Volume 6, Chapter 4 -- Continuation of the Portuguese transactions in India, after the return of Don Stefano de Gama from Suez in 1541, to the Reduction of Portugal under the Dominion of Spain in 1581: *section index*


Volume 6, Chapter 4, Section 15 -- Occurrences in Pegu, Martavan, Pram, Siam, and other places.[23]

We here propose to give some account of the exploits of the black king of Siam, in whose character there was a strange mixture of virtues and vices. In the year 1544, the king of the Birmans[24] besieged the city of Martavan by sea and land, being the metropolis of the great and flourishing kingdom of that name, which had a revenue of three millions of gold. Chaubainaa was then king of Martavan, and fell from the height of fortune to the depth of misery. The Birman fleet, on this occasion, consisted of 700 sail, 100 of which were large galleys, in which were 700 Portuguese, commanded by one Juan Cayero, who was reputed a commander of courage and conduct. After a siege of some months, during which the Birmans lost 12,000 men in five general assaults, Chaubainaa found himself unable to withstand the power of his enemy, being reduced to such extremity that the garrison had already eaten 3000 elephants. He offered, therefore, to capitulate, but all terms were refused by the enemy; on which he determined to make use of the Portuguese, to whom he had always been just and friendly. But favours received from a person in prosperity are forgotten when the benefactor falls into adversity.

He sent therefore one Seixas, a Portuguese in his service, to make an offer to Cayero, if he would receive himself, his family, and treasures, into the four ships which he commanded; that he would give half the treasure to the king of Portugal, to whom he would become vassal, paying such tribute as might be agreed on, being satisfied that he could recover his kingdom with the assistance of 2000 Portuguese troops, whom he proposed to take into his pay. Cayero consulted with his principal officers on this proposition, and asked Seixas, in their presence, what might be the amount of treasure belonging to the king of Martavan. Seixas said, that he had not seen the whole, but affirmed that he had seen enough in gold and jewels to load two ships, and as much silver as would load four or five. Envious of the prodigious fortune that Cayero might make by accepting this offer, the Portuguese officers threatened to delate [[=denounce]] him to the Birman sovereign, if he consented, and the proposal was accordingly refused.

The king of Martavan was astonished at the rejection of his proposals, and finding Seixas determined to withdraw from the danger that menaced the city, made him a present of a pair of bracelets, which were afterwards sold to the governor of Narsinga for 80,000 ducats. Despairing of relief or retreat, the king of Martavan now determined to set his capital on fire, and sallying out at the head of the few men that remained, to die honourably fighting against his enemies. But that night, one of his principal officers deserted to the enemy, and gave notice of his intention. Thus betrayed, he surrendered on promise of having his own life, and those of his wife and children spared, and being allowed to end his days in retirement. These terms were readily granted, as the conqueror meant to perform no part of his engagement.

From the gate of the city to the tent of the Birman king, at the distance of a league, a double lane of musketeers of sundry nations was formed, the Portuguese under Cayero being stationed nearest the gate, through which the captives were to march in procession. In the first place, came the queen of Martavan in a chair, her two sons and two daughters being carried in two other chairs. These were surrounded by forty beautiful young ladies, led by an equal number of old ladies, and attended by a great number of Talegrepos, who are a kind of monks or religious men, habited like Capuchins, who prayed with and comforted the captives. Then followed the king of Martavan, seated on a small she elephant, clothed in black velvet, having his head, beard, and eyebrows shaved, and a rope about his neck. On seeing the Portuguese, he refused to proceed till they were removed, after which he went on.

Being come into the presence of the king of the Birmans, he cast himself at his feet; and being unable to speak owing to grief, the Raolim of Mounay, Talaypor, or chief priest of Martavan, who was esteemed a saint, made a harangue in his behalf, which had been sufficient to have moved compassion from any other than the obdurate tyrant to whom it was addressed, who immediately ordered the miserable king, with his wife, children, and attendant ladies, into confinement. For the two following days, a number of men were employed to remove the public treasure of Martavan, amounting to 100 millions in gold; and on the third day, the army was allowed indiscriminate plunder, which lasted for four days, and was estimated at 12 millions. Then the city was burnt, and above 60,000 persons were supposed to have perished by fire and sword, an equal number being reduced to slavery. On this occasion, 2000 temples and 40,000 houses were destroyed.

On the morning after the destruction of the city, 21 gibbets were erected on a neighbouring hill called Beydao, which were surrounded by a strong guard of cavalry, and on which the queen, with her children and attendants, to the number in all of 140 persons, were all hung up by the feet. The king of Martavan, with 50 men of the highest quality, were flung into the sea with stones about their necks. At this barbarous spectacle, the army of the Birmans mutinied, and for some time the king was in imminent danger. Leaving a sufficient number of people to rebuild the ruined city, the Birman king returned to Pegu with the rest of his army, accompanied by Juan Cayero, and his 700 Portuguese.

Four Portuguese remained at Martavan, among whom was Juan Falcam; who instead of assisting Fernan Mendez Pinta, sent by Pedro de Faria, the commander of Malacca, to confirm the peace which subsisted with the late king of Martavan, accused him to the governor of the town as an enemy to the king of the Birmans. On this false accusation, the governor seized the vessel commanded by Pinto, in which were goods to the value of 100,000 ducats, killed the master and some others, and sent the rest prisoners to Pegu. This false dealing was not new in Falcam, who had deserted from the late unfortunate king of Martavan, after having received many benefits from him.

Instead of being allowed to enjoy the fruits of his victories in peace, the king of the Birmans was obliged to engage in a new war with the king of Siam, who endeavoured to recover the kingdom of Tangu, which had been wrested from him. For this purpose, in March 1546, he embarked with 900,000 men in 12,000 vessels, on the river Ansedaa, out of which he passed in the month of April into the river Pichau Malacoa, and invested the city of Prom. The king of this territory was recently dead, leaving his successor, only thirteen years of age, who was married to a daughter of the king of Ava, from whom he looked for the assistance of 60,000 men. For this reason, the king of Siam pressed the siege, that he might gain the city before the arrival of the expected succours.

After six days, the queen of Prom, who administered the government, offered to become tributary if he would grant a peace; but the king insisted that she should put herself into his hands with all her treasure. She refused these degrading terms, knowing his perfidious character, and resolved to defend the city to the last extremity. The king of Siam accordingly gave several assaults, in all of which he was repulsed, and in a short time, lost above 80,000 of his men, partly by the sword, and partly by a pestilential disease, which raged in his army, 500 Portuguese who were in his service perishing among the rest.

Being unable to take the place by assault, the king of Siam caused a great mount to be raised, which overlooked the city and was planted with a great number of cannon, by which the defenders were prodigiously annoyed. Upon this, 5000 men sallied from the city and destroyed the mount, killing 16,000 of the enemy, and carrying off 80 pieces of cannon. In this affair the king of Siam was wounded; and being greatly enraged against a body of 2000 Portuguese, who were in his pay and had the guard of the mount, he caused them all to be massacred. About the end of August, Xemin Maletay, one of the four principal officers, who commanded in Prom, treacherously betrayed the city to the king of Siam, who ordered it to be utterly destroyed with fire and sword. Two thousand children were cut in pieces, and given as food to the elephants. The queen was publicly whipped, and given up to the lust of the soldiers till she died. The young king was tied to her dead body and cast into the river; and above 300 principal nobles were impaled.

The king of Ava, who was marching to the assistance of his sister, understood the unfortunate events of Prom, but came to battle with the traitor Zemin, who had betrayed her, who was at the head of a numerous army. In this battle all the soldiers of Ava were slain except 800, after making a prodigious slaughter among the enemy; after which the king of Siam came up with a part of his army, and slew the remaining 800 men of Ava, with the loss of 12,000 of his own men, and then beheaded the traitor Zemin. He then went up the river Queytor, with 60,000 men in 1000 boats, and coming to the port of Ava about the middle of October, he burnt above 2000 vessels, and several villages, with the loss of 8000 of his men, among whom were 62 Portuguese. Understanding that the city of Ava was defended by 20,000 men, 30,000 of which people had slain 150,000 of his army at Maletay, and that the king of Pegu was coming to their relief, he returned in all haste to Prom, where he fortified himself, and sent an ambassador to the emperor of Calaminam, with rich presents, and the offer of an extensive territory, on condition of sending him effectual succours.

The empire of Calaminam is said to be 300 leagues in length and as much in breadth, having been formerly divided into 27 kingdoms, all using the same language, beautified with many cities and towns, and very fertile, containing abundance of all the productions of Asia. The name of the metropolis is Timphan, which is seated on the river Pitni, on which there are innumerable boats. It is surrounded by two strong and beautiful walls, [[and]] contains 400,000 inhabitants, with many stately palaces and fine gardens, having 2500 temples belonging to 24 different sects. Some of these use bloody sacrifices. The women are very beautiful, yet chaste, two qualities that seldom go together. In their law-suits, O happy country! they employ no attorneys, solicitors, or proctors, and every dispute is decided at one hearing. This kingdom maintains 1,700,000 soldiers, 400,000 of which are horse; and has 6000 elephants. On account of their prodigious number, the emperor assumes the title of Lord of the Elephants, his revenue exceeding 20 millions. There are some remnants of Christianity among these people, as they believe in the blessed Trinity, and make the sign of the cross when they sneeze.

Such was the great empire of Calaminam to which the king of the Birmans[25] sent his ambassador. On his return, the king sent 150,000 men in 1300 boats against the city of Sabadii, 130 leagues distant to the north-east. The general of this army, named Chaunigrem, lost many of his men in several assaults, after which he raised two mounts whence he did much harm to the city: But the besieged sallying out, killed at one time 8000 and at another 5000 of his men. Leaving this siege for a time and the affairs of the king of the Birmans, we purpose to relate what was done at Siam, in order to treat of them both together.

The king of Chiammay, after destroying 30,000 men that had guarded the frontiers, besieged the city of Guitivam belonging to the king of Siam, who immediately drew together an army of 500,000 men, in which was a body of 120 Portuguese in which he placed great reliance. This vast multitude was conveyed along the river in 3000 boats, while 4000 elephants and 200 pieces of cannon were sent by land. He found the enemy had 300,000 men and 2000 boats. The king of Siam gave the command of his vast army to three generals, two of whom were Turks, and the third was Dominic Seixas, a Portuguese. At first the Siamese were worsted, but recovering their order they gained a complete victory, in which 130,000 of the enemy were slain, 40,000 of whom were excellent cavalry, with the loss of 50,000 Siamese, all of whom were the worst troops in their army.

After this victory the king of Siam marched against the queen of Guibem, who had allowed the enemy to pass through her country; and entering the city of Fumbacar spared neither age nor sex. Being besieged in her capital of Guirar, the queen agreed to pay a yearly tribute of 60,000 ducats, and gave her son as a hostage. After this the king of Siam advanced to the city of Taysiram, to which place he thought the king of Chiammay had fled, destroying everything in his course with fire and sword, only sparing the women; but winter coming on, he returned to Siam.

On his return to his court of Odiaa or Odiaz, he was poisoned by his queen, then big with child by one of her servants; but before he died he caused his eldest son, then young, to be declared king. He left 30,000 ducats to the Portuguese then in his service, and gave orders that they should pay no duties in any of his ports for three years. The adulterous queen, being near the time of her delivery, poisoned her lawful son, married her servant, and caused him to be proclaimed king. But in a short time they were both slain at a feast by the King of Cambodia and Oya Pansilaco.

There being no lawful heir to the kingdom of Siam, Pretiel, a religious Talagrepo, bastard brother to him who was poisoned, was raised to the throne by common consent in the beginning of the year 1549. Seeing the affairs of Siam in confusion, the king of the Birmans, who was likewise king of Pegu, resolved to conquer that kingdom. For this purpose he raised an army of 800,000 men, of which 40,000 were horse, and 60,000 armed with muskets, 1000 being Portuguese. He had 20,000 elephants, 1000 cannon drawn by oxen and abadias,[26] and 1000 ammunition waggons drawn by buffaloes. The Portuguese troops in his service, were commanded by Diego Suarez de Mello, commonly called the Gallego, who went out to India in 1538. In 1542 this man became a pirate in the neighbourhood of Mozambique. In 1547 he was at the relief of Malacca: And now in 1549, being in the service of the king of the Birmans, was worth four millions in jewels and other valuables, had a pension of 200,000 ducats yearly, was stiled [[=called]] the king's brother, and was supreme governor of the kingdom and general in chief of the army.

With this prodigious army the king of the Birmans, after one repulse, took the fort of Tapuram by assault, which was defended by 2000 Siamese, all of whom he put to the sword in revenge for the loss of 3000 of his own men in the two assaults. In the prosecution of his march, the city of Juvopisam surrendered, after which he set down before the city of Odiaa the capital of Siam. Diego Suarez the commander in chief gave a general assault on the city, in which he was repulsed with the loss of 10,000 men: Another attempt was made by means of elephants, but with no better success. The king offered 500,000 ducats to anyone who would betray one of the gates to him; which coming to the knowledge of Oya Pansiloco, who commanded in the city, he opened a gate and sent word to the king to bring the money as he waited to receive it. After spending five months in the siege, during which he lost 150,000 men, news came that Xemindoo had rebelled at Pegu, where he had slain 15,000 men that opposed him. When this was known in the camp, 120,000 Peguers deserted, in hatred to the king of the Birmans who oppressed them, and in revenge of the insolence of Diego Suarez their general in chief.

Xemindoo was of the ancient blood royal of Pegu, and being a priest was esteemed as a great saint. On one occasion he preached so eloquently against the tyranny and oppression which the Peguers suffered under the Birmans, that he was taken from the pulpit and proclaimed king of Pegu. On this he slew 8000 Birmans that guarded the palace; and seizing the royal treasure, he got possession of all the strong-holds in a short time, and the whole kingdom submitted to his authority. The armies of the rival kings met within two leagues of the city of Pegu; that of the Birmans amounting to 350,000 men, while Xemindoo had 600,000; yet Xemindoo was defeated with the loss of 300,000 men, while the Birmans lost 60,000.

The victorious king of the Birmans immediately entered Pegu, where he slew a vast multitude of the inhabitants, and recovered his treasure. Meanwhile the city of Martavan declared for Xemindoo, and massacred the garrison of 2000 Birmans. Zemin did the same in the city of Zatam where he commanded. The king marched towards him, but he contrived to have him murdered by the way; on which Zemin was proclaimed king by his followers, and soon raised an army of 30,000 men. Chaumigrem, brother to the dead king, plundered the palace and city, and then fled to Tangu where he was born. In four months Zemin became so odious to his new subjects by his tyranny, that many of them fled to Xemindoo, who was soon at the head of 60,000 men.

Some short time before this, as Diego Suarez was passing the house of a rich merchant on the day of his daughter's intended marriage, being struck by the great beauty of the bride, he attempted to carry her off by force, killing the bridegroom and others who came to her rescue, and the bride strangled herself to avoid the dishonour. As the father expected no justice while that king reigned, he shut himself up till Zemin got possession of the throne, on which he so published his wrongs about the city that 50,000 of the people joined with him in demanding justice. Fearing evil consequences, Zemin caused Suarez to be apprehended and delivered up to the people, by whom he was stoned to death. His house was plundered, and as much less treasure was found than he was supposed to be worth, he was believed to have buried the rest.

Zemin soon followed Suarez; for his subjects, being unable to endure his cruelty and avarice, fled in great numbers to Xemindoo, who was now master of some considerable towns. Xemindoo, having gathered an army of 200,000 men and 5000 elephants, marched to the city of Pegu, near which he was encountered by Zemin at the head of 800,000 men. The battle was long doubtful, but at last Gonzalo Neto, who served under Xemindoo with 80 Portuguese, killed Zemin with a musket ball, on which his army fled, and Xemindoo got possession of the capital. This happened on the 3rd of February 1550. Gonzalo was rewarded with a gift of 10,000 crowns, and 5000 were divided among his companions.

Chaumigrem, who had fled the year before to Tangu, hearing that Xemindoo had disbanded most of his forces, marched against him and obtained a complete victory, by which the kingdom of Pegu was again reduced under the authority of the Birmans. Xemindoo was taken some time afterwards and put to death. Chaumigrem, being now king of the Birmans and of Pegu, went to war against Siam, with an army of 1,700,000 men, and 17,000 elephants, having a considerable body of Portuguese in his service. All this army came to ruin, and the kingdom of Pegu was soon afterwards reduced to subjection by the king of Aracan, as formerly related.

The kingdom of Siam, though much harassed by these invasions, still held out, and in 1627 was possessed by the black king, so called because he really was of a black colour, though all the inhabitants of that country are fair complexioned.[27] In 1621, this black king of Siam sent ambassadors to Goa, desiring that some Franciscans might be sent to preach the gospel in his dominions. Accordingly, father Andrew, of the convent of the Holy Ghost, went to Odiaa,[28] where he was received honourably, and got leave to erect a church, which was done at the king's expence. He likewise offered great riches to the venerable father, who constantly refused his offers, to the great admiration and astonishment of the king. This black king of Siam was of small stature, of an evil presence, and an extraordinarily compound character, of great wickedness, mixed with great generosity. Although cruel men are for the most part cowards, he was at the same time exceedingly cruel, and very valiant; and though tyrants are generally covetous, he was extremely liberal; being barbarous in some parts of his conduct, and generous and benevolent in others.

Not satisfied with putting thieves and robbers to ordinary deaths, he was in use to have [[=in the habit of having]] them torn in pieces in his presence by tigers and crocodiles for his amusement. Understanding that one of his vassal kings intended to rebel, he had him shut up in a cage, and fed him with morsels of his own flesh torn from his body, after which he had him fried in a pan. On one occasion he slew seven ladies belonging to the court, only because they walked too quick; and on another occasion he cut off the legs of three others, because they stayed too long when sent by him for some money to give to certain Portuguese. He even extended his severity to animals, having cut off the paw of a favourite monkey for putting it into a box containing some curiosities. A valuable horse was ordered to be beheaded, in presence of his other horses, because he did not stop when he checked him. A tiger that did not immediately seize a criminal thrown to him, was ordered to be beheaded as a coward.

Yet had this cruel and capricious tyrant many estimable virtues. He kept his word inviolable; was rigorous in the execution of justice, liberal in his gifts, and often merciful to those who offended him. Having at one time sent a Portuguese to Malacca with money to purchase some commodities, this man after buying them lost them all at play, and yet had the boldness to return to the king, who even received him kindly, saying that he valued the confidence reposed in his generosity more than the goods he ought to have brought. He shewed much respect to the Christian priests and missionaries, and gave great encouragement to the propagation of the gospel in his dominions. His valour was without the smallest stain.

The proper name of the kingdom we call Siam, is Sornace.[29] It extends along the coast for 700 leagues, and its width inland is 260. Most part of the country consists of fertile plains, watered by many rivers, producing provisions of all sorts in vast abundance. The hills are covered with a variety of trees, among which there are abundance of ebony, brasilwood, and Angelin. It contains many mines of sulphur, saltpetre, tin, iron, silver, gold, sapphires, and rubies; and produces much sweet-smelling wood, benzoin, wax, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cardamunis, sugar, honey, silk, and cotton. The royal revenue is about thirteen millions. The kingdom contains 13,000 cities and towns, besides innumerable villages. All the towns are walled; but the people for the most part are weak, timorous, and unwarlike. The coast is upon both seas; that which is on the sea of India, or bay of Bengal, containing the sea ports of Junzalam,[30] and Tanasserim; while on the coast of the China sea are Mompolocata, Cey, Lugor, Chinbu, and Perdio.

[Footnote 23: De Faria, III. 347--364. Both as in a great measure unconnected with the Portuguese transactions, and as not improbably derived from the worse than suspicious source of Fernand Mendez de Pinro, these very problematical occurrences have been kept by themselves, which indeed they are in de Faria. After this opinion respecting their more than doubtful authenticity, it would be a waste of labour to attempt illustrating their geographical obscurities. Indeed the geography of India beyond the Ganges is still involved in almost impenetrable darkness, from the Bay of Bengal to the empire of China.--E.]
[Footnote 24: Called always the Bramas by De Faria.--E.]
[Footnote 25: Formerly this was attributed to the king of Siam. But the whole story of this section is so incredible and absurd as not to merit any observations. It is merely retained from De Faria, as an instance of the fables of Fernand Mendez de Pinto.--E.]
[Footnote 26: Rhinoceroses, which are so brutishly ferocious as in no instance to have been tamed to labour, or to have ever shewn the slightest degree of docility. Being of enormous strength, the only way of preserving them when in custody, is in a sling; so that on the first attempt to more forwards, they are immediately raised from the ground.--E.]
[Footnote 27: De Faria seems now to drop the fables of Fernan Mendez Pinto, and to relate real events in the remainder of this section.--E.]
[Footnote 28: More properly Ythia, vulgarly called Siam.--E.]
[Footnote 29: The oriental term Shan, probably derived from the inhabitants of Pegu; but the Siamese call themselves Tai, or freemen, and their country Meuang tai, or the country of freemen--E.]
[Footnote 30: Otherwise called Junkseylon.--E.]



Volume 6, Chapter 4, Section 16 -- A short Account of the Portuguese possessions between the Cape of Good Hope and China.[31]

In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Portuguese empire in the east, comprehended under the general name of India, from beyond the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, to Cape Liampo in China, extended for 4000 leagues along the sea-coast, not including the shores of the Rea Sea and the Persian gulf, which would add 1200 leagues more. Within these limits are half of Africa, and all of eastern Asia, with innumerable islands adjoining these two vast divisions of the world. This vast extent may be conveniently divided into seven parts.

The first division, between the famous Cape of Good Hope, and the mouth of the Red Sea, contains along the coast many kingdoms of the Kafrs; as the vast dominions of the Monomotapa, who is lord of all the gold mines of Africa, with those of Sofala, Mozambique, Quiloa, Pemba, Melinda, Pate, Brava, Magadoxa, and others. In this division the Portuguese have the forts of Sofala and Mombaza, with the city and fort of Mozambique.

The second division, from the mouth of the Red Sea to that of the Persian gulf, contains the coast of Arabia, in which they have the impregnable fortress of Muskat.

The third division, between Busrah, or Bazorah, at the bottom of the Persian gulf, and India proper, contains the kingdoms of Ormuz, Guadel, and Sinde, with part of Persia, and Cambaya, on which they have the fort of Bandel, and the island of Diu.

The fourth division, from the gulph of Cambaya to Cape Comorin, contains what is properly called India, including part of Cambaya, with the Decan, Canara, and Malabar, subject to several princes. On this coast the Portuguese have Damam, Assarim, Danu, St. Gens, Agazaim, Maim, Manora, Trapor, Bazaim, Tana, Caranja, the city of Chaul, with the opposite fort of Morro; the most noble city of GOA, the large, strong, and populous metropolis of the Portuguese possessions in the east. This is the see of an archbishop, who is primate of all the east, and is the residence of their viceroys; and there are the courts of inquisition, exchequer, and chancery, with a custom-house, arsenal, and well-stored magazines. The city of Goa, which stands in an island, is girt with a strong wall, and defended by six mighty castles called Dauguim, San Blas, Bassoleco, Santiago de Agazaim, Panguim, and Nuestra Sennora del Cabo. On the other side of the bar is the castle of Bardes, and opposite to Dauguim is the fort of Norva, with a considerable town. On one side of the island of Goa is that of Salsete, in which is the fort of Rachol. Then going along the coast are the forts of Onor, Barcelor, Mongalor, Cananor, Cranganor, Cochin, which is a bishopric; and near Cape Comorin, the town and fort of Coulan.

The fifth division, between Cape Comorin and the river Ganges, contains the coasts of Coromandel and Orixa, on which they have the fort of Negapatam, the fort and city of Meliapour, which is a bishopric, formerly named after St. Thomas, and the fort of Masulipatan.

The sixth division, between the Ganges and Cape Cincapura, contains the vast kingdoms of Bengal, Pegu, Tanasserim, and others of less note; where the Portuguese have the city of Malacca, the seat of a bishop, and their last possession on the continent.

The seventh division, from Cape Cincapura to Cape Liampo in China, contains the kingdoms of Pam, Lugor, Siam, Cambodia, Tsiompa, Cochin China, and the vast empire of China. In this vast extent the Portuguese have only the island and city of Macao, yet trade all along these coasts.

In the island of Ceylon, the Portuguese possess the city and fort of Columbo, with those of Manaar, Gale, and others. Beyond Malacca, a fort in the island of Timor. The number of our ports in all this great track is above fifty, with twenty cities and towns, and many dependent villages.

Much might be said of Ceylon, but we can only make room for a short account of that famous island.[32] About 500 years before the time of our Saviour, the heathen king of Tenacarii, who ruled over a great part of the east, banished his son and heir Vigia Rajah, for the wickedness and depravity of his conduct. The young man put to sea with 700 dissipated persons like himself, and landed at the port of Preature, between Trincomalee and Jafnapatam in the island of Ceylon, which was not then inhabited, but abounded in delightful rivers, springs, woods, and fruit-trees, with many fine birds, and numerous animals. These new colonists were so delighted with the country that they gave it the name of Lancao, which signifies the terrestrial paradise, and, indeed, it is still considered as the delight of all the east. The first town they built was Montota, opposite to Manaar, whence they traded with Cholca Rajah, the nearest king on the continent, who gave his daughter as wife to the prince, and supplied his companions with women. He likewise sent them labourers and artisans to forward the new plantation; and seeing his power increase, the banished prince assumed the title of emperor of the islands. By strangers these new come people were named Galas, signifying banished men, on account of their having actually been banished by the king of Tenacarii. Vigia Rajah died without children, and left the crown to his brother, in whole lineage it continued for 900 years. The fertility of the island, and the fame of its excellent cinnamon, drew thither the Chinese, who intermarried with the Galas, from which mixture arose a new race, called to this day the Chingalas, or Chingalese, who are very powerful in the island, being subtle, false, and cunning, and excellently adapted for courtiers.

On the extinction of the ancient royal family, the kingdom fell to Dambadine Pandar Pracura Mabago, who was treacherously taken prisoner by the Chinese, afterwards restored, and then murdered by Alagexere, who usurped the crown. The usurper dying ten years afterwards without issue, two sons of Dambadine were sent for who had fled from the tyrant. Maha Pracura Mabago, the eldest, was raised to the throne, who settled his court at Cota, and gave the dominion of the four Corlas to his brother. Maha Pracura was succeeded by a grandson, the son of a daughter who was married to the Rajah of Cholca. This line likewise failed, and Queta Permal, king of Jafnapatam, was raised to the throne, on which he assumed the name or title of Bocnegaboa, or king by force of arms, having overcome his brother, who was king of the four Corlas.

His son, Caypura Pandar, succeeded, but was defeated and slain by the king of the four Corlas, who mounted the throne, and took the name of Jauira Pracura Magabo. These two kings were of the royal lineage, and had received their dominions from king Maha Pracura. After Jauira, his son Drama Pracura Magabo succeeded, who reigned when Vasco de Gama discovered the route by sea to India. Afterwards, about the year 1500, the empire of Ceylon was divided by three brothers, into three separate kingdoms. Bocnegababo Pandar had Cota; Reigam Pandar had Reigam; and Madure Pandar had Cheitavaca.

In the district of Dinavaca in the centre of the island, there is a prodigiously high mountain called the Peak of Adam, as some have conceived that our first parents lived there, and that the print of a foot, still to be seen on a rock on its summit, is his. The natives call this Amala Saripadi, or the mountain of the footstep. Some springs running down this mountain form a pool at the bottom, in which pilgrims wash themselves, believing that it purifies them from sin. The rock or stone on the top resembles a tomb-stone, and the print of the foot seems not artificial, but as if it had been made in the same manner as when a person treads upon wet clay, on which account it is esteemed miraculous. Pilgrims of all sorts resort thither from all the surrounding countries, even from Persia and China; and having purified themselves by washing in the pool below, they go to the top of the mountain, near which hangs a bell, which they strike, and consider its sound as a symbol of their having been purified; as if any other bell, on being struck, would not sound. According to the natives, Drama Rajah, the son of an ancient king of the island, having done penance on the mountain along with many disciples, and being about to go away, left the print of his foot on the rock as a memorial. It is therefore respected as the relic of a saint, and their common name for this person is Budam, which signifies the wise man. Some believe this saint to have been St. Jesaphat, but it was more likely St. Thomas, who has left many memorials in the east, and even in the west, both in Brasil and Paraguay.

The natural woods of Ceylon are like the most curious orchards and gardens of Europe, producing citrons, lemons, and many other kinds of delicious fruit. It abounds in cinnamon, cardamums, sugar-canes, honey, and hemp. It produces iron, of which the best firelocks in the east are made. It abounds in precious stones, as rubies, sapphires, cats-eyes, topazes, chrysolites, amythests, and berils. It has many civet-cats, and produces, the noblest elephants in all the east. Its rivers and shores abound in a variety of excellent fish, and it has many excellent ports fit for the largest ships.

[Footnote 31: De Faria, III. 115. This is to be understood as about the year 1640, before the Dutch had begun to conquer the Portuguese possessions. They are now few and unimportant, containing only some remnant of dominion at Mozambique, with the cities of Goa and Diu in India, and Macao in China.--E.]
[Footnote 32: This is supplied from a former portion of the Portuguese Asia, Vol II. p. 507.]


-- *Index of Part Two, Book Three* -- *Glossary*-- *Robert Kerr index page* -- *FWP's main page* --