sent 300 of his men by night to surprise this bulwark, but they were so valiantly opposed by the small garrison, though the captain and several men were slain, that they maintained their ground till relieved by Ruy Vaz Pereira with a reinforcement of sixty men, who put the enemy to flight after having lost a hundred men.
By this success the enemy were much daunted, and particularly one Sheikh Mamud, a great man in the city, who pretended to be a friend to the Portuguese, yet did every thing in his power secretly to molest them. On occasion of the defeat of Aga Mahomet, the sheikh sent to congratulate Antonio Correa; who, well knowing his treachery, sent him back the heads of his messengers, and hung up their bodies along the shore. The sheikh was astonished at this act, and now proceeded to open hostilities, encouraging Aga Mahomet to persevere in the blockade, giving him intelligence that the Portuguese were in want of ammunition. But Don Luis de Menezes arrived with reinforcements and a supply of ammunition and provisions, to whom Correa resigned the command.
Don Duarte de Menezes entered upon the government of India on the 22nd of January 1522, John III. being then upon the throne of Portugal. Having dispatched his predecessor with the homeward trade, and sent off commanders to the different establishments in India, he began to experience the bad effects of Sequeira having appointed Portuguese officers to the custom-house at Ormuz; as he received advice that the Moors of that place had taken arms and killed some men, and had even besieged the fort. He immediately sent his brother with relief, and appointed Simon de Andre to command at Chaul, who began his career by taking two Turkish galleys, and gaining a victory over the people of Dabul, by which that city was reduced to pay tribute. Malek Azz was terrified by these successes, and withdrew his fleet from before Chaul.
As formerly mentioned, the late governor Sequeira had appointed Portuguese officers to collect the revenue of Ormuz, which in fact had been done contrary to his own private judgment, but by command of the king of Portugal. These officers conducted themselves oppressively to the natives, from whom they made many undue exactions to satisfy their own cupidity, and behaved to them with much insolence and violence, even forcing from them their wives and daughters. Unable to endure these oppressions, the inhabitants of Ormuz and its dependencies formed a conspiracy against the Portuguese, and broke out into open insurrection against them suddenly at Ormuz, Bahrayn, Muscat, Kuriat, and Zoar all in one night, by previous concert, by a private order from the king of Ormuz. This attack was so sudden and well concerted, that above 120 of the Portuguese were slain on that night, and one Ruy Boto was put to the torture by the Moors in defence of the faith. The Portuguese at Ormuz, where Don Garcia Coutino then commanded, exerted themselves as well as they could to defend themselves, and secured the ships which happened to be at that place under the protection of the fort, which was immediately besieged. Of these events immediate intelligence was sent by Don Garcia to Cochin and other places for relief, fearing he might be constrained to surrender for want of provisions and water; and in fact two of the Portuguese vessels were burnt by the Moors under the guns of the fort.
Tristan Vaz de Vega and Manuel de Souza happened to be then at Muscat in their ships, and immediately made sail to the relief of Ormuz. Tristan Vaz arrived first, and made his way to the fort through 160 sail of Moorish vessels by which it was blockaded. Two days afterwards the ship commanded by Manuel de Souza was seen at anchor at the distance of two leagues. It was very dangerous for those at the fort to assist him, and yet it was absolutely necessary for the common safety that he should be relieved; wherefore Tristan Vaz adventured with his ship to his aid, forcing his way as before through the vast Moorish fleet, eighty of which pursued him in full sail, and even De Souza, thinking him at first an enemy did him some harm. The king of Ormuz, to inspire his people to exert themselves in the capture of these two ships, exhibited a large heap of gold as his intended reward for such of his subjects as should take Tristan and Manuel prisoners; while at the same time he set apart a heap of female attire, to be worn in disgrace by those who might not behave valiantly. Actuated at the same time by desire of reward and fear of disgrace, the Ormuzians manned 130 of their vessels, with which they furiously assailed the two Portuguese ships: yet they both made their way through showers of bullets and arrows to the fort, to the great joy and relief of the governor and garrison.
Despairing of being able to shake off the Portuguese yoke, and dreading the punishment of his revolt, the king of Ormuz abandoned his city and retired to Kishom or Queixome, an island about 15 leagues in length and 3 leagues from Ormuz, close to the shore of Persia. This island is sufficiently fertile but very unhealthy. On his retreat, he gave orders for all the inhabitants of Ormuz to follow him, and to set their city on fire, which burnt furiously for four days and nights. Even at this time some of the Portuguese gentlemen in the fort of Ormuz were in private correspondence with the king, giving him instructions how to conduct himself with the succeeding governor, so as to ensure his restoration; which they did on purpose to enrich themselves by exacting presents from the king in recompence of their services.
Don Luis de Menezes, as already mentioned, was sent by his brother Duarte, the governor-general, with ten sail, to relieve and take the command of Ormuz. On arriving at Zoar, he destroyed the town with fire and sword, and then gave the sovereignty of it to Sheikh Husseyn, to hold it in direct vassalage of Portugal, instead of being dependent upon Ormuz as hitherto. In the meantime the king of Ormuz was murdered at Kishom by his own officers, who crowned his son Mamud Shah, a youth of thirteen. On the arrival of Don Luis, a treaty was entered Into with the new king, by which it was agreed that the king and inhabitants were to return to Ormuz; that the former tribute of 20,000 Xerephines should be continued, and all arrears paid up; and that the Portuguese officers should not interfere in the government of the city or its revenues. On the conclusion of this treaty, the king sent a present of gold, jewels, pearls, and silks for the king of Portugal, and another for Don Luis, but which he publicly ordered to be sent along with the other.
Some time after this, but in the same year 1522, Don Duarte went to Ormuz to examine into the cause of the late troubles; but he punished those who had least influence, and overlooked the most guilty. Reis Xarafo, a person of great power, who had been the most active instigator in the late troubles, was rewarded; and Reis Xamexir, who had killed Reis Xahadim at the instigation of Don Luis, was banished instead of the promised reward. Duarte augmented the tribute by adding 35,000 Xerephines to the former 25,000, which could not be paid when the city was in a flourishing condition, and yet 60,000 were now demanded when it lay in ruins and its trade was destroyed.
At this time Don Luis was sent with nine ships to the Red Sea. At Socotora he lost one of his ships. He took and burnt the town Zaer on the coast of Arabia, because the sheikh refused to restore the goods of a Portuguese merchant or factor who had died there. At Veruma he burned some ships, and then battered the city of Aden, after which he entered the Red Sea, where he did nothing worthy of notice, and returned to his brother at Ormuz, but was much dissatisfied with the conduct of Duarte at that place.
That part of the continent of India adjoining to Goa belonging to Adel
Khan king of Visiapour, which had been seized by Ruy de Melo during the
war with the king of Narsinga, was now lost by Francisco Pereyra Pestana.
Pestana was a brave officer, and exerted himself to the utmost; but as
Adel Khan had now no other object [[on which]] to employ his arms, his
power was not to be resisted. Ferdinando Rodriguez Barba indeed obtained
a signal victory over the forces of Adel Khan; and after this Pestana and
Sotomayor, with only thirty horse and a small number of foot, defeated
5000 foot and 400 horse. But in the end numbers prevailed, and the country
was reduced to the obedience of Adel Khan, and afterwards confirmed to
him by treaty.
About this time the governor Duarte made particular inquiry respecting St. Thomas the apostle, in consequence of orders to that effect from the king of Portugal; and the following is the substance of the information he transmitted. In the year 1517, some Portuguese sailed in company with an Armenian, and landed at Palicat on the coast of Coromandel, a province of the kingdom of Bisnagar, where they were invited by the Armenian to visit certain ruins of many buildings still retaining the vestiges of much grandeur. In the middle of these was a chapel of indifferent structure still entire, the walls of which both outside and in were adorned with many crosses cut in stone, resembling those of the ancient military order of Alcantara, which are fleuree and fitched. A Moor resided there who pretended to have miraculously recovered his sight by a visit to this holy place, and that his ancestors had been accustomed to entertain a light in the chapel. There was a tradition that the church, of which this small chapel was all that remained entire, was built by St. Thomas, when he preached Christianity to the Indians, and that he and two of his disciples were here interred, together with a king who had been converted by his miracles.
In consequence of this information, Don Duarte sent Ernanuel de Faria with a priest and a mason to repair this chapel. On digging about the foundation on one side, which threatened to fall, they found about a yard below ground a tomb-stone with an inscription implying "That when St. Thomas built this church the king of Meliapour gave him the duties of all merchandize imported, which was the tenths." Going still deeper, they came to a hollow place between two stones, in which lay the bones of a human body with the butt and head of a spear, which were supposed to be the remains of the saint, as those of the king and disciple were also found, but not so white. They placed the bones of the saint in a China chest, and the other bones in another chest, and hid both under the altar.
On farther inquiry, it appeared by the ancient records of the kingdom, that Saint Thomas had come to Meliapour about 1500 years before, then in so flourishing a condition that it is said by tradition to have contained 3300 stately churches in its environs. It is farther said that Meliapour was then twelve leagues from the coast, whereas its ruins are now close to the shore; and that the saint had left a prediction, "That when the sea came up to the site of the city, a people should come from the west having the same religion which he taught." That the saint had dragged a vast piece of timber from the sea in a miraculous manner for the construction of his church, which all the force of elephants and the art of men had been unable to move when attempted for the use of the king. That the Bramin who was chief priest to the king, envious of the miracles performed by the saint, had murdered his own son and accused the saint as the murderer; but St. Thomas restored the child to life, who then bore witness against his father; and, that in consequence of these miracles, the king and all his family were converted.
An Armenian bishop who spent twenty years in visiting the Christians of that part of India which is near Coulam, declared on oath that he found what follows in their writings: that, when the twelve apostles were dispersed through the world, Thomas, Bartholomew, and Judas Thaddeus went together to Babylon, where they separated. Thaddeus preached in Arabia, since possessed by the Mahometans. Bartholomew went into Persia, where he was buried in a convent of Armenian monks near Tebris. Thomas embarked at Basrah on the Euphrates, crossed the Persian Gulf to Socotora, whence he went to Meliapour, and thence to China where he built several churches. That after his return to Meliapour and the conversion of the king, he suffered martyrdom through the malice of the Bramins, who counterfeited a quarrel while he was preaching, and at length had him run through by a lance; upon which he was buried by his disciples, as formerly related, in the church he had built at Meliapour.
It was likewise affirmed by a learned native of Coulam, that there were two religious houses built in that part of the country by the disciples of St. Thomas, one in Coulam and the other at Cranganor; in the former of which the Indian Sybil was buried, who advised King Perimal of Ceylon to meet other two Indian kings at Muscat, who were going to Bethlem to adore the newly born Saviour; and that King Perimal, at her entreaty, brought her a picture of the Blessed Virgin, which was kept in the same tomb. Thus was the invention of the holy relics of the apostle of India; which gave occasion to the Portuguese to build the city of St. Thomas, in the port of Palicat, seven leagues from the ruins of the ancient Christian city of Meliapour.
In the year 1522, Antonio Miranda de Azevedo was commander of the fort at Pisang in the island of Sumatra. On the west coast of that island there are six Moorish kingdoms of which Pedier was the chief, and to which those of Achem and Daga were subordinate. But in consequence of war among themselves, Achem gained the superiority, and the king of Pedier retired to the fort for the protection of the Portuguese. On coming to the city of Pedier with a great force, the king of Achem endeavoured to inveigle the king of that place into his hands, and prevailed on some of the leading men of the city to write their king that he might come there in safety, as his enemies were expelled, and he might easily destroy them by the assistance of the Portuguese. He accordingly went to the city, aided by eighty Portuguese soldiers and two hundred Moors, which went by sea in small row boats, while the king himself went along the shore with above a thousand armed elephants. He was received at Pedier with feigned joy, but with a determination to make him prisoner, which was only deferred till the arrival of the Portuguese, that they likewise might be secured; but being apprized of his danger, the king fled next day to the mountains with two elephants and a few faithful followers.
The Portuguese thus left on the shore unsupported were attacked by the enemy with showers of darts and arrows; when their commander Don Emanuel Enriquez and thirty-five soldiers were slain, and the rest fled. Don Andres Enriquez, after this loss, found himself unequal to defend the fort, and sent for relief to Raphael Perestello who was at Chittigon, the chief port of Bengal. Perestello immediately sent a ship for this purpose under the command of Dominick Seixas, who landed at Tenacari to procure provisions; but one Brito, who had succeeded Gago as captain of a band of thirty Portuguese pirates, ran away with the vessel from that port after she was laden, and left Seixas with seventeen other Portuguese on shore, who were reduced to slavery by the Siamese. Such is the fate of those who trust persons who have violated all human and divine laws.
Don Andreas Enriquez, being reduced to great extremity, requested the governor-general to send him a successor, who accordingly sent Lope de Azevedo; but Enriquez changed his mind, as the situation was very profitable, and refused to surrender the command, on which Azevedo returned to India. In the meantime the king of Achem overran the whole country with fire and sword, and took possession of the city of Pisang with fifteen thousand men, summoning Enriquez to surrender the fort. Enriquez, having sustained and repelled these assaults, set sail for India, that he might save the great riches he had acquired, leaving the command to Ayres Coello, who valiantly undertook the dangerous service.
While on his voyage to India, Enriquez met two ships commanded by Sebastian Souza and Martin Correa, bound for the Island of Banda to load with spices; who, learning the dangerous situation of Pisang, went directly to that place. Ayres Coello had just sustained a furious assault with some loss; and on seeing this relief the enemy abated their fury. Eight days afterwards, Andres was forced back by stress of weather to Pisang. One night, above 8000 of the enemy surrounded the fort, in which there were 350 Portuguese, some of whom were sick and others disabled by wounds, but all much spent with continual watching and fatigue. The enemy advanced in profound silence and applied seven hundred scaling ladders to the walls, on which they immediately mounted with loud shouts. The dispute was hotly maintained on both sides for some time; but some ships being set on fire enabled the Portuguese to point their cannon with such accuracy that many of the enemy were slain, and the rest obliged to desist from the assault. Next morning above two thousand of the enemy were found slain around the walls, with two elephants; while on the Portuguese side only one woman was slain in her chamber by an arrow.
The remaining six thousand of the enemy immediately retired, leaving half their ladders and large quantities of fireworks. Yet taking into consideration the difficulty and expence of maintaining this port, it was resolved to ship off all the men and goods, and to set it on fire, leaving the large cannons filled with powder, that they might burst when the fire reached them. The greater part of the fort was destroyed; but the enemy saved some of the cannon, which were afterwards employed with considerable effect against the Portuguese. Some goods were lost in shipping, as the Portuguese were in a great fright, and embarked up to the neck in water. By this abandonment of their post, the Portuguese lost more reputation with the natives of Sumatra than they had gained by their former valiant defence. They were fully sensible of this, as they met a powerful reinforcement at sea under Azevedo; and learnt that the king of Aru was marching by land to their assistance with 4000 men. The king of Achem followed up his good fortune, and rendered himself all-powerful in Sumatra, beyond even his hopes.
About this time Malacca was much straitened by the king of Bintang, who sent a powerful armament against it, to oppose which. George Albuquerque sent a naval force under Don Sancho Enriquez; but in a violent storm 70 out of 200 Portuguese were lost. Till now the king of Pahang had sided with the Portuguese; but seeing the tide of fortune had turned against them, he too became their enemy. Ignorant of this change, Albuquerque sent three ships to his port for provisions, where two of his captains and thirty men were killed: The third made his escape, but was slain with all his men at Java. Simon de Abreu and his crew were slain on another occasion; and two vessels sent to prevent provisions from getting into Bintang were lost.
In 1524, the memorable DON VASCO DE GAMA, now count of Vidugueyra, went out to India as viceroy with 14 ships and 8000 soldiers. During the voyage, two caravels were lost with all their men, and a third was lost but the men saved. Gaspar Mossem, one of the captains, was basely killed by his crew, merely because he was not a Portuguese. While at sea near Cambaya in a dead calm, the sea tossed so violently all of a sudden that all the people thought they were lost: But the viceroy perceiving it was caused by an earthquake, called out, "Courage my friends, the sea trembles for fear of you." One great ship of Mecca, worth 60,000 crowns, was taken, and the fleet arrived at Goa. Having visited some of the forts, and issued the necessary orders,
Gama sent three galleys from Cochin to Calicut, as the subjects of the Zamorin began to be troublesome. One of these fought for three hours with fifty large paraos and lost three men; but on the coming up of the others, the enemy were put to flight. The new viceroy had intended to execute several important enterprises; but he soon fell sick, and finding his end fast approaching, he appointed Lope Vaz de Sampayo to act as his successor till Don Enrique de Menezes, then at Goa, who was next in nomination by the king, might arrive. Vasco de Gama died on Christmas eve 1524, having been only three months viceroy. He was of middle stature, somewhat gross, and had a ruddy complexion. He had a natural boldness for any great undertaking, and was well fitted for every thing entrusted to him, as a sea captain, as discoverer, and as viceroy; being patient of fatigue, prompt in the execution of justice, and terrible when angry.
Immediately after the death of the viceroy, Lope Vaz de Sampayo dispatched Francisco de Sa to Goa, to carry information to Don Enrique de Menezes that he had succeeded to the government of Portuguese India. Leaving De Sa to command in Goa, Menezes went immediately to Cochin to assume his new situation; having first sent his nephew George Zelo with a galliot and five armed paraos against a fleet which infested the coast. Zelo met 38 vessels laden with spice commanded by Cutiale, four of which were taken and the rest driven on shore. These four were brought in barbarous triumph to Goa, having many of the enemies hung upon the shrouds. The Canarin rowers carried thirty heads, in token of the victory, and twelve prisoners alive, who were given up to the boys to be stoned to death. Zelo had similar success afterwards against a ship and nine paraos. He sailed after that to Cochin with his uncle, who, being accidentally joined by George de Menezes, defeated 36 paraos belonging to Diu, 17 of which were taken.
When at Cananor he hanged a Moor of quality, on which many of his relations left the city and took to robbing on the river. But with consent of the king of Cananor, Don Enrique sent Hector de Sylveira against them with two galleys and a brigantine, who destroyed four towns and took all their cannon, not without considerable difficulty. About the same time Christopher de Brito went with fourteen row-boats and about an hundred men to scour the coast of Canara, where he destroyed some of the Moors; but those of Dabul sent two galliots and seven other vessels against him, with above three hundred men. In the commencement of the engagement Brito was slain; but his people exerted themselves so valiantly to revenge the death of their commander, that after four hours hard fighting most of the Moors were slain, and their commander and all the rest taken. The Moorish captain died afterwards of his wounds at Goa, being first converted to the Christian faith.
The fort at Calicut was at this time much straitened by the Nayres, yet the small garrison of fifty Portuguese maintained their post with much honour. Don Enrique, to punish the hostilities of the Moors of Calicut, fitted out fifty sail of vessels from Cochin, to which were added another fifty belonging to the inhabitants of that city, twenty-seven of which belonged to one individual named Arel de Porca. With these vessels, carrying 2000 soldiers, the governor arrived at Paniani, one of the principal towns in the territory of Calicut, which was well fortified and stored with cannon under the command of a Portuguese renegado. Besides these fortifications on the land, the river was defended by a number of armed vessels drawn up in order of battle. After a severe contest, the fortifications of Paniani were carried, and the enemy fled into the woods. The town and all the vessels in the fort were burnt. Next day twelve ships were burnt in the port of Calicut, and several more in some creeks near the town.
The armament proceeded in the next place to Coulete, which was fortified in a similar manner to Paniani, with a prodigious number of artillery, an hundred and fifty armed ships, and a garrison of 20,000 men. The Portuguese proceeded to the attack, and after a long and obstinate contest, drove the enemy from their works with great slaughter, and took fifty-three vessels, most of which were laden with pepper, with the loss of fifty-four Portuguese killed and many wounded. The other vessels belonging to the enemy, being much shattered in the engagement, were all burnt, and the town was destroyed.
Shortly after this, the Zamorin of Calicut besieged the Portuguese fort at that place with an army of 12,000 men, and surrounded it with a broad and deep trench. Don Juan de Lima commanded in the fort with 300 men, and did everything in his power to obstruct the besiegers in the construction of their lines; but they were at length finished and planted with a vast number of cannon, some of which were so large as to carry balls of two spans diameter. On receiving advice of this siege, Don Enrique sent a reinforcement of 150 men in two caravels commanded by Christopher Jusarte and Duarte Fonseca. They succeeded in forcing their way into the fort in spite of a violent opposition by sea and land. Immediately afterwards, the enemy endeavoured to take the fort by escalade, but were repulsed with great slaughter. A farther reinforcement of 500 men from Cochin being unable to reach Calicut, Don Enrique went there with all the naval force he could collect, being unwilling that his government should suffer the disgrace of allowing this fortress to be taken by the enemy. Having thrown some strong reinforcements into the fort, Don Enrique landed with the remainder of his troops, after clearing the shore of the enemy, by means of his guns assisted by grenadoes and other fireworks. All the intrenchments and redoubts of the besiegers were successively carried, with prodigious slaughter of the Moors and Nayres, of whom above 3000 were slain, besides many others burnt in their wooden forts and bulwarks. In this engagement Don George de Menezes made great slaughter of the enemy with a two-handed sword; till losing his right hand, he took a smaller sword in his left, and continued to fight with great valour.
Don Enrique remained master of the field, in which he encamped for some days: But as the fort was not considered important in proportion to its expence, it was stripped of everything of value with great care and privacy, and mines and trains laid to blow it up; after which the whole army retired to the ships. On seeing the fort evacuated, the Moors rushed in to plunder in vast numbers; but the mines suddenly taking fire, blew up the whole fabric with a vast explosion, in which great numbers of the enemy perished miserably.
In the year 1526, Hector de Sylveira went with a squadron to the Red Sea, and on his way thither assaulted and took the city of Dhofur on the coast of Yemen in lat. 17° N. He then entered the Red Sea, where he reduced the islands of Massua and Dallac to pay tribute; after, this he went to Arkiko on the coast of Abyssinia, where he received Don Rodrigo de Lima, who had been on an embassy to the king of Abyssinia, and was there waiting for a passage along with an ambassador from Prester John to the king of Portugal.
In this same year 1526, a small vessel was sent from Ternate to discover the islands of Celebes, which were said to abound in gold. The discoverer easily found the islands, but no gold. Being on his return to the Moluccas, he was carried away by a storm to the eastward till he lost his reckoning, and unexpectedly fell in with a large and beautiful island, inhabited by a simple race of men who treated the Portuguese with much civility. They were strong made and of a comely appearance, with their complexion inclining to fair, having long lank hair and long beards, and their clothing was of fine mats. Their food consisted chiefly of roots, cocoa nuts, and figs. Their language was not understood, but by signs they gave the Portuguese to understand that there was gold in the mountains, but of which they made no use. They had no knowledge of iron or any other metal. Leaving this island, which they named after the pilot Diego Lopez Sequeira, they returned to Ternate, after an absence of eight months.
Don Enrique de Menezes died at Cananor about the end of January 1526, in the thirtieth year of his age. He was a man of large stature, with a pleasing countenance, just in all his actions, continent, free from covetousness, a true patron of merit, and of the most unblemished honour. During his government he refused uniformly to accept any of the numerous presents offered him by the eastern princes; and conducted himself with such perfect integrity in every transaction, that at his death his whole treasure amounted only to thirteen rials and a half; and he had even expended the whole of his patrimonial estate during the short continuance of his government of Portuguese India, chiefly in rewarding the merits of his officers.
[Footnote 139: The distance between Ceylon and the Carnatic across Palks Bay is about 63 English miles; but at Jafnapatnam and Ramiseram, this distance is lessened to 43, by two capes, at the former projecting from the island, and at the latter from the continent.--E.]
[Footnote 140: From Point Pedro in the north to Dondra Head in the south are 265 miles, and its widest part from Negombo in the west to Poukiri Chene in the east is 143 statute miles.--E.]
[Footnote 141: More properly Selan-dib, or the Isle of Selan. The derivation of the name of Ceylon in the text does not admit of commentary.--E.]
[Footnote 142: All of these except Cande, Candi, or Kandi, the central mountainous region, still occupied by the native Hindoo race, appear to have been small sovereignties of the Moors or Malays; and have been long under European rule, having been conquered by the Portuguese, Dutch; and British in succession. The topography of Ceylon will be illustrated hereafter, and does not admit of being explained in the compass of a note--E.]
[Footnote 143: Perhaps tattooing may be here alluded to.--E.]
[Footnote 144: It is hardly possible to conceive how it could enter into the conception of any one to compare the stupid polytheism of the worshippers of Budda with the Christian religion: In one thing indeed the Catholic church has contrived to establish a resemblance, by the subordinate worship of innumerable idols or images.--E.]
[Footnote 145: It will appear from the sequel that Fernan Perez de Andrada commanded on this voyage, not Coello as stated in the text.--E.]
[Footnote 146: Possibly Japan is here meant.--E.]
[Footnote 147: This singular expression may have been some court phrase of the court of Pegu, meaning the royal presence.--E.]
[Footnote 148: On this trifling incident, the editor of Astley's Collection gives the following marginal reference, A merry passage. Ludere cum sacris is rather a stale jest, and perhaps the grand Raulim was as ingenious as Correa and his priest, to trick the ignorant unbelievers in their sacred doctrines of Bhudda.--E.]
[Footnote 149: This submarine cocoa-nut tree is utterly inexplicable. --E.]
[Footnote 150: The submission of the Abyssinian church to the Roman pontiff was a mere pretence, which afterwards produced long and bloody civil wars, and ended in the expulsion of the Portuguese from the country.--E.]
[Footnote 151: It is not worth while to inquire whence this ridiculous legend of king or Saint Jovarus has been derived. The origin of Christianity in Abyssinia will be considered on an after occasion, when we come to the particular travels in that country.--E.]
[Footnote 152: In Faria called Barnagux.]
[Footnote 153: Probably cassia.]
[Footnote 154: The principal island of the Molucca group is Gilolo; those in the text being small islands to the west of Gilolo. The large island mentioned in the text under the name of Batochina, can be no other than Gilolo.--E.]
[Footnote 155: This is obviously an erroneous account of Sago, an alimentary substance procured from the pith of a tree of the palm tribe, not from the bark.--E.]
[Footnote 156: From the text, coupled with a consideration of the infallible grants of his holiness, who had given every part of the world to the west of a certain meridian to the Spaniards and all eastwards to the Portuguese, or all to both, those Spaniards who had been at the Moluccas must have come from the western coast of Mexico. Magellan proposed a new route by the southwest, to evade the grant of the sovereign pontiff, which was actually accomplished, though he lived not to enjoy what may in some measure be termed the treasonable honour.--E.]
[Footnote 157: Though not directly so expressed in the text, Magellan appears to have wintered at Port St. Julian.--E.]
[Footnote 158: Now called the Straits of Magellan from its discoverer.--E.]
[Footnote 159: As this first circumnavigation will fall to be related more at large, in a division of our arrangement devoted expressly to that subject, it has not been deemed necessary to elucidate this short incidental account from De Faria, by any geographical commentary.--E.]
[Footnote 160: The text seems irreconcileably contradictory, perhaps from mistranslation; but the circumstance is not important.--E.]
[Footnote 161: This account of the ridge of Malexam is considerably erroneous. The ridge of mountains in the text begins in the west of China on the borders off the province of Yunnan, between Koeitchoo and Quansee, and ends in the east at the province of Foo-tchien.--E.]
[Footnote 162: It is difficult to comprehend the distinction; and perhaps we ought to read Arabs or Moors.--E.]
[Footnote 163: Lasah may have been the name of the territory, and perhaps applied likewise to the capital which is named Al Katif in our maps, and the territory Bahrayn. These are two islands of Bahrayn, one of which from the text appears to have been named Catifa.--E.]
[Footnote 164: Yet only a few lines afterwards, Antonio Correa is found to be alive and commanding a squadron off Chaul. Having no means to correct this contradiction, the text is left as published by Stevens.--E.]
[Footnote 165: These three last mentioned places are all on the north-eastern point of Arabia, near Cape Rasaigat, and appear to have been then dependent on the kingdom of Ormuz.--E.]
[Footnote 166: It was only called 20,000 a few lines before.--E.]
[Footnote 167: Perhaps Shahr near Makulla on the coast of Yemen.--E.]
[Footnote 168: This place was probably near Aden on the coast of Arabia.--E.]
[Footnote 169: Heraldic terms, implying that the three upper arms of the cross end in the imitation of flowers, while the lower limb is pointed.--E.]
[Footnote 170: The strange expression in the text ought probably to have been the tenths of the duties on importation.--E.]
[Footnote 171: Coulam is on the coast of Travancore; in which country a remnant of the ancient Indian Christians has been recently visited by Dr Buchannan, which will fall to be particularly noticed in a future division of this collection--E.]
[Footnote 172: At first sight this appears to have been the fort of Pisang, but from the sequel it would rather seem to have been another fort at or in the neighbourhood of Pedier.--E.]
[Footnote 173: It is hardly possible that the lord of a petty state on the coast of Sumatra should have so large a number of elephants, more perhaps than the Great Mogul in the height of the sovereignty of Hindustan. Probably Capt. Stevens may have mistaken the original, and we ought to read "With above a thousand men and several armed elephants."--E.]
[Footnote 174: Though obscurely expressed in the text, these thirty pirates appear to have been employed in the ship commanded by Seixas; probably pardoned after the punishment of their former leader Gago.--E.]
[Footnote 175: De Faria is often defective in dates, and always confused. The events about this time are only vaguely stated as having happened during the government of Duarte Menezes, between the years 1522 and 1524, both inclusive. Among the confused mass of ill-digested and often indistinctly related events, many of which possess hardly any interest, we have now deemed it proper, in the farther prosecution of this History of the Portuguese transactions in India, to omit many trivial and uninteresting events, confining our attention to those of some importance, and which appear worth recording. The Portuguese Asia of DeFaria minutely relates every consecutive squadron sent to or from India, and every trifling commercial adventure; the insertion of which in our collection would be needlessly tedious.--E.]
[Footnote 176: Perhaps instead of towns we ought to read tonys, a species of vessel then need by the inhabitants of the Malabar coast.--E.]
[Footnote 177: These hundred vessels were probably paraos, or small native craft, considering that they only carried 2000 soldiers, only at the rate of 20 for each vessel--E.]
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