Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 8 -- Of the City of Bijanagur.
In the year 1565, the city of Bijanagur was sacked by four Moorish kings of great power: Adel-Khan, Nizam-al-Mulk, Cotub-al-Mulk, and Viriday-Khan; yet with all their power they were unable to overcome this city and its king but by means of treachery. The king of Bijanagur was a Gentile, and among the captains of his numerous army had two famous Moors, each of whom commanded over seventy or eighty thousand men. These two captains being of the same religion with the four Moorish kings, treacherously combined with them to betray their own sovereign. Accordingly, when the king of Bijanagur, despising the power of his enemies, boldly faced them in the field, the battle had scarcely lasted four hours, when the two treacherous captains, in the very heat of the battle, turned with their followers against their own sovereign, and threw his army into such disorder that it broke and fled in the utmost confusion.
This kingdom of Bijanagur had been governed for thirty years by the usurpation of three brothers, keeping the lawful king a state prisoner, and ruling according to their own pleasure, shewing the king only once a year to his subjects. They had been principal officers under the father of the king whom they now held a prisoner, who was very young when his father died, and they assumed the government. The eldest brother was called Ram rajah, who sat in the royal throne and was called king; the second was named Temi rajah, who held charge of the civil government of the country; and the third, Bengatre, was general in chief of the army. In the great battle against the four Mahometan kings all the three brothers were present, but the first and the last were never heard of more, neither dead nor alive. Temi rajah alone escaped from the battle, with the loss of one eye. On the news of this great defeat coming to the city of Bijanagur, the wives and children of the three tyrants fled with the imprisoned king, and the four Mahometan kings entered the city in great triumph, where they remained for six months, searching everywhere for money and valuable effects that had been hidden. After this they departed, being unable to retain possession of so extensive a dominion at such a distance from their own territory.
After the retreat of the four kings, Temi rajah returned to Bijanagur, which he repeopled, and sent word to the merchants of Goa to bring all the horses to him that they had for sale, promising good prices; and it was on this occasion that the two merchants went up with their horses, whom I accompanied. This tyrant also issued a proclamation, that if any merchant happened to have any of the horses which were taken in the late battle, even although they happened to have the Bijanagur mark upon them, that he would pay for them their full values, and give safe conduct for all who had such to come to his capital. When by this means he had procured a great number of horses, he put off the merchants with fair promises, till he saw that no more horses were likely to come, and he then ordered the merchants to depart without giving them any thing for the horses. I remained in Bijanagur seven months, though I might have concluded my whole business in one; but it was necessary for me to remain until the ways were cleared of thieves and robbers, who ranged up and down in whole troops.
While I rested there I saw many strange and barbarous deeds done among these Gentiles. When any noble man or woman dies, the dead body is burned. If a married man die, his widow must burn herself alive for the love of her husband, and along with his body; but she may have the respite of a month, or even of two or three, if she will. When the appointed day arrives on which she is to be burnt, she goes out from her house very early in the morning, either on horseback or on an elephant, or on a stage carried by eight men, apparelled like a bride, and is carried in triumph all round the city, having her hair hanging down about her shoulders, garnished with jewels and flowers, according to her circumstances, and seemingly as joyful as a bride in Venice going to her nuptials. On this occasion, she carries a mirror in her left hand, and an arrow in her right, and sings during the procession, saying, that she is going to sleep with her dear husband. In this manner she continues, surrounded by her kindred and friends till about one or two in the afternoon, when the procession goes out of the city to the side of the river called Nigondin or Toombuddra, which runs past the walls of the city, to a certain spot where this ceremony is usually performed, where there is prepared a large square pit full of dried wood, having a little pinnacle or scaffold close to one side four or five steps up. On her arrival, a great banquet is prepared, where the victim eats with as much apparent joy as if it were her wedding-day; and at the end of the feast there is dancing and singing so long as she thinks fit.
At length she gives orders of her own accord to kindle the dry wood in the square pit; and when told that the fire is kindled, she takes the nearest kinsman of her husband by the hand, who leads her to the bank of the river, where she puts off her jewels and all her clothes, distributing them among her parents or relations; when, putting on a cloth, that she may not be seen naked by the people, she throweth herself into the river, saying, O! wretches wash away your sins. Coming out of the water, she rolls herself up in a yellow cloth, fourteen yards long, and again taking the nearest kinsman of her husband by the hand, they go together to the pinnacle at the funeral pile. From this place she addresses the people, to whom she recommends her children and relations. Before the pinnacle it is usual to place a mat, that she may not see the fierce fire; yet there are many who order this to be removed, as not afraid of the sight. When the silly woman has reasoned with the people for some time, another woman takes a pot of oil, part of which she pours on the head of the devoted victim, anointing also her whole body with the same, and then throws the pot into the fire, which the widow immediately follows, leaping into the fiercest of the fire. Then those who stand around the pile throw after her many great pieces of wood, by the blows from which, and the fierce fire in which she is enveloped, she quickly dies and is consumed.
Immediately the mirth of the people is changed to sorrow and weeping, and such howling and lamentation is set up as one is hardly able to bear. I have seen many burnt in this manner, as my house was near the gate where they go out to the place of burning; and when a great man dies, not only his widow, but all the female slaves with whom he has had connection, are burnt along with his body. Also when the baser sort of people die, I have seen the dead husband carried to the place of sepulchre, where he is placed upright; then cometh his widow, and, placing herself on her knees before him, she clasps her arms about his neck, till the masons have built a wall around both as high us their necks. Then a person from behind strangles the widow, and the workmen finish the building over their heads, and thus they remain immured in one tomb. Inquiring the reason of this barbarous custom, I was told that this law had been established in ancient times as a provision against the slaughters which the women were in use to make of their husbands, poisoning them on every slight cause of displeasure; but that since the promulgation of this law they have been more faithful to their husbands, reckoning their lives as dear to them as their own, because after the death of their husband their own is sure soon to follow. There are many other abominable customs among these people, but of which I have no desire to write.
In consideration of the injury done to Bijanagur by the four Mahometan kings, the king with his court removed from that city in 1567, and went to dwell in a castle named Penegonde, eight days journey inland from Bijanagur. Six days journey from Bijanagur is the place where diamonds are got. I was not there, but was told that it is a great place encompassed by a wall, and that the ground within is sold to the adventurers at so much per square measure, and that they are even limited as to the depth they may dig. All diamonds found of a certain size and above belong to the king, and all below that size to the adventurers. It is a long time since any diamonds have been got there, owing to the troubles that have distracted the kingdom of Narsinga: For the son of Temi rajah having put the imprisoned king to death, the nobles and great men of the kingdom refused to acknowledge authority of the tyrant, so that the kingdom has fallen into anarchy, everyone setting up for themselves.
The city of Bijanagur is not altogether destroyed, as the houses are said to be still standing, but entirely void of population, and become the dwellings of tigers, and other wild beasts. The circuit of this great city is twenty-four miles round the walls, within which are several hills. The ordinary dwellings are of earthen walls, and sufficiently mean, but the three palaces of the tyrant brothers, and the pagodas or idol temples, are built of fine marble, cemented with lime. I have seen many king's courts, yet have never seen any thing to compare with the greatness of the royal palace of Bijanagur, which has nine gates. First, when you go into that part where the king lodged, there are five great gates kept by captains and soldiers: Within these are four lesser gates, which are kept by porters. On the outer side of the first gate is a small porch or lodge, where there is a captain and twenty-five soldiers, who keep watch day and night; and within that another, with a similar guard. Through this you enter into a very fair court, at the end of which is another porch like the first, with a similar guard, and within that another court. Thus the first five gates are each guarded by their respective captains. Then each of the lesser gates within are kept by a separate guard of porters. These gates stand open the greatest part of the night, as it is the custom of the Gentiles to transact business and make their feasts during the night, rather than in the day. This city is very safe from thieves, insomuch that the Portuguese merchants sleep under porches open to the street, and yet never meet with any injury.
At the end of two months, I determined to go for Goa, in company with two Portuguese merchants, who were making ready to depart in two palankins or small litters, which are very convenient vehicles for travelling, being carried by eight falchines, or bearers, four at a time, and other four as reliefs. For my own use I bought two bullocks, one to ride upon and the other to carry my provisions. In that country they ride upon bullocks, having pannels fastened with girths, and guide them with bridles. In summer, the journey from Bijanagur to Goa takes only eight days; but we went in July, which is the middle of winter in that country, and were fifteen days in going to Ancola, on the sea coast. On the eighth day of the journey I lost both my bullocks. That which carried my provisions was weak, and could not proceed; and on passing a river by means of a small foot bridge, I made my other bullock swim across, but he stopped on a small island in the middle of the river where he found pasture, and we could devise no means to get him out. I was under the necessity therefore to leave him, and was forced to go on foot for seven days, during which it rained almost incessantly, and I suffered great fatigue. By good fortune I met some falchines by the way, whom I hired to carry my clothes and provisions. In this journey we suffered great troubles, being every day made prisoners, and had every morning at our departure to pay four or five pagies (?} a man as ransom. Likewise, as we came almost every day into the country of a new governor, though all tributary to the king of Bijanagur, we found that every one of them had their own copper coin, so that the money we got in change one day was not current on the next. At length, by the mercy of God, we got safe to Ancola, which is in the country of the queen of Gargopam, a tributary to the king of Bijanagur.
The merchandise sent every year from Goa to Bijanagur consists of Arabian horses, velvets, damasks, satins, armoisins of Portugal, porcelain of China, saffron, and scarlet cloth; and at Bijanagur, they received in exchange or barter, jewels and pagodas, which are the gold ducats of the country. At Bijanagur, according to the state and condition of the wearers, the apparel is of velvet, satin, damask, scarlet cloth, or white cotton; and they wear long hats on their heads, called colae, made of similar materials; having girdles round their bodies of fine cotton cloth. They wear breeches made like those used by the Turks; having on their feet plain high things called aspergh. In their ears they wear great quantities of golden ornaments.
Returning to my journey. When we got to Ancola, one of my companions, having nothing to lose, took a guide and set out for Goa, which is only at the distance of four days journey; but as the other Portuguese was not inclined to travel any farther at this season, he and I remained there for the winter, which beginning on the 15th of May, lasts to the end of October. While we tarried there, another horse-merchant arrived in a palanquin, together with two Portuguese soldiers from Ceylon, and two letter-carriers, who were Christians born in India. All these persons agreed to go in company to Goa, and I resolved to go with them; for which purpose, I got a sorry palanquin made for me of canes, and in the hollow of one of these I concealed all my jewels. According to the usual custom, I hired eight falchines or bearers, and we set off one day about eleven o'clock. About two o'clock the same day, as we were passing a mountain which separates the territory of Ancola from that belonging to Abel Khan, and while I was a little way behind the rest of the company, I was assaulted by eight robbers, four of whom were armed with swords and targets, and the others with bows and arrows.
My bearers immediately let fall the palanquin and ran off, leaving me alone on the ground wrapped up in my clothes. The robbers instantly came up and rifled me of every thing I had, leaving me stark naked. I pretended to be sick and would not quit the palanquin, in which I had made a kind of bed of my spare clothes. After searching with great industry, the thieves found two purses in which I had tied up some copper money I had got in change for four pagodas at Ancola; and thinking this treasure consisted of gold coin, they searched no farther, and went away, throwing all my clothes into a bush. Fortunately at their departure they dropped a handkerchief which I noticed, and getting up I wrapped it up in my palaquin. In this forlorn condition, I had resolved to pluck the hollow cane from my palanquin in which my jewels were hid, and to have endeavoured to make my own way on foot to Goa, using the cane as a walking stick. But my bearers were so faithful that they returned to look for me after the robbers departed, which indeed I did not expect, as they were paid before hand, according to the custom of India. We got to Goa in four days, during which I fared very badly, as the robbers had left me no money of any kind, and all I had to eat was given me by my bearers for God's sake; but after my arrival in Goa, I paid them royally for what they gave me.
From Goa I departed for Cochin, a voyage of 300 miles, there being several strong-holds belonging to the Portuguese between these two cities, as Onore, Barcelore, Mangalore, and Cananore. Onore, the first of these, is in the dominions of the queen of Battacella, or Batecolah, who is tributary to the king of Bijanagur. There is no trade at this place, which is only a military post held by a captain with a company of soldiers. After this you go to another small castle of the Portuguese called Mangalore, in which there is only a small trade in rice. Thence you go to a little fort called Bazelore, whence a great deal of rice is transported to Goa. From thence you go to a city named Cananore, which is within a musket-shot of the capital of the king of Cananore who is a Gentile. He and his people are wicked and malicious, delighting in going to war with the Portuguese; yet when at peace they find their interest in trading with them. From this kingdom of Cananore is procured great store of cardomums, pepper, ginger, honey, cocoa-nuts, and archa or areka. This is a fruit about the size of a nutmeg, which is chewed in all the Indies, and even beyond them, along with the leaf of a plant resembling ivy called betel. The nut is wrapped up in a leaf of the betel along with some lime made of oyster shells, and through all the Indies they spend a great deal of money; on this composition, which they use daily, a thing I could not have believed if I had not seen it continually practised. A great revenue is drawn from this herb, as it pays custom. When they chew this in their mouths, it makes their spittle as red as blood, and it is said to produce a good appetite and a sweet breath; but in my opinion, they eat it rather to satisfy their filthy lusts, for this herb is moist and hot, and causes a strong expulsion.
From Cananore you go Cranganore, which is a small fort of the Portuguese in the country of the king of Cranganore, another king of the Gentiles. This is a country of small importance of about a hundred miles extent, full of thieves, subject to the king of Calicut, who is another king of the Gentiles and a great enemy to the Portuguese, with whom he is continually engaged in war. This country is a receptacle of foreign thieves, and especially of those Moors called Carposa, on account of their wearing long red caps. These thieves divide the spoil they get with the king of Calicut, who gives them leave to go a-roving; so that there are so many thieves all along this coast, that there is no sailing in those seas except in large ships well armed, or under convoy of Portuguese ships of war. From Cranganore to Cochin is 15 miles.
[Footnote 135: The reason in the text for evacuating the kingdom of Narsinga, or Bijanagur, is very unsatisfactory, as it in fact bordered on their dominions. More probably they could not agree on the partition, each being afraid of the others acquiring an ascendancy, and they satisfied themselves with the enormous spoils of the capital. This event has been before mentioned from De Faria.--E.]
[Footnote 136: The diamond mines of Raolconda are about 90 miles direct north from the ruins of Bijanagur, on the Kisma. The castle of Penegonde is not now to be found in the maps of Indostan; but indeed the names of this ingenious traveller are often unintelligible, and almost always extremely corrupt.--E.]
[Footnote 137: These falchines of Cesar Frederick are now denominated coolies.--E.]
[Footnote 138: These names of Ancola and Gargopam are so unintelligibly corrupted, as not be even conjecturally referable to any places or districts in our best maps.--E.]
[Footnote 139: This winter of our author, on the coast of Canara, in about the lat. of 15° N. when the sun is nearly vertical, must be understood as the rainy season.--E.]
[Footnote 140: This incident in the text is given as fortunate, and perhaps it ought to have been expressed, "He wrapped it about his loins and returned to his palanquin."--E.]
[Footnote 141: This must be Barcelore, and ought to have been named before Managalore, as above 50 miles to the north, between Goa and Managalore.--E.]
[Footnote 142: This passage ought to have stood thus "The fort of Cananore belonging to the Portuguese, only a musket-shot from the city of that name, the capital of" &c.--E.]
[Footnote 143: The direct distance is twenty geographical miles.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 9 -- Of Cochin.
Cochin, next to Goa, is the chief place in India belonging to the Portuguese, and has a great trade in spices, drugs, and all other kinds of merchandise for Portugal. Inland from that place is the pepper country, which pepper is loaded by the Portuguese in bulk not in sacks. The pepper which is sent to Portugal is not so good as that which goes up the Red Sea; because in times past the officers of the king of Portugal made a contract with the king of Cochin for all the pepper, to be delivered at a fixed price, which is very low; and for which reason the country people deliver it to the Portuguese unripe and full of dirt. As the Moors of Mecca give a better price, they get it clean and dry and in much better condition; but all the spices and drugs which they carry to Mecca and the Red Sea are contraband and stolen or smuggled. There are two cities at Cochin, one of which belongs to the Portuguese and the other to the native king; that of the Portuguese being nearer the sea, while the native city is a mile and a half farther up the same river. They are both on the banks of the same large river, which comes from the mountains in the pepper country, in which are many Christians of the order of St Thomas.
The king of Cochin is a Gentile and a steadfast friend to the king of Portugal, and to all the Portuguese who are married and have become citizens of Cochin. By the name of Portuguese, all the Christians are known in India who come from Europe, whether they be Italians, Frenchmen, or Germans. All those who marry and settle at Cochin get some office according to the trades they are of, by which they have great privileges. The two principal commodities in which they deal are silk which comes in great quantities from China, and large quantities of sugar, which comes from Bengal. The married citizens pay no customs for these two commodities; but pay 4s. per centum for all other goods to the king of Cochin, rating their own goods almost at their own valuation. Those who are not married pay to the king of Portugal 8s. per centum for all kinds of commodities. While I was in Cochin, the viceroy used his endeavours to break the privileges of these married citizens, that they might pay the same rates of customs with others. On this occasion the citizens were glad to weigh their pepper in the night to evade the customs. When this came to the knowledge of the king of Cochin, he put a stop to the delivery of pepper, so that the viceroy was glad to allow the merchants to do as formerly.
The king of Cochin has small power in comparison with the other sovereigns of India, as he is unable to send above 70,000 men into the field. He has a great number of gentlemen, some of whom are called Amochi and others Nairs. These two sorts of men do not value their lives in anything which tends to the honour of their king, and will run freely into any danger in his service, even if sure to lose their lives in the attempt. These men go naked from the waist upwards, and barefooted, having only a cloth wrapped about their thighs. Their hair is long and rolled up on the top of their heads, and they go always armed, carrying bucklers and naked swords. The Nairs have their wives in common among themselves, and when any of them goes into the house of one of these women, he leaves his sword and buckler at the door, and while he is within no other dare enter the house. The king's children never inherit the kingdom after their fathers, lest perchance they may have been begotten by some other man; wherefore the son of the king's sisters, or of some female of the royal blood succeeds, that they may be sure of having a king of the royal family. Those Naires and their wives have great holes in their ears by way of ornament, so large and wide as is hardly credible, holding that the larger these holes are, so much the more noble are they. I had leave from one of them to measure the circumference of the hole in one of his ears with a thread; and within that circumference I put my arm up to the shoulder with my clothes on, so that in fact they are monstrously large. This is begun when they are very young, at which time a hole is made in each ear, to which they hang a piece of gold or a lump of lead, putting a certain leaf into the hole which causes the hole to increase prodigiously.
They load ships at Cochin both for Portugal and Ormuz; but all the pepper that is carried to Ormuz is smuggled. Cinnamon and all other spices and drugs are permitted to be exported to Ormuz or Cambaia, as likewise all other kinds of merchandise from other parts of India. From Cochin there are sent yearly to Portugal great quantities of pepper, dry and preserved ginger, wild cinnamon, areka nuts and large store of cordage made of cayro, that is from the bark of the cocoa-nut tree, which is reckoned better than that made of hemp. The ships for Portugal depart every season between the 5th of December and the 5th of January.
From Cochin I went to Coulan, at which is a small fort belonging to the Portuguese, 72 miles from Cochin. This is a place of small trade, as every year a ship gets only half a lading [[=load]] of pepper here, and then goes to Cochin to be filled up. From Cochin to Cape Comorin is 72 miles, and here ends the Indian coast. Along this coast, and also at Cape Comorin, and down to the low lands of Chialon, which is about 200 miles, there are great numbers of the natives converted to the Christian faith, and among them are many churches of the order of St. Paul, the friars of which order do much good in these places, and take great pains to instruct the natives in the Christian faith.
[Footnote 144: In the version of Cesar Frederick in Hakluyt, it is said "to come from the mountains of the king of the pepper country, who is a Gentile, and in whose dominions there are many Christians," &c. as in the text. This king of the pepper country is probably meant for the rajah of Travancore. The great river of the text is merely a sound, which reaches along the coast from Cochin to beyond Coulan, a distance of above 90 miles, forming a long range of low islands on the sea-coast, and receiving numerous small rivers from the southern gauts.--E.]
[Footnote 145: On former occasions these amochi have been explained as devoted naires, under a vow to revenge the death of their sovereign.--E.]
[Footnote 146: These geographical notices are inexplicable, unless by Chialon is meant the low or maritime parts of Ceylon, which Cesar Frederick afterwards calls Zeilan.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 10 -- Of the Pearl Fishery in the Gulf of Manaar.
The sea along the coast which extends from Cape Comorin to the low land of Chioal, and the island of Zeilan or Ceylon, is called the pearl-fishery. This fishery is made every year, beginning in March or April, and lasts fifty days. The fishery is by no means made every year at one place, but one year at one place, and another year at another place; all however in the same sea. When the fishing season approaches, some good divers are sent to discover where the greatest quantities of oysters are to be found under water; and then directly facing that place which is chosen for the fishery, a village with a number of houses, and a bazar all of stone, is built, which stands as long as the fishery lasts, and is amply supplied with all necessaries. Sometimes it happens near places already inhabited, and at other times at a distance from any habitations. The fishers or divers are all Christians of the country, and all are permitted to engage in this fishery, on payment of certain duties to the king of Portugal, and to the churches of the friars of St. Paul on that coast. Happening to be there one year in my peregrinations, I saw the order used in fishing, which is as follows.
During the continuance of the fishery, there are always three or four armed foists or galliots stationed to defend the fishermen from pirates. Usually the fishing-boats unite in companies of three or four together. These boats resemble our pilot boats at Venice, but are somewhat smaller, having seven or eight men in each. I have seen of a morning a great number of these boats go out to fish, anchoring in 15 or 18 fathoms water, which is the ordinary depth all along this coast. When at anchor, they cast a rope into the sea, having a great stone at one end. Then a man, having his ears well stopped, and his body anointed with oil, and a basket hanging to his neck or under his left arm, goes down to the bottom of the sea along the rope, and fills his basket with oysters as fast as he can. When that is full, he shakes the rope, and his companions draw him up with the basket. The divers follow each other in succession in this manner, till the boat is loaded with oysters, and they return at evening to the fishing village. Then each boat or company makes their heap of oysters at some distance from each other, so that a long row of great heaps of oysters are seen piled along the shore. These are not touched till the fishing is over, when each company sits down beside its own heap, and falls to opening the oysters, which is now easy, as the fish within are all dead and dry.
If every oyster had pearls in them, it would be a profitable occupation, but there are many which have none. There are certain persons called Chitini, who are learned in pearls, and are employed to sort and value them, according to their weight, beauty, and goodness, dividing them into four sorts. The first sort, which are round, are named aia of Portugal, as they are bought by the Portuguese: The second, which are not round, are named aia of Bengal: The third, which are inferior to the second, are called aia of Canara, which is the name of the kingdom of Bijanagur or Narsinga, into which they are sold: And the fourth, or lowest kind, is called aia of Cambaia, being sold into that country. Thus sorted, and prices affixed to each, there are merchants from all countries ready with their money, so that in a few days all the pearls are bought up, according to their goodness and weight.
In this sea of the pearl-fishery there is an island called Manaar, over against Ceylon, inhabited by Christians who were formerly Gentiles, and in which island there is a small fort belonging to the Portuguese. Between this island and Ceylon there is a narrow channel with a small depth of water, through which only small ships can pass at the full and change of the moon, when the tides are high, and even then they must put their cargoes into lighters to enable them to pass the shoals, after which they take in their goods again, and proceed on their voyage. But large ships going for the eastern coast of India pass by the coast of Coromandel, on the other side of this gulf, beside the land of Chilao, which is between the firm land and the isle of Manaar. On this voyage ships are sometimes lost, but they are empty, as ships going this way discharge their cargoes at Periapatam into small flat-bottomed boats named Tane, which can run over any shoal without danger, as they always wait at Periapatam for fine weather. On departing from Periapatam, the small ships and flat-bottomed boats go always together, and on arriving at the shoals about thirty-six miles from that place, they are forced through by the winds, which always blow so forcibly that they have no means of taking shelter during the passage. The flat boats go through safely; but if the small ships happen to miss the proper channel, they get fast on the shoals, by which many of them are lost. In coming back from the Indies, instead of this passage, they take the channel of Manaar, which has an ouze bottom, so that even in case of grounding they are generally got off again without damage. The reason of not using this passage on the outward voyage is, that the prevailing winds between Ceylon and Manaar frequently occasion that channel to have so little water that it cannot be navigated. From Cape Comorin to the island of Ceylon, the distance is 120 miles.
[Footnote 147: This word is unintelligible, having no similar name in modern geography. From the context, it seems to signify the maritime coast of Tinnevelly and Marwar, or the most southern part of the Carnatic, opposite to Ceylon; and may possibly be that called Chialon immediately before--E.]
[Footnote 148: Pearls are weighed by carats, each of which is four grains. The men who sort and price them have a copper instrument with holes of various sizes, by which they estimate their several values.--Hakluyt.]
[Footnote 149: By this account of the matter, the land of Chilao appears to be the island of Ramiseram, between which and the island of Manaar extends a reef of rocks called Adam's Bridge. The deep channel is between Ramiseram and the point of Tanitory on the Coromandel coast.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 11 -- Of the Island of Ceylon.
In my judgment, the island of Ceylon is a great deal larger than Cyprus. On the west side, facing India, is the city of Columba, the principal hold of the Portuguese, but without walls or enemies. In this city, which has a free port, dwells the lawful king of the whole island, who has become a Christian, and is maintained by the king of Portugal, having been deprived of his kingdom. The heathen king to whom this island formerly belonged was named Madoni, who had two sons named Barbinas and Ragine. By acquiring the favour of the soldiers, the younger son Ragine usurped the kingdom, in prejudice of his father and elder brother, and became a great warrior. Formerly there were three kingdoms in this island. Those were, the kingdom of Cotta, with other dependent or conquered provinces: The kingdom of Candy, which had considerable power, and was allied to the Portuguese, the king being supposed a secret Christian: The third was the kingdom of Gianisampatam, or Jafnapatam. During thirteen years that Ragine ruled over this island, he became a great tyrant.
The island of Ceylon produces fine cinnamon and abundance of pepper, with great quantities of nuts and aroche. They here make great quantities of cayre of which ropes are manufactured, as formerly noticed. It likewise produces great store of that kind of crystal called ochi de gati or cats' eyes, and it is said to produce some rubies; but on my return thither from Pegu, I sold some rubies here for a good price, which I had bought in that country. Being desirous to see how the cinnamon is gathered from the trees, and happening to be there during the season when it is gathered, which is in the month of April; at this time the Portuguese were in the field making war on the king of the country, yet to satisfy my curiosity, I took a guide and went out into a wood about three miles from the city, where there grew great numbers of cinnamon trees intermixed among other wild trees. The cinnamon is a small tree not very high, and has leaves resembling those of the bay tree. In March or April, when the sap rises, the cinnamon or bark is taken from the trees. They cut the bark of the trees round about in lengths, from knot to knot, or from joint to joint, both above and below, and then easily strip it off with their hands, after which it is laid in the sun to dry. Yet for all this the tree does not die, but recovers a new bark by the next year. That which is gathered every year is the best cinnamon, as what remains upon the trees for two or three years becomes thick and coarse, and not so good as the other. In these woods there grows much pepper.
[Footnote 150: The author probably here means cocoa-nuts and areka.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 12 -- Of Negapatam.
From the island of Ceylon a trade is carried on in small ships to Negapatam on the continent, and 72 miles off is a very great and populous city, full of Portuguese and native Christians, with many Gentiles. Almost the only trade here is for rice and cotton cloth, which is carried to various countries. It formerly abounded in victuals, on which account many Portuguese resorted thither and built houses, as they could live there at small expense, but provisions have now become scarcer and dearer. This city belongs to a Gentile nobleman of the kingdom of Bijanagur, yet the Portuguese and other Christians are well treated, and have built churches, together with a monastery of the Franciscans. They live with great devotion, and are well accommodated with houses; yet are they among tyrants who may always do them much harm at their pleasure, as in reality happened to them in the year 1565.
At that time the nayer or lord of the city sent to demand from the citizens certain Arabian horses, which they refused; whereupon this lord gave out that he proposed to take a view of the sea, so that the poor citizens doubted some evil was meant against them by this unusual circumstance, dreading that he would plunder the city. Accordingly they embarked as fast as they could with all their goods and moveables, merchandise, jewels, and money, and put off from the shore. But to their great misfortune, a great storm arose next night, by which all their ships were driven on shore and wrecked, and all their goods which came to land were seized by the troops of this great lord, who had come down with his army to see the sea.
[Footnote 151: It is not easy to say whether the author means to express that Negapatam is this great city 72 miles from Ceylon, or if he refers to another city 72 miles from Negapatam.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 13 -- Of Saint Thome and other places.
Following my voyage from Negapatam 150 miles towards the east, I came to the house of the blessed apostle St Thomas, which is a church held in great devotion, and is even much reverenced by the Gentiles, for the great miracles which they have heard were performed by that holy apostle. Near to this church the Portuguese have built a city, which stands in the country that is subject to the king of Bijanagur. Though not large, this city, in my judgment, is the handsomest in all that part of India, having many good houses with fine gardens in the environs. The streets are large and in straight lines, with many well frequented churches; and the houses are built contiguous, each having a small door, so that every house is sufficiently defensible by the Portuguese against the natives. The Portuguese have no other property here beyond their houses and gardens, as the sovereignty, together with the customs on trade, belong to the king of Bijanagur.
These customs are small and easy, and the country is very rich and has great trade. Every year there come to this port two or three very large and rich ships, besides many other small ships. One of these great ships goes to Pegu and the other to Malacca, laden with fine bumbast or cotton cloth of all kinds, many of them being beautifully painted, and as it were gilded with various colours, which grow the livelier the oftener they are washed. There is also other cotton cloth that is woven of divers colours and is of great value. They also make at St. Thome a great quantity of red yarn, dyed with a root called saia, which never fades in its colour, but grows the redder the oftener it is washed. Most of this red yarn is sent to Pegu, where it is woven into cloth according to their own fashion, and at less cost than can be done at St. Thome.
The shipping and landing of men and merchandise at St. Thome is very wonderful to those who have not seen it before. The place is so dangerous that ordinary small barks or ships boats cannot be used, as these would be beaten to pieces; but they have certain high barks made on purpose, which they call Masadie or Mussolah, made of small boards sewed together with small cords, in which the owners will embark either men or goods. They are laden upon dry land, after which the boatmen thrust the loaded boat into the stream, when with the utmost speed they exert themselves to row her out against the huge waves of the sea which continually beat on that shore, and so carry them out to the ships. In like manner these Masadies are laden at the ships with men and merchandise; and when they come near the shore, the men leap out into the sea to keep the bark right, that she may not cast athwart the shore, and keeping her right stem on, the surf of the sea sets her with her lading high and dry on the land without hurt or danger. Yet sometimes these boats are overset; but there can be but small loss on such occasions, as they lade but little at a time. All the goods carried outwards in this manner are securely covered with ox hides, to prevent any injury from wetting.
In my return voyage in 1566, I went from Goa to Malacca in a ship or galleon belonging to the king of Portugal, which was bound for Banda to lade nutmegs and mace. From Goa to Malacca it is 1800 miles. We passed without the island of Ceylon and went through the channel of Nicobar, and then through the channel of Sombrero, past the island of Sumatra, called in old times Taprobana. Nicobar, off the coast of Pegu, consists of a great multitude of islands, many of which are inhabited by a wild people. These islands are likewise called Andemaon or Andaman. The natives are savages who eat each other, and are continually engaged in war, which they carry on in small boats, chiefly to make prisoners for their cannibal feasts. When by any chance a ship happens to be cast away on those islands, as many have been, the men are sure to be slain and devoured. These savages have no trade or intercourse with any other people, but live entirely on the productions of their own islands.
In my voyage from Malacca through the channel of Sombrero, two boats came off from these islands to our ship laden with fruit, such as Mouces which we call Adam's apples, with fresh cocoa nuts, and another fruit named Inani, much like our turnips, but very sweet and good to eat. These people could not be prevailed on to come on board our ship, neither would they accept payment for their fruit in money, but bartered them for old shirts or old trowsers. These rags were let down from the ship into their boats by a rope, and when they had considered what they were worth in their estimation, they tied as much fruit as they thought proper to give in exchange to the rope, which they allowed us to hale up. I was told that sometimes a man may get a valuable piece of amber for an old shirt.
[Footnote 152: St Thome, about 5 miles south from Madras, is about 160 English miles nearly north from Negapatam.--E.]
[Footnote 153: The Taprobana or Sielendive of the ancients certainly was Ceylon, not Sumatra.--E.]
[Footnote 154: The Andaman and Nicobar islands, in long. 93° East from Greenwich, reach from the lat. of 6° 45' to 15° N.--E.]
Volume 7, Chapter 6, Section 14 -- Of the Island of Sumatra and the City of Malacca.
The island of Sumatra is very large and is governed by many kings, being divided by many channels through which there is a passage. Towards the west end is the kingdom of Assi or Acheen, under a Mahometan king who has great military power, besides a great number of foists and galleys. This kingdom produces large quantities of pepper, besides ginger and benzoin. The king is a bitter enemy to the Portuguese, and has frequently gone against Malacca, doing great injury to its dependent towns, but was always bravely resisted by the citizens, with great injury to his camp and navy, done by their artillery from the walls and batteries.
Leaving Sumatra on the right hand, I came to Malacca, which is a city of wonderful trade in all kinds of merchandise from various parts, as all ships frequenting those seas whether large or small must stop at Malacca to pay customs, even though they do not load or unload any part of their cargoes at that place, just as all ships in Europe frequenting the Baltic must do at Elsineur. Should any pass under night without paying the dues at Malacca, they fall into great danger afterwards, if found anywhere in India without the seal of Malacca, having in that case to pay double duties.
I have not gone beyond Malacca during my Indian peregrinations. Indeed the trade to the east of Malacca, particularly to China and Japan, is not free for all, being reserved by the king of Portugal to himself and his nobles, or to those who have special leave for this purpose from the king, who expects to know what voyages are made from Malacca eastwards. The royal voyages from Malacca eastwards are as follow. Every year two galleons belonging to the king depart from Malacca, one of which is bound for the Moluccas to lade cloves, and the other goes to Banda for nutmegs and mace. These two are entirely laden on the king's account, and do not take any goods belonging to individuals, saving only the privilege of the mariners and soldiers. Hence these voyages are not frequented by merchants, who would have no means of transporting their return goods, and besides the captains of these ships are not permitted to carry any merchants thither. There go however to these places some small ships belonging to the Moors from the coast of Java, who exchange or barter their commodities in the kingdom of Acheen. These are mace, cloves, and nutmegs, which are sent from Acheen to the Red Sea. The voyages which the king of Portugal grants to his nobles, are those from China to Japan and back to China, from China to India, and those of Bengal, the Moluccas, and Sunda, with fine cloth and all kinds of cotton goods.
Sunda is an island of the Moors near the coast of Java, whence pepper is curried to China. The ship which goes yearly from India to China is called the drug ship, because she carries various drugs of Cambaia, but her principal lading consists of silver. From Malacca to China the distance is 1800 miles; and from China there goes every year a large ship to Japan laden with silk, in return for which she brings back bars of silver which are bartered in China for goods. The distance between Japan and China is 2400 miles, in which sea there are several islands of no great size, in which the friars of St. Paul, by the blessing of God, have made many Christians like themselves: But from these islands the seas have not been fully explored and discovered, on account of the great numbers of shoals and sand banks .
The Portuguese have a small city named Macao on an island near the coast of China, in which the church and houses are built of wood. This is a bishopric, but the customs belong to the king of China, and are payable at the city of Canton, two days' journey and a half from Macao, and a place of great importance. The people of China are heathens, and are so fearful and jealous that they are unwilling to permit any strangers to enter their country. Hence when the Portuguese go there to pay their customs and to buy goods, they are not allowed to lodge within the city, but are sent out to the suburbs. This country of China, which adjoins to great Tartary, is of vast size and importance, as may be judged by the rich and precious merchandise which comes from thence, than which I believe there are none better or more abundant in quantity in all the world besides. In the first place it affords great quantities of gold, which is carried thence to the Indies made into small plates like little ships, and in value 23 carats each; large quantities of fine silk, with damasks and taffetas; large quantities of musk and of occam in bars, quicksilver, cinabar, camphor, porcelain in vessels of divers sorts, painted cloth, and squares, and the drug called Chinaroot. Every year two or three large ships go from China to India laden with these rich and precious commodities. Rhubarb goes from thence over land by way of Persia, as there is a caravan every year from Persia to China, which takes six months to go there and as long to return. This caravan arrives at a place called Lanchin, where the king and his court reside. I conversed with a Persian who had been three years in that city of Lanchin, and told me that it was a city of great size and wealth.
The voyages which are under the jurisdiction of the captain of Malacca are the following. Every year he sends a small ship to Timor to load white sandal wood, the best being to be had in that island. He also sends another small ship yearly to Cochin-China for aloes wood, which is only to be procured in that country, which is on the continent adjoining to China. I could never learn in what manner that wood grows, as the people of Cochin-China will not allow the Portuguese to go into the land except for wood and water, bringing provisions and merchandise and all other things they want to their ships in small barks, so that a market is held daily on the deck of the ship till she is laden. Another ship goes yearly from Malacca for Siam to lade Verzino. All these voyages belong exclusively to the captain of Malacca, and when he is not disposed to make them on his own account he sells them to others.
[Footnote 155: This assertion is unintelligible, unless the author means to include a number of small islands off the coast as belonging to Sumatra.--E.]
[Footnote 156: Foists are described as a kind of brigantines, rather larger than half galleys, and much used by the Turks and other eastern nations in those days for war. Maons, formerly mentioned among the ships of Soliman Pacha in the siege of Diu, are said to have been large flat-bottomed vessels or hulks, of 700 or 800 tons burden, having sometimes seven mizen sails.--Hakluyt.]
[Footnote 157: The text in this place it erroneous or obscure. The indicated distance between China and Japan is enormously exaggerated, and probably ought to have been stated as between Malacca and Japan. The undiscovered islands and shoals seem to refer to the various islands between Java and Japan, to the east and north.--E.]
[Footnote 158: Perhaps the author may have expressed of 23 carats fine.--E.]
[Footnote 159: Perhaps the mixed metal called tutenag may be here meant.--E.]
[Footnote 160: From another part of this voyage it appears that this is some species of seed from which oil was expressed.--E.]
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