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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume VI by Robert Kerr

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he really had. Many even who were so badly wounded as to be unable to
rise, made themselves be carried in their beds to the walls, saying that
it was best to die in an honourable place. Several even of the women
armed themselves and appeared on the walls. The whole night was spent in
anxiously waiting for the enemy; but the morning gave comfort to the
afflicted garrison, as Solyman was seen in full sail, and had no
thoughts of returning. Fear did much on this occasion, yet Zofar did
more towards inducing Solyman to go away. Zofar was weary of the
insupportable pride of the Turks, and had even received orders from the
king of Guzerat, in case it appeared that the Turks meant to keep the
city and fort of Diu, rather to endeavour that it might remain in the
hands of the Portuguese. Zofar accordingly framed a letter which fell
into the hands of Solyman, saying that the viceroy of India would be at
Diu next day with a vast fleet; on reading which letter Solyman thought
proper to hasten his departure. On the same night, Zofar set fire to the
town of Diu and marched away. Thus ended the first siege of Diu, which
added new lustre to the Portuguese fame, all due to the invincible
courage of the renowned Antonio de Sylveira, and those valiant gentlemen
who fought under his command, whose fame will last from generation to

Solyman, on his voyage back to Suez, touched at several ports in Arabia,
where he took such Portuguese as happened to be there, to the number of
140, whose heads he cut off, salting their ears and noses to send to the
Grand Turk as memorials of his services against the Christians. Among
these was Francisco Pacheco, who had not the courage to die in his
bulwark, and had surrendered with some men at Diu, as formerly related.
On his return to Turkey, Solyman was not well received, and was reduced
to the necessity of killing himself, a fit end for such a tyrant.

This famous siege was far advanced when Don Garcia de Noronha arrived as
viceroy in India, to whom Nuno de Cuna immediately resigned the
government. His arrival with a great reinforcement might well have
enabled him immediately to relieve the deplorable situation of Diu, yet
on the contrary contributed to augment its danger. For, if he had not
come, Nuna had certainly relieved Diu much sooner and prevented so many
miseries, and the death of so many brave men, as he had prepared a fleet
of eighty sail, and was ready to have gone to Diu when Don Garcia
arrived. Still fresh advices were brought of the extremity to which the
besieged were reduced, yet still Don Garcia wasted time in considering
of proper means for their relief, without putting any into execution,
and refusing to take the advice of De Cuna for his proceedings. By these
means the siege was raised before he could determine on the mode of
relief, for which purpose he had gathered 160 sail of vessels of all
sorts and sizes. Don Garcia did not want courage, of which he had given
sufficient demonstrations while under Alfonso de Albuquerque: But he
chose rather to commit an error through his own obstinacy, than rightly
to follow the advice of Nuno de Cuna. It soon appeared indeed, that he
was not at all disposed to take any advice from De Cuna, whom he treated
so disrespectfully at Goa, that he forced him to retire to Cochin to
arrange his affairs previous to his return to Portugal. When at Cochin,
he even refused him a convenient ship which he had chosen for his
accommodation; although he had authority from the king to continue to
act as governor while he remained in India, and liberty to choose any
vessel he thought proper, but Don Garcia forced him to hire a merchant
vessel for himself and family. If the viceroy treated De Cuna ill in
India, no less evil designs were entertained against him in Portugal;
and doubtless the knowledge Don Garcia had of the evil intentions of the
ministers of state, was the cause of the hard usage he gave him in
India. Nuno de Cuna fell sick and died on the voyage. He protested at
his death that he had nothing belonging to the king except five gold
medals found among the treasure of the late king Badur, which he had
selected for their beauty and meant to have presented to the king in
person. Being asked by a chaplain what he would have done with his body
after his death; he said, that since it had pleased God he was to die at
sea, he desired that the sea might be his grave. Nuno de Cuna, who was
an excellent governor of India, died at fifty-two years of age. He was
of large stature and well proportioned, but wanted an eye. Though of
stately manners, he was extremely courteous, not subject to passion,
easily reconciled, a strict observer of justice, loved to do good to all
around him, free from covetousness, prudent in council, and affable in
discourse. He governed for ten years, all but two months, and died in
the beginning of the year 1539.

Don Garcia de Noronha assumed the government of India as viceroy in
November 1538, having arrived from Lisbon with 3000 soldiers, many of
whom were men of note. Although this great armament had been principally
intended for opposing the Turks who besieged the castle of Diu, yet the
viceroy permitted them to continue their operations before that place,
and merely sent hopes of relief to the oppressed garrison. At length
however he sent a second reinforcement under Antonio de Menezes in 24
small vessels. Though this armament came late, yet Menezes contended in
some measure with the great Sylveira for the honour of having occasioned
the retreat of the Turks, as he valued himself much in having witnessed
their flight. The viceroy had indeed made ready to sail for Diu with a
fleet of 160 sail of vessels of different kinds, having 5000 soldiers
and 1000 pieces of cannon, when advice came that the Turks had abandoned
the siege. On this intelligence he dismissed all the trading ships from
his fleet, still retaining 90 sail, with which he set out for Diu, but
proceeded so slowly as if some evil omen had threatened his ruin at that
place, since he not only avoided it while environed with danger, but
seemed afraid to visit it in peace. Hearing that it was still infested
by Lur-Khan and Khojah Zofar, he sent Martin Alfonso de Melo against
them with his galley, together with the vessels that had been there
before under Antonio de Menezes. Melo was too weak to be able to do any
thing against the enemy, and had to seek protection under the guns of
the fort.

At length the viceroy sailed for Diu on the first of January 1539; but
the fleet was dispersed by a storm to different ports, two gallies and
some other vessels being lost. He arrived however at Diu with 50 sail;
and having given all due praise to Antonio de Sylveira for his valiant
defence, he repaired the fort and confided it to the charge of Diego
Lopez de Sousa, who had been nominated to the command by the king. A
treaty of peace was set on foot with the king of Guzerat, which was
concluded, but very little to the advantage of the Portuguese, which was
attributed by common fame to the covetousness of the viceroy.

During this year 1539, the viceroy sent Ferdinand de Morales with a
great galleon laden on the kings account to trade at Pegu. Morales was
induced by the king of Pegu to assist him against the king of Birmah,
who had invaded the kingdom of Pegu with so prodigious a power that the
two armies amounted to _two millions of men_ and 10,000 elephants.
Morales went in a galliot having the command of the Pegu fleet, and made
great havock among the ships of the enemy. The king of Birmah came on by
land like a torrent, carrying every thing before him, and his fleet was
so numerous that it covered the whole river, though as large as the
Ganges. Morales met this vast fleet with that which he commanded, at the
point of _Ginamarreca_; where, though infinitely inferior, he fought a
desperate and bloody battle. But overpowered by the multitude of the
Birmans, the Peguers deserted Morales, who was left alone in his galliot
amid a throng of enemies, against whom he performed wonders and long
maintained the battle, doing astonishing execution; but at last
oppressed by irresistible multitudes, he and all his followers were
slain: Yet the memory of his heroism was long preserved among these

The cause of this war and of the revolt of the king of Birmah, who was
tributary to Pegu, was as follows. Above 30,000 Birmans laboured in the
works of the king of Pegu, as that was one condition of their vassalage.
The king of Pegu used often to visit these labourers attended only by
his women, who were curious to see the foreigners and the great works
that were carrying on. The Birmans seized an opportunity on one of these
visits to murder the king, after which they plundered the women of every
thing they had of value, and fled to their own country. As many of the
subjects of _Dacha Rupi_, who succeeded to, the kingdom of Pegu,
rebelled against him, _Para Mandara_ king of the Birmans seized this
favourable opportunity to recover his independence and to enlarge the
bounds of his dominions. He accordingly reduced with astonishing
rapidity the kingdoms of the _Lanjaoes, Laos, Jangomas_, and others, who
like his own dominions were tributary to Pegu. By these means he
possessed himself of the whole ancient kingdom of _Ava_, which extends
to the length of two months of ordinary travelling, and contains 62
cities. To the north-east of this, at the distance of a months journey
is _the kingdom of the Turks_, containing as many cities, which the king
of Pegu had conquered from the king of _Cathay_. The kingdom of _Bimir_
is west from Ava, and is of similar extent, having 27 populous cities.
North of this is _Lanjam_, of equal size, with 38 cities and abounding
in gold and silver. On the east is the kingdom of _Mamfrom_, equally
large, but having only 8 cities. East again from this is _Cochin-China_;
on the south is _Siam_, which was afterwards conquered by the king of
Birmah; and east of Siam is the great kingdom of _Cambodia_. All the
inhabitants of these kingdoms are Pagans, and the most superstitious of
all the east: Yet they believe in one only God, but in time of need have
recourse to many idols, some of which are dedicated to the most secret
acts and necessities of nature, even in the very form in which they are
acted. They hold the immortality of the soul; are zealous in giving
alms, and hold their priests in great veneration. These are very
numerous, and live according to rules like those of the Catholics in
monasteries, subsisting from day to day upon what is given them, without
laying any thing up for the next. These priests and monks eat neither
flesh nor fish, as they kill no creature whatever. They observe _Lent_
and _Easter_ after the manner of the Christians; whence some have
inferred that they are some remnant of the disciples of St. Thomas,
though mixed with many errors. They wear yellow cassocks and cloaks,
with hats of oiled paper. The whole natives of these countries are
white, and their women very beautiful; but their bodies are all over
wrought with blue figures down to the knees made with hot irons. In
their manners they are very uncivilized and even brutal.




Following the PORTUGUESE ASIA of _Manuel de Faria y Sousa_, we have
given an account of the Portuguese transactions in India in the
preceding chapter, from the year 1505 to 1539. We might have extended
this article to a much greater length from the same source, as De Faria
continues this history to the year 1640; but his work after the year
1539 is generally filled with an infinite multiplicity of uninteresting
events, petty wars, arrivals and dispatch of trading ships, and such
minute matters, unconnected and tending to no useful information. We now
take up an original document of much interest, and most directly
connected with the object of our collection, as an actual journal of a
voyage. In a separate future division of our arrangement, we propose to
give an abridged extract from De Faria of every thing his work contains
worthy of notice, as tending to discovery, but leaving out all
uninteresting details.

[Footnote 210: Astleys Collection of Voyages and Travels, I. 88.]

There are two published copies of the voyage which constitutes the
essence of our present chapter. The earliest of these was published by
_Aldus_ at Venice in 1540, along with other tracts of a similar nature,
under the name of _A Voyage from Alexandria to India_[211]. The other
was given by _Ramusio_ in the first Volume of his Collection, under the
title of _A Voyage written by a Venetian officer_[212] of the _Gallies,
who was carried prisoner from Alexandria to Diu in India, &c_. These
copies differ in several respects besides the title. That by Ramusio is
altered in several places both in the substance and diction, which in
many parts of that edited by Aldus is obscure. Yet that edition is of
use to correct some errors of the press in Ramusio. Our translation is
from the text of Aldus, but we have marked the variations in that of
Ramusio, and have likewise divided the journal into sections, as done by

[Footnote 211: The title of the book published by Aldus in which this
voyage is contained is Viaggi alla Tana, Persia, India, &c.--Astley, I.
88. a.]

[Footnote 212: The word designating the rank of this officer in Ramusio
is _Comito_, signifying Boatswain, or the officer who superintended the
galley-slaves.--Ast. I. 88. b.]

Though not made by the Portuguese, this voyage certainly claims to be
inserted in this place, as having a near connection with their affairs;
besides which, it serves to complete the information contained in the
article next succeeding; as the present voyage was made along the
eastern side of the Red Sea, while the other was along its western side:
So that the two together give a tolerable account of the whole of that
sea; and they are in fact the more valuable, as being the only minute
journals or relations extant of voyages performed along the whole length
of the Arabian Gulf; except that by Mr Daniel in 1700, which is very
superficial. Yet geographers, with the exception of M. de Lisle, and one
or two since, seem to have made no use of these helps. It is however
very surprising that neither of these two journals take the smallest
notice of that great bay or arm at the head of the Red Sea, anciently
called the _Elanitic_, a little to the east of _Tor_ or _Al Tur_, which
passing by the foot of Mount Sinai, penetrates a great way into Arabia.
This has been described by the Arabian geographers, and confirmed by two
eminent travellers of our own country, Dr Shaw and Dr Pococke, both of
whom have delineated it in their maps[213].

[Footnote 213: The topography of the Red Sea has been much improved by
Bruce, in his Travels in Abyssinia, and since him by Lord Valentia in
his Travels in India.--E.]

"The present voyage shews the way of sailing in these eastern seas by
the Turks, with whom we may join the Arabs and Indians; and it mentions
several particulars respecting the siege of Diu, and particularly
respecting the conduct of the Pacha, which could not be so well known to
the Portuguese; serving to rectify some things and elucidate others. It
must be observed that the soundings or depths of water, though expressed
in fathoms, which are reckoned at _six_ feet in the British marine
service, are here to be understood as paces of _five_ feet each. The
_time_ is expressed according to the Italian mode of reckoning; which
begins the day at sunset, and counts the hours successively round from
_one_ to _twenty-four_; instead of dividing the entire day into twice
twelve hours, as is customary with the English and other European

[Footnote 214: The Editor of Astleys Collection does not seem aware that
in the British marine, the day begins at noon, instead of the civil day
which begins at midnight.--E.]


_The Venetian Merchants and Mariners at Alexandria are pressed into the
Turkish service, and sent to Suez. Description of that place. Two
thousand men desert from the Gallies. Tor. Island of Soridan. Port of

This voyage was performed by compulsion, having been forced to accompany
the eunuch Solyman Pacha, who was sent by Solyman Shah emperor of the
Turks on an expedition against the Portuguese in India. At the time when
the war broke out in 1537, between the republic of Venice and the Turks,
a fleet of trading gallies happened to be at Alexandria in Egypt,
commanded by Antonio Barbarigo, and remained there without opportunity
of trading or taking in goods till the 7th of September; on that day
Almaro Barbaro the Venetian consul, the captain Antonio Barbarigo, and
all the merchants and seamen, with every thing belonging to them, were
seized and lodged in the _tower of Lances_. After this, all of them that
belonged to the sea, and the author of this voyage among the rest, were
taken from the tower and sent by fifty at a time to Cairo; whence
Solyman Pacha, having selected the gunners, rowers, carpenters,
caulkers, and officers, sent them by companies to Suez to assist in
fitting out the fleet in that port against his own arrival.

Suez stands in a desert place, where grows no herb of any kind. At this
place the ships are built which are designed for India. All the timber
of which they are built, with the iron work, and every kind of tackle,
are brought from Satalia and Constantinople to Alexandria; whence they
are carried on the Nile in jerbs or barks to Cairo, and thence on the
backs of camels to Suez, where Pharaoh was drowned. On the road from
Cairo to Suez, which is eighty miles, there is not a single habitation,
and no water or any thing whatever for eating is to be found, so that
the caravans before setting out must supply themselves with water from
the Nile. In former times, Suez was a great city well supplied with
cisterns for holding water, and had a _Kalij_ or canal cut all the way
from the Nile, by which these cisterns were annually filled at the
overflow of the river, which served them with water all the rest of the
year. Being afterwards destroyed by the Mahometans, the canal was filled
up, and all the water that is drank at Suez is brought upon camels from
certain ponds or wells six miles distant; which water, though very
brackish, they are obliged to drink; every fifty men being allowed as
much water as a camel can carry. All the timber, iron, rigging,
ammunition, and provisions for the fleet were brought from Cairo. Suez
stands on a bay of the Red Sea, and has a small fort with mud walls,
thirty paces square, which is guarded by twenty Turks. The fleet
destined for India consisted of seventy-six sail; of which six were
_Maons_, seventeen gallies, twenty-seven _foists_, two galleons, four
ships, and the rest small craft.

On the 9th of March 1538, about 2000 men landed from the gallies with
their arms and marched off for the mountains, meaning to desert; but
when about six miles from the shore they were met by a Sanjiak,
accompanied by 27 horse[215], designed for the garrison of Suez. The
deserters were immediately surrounded by the horse, who killed about 200
of them, and all the rest were stripped and carried on board the
gallies, where they were chained to the oars. On the 15th of June
Solyman Pacha arrived at Suez, where he pitched his tents and rested
eight days. In the mean time the fleet was got in readiness, and the
soldiers received their pay, being five gold ducats to each and ten
_maydins_, or 215 maydins in all. Part of the men belonging to the large
Venetian galley, in which the author of this journal served, were
distributed on board the fleet; seventy in one half galley, seventy in
another, and eighteen in the galley of the _Kiahya_, who likewise had
along with him the Venetian consul. The rest of these men were
distributed in two galleons which carried the powder, saltpetre,
brimstone, ball, meal, biscuit, and other necessaries for the fleet.
The Pacha likewise sent his treasure on board the gallies, which was
contained in forty-two chests, covered with ox hides and oil-cloth. On
the 20th, he issued orders for every one to embark in two days. On the
22d the Pacha embarked, and dropt down four miles below Suez to the
point of Pharaoh, where he anchored in four fathoms water on a good
bottom. This place is seven miles from the pits of Moses. Seven men died

[Footnote 215: This is surely some mistake, it being next to impossible
that so few men should surround and overpower so great a number of armed
soldiers.--Astl. I. 89. d.]

On the 27th of June the whole fleet left Suez with the wind at N.W. and
before night cast anchor at a place called _Korondol_, 60 miles from
Suez; at which place Moses divided the sea by stretching out his rod,
and Pharaoh was drowned with all his host. At this place, which may be
considered the commencement of the Red Sea, we had 12 fathoms water, and
lay at anchor all night. Leaving Korondol on the 28th, we sailed 33
leagues to the S.E. and cast anchor two hours before night at a place
called _Tor_, where there are many Fransciscan friars who supplied the
fleet with water. This place is a days journey and a half from Mount
_Sinai_, where is the church and monastery of St Catharine, in which the
body of that saint is reposited. We remained five days at Tor, in five
fathoms water. We departed from Tor on the 3d of July, and came behind a
dry sand bank about a mile from the shore and 40 miles from Tor, where
we cast anchor in 12 fathoms water at a place named _Kharas_, where we
remained two days to inspect the two ships which carried the stores.
Leaving Kharas on the 5th, we came to an island named _Soridan_ 40 miles
from the coast, the whole days course from sunrise to sunset being 100
miles. Continuing our voyage all night to the S.E. we found ourselves at
sunrise of the 6th to windward of a mountain on the right hand shore,
named _Marzoan_, 100 miles beyond Soridan. Proceeding forward on the
6th, and still sailing S.E. we advanced 100 miles by sunrise, and saw
land on the right towards _Kabisa_[216]. We sailed 90 miles on the 7th
S.E. by E. Proceeding on the 8th at the rate of 8 miles an hour, we
sailed 100 miles by sunrise; and in the night, the wind being
south-westerly, we advanced 20 miles to the S.E. On the 9th the winds
were variable and rather calm. To the S.E. we found a shoal under water
50 miles from land. Our course during the day was only 10 miles to the
N.W. and in the ensuing night 20 miles S. by W. On the 10th we sailed 70
miles S.E. and came to a port named _Kor_ in eight fathoms water, in a
very desert country.

[Footnote 216: In Ramusio this is called the land of the _Abissini_. So
that instead of Kabisa or Kabisia, we should read in the text Habash or
Habashia, commonly called Abassia, Abissina, or Abyssinia.--Astl. I. 90.


_Arrival at Jiddah, the Port of Mecca. The islands of Alfas, Kamaran,
and Tuiche. The Straits of Bab-al-Mandub._

Leaving Kor on the 11th of July, we sailed along shore till noon 30
miles, when we came to a city named _Zidem_[217], which is the emporium
or landing place of all the spices from Calicut and other parts of
India. This place is a stage and a half from Mecca; and though there are
several shoals both above and under water, the port is good, and the
town has abundance of provisions: but no water is to be met with, except
from a few cisterns which are filled with rain water. This place abounds
in merchandize, and the country round produces dates, ginger of
Mecca[218], and other sorts. In a mosque on the outside of the town is a
tomb, which according to the Mahometans is the burial-place of Eve. The
inhabitants go almost naked, and are meagre and swarthy. The sea
produces abundance of fish. The natives tie three or four pieces of
timber together about six feet long, on one of which slight rafts a man
rows himself with a board, and ventures out to sea eight or nine miles
to fish in all weathers. At this place the fleet remained four days and
took in a supply of water.

[Footnote 217: Otherwise Jiddah or Joddah, the port of Mecca. In his map
of Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia, De L'Isle makes Zidem, which he also
names _Gidde_, doubtless a corruption of Jiddah, a distinct place a
little to the south from Jiddah. This must be a mistake; as Jiddah has
for many ages been the port of Mecca, as Zidem is said to be in the
text. This is farther confirmed by the mention of _Eves tomb_ in the
text, which Pitts saw at Jiddah. Thevenot says her tomb is at _Gidde_,
which De L'Isle supposed to have been a different place from Gidda,
Joddah, or Jiddah, whence arose his mistake.--Astl. I.90. b.]

[Footnote 218: Perhaps we ought to read _Balsam_ of Mecca.--E.]

At our departure on the 15th of July, five small vessels were missing by
chance, which we learnt from a man who had escaped from a foist. This
day we sailed 80 miles S.W. by S. The 16th our course was S.E. with
very little wind, making only 30 miles till night; and before sunrise 50
miles farther. The 17th we sailed S.E. till night 100 miles; and from
thence till sunrise 16 miles, S.E. by S. On the 18th we steered S.E.
140[219] miles during the day, which was dusky; and in the night 50
miles S.E. by E. The 19th sailing E. by S. with a brisk wind till nine
in the morning, we came among certain islands called _Atfas_, almost
entirely desert, and only inhabited by people who come from other
islands to fish and seek for pearls, which they get by diving to the
bottom of the sea in four fathom water. They drink rain water, which is
preserved in cisterns and ponds. We remained here all night, having ran
100 miles. On the 20th we came to an island 20 miles from the land named
_Khamaran_, where we got provisions and good water. In this island there
was a ruinous castle, altogether unoccupied, and about fifty houses
built of boughs of trees, besides a few other huts scattered over the
island. The inhabitants were barefooted and quite naked, of a small
size, and having no head-dresses but their hair, and merely conceal
their parts of shame by means of a clout. They are all mariners, having
a few barks and small craft, the planks of which are sewed together by
rope, and are entirely destitute of iron work, with sails curiously made
of mats, constructed of the barks of the palm or date tree, and folding
together like a fan. The cordage and cables are made of the same
materials. They trade to the main land in these barks, and bring from
thence abundance of dates, jujebs, and a sort of white buck-wheat. They
make a good quantity of _Mecca ginger_, and procure plenty of
frankinsence from Bista[220]. They reduce their buck-wheat to meal on a
piece of marble, about the size of the stone on which colours are ground
by painters, on which another stone about half an ell long and like a
rolling pin or roller is made to work so as to bruise the corn.
Immediately after this it is made into a paste and baked into thin
cakes. This is their bread, which must be made fresh every day,
otherwise it becomes so dry and hard that there is no eating it. Both
fish and flesh are to be had here in sufficient abundance. From the
islands of _Akhefas_ or _Atfas_ to this island of _Khamaran_ the
distance is 40 miles.

[Footnote 219: In Ramusio only 40 miles.--Astl. I. 90. d.]

[Footnote 220: This is called the land of the Abissins in the edition of
Ramusio.--Astl. I. 91. a.]

The Pacha landed at this place, making all the gallies turn into the
harbour along with him; and sent from thence two foists with messengers,
one to the king or sheikh of _Zibit_ or _Zabid_, and the other to the
sheikh of Aden, ordering them to provide water and provisions for the
fleet, to enable him to proceed in his expedition to India against the
Portuguese. The messenger to Zabid was likewise ordered to tell the
sheikh of that place, which is a days journey inland, that he must come
to the shore, bringing with him the tribute due to the grand signior,
and to pay his obeisance to the Pacha. The fleet remained ten days at
the island of Khamaran, where it was furnished with water. Leaving
Khamaran on the 30th of July with a scanty wind, we sailed S. by E. 50
miles, and came at one in the morning to the island of _Tuicce_. Here
the foist sent to the sheikh of Zabid brought a present to the Pacha,
consisting of swords in the shape of scymeters made at _Zimina_, the
handles and scabbards being of silver; also some poinards of similar
workmanship, the handles of which were adorned with turquois stones,
rubies, and pearls. But the sheikh sent word that he would pay the
tribute when the Pacha returned from conquering the Portuguese,
acknowledging at the same time that he was the slave of the sultan. This
day we advanced fifty miles, and fifty more during the night, our course
being S. by E. On the 1st of August, we proceeded ten miles with the
wind at S.W. to a shoal named _Alontrakin_[221], near the mouth of the
straits, having _Kabisia_ or _Habash_ on the right hand. Here we had two
fathoms water, and staid one night.

[Footnote 221: In Ramusio this shoal is called Babel, being the two
first words or syllables of Bab-el-Mandub, corruptly called _Babel
Mandel_. Bab-el-Mandub signifies _the gate of weeping_, being the name
of the entry to the Red Sea of Arabian Gulf; so called because reckoned
exceedingly dangerous by the ancient Arabs, insomuch that they used to
put on mourning for their relations who passed them, as persons given
over for lost.--Ast. I. 91. d.]


_Arrival at Aden, where the Sheikh and four others are hanged. Sequel
of the Voyage to Diu_.

On the 2d of August, leaving the shoal of Alontrakin, we sailed 10 miles
E. by S. and got through the straits; whence proceeding till sunrise
next morning we went 80 miles farther. On the 3d sailing 80 miles E. by
N. we arrived at the city of _Adem_ or Aden. This city is strongly
fortified, standing close to the sea, and surrounded by lofty mountains,
on the top of which are several little forts or castles. It is
encompassed also on every side with _ravelins_[222], except an opening
of 300 paces wide leading from the shore to the country; and has strong
gates and towers and well-built walls. Besides all these, there is a
fort built on a shoal before the city, having a tower on one side to
defend the port, which is to the south, and has two fathoms water. To
the north there is a large port with good anchorage, being safe in all
winds. Though there is plenty of good water here, the soil is dry and
produces nothing. The water is all from rain, and is preserved in
cisterns and pits 100 fathoms deep; and is so hot when first drawn up
that it cannot be used till it stands to cool. This city is provided
with provisions, wood, and every other necessary from other places, and
has abundance of Jews[223].

[Footnote 222: Perhaps redoubts or detached towers are here meant; or
the word here translated ravelins may signify shoals, reefs, or
sand-banks, encompassing the harbour.--E.]

[Footnote 223: This circumstance is not in the least improbable; yet it
is possible that the author of this journal may have mistaken _Banians_
for Jews, as we know that all the trade in the ports of Arabia and the
Red Sea is now conducted by Banian factors--E.]

Immediately on the arrival of the fleet, the Pacha was waited upon by
four principal persons of the city, who brought refreshments. He
received them courteously, and talked with them a while in private;
after which he gave each of them two vests of figured velvet, and sent
them back with letters of safe conduct for the sheikh, signifying that
he might come freely on board and fear nothing. The sheikh sent back
word that he would not come in person, but would readily supply whatever
was wanted. On the 5th of August, the Pacha ordered the janizaries to
land with their arms, and all the gallies to man and arm their boats.
He then sent his Kiahya to summon the sheikh to come before him, and do
homage to the sultan. The sheikh answered, "I swear by your head that I
am the humble slave of the sultan;" and came immediately to the gallies
attended by many of his principal officers. The Kiahya presented him
with a handkerchief round his neck to the Pacha, who embraced and
entertained him with much courtesy. After a long conference, the Pacha
caused two vests of figured velvet to be brought, which he put with his
own hands on the sheikh, and made all the lords of his retinue be
clothed in a similar manner. They conferred together afterwards for a
long time, and the sheikh was dismissed with leave to return to the
city. What happened afterwards it is not proper for me to relate[224];
suffice it to say, that Solyman suddenly gave orders to a sanjack with
500 janizaries to take possession of the city, the inhabitants of which,
like those of _Kharabaia_[225], are swarthy, lean, and of small stature.
Aden is a place of considerable trade, particularly with India, at which
there arrive every year three or four ships laden with various kind of
spices, which are afterwards sent to Cairo. In these parts grow _ginger
of Mecca_, but no other sort.

[Footnote 224: In the edition of Ramusio, the author is made to relate
the story openly, in the following manner: "That same instant after
dismissing the sheikh, the Pacha, caused him to be hanged by the neck at
the yard-arm, together with four of his principal officers or
favourites."--Ast. I. 92. a.]

[Footnote 225: By Ramusio this word is given _Arabia_.--Ast. I. 92. b.]

On the 8th of August, the fleet removed to the north port of Aden, where
it remained eleven days, taking in a supply of water. On the 19th we
departed, being 74 sail in all, reckoning gallies, foists, ships, and
lesser vessels; the Pacha leaving three foists behind to guard the port.
This day our course was 40 miles E. by N. On the 20th we went 50 miles
east with a fair wind at west; and during the night we went other 20
miles E. by N. The 21st we ran 30 miles, east in a calm, and by sunrise
30 more. The 22d it was quite calm till noon, when a gentle breeze arose
which carried us 20 miles east before night, and 50 more during the
night in the same direction. During the 23d, we steered 60 miles E. by
N. and 40 miles in the night N.E. The 24th 40 miles N.E. and other 40
miles in the night in the same direction. The 25th 90 miles N.E. by E.
and 100 miles in the night the same course. The 26th 90 miles N.E. and
80 in the night. The 27th 90 miles, and in the night 100, both N.E. The
28th 90 miles during the day, and 90 more during the night, still N.E.
The 29th still keeping the same course, 90 miles in the day, and 90 more
at night. On the 30th, we sailed 86 miles E. by N. during the day, and
90 miles N.E. by E. during the night. Still holding N.E. by E. on the
31st we sailed 70 miles by day and 80 by night. Proceeding in the same
course on the 1st September we went 70 miles in the day and 50 in the
night. Holding on the same course on the 2d we ran 30 miles; by noon we
were in 35 fathoms water, and at night in 20 fathoms, being within 100
miles of Diu, but 400 miles from the nearest land on the north. While
between 100 and 150 miles from the land, we saw several snakes in the
sea, the water often having a green colour, which are sure signs of
approaching the land on this coast.

On the 3d the fleet proceeded with calm weather along the shore, and at
nine in the morning the Pacha was informed by a boat from the land that
there were 600 Portuguese in the castle of Diu, and six armed gallies in
the port. The Pacha made the bearers of this intelligence a present of
six _kaftans_ or vests, and dismissed them. A Jew was afterwards taken
on shore by some of the Turkish sailors, and confirmed this account.
This day our course along shore was 30 miles, and we made 30 more during
the night. On the 4th of September at sunrise, we proceeded 30 miles,
and cast anchor within three miles of Diu. Before anchoring, a
Portuguese foist was seen coming out of the harbour, which was chased by
a half galley all day, but made her escape in the night.


_The Castle of Diu is besieged by the Moors. The Turks plunder the City,
and the Indian Generals withdraw in resentment. The Pacha lands. A man
300 years old. Women burn themselves. The Fleet removes_.

The same day on which we anchored near Diu, one Khojah Zaffer came on
board in a galley. This man was a native of Otranto in Italy, but had
turned Turk and was captain of a galley in the former fleet sent to
India by the sultan. When that fleet was defeated and destroyed, Zaffer
entered into the service of the king of Diu or Kambachia, who gave him
lands and made him chief governor of his kingdom. Zaffer had also
insinuated himself into the confidence of the Portuguese; but when he
learnt that the Turkish fleet was coming, he and the vizier or viceroy
of the kingdom came with 8000 Indians, took the city of Diu from the
Portuguese, and besieged them in the castle which was now closely begirt
by their troops, not a day passing without a skirmish. Zaffer was
accompanied on this visit to the Pacha by the prime vizier of Cambaya,
and both were received with much honour. They informed the Pacha that
there were 500 soldiers and 300 others in the castle, which they had
besieged for 26 days, and had no doubt of being able to reduce it with
their Indian troops, if the Pacha would furnish them with artillery and
ammunition. The Pacha presented each of them with two vests; but while
they remained on board, the Turkish troops landed with their arms and
plundered the city of Diu, doing infinite injury to the Indian
inhabitants, and not even sparing the palace of the viceroy, whence they
took three fine horses, together with, some treasure and furniture,
carrying away every thing they could lay hands upon. They likewise
advanced towards the castle, and skirmished with the Portuguese
garrison. When the viceroy returned and was made acquainted with the
outrages committed by the Turks, he gave immediate orders to his
officers to have every thing in readiness, and retired from Diu with
6000 men, going immediately to the king who was about two days journey
up the country. That same night a foist came from the city to our fleet
with a supply of fresh bread, nuts, flesh, boiled rice, and other
things, sent in the name of the king of Cambaya, all of which were taken
into the Pachas galley. On the 5th of September, the Pacha sent the
Moorish captain and his Kiahya to join these on shore; and all the
gallies sent their boats filled with janizaries to assist the native
troops who were encamped round the castle, these being now reduced to
not more than 2000 men, as all the rest had departed along with the
viceroy and Khojah Zaffer. On the 7th, the fleet removed to a very good
port, thirty miles from Diu, called _Muda Burack_[226], where we got
abundance of water.

[Footnote 226: This place is afterwards called Mudafar-aba, and perhaps
ought to be written Madaffer-abad.--Ast. I. 93. e.]

On the 8th the Pacha went on shore at Diu, where the besiegers had began
to batter the castle, having placed some cannons for that purpose on
four _maons_. He sent also three pieces of artillery on shore, which
were planted on[227] a tower standing by the water side about a
cannon-shot from the great fortress, being the place where the Indian
officers used to receive the customs. It had thick walls and was
defended by four brass guns and a hundred men, but had no ditch. On the
9th, a ship and galley which were laden with biscuit, powder, and other
stores for the siege, struck on a sand bank while entering the harbour.
The goods and the galley were saved, but the ship was totally lost.

[Footnote 227: Perhaps we ought here to read _against_ the tower by the
water side.--E.]

A half galley belonging to our fleet arrived at Diu on the 19th in bad
condition. She had fallen behind the fleet, and had been driven to a
port belonging to a people of the Pagans called _Samori_[228], where she
sent a boat on shore with some janizaries, who were all cut to pieces.
After which the natives in our barge and some of their own barks,
attacked the galley and slew other sixty men of her crew, so that she
had much ado to escape. The Pacha sent for the pilot of this galley, and
caused him to be hanged for his bad management.

[Footnote 228: Probably meaning the dominions of the zamorin of

On the 25th an Indian who had turned Christian and belonged to the
garrison in the castle, was made prisoner in a sally, and being brought
before the Pacha, but refusing to answer any questions, was condemned to
be cut in two. On the same day an old man presented himself before the
Pacha, who said that he was upwards of 300 years old, which was
confirmed by the people of the country, who asserted that there were
several very old men in that neighbourhood. The natives of this country
are very lean and live sparingly. They eat no beef, but use their oxen
for riding upon. Their oxen are small and handsome, very tractable, and
have an easy pace. Instead of a bridle, they use a cord passed through a
hole in the nostrils of the ox. Their horns are long and straight, and
they are used as beasts of burden, like mules in Italy. These animals
are held in much veneration, especially the cows, and they even make
great rejoicings on the birth of a calf, on which account these people
are reckoned idolaters. When any of the men of this country happens to
die, the widow makes a great feast for the relations; after which they
go in procession with music and dancing to a place where a great fire
is prepared, into which the corpse is thrown, carrying along with them
many large pots full of scalding hot grease. The widow then dances round
the fire, singing the praises of her husband, after which she
distributes her entire dress and ornaments among her relations, till she
has nothing left but a small apron. Immediately after this, having
thrown a pot of the scalding grease into the fire, she leaps into the
midst of the flames, and the assistants throw in all the other pots of
grease to increase the flames, so that she is dead in an instant. All
women who would be esteemed virtuous observe this custom, and such as do
not are accounted wicked, nor will any one marry them. The country of
Guzerat is rich and fertile, producing excellent ginger of all sorts,
and cocoa nuts. Of these last the natives make oil, vinegar, flour,
cordage, and mats. The cocoa-nut tree resembles the date palm in every
thing except the fruit and leaves, those of the palm being broader.

On the 28th the fleet removed from the port of _Mudaferaba_, which has
from 2 to 4 fathoms water; and having sailed six hours on the 29th, cast
anchor about 15 miles from Diu. Having remained at anchor all night, the
fleet made sail on the 30th with a north wind from shore, and came
behind the castle of Diu, where all the gallies discharged their
artillery in succession, after which they cast anchor about three miles
from the castle.


_A Bulwark Surrenders to the Turks, who make Galley-slaves of the
Portuguese Garrison; with several other incidents of the siege._

On the 1st of October, a messenger came from the lesser castle offering
to capitulate, being no longer able to hold out. The Turks had planted
three pieces of cannon against that fort which carried balls of iron of
150 pounds weight, and pierced the tower through and through, so that
the stones flew about and had slain twenty men out of an hundred in the
garrison. Yet these men had slain many of the Turks with their musquets
and four pieces of cannon, the fire having continued incessantly for
eighteen or twenty days. On delivering his message, the person sent from
the fort received a rich vest, and had a safe conduct written in the
most ample form for himself and all the garrison. When the messenger
returned to the tower, he persuaded the captain and two other persons to
wait upon the Pacha, who gave the captain a vest and confirmed the safe
conduct, only under the express condition that they should not go into
the castle. The captain, whose name was _Juan Francisco Paduano_[229],
returning to the tower which was called _Gogole_, brought off his men to
the number of eighty, all of whom the Pacha ordered to be disarmed and
confined in a house under a strong guard.

[Footnote 229: It ought to be _Pacheco_.--E.]

On the 3d of October, the Pacha ordered the four _slave_ gunners of the
large gallies on shore, and gave them in charge to batter the principal
castle. He likewise ordered all the Portuguese who had surrendered to be
distributed among the gallies and chained to the oar, captain and all.
The same day, three Portuguese gallies entered the harbour of Diu
without opposition, for the Pacha did not send a single vessel to hinder
them. The 8th a ship arrived with provisions and was wrecked in the
road. On board were fifteen men belonging to the large gallies, together
with the admiral, and sixty sailors with many galley-slaves. The 13th,
the fleet removed from the west to the east side of Diu, where they
anchored two miles from the castle; but during this change of position,
the cannon of the fortress sunk one galley and broke the main-yard of
another. On the 15th, the Pacha removed from the _maon_ where he resided
hitherto into his half galley, but ordered a _white_ sail to be taken
from another galley, his own being distinguished by colours. The reason
of this was that he expected the Portuguese fleet, and did not wish they
should know what ship he was in. Being also afraid of the shot he caused
a great ring of cables and such things to be formed on the poop,
sufficient to repel cannon-shot, for he was fearful and cowardly. He
likewise ordered all the Christians to be put in irons. On the 17th,
being the eve of St Luke, he caused the head of one of the people
belonging to the Venetian gallies to be cut off, merely for saying, _the
signory of Venice is not dead_.

On the 22d the Pacha gave out in orders to the gunners on shore, about
400 in number, some of whom were slain daily, that whoever shot down the
great standard of the castle should have a reward of 1000 maydins and
receive his freedom. This was chiefly occasioned by a desire of
revenge, as his own standard had been given to the Portuguese by a
_Sanjak_. Upon this, one of these Christian gunners at the third shot
broke down the standard, which stood on the top of a great tower, on
which the Turks made great rejoicings and published the news with much
exultation throughout the fleet. The gunner was rewarded with a silken

The artillery belonging to the Turks was planted against the castle all
in one line, but in six separate batteries. In the first was an iron
_culverine_ carrying a ball of 150 pounds, and a _paderero_ of 200
pounds. At a small distance was an iron _passe-volant_ of 16 pounds,
which discharged cartridge shot. In another place was a _paderero_ of
300 pounds, and a _culverine_ of 150; and in this second post was a
_passe-volant_ like the former, both belonging to the great gallies. In
another place was an iron _saker_ of 12 pounds, a small _cannon_ of 16
pounds, a _falcon_ of 6 pounds, and a mortar throwing a ball of 400
pounds. In another post was a culverine of 100 pounds. By this
prodigious train of artillery, the Turks had battered down one tower, so
that they could easily mount the breach, the tower not being very high,
and the ditch not having been dug to a sufficient depth: But as fast as
the Turks ruined the defences of this tower, the besieged repaired the
breach as well as they could with earth and rubbish. It must also be
observed that this fortress had no flanks; and being built upon a rock,
they had made no _casemates_, only erecting embrasures on the top of the
wall, which were all ruined and shaken. The main safety of the besieged
consisted in their bravery. Every day fifteen or twenty of them used to
sally forth like so many furious lions, killing all they met, which
struck such terror into the Turkish soldiers that they fled in confusion
as soon as they saw the Portuguese.

On the 25th of October, the Turks caused a great number of cotton sacks
to be got ready, covered with skins and bound with ropes, all of which
were thrown into the ditch, which they completely filled, reaching as
high as the wall. This being noticed by the besieged early in the
morning, before the Turks put themselves in order for the assault, sixty
of the Portuguese made a sally from the castle, forty of whom fought the
enemy with great gallantry, while the other twenty remained in the
ditch, each of whom carried a small leather bag full of powder and a
lighted match. These men cut open the cotton bales, into each of which
they put a handful of powder, which they fired, so that in a short time
several of the bags were set on fire; and the whole continued burning
for two days. Those who sallied out upon the enemy maintained the fight
for more than three hours, during which time they killed 190 Turks and
wounded as many more, losing only two of their own number.


_Farther particulars of the siege, to the retreat of the Turks, and the
commencement of their Voyage back to Suez._

On the 27th of October five Portuguese _foists_ arrived at Diu, which
took a Turkish vessel of the same kind, and landed succours for the
besieged, but were unable to get into the harbour, as some of the cannon
formerly mentioned commanded its entrance, by ranging past the end of
the castle. The 29th the Pacha ordered out forty boats filled with
Turks, having some small cannon in each, in order to assault a small
fort or bulwark on the water side in the harbour at some distance from
the castle, the whole defences of which had been mined by the Turkish
artillery, and in which there were only five or six men, who were
relieved daily from the castle by water, the distance being less than a
falcon shot. On the approach of the Turkish boats, the men in this small
fort or bulwark lay down that they might not be seen. On coming to the
place, the Turks ran the bows of their boats on shore, where every thing
lay in ruins to the very edge of the water, and instantly leapt on
shore. The small but gallant party of defenders immediately met them
with two _fire-horns_, and the cannon from the castle played against the
assailants so furiously, that the Turks soon fled. Several of their
boats were sunk, many of the men were drowned, and the garrison of the
castle took a considerable number of prisoners, coming out in one of
their barks and killing or taking them while in confusion on the water.
All those who were taken were hanged next day on the battlements of the

The whole Turkish forces were drawn out in order of battle on the 30th,
and advanced to that side of the castle next the harbour to make a
general assault, for which purpose they carried a great number of
scaling-ladders. Another party of the Turks mounted the breach on the
land side of the castle, which they could do at pleasure as the place
was entirely opened by the fire of the batteries. But after remaining
there three hours without sufficient courage to enter the place, the
besieged leapt upon the breach and pushed the Turks into the ditch,
killing four hundred of them. On the 31st the _Moorish_ captain[230]
went with eleven gallies to attack the little castle, but was forced to
desist by the cannon from the great castle, which sunk some of his

[Footnote 230: This person has been several times mentioned under this
title, as a principal officer under Solyman Pacha, but we have no
indications by which to conjecture who he was.--E.]

On the 2d of November, the _Sanjak_ with the janizaries and all the
rest of the Turks embarked, leaving all their artillery behind, which
they had not time to carry off. This was occasioned by receiving news
that the Portuguese fleet was advancing in order of battle. The 5th,
twenty sail of Portuguese vessels appeared in sight, and came to anchor
twenty miles distance from the Turkish fleet. In the morning only three
of these ships were seen at a distance, at which time the Turks put off
from the land: But at sunrise many ships were seen, which shot off a
great number of guns, though nothing could be perceived but the flash of
the powder. Upon this the Pacha gave orders for each of his gallies to
fire three guns; after which, the trumpets were sounded, all the ships
hoisting their foresails and plying their oars. This was done at one
o'clock at night, and at four the whole fleet departed with hardly any
wind, and by day-break had run 30 miles, shaping their course S.S.W.

The 7th, we sailed forty miles in the same direction, the weather being
still calm. The 8th, we proceeded 30 miles W. during the day, and 20 in
the night. The 9th, we went 20 miles W. and this day the Christians had
their irons taken off. The 10th, we made no way, the weather being a
dead calm. The 11th, the wind blew from the W.S.W. We stood to N.W.
advancing 30 miles in the day and night. The 12th, the wind being N.W.
by N. we entered the gulf of Ormuz[231] and then sailed W.S.W. advancing
all that day and night only 30 miles. The 13th, we proceeded W. 70 miles
by day and 90 during the night. The 14th, 100 miles during the day and
as much in the night. The 15th, 80 by day and 80 by night. The 16th, 80
by day and 70 in the night. The 17th, 90 in the day and 80 in the night.
The 18th, 100 in the day and 70 in the night. The 19th, 70 by day and 80
by night; all this time the course being due west. The 20th, we sailed
W. by S. 90 miles, and saw land to windward, and proceeded 100 miles in
the night. The 21st, we sailed W. by S. 80 miles by day and 50 in the
night. The 22d, continuing the same course, we went only 10 miles during
the day, and 20 in the night. The 23d it fell a calm, and we proceeded
along the coast of Arabia, 30 miles in the day and 20 in the night. On
the 24th, the calm continued and we had adverse currents, yet proceeded
along the coast of Arabia 30 miles, and came to the islands of _Curia
Muria_[232], which are very desert and thinly inhabited. We staid here
one day and took in a supply of water. The fleet departed from these
islands on the 26th, sailing along the coast of Arabia towards the Red
Sea, 30 miles in the day and 30 at night.

[Footnote 231: That part of the gulf may be here understood which is on
the outside of the Straits of Ormuz, or the bay between Cape Ras-al-gat,
or the coast of Muscat, and the Persian shore: Yet, from the after part
of the voyage this could hardly be the case, and we ought perhaps to
read in this part of the text the _Arabian Sea_, or that part of the
Indian ocean which stretches across the mouths of the Indus, from the
western coast of Guzerat towards the coast of Arabia.--E.]

[Footnote 232: In the text of the Aldus this place is called by mistake
the town of Khamaran, which is a very different place within the Red
Sea, but in Ramusio it is rightly named Curia Muria. These islands, are
in lat. 17 deg. 30' on the oceanic coast of Yemen or Yaman, and are likewise
named the islands of Chartan and Martan.--E.]


_Continuation of the Voyage back to Suez, from the Portuguese factory at
Aser, to Khamaran and Kubit Sharif_.

At the second hour of the night on the 27th of November, the fleet cast
anchor in six fathoms water off a town on the coast of Arabia named
_Aser_[233], a barren desert place, where both men and cattle are forced
to live on fish. At this place was found forty Portuguese with a consul
or factor, who resided here for trade, besides other merchants who come
frequently with spice and other things. But their chief trade was in
horses, which are here excellent; being to be had at about 100 ducats
each, and sell in India for 1000 ducats. As soon as the sheikh of this
place understood that Solyman Pacha was coming there with his fleet, he
caused all the Portuguese at the factory to be seized, and presented
them to the Pacha, who made them all be chained to the oars. We here
found a ship which had staid there by the way, being unable to proceed
to India. We remained here three days, and the Pacha seized all the
biscuit which could be procured for the use of the fleet. It may be
proper to notice, that in every place at which the fleet touched in this
return voyage, the Turks gave out that they had conquered the whole
country of India, and had cut all the Christians to pieces. The 1st
December, the fleet departed, holding a courses W.S.W. along the coast
of Arabia, and sailing 40 miles cast anchor before night at a place
called _Mikaiya_, and took in water. The 2d, continuing along the coast
of Arabia, we proceeded W.S.W. 30 miles in the day, and 10 in the night.
The 3d, 40 miles by day and 50 in the night. The 4th, 70 in the day and
30 in the night. The 5th, we went 60 miles farther, and by nine o'clock
in the night cast anchor off the town of _Adem_ or _Aden_.

[Footnote 233: About the distance rather vaguely indicated in the text,
is a place called _Dhofar_ on the coast of Yemen, and perhaps the text
ought to have been _D'Afer_.--E.]

On the 6th, the Pacha sent in the morning for a renegado Turk, formerly
a Christian and a person of some note, and without assigning any cause
ordered his head to be cut off. The reason was they all murmured, and
the Pacha feared this man might accuse him of negligence or cowardice,
and was therefore determined to be beforehand with him. This man had
formerly been in the service of the sheikh of Aden, and was afterwards a
captain at Diu, when the former king Badur was slain by the Portuguese.
The widow of Badur being possessed of a great treasure and desirous of
retiring to Mecca, was persuaded by this man to embark with him in a
galleon, with which he treacherously sailed to Egypt, whence he carried
the treasure to Constantinople and presented it to the sultan; who,
because of his conversance in the affairs of India, made him commander
of a galley, and ordered him to return to India with the fleet under
Solyman Pacha: And as the expedition succeeded so ill it now cost him
his life. Being desirous to secure Aden, the Pacha caused 100 pieces of
cannon of different sizes to be landed from the fleet, among which were
two _passe-volants_ that had been taken out of the Venetian gallies at
Alexandria. He likewise landed an ample supply of powder and ball, and
left a Sanjak with 500 Turks and five _foists_[234]. Thinking himself
now out of danger from the pursuit of the Portuguese fleet, the Pacha
removed from the half galley and returned to the _maon_. On the 19th,
every thing being arranged at Aden, the fleet took in water, which
occupied them during three days; and on the 23d we sailed from Aden with
a good wind, steering W. by S. and between the evening and morning
proceeded 100 miles. The 24th at the 5th hour of the day, the fleet
entered the straits of the Red Sea, and lay all night at anchor. On the
25th, being Christmas, we departed three hours before day, and sailing
to the N.W. with a scant wind, we ran 50 miles and came to a castle
called _Mokha_. The same day, an old Turk who was governor of the castle
came to wait upon Solyman, who received him with great honour and gave
him a caftan. In return the governor sent every kind of refreshment that
the place could supply to the Pacha; and came a few days afterwards on
board with all his riches, which were very great, besides many slaves of
both sexes.

[Footnote 234: These _fouts_, so often mentioned in this chapter, were
probably _grabs_ or _jerbs_, a large species of barks employed in their
navigations by the Arabs of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.--E.]

From Mokha the Pacha sent a messenger to the sheikh or king of Zabid,
who was a Turk named _Nokoda Hamet_, commanding him to come immediately
to the sea-side and pay his obeisance to the sultan. The sheikh sent
back for answer, that he was ready to pay the tribute due to the sultan,
and would willingly accept a Sanjak or banner if sent to him; but that
he did not know the Pacha and would not come to the sea-side. The Pacha
was much displeased at this, yet sent his Kiahya and some janizaries to
Zabid, which is three days journey inland, to carry a standard to the
sheikh. In return the sheikh made him a rich present, in which was a
splendid scymeter and dagger, with some beautiful pearls of six carats
forming a string above a foot in length, besides one fine pearl of
eighteen carats: for a great deal of fine oriental pearls are found in
this coast of Arabia. He likewise gave each of the Turks two rich-vests
or caftans, and a young black slave. The Kiahya made him many
compliments, and entreated him to wait upon the Pacha; but the sheikh
would on no account consent. Finding that he could not prevail upon him,
the Kiahya said, "Since you will not go to the Pacha, he will come to
you:" And so took his leave and returned to Mokha.

We remained twenty-nine days at Mokha, which we left at sunrise on the
23d of January 1539 with a brisk gale, and sailed W. by N. till noon;
when the wind altered and we proceeded N.W. going in all 100 miles that
day. The 24th we continued to the N.W. under easy sail with a fair wind
30 miles during the day; and by the sixth hour of the night, we cast
anchor at the island of _Khamaran_, 20 miles farther. The Pacha landed
on the 29th, and gave pay to all the janizaries who were willing to
fight, but nothing was given to the slaves and mariners. The 2d of
February, the weather being calm, we left Khamaran by the help of our
oars, and came about six o'clock to a place on the coast called _Kubit
Sarif_[235], 20 miles from Khamaran.

[Footnote 235: In the edition of Aldus, this place is here named
_Khebiccairf_; but afterwards Kubit Sarif as in the text. In Ramusio it
is named _Kobbat Sharif_, signifying the noble dome, which is probably
the right name.--Astl. I. 98. a.]


_Transactions of the Pacha at Zabid, and continuation of the Voyage from
Kubit Sarif_.

On the 3d of February, the day after our arrival at Kubit Sarif, a Turk
in the service of the sheikh of Zabid[236] revolted with fifty horse and
came to the Pacha, who received him kindly and gave him presents. This
man encamped with his followers on the shore, and we noticed that in
this country they had their horses in armour, to defend them against
darts and arrows which are their chief weapons. The Pacha landed on the
fourth, ordering his men to be got ready with provisions and ammunition,
in order to march for Zabid, and directed some light pieces of artillery
to be put on carriages to accompany him. The Pacha set out on his march
on the 19th, three hours before day on horseback, and was joined on the
road by another Turk with fifty horse, who had deserted from the sheikh.
Him the Pacha made free, and continued his march. He encamped on the
20th on the outside of the city of Zabid, and sent a message to order
the sheikh to wait upon him. Seeing himself betrayed by many of his own
people, and distrusting the fidelity of the rest, the sheikh came forth
with a cord about his neck, as the slave of the grand signior, and
presented himself before the Pacha, who immediately commanded his head
to be cut off. On this the people of the city, to the number of three
hundred men, fled to the mountains, among whom were three chiefs with
all their riches, which were very considerable, yet knew not where to
go. The Pacha sent to tell those who had escaped, that they ought to
return and join him, promising to enroll them among his troops and to
give them good pay. Accordingly there came back 200 _black
Abissins_[237], who had been soldiers in the service of the sheikh.
These were valiant desperate fellows almost naked, who did not value
their lives, and were almost as swift as horses. For arms, some carried
clubs of the cornel tree headed with iron, others had pointed stakes
which they used like darts, others again had short swords, a span
shorter than those used by the Christians, and everyone had a dagger at
his girdle, bent like those used, by the Moors and Arabs. The Pacha
asked every one his name, which he caused to be written down, and with
higher pay than they had received before. He then dismissed them, with
orders to return next morning without arms to receive their pay, when
they were all to be admitted to kiss his hand, on which occasion they
would have no use for their arms. The Abissins accordingly presented
themselves at the time appointed, and being ordered to lay down their
arms, they went to wait upon the Pacha who was sitting near his tent on
the plain, surrounded by his Turks under arms. They were no sooner
within the circle, than a previously concerted signal was given, and
they were all instantly cut to pieces.

[Footnote 236: This name is differently written Zibit, Zebit, and
Zebeyd. It is a town of the Tehamah on the western coast of Arabia, in
lat. 15 deg. 2O', about 30 miles from the Red Sea, inland from the large bay
formed by the isle of Khamaran.--E.]

[Footnote 237: Probably negroes, imported from the coast of Abyssinia,
Massua and Arkike, the gates or entry into that country being on the
opposite coast of the Red Sea.--E.]

After this bloody scene, the Pacha placed a Sanjak with 1000 soldiers in
Zabid to retain it under subjection. The city is well built, and the
country round is pleasant and fertile, abounding in running water,
delightful gardens, and abundance of productions that are not to be
found in any other part of Arabia; particularly Zibibs like those of
Damascus, which have no stones, and other excellent fruits, such as
dates. Flesh, is to be had in plenty, and corn is not scarce.

On the 8th of March 1539, the Pacha returned to the coast, whence he
ordered ammunition to be sent to Zabid to secure his acquisition, and
appointed foot _foists_ to remain as a guard for that part of the coast.
The 10th the Pacha ordered the Portuguese prisoners, to the number of
146 in all, reckoning some Indian converts, to be brought bound on
shore; and having distributed them among his troops, all their heads
were cut off by his command. The head of the chief[238] was flayed, and
the skin was salted and filled with straw. The noses and ears of all the
rest were cut off, and put into bags, to be sent to the sultan. On the
13th the Kiahya departed in company with another galley for
_Zadem_[239], whence he was to go to Constantinople by way of Mecca,
with an account of the expedition to India, carrying with him the heads,
noses, and ears, besides magnificent presents for the sultan, to make it
appear that the Pacha had performed great exploits and mighty services.

[Footnote 238: Pacheco most probably, formerly mentioned, who
surrendered in a cowardly manner at Diu.--E.]

[Footnote 239: Formerly called Zidem, but it ought to be Jiddah, Joddah,
or Juddah, as differently pronounced: Yet Barthema, Corsali, Barbosa,
and other travellers of those times call it Zidem or Ziden; doubtless by
corruption. Thus likewise _Yamboa, Yembo_, or _Al Yambo_, the sea port
of Medinah, is named _Elioban_ by Barbosa, transposing the letters
instead of _El Jambo_.--Astl. I. 99. a.]

On the 15th of March we departed from Kubit Sarif, and cast anchor at
sunset at a place called _Kor_, five miles from the land and 100 miles
from Kubit Sarif. We departed from the island of Kor on the 16th an hour
before day with a fair wind and pleasant breeze, and sailing along the
coast of Arabia came to anchor at sunset in 8 fathoms water at _Zerzer_,
70 miles from Kor, a place subject to Mecca. At this place the three
persons who had fled from Zabid with their riches were brought to the
Pacha, who caused their heads to be cut off, and seized their treasure,
which filled six large sacks, each of which was a sufficient load for
any single man.

The 17th we sailed along the coast with a pleasant gale, which became
contrary an hour before sunset, when we cast anchor in 8 fathom-water,
at a place called _Adiudi_, 50 miles from Zerzer. We departed from
thence on the 18th two hours before day, and coasted along the land
till noon, when we anchored in a good port named _Mugora_, in 4 fathoms
water, 50 miles from Adiudi, where we got wood and water. An hour before
day on the 19th, we departed by means of our oars, the wind being
contrary; but at sunrise the wind became fair, and we sailed 50 miles
along shore to a place called _Darboni_, where we came to anchor in 7
fathoms water. Being calm, we coasted along by rowing till noon, when a
breeze sprang up, and then using our sails, we came to anchor in 10
fathoms water by sunset at a place called _Yasuf_, belonging to Mecca.
On the 21st we proceeded 60 miles, and anchored in 40 fathoms, at a
place called _Khofadan_, in the dominions, of Mecca. The 22d the
navigation being much encumbered with sand banks, so thick together and
intricate that it was hardly possible to sail in the day, the Pacha
ordered six gallies to lead-the way, and we came to a shelf or shoal
called _Turakh_. The 23d we coasted along, still among shoals, the
channel being so narrow that only one galley could pass at a time; and
cast anchor at a place named _Salta_ in 4 fathoms, having ran fifty
miles. Sailing 30 miles farther along the coast on the 24th, we anchored
at noon in the port of _Mazabraiti_ in 6 fathoms, near a place called
_Ariadan_ inhabited by peasants who are subject to Mecca. On the 25th we
weighed anchor early, and endeavoured to proceed along the coast; but
the wind getting up at sunrise and proving contrary, we had to stand out
to sea till noon, when we again made for the land, off which we cast
anchor early in the evening.


_Continuation of the Voyage to Suez, along the Arabian Shore of the Red

We remained at anchor during the whole of the 26th and proceeded two
hours before day of the 27th, in very pleasant weather, and at eight
o'clock, having sailed 30 miles, we anchored in 4 fathoms at a place
called _Yusuma_. The 28th we coasted along the land till noon with a
fair wind, and then entered among certain banks two miles from the
shore, where we could not let go our anchors for fear of losing them,
being off a place named _Mukare_, 30 miles from Yusuma. The 29th, still
coasting along, we came among other shoals called _Balir_, thirty-five
miles farther on. The 30th continuing along shore till evening, we
anchored in 12 fathoms at a place called _Mukhi_, having proceeded 35
miles. Departing on the 31st with a calm two hours before day, the wind
springing up at sunrise, and in the evening we came to _Ziden_ or
_Jiddah_ the sea-port of Mecca. The Pacha landed on the 1st of April,
and pitched his tents on the outside of the town, where he rested four
days. On the 7th he rode away for Mecca, on pilgrimage, leaving orders
for the fleet to proceed to Suez[240]. On the 8th the fleet was driven
two miles out to sea by a contrary wind, and was obliged to come to
anchor among the shoals. Remaining here till the 11th, we made sail with
a fair wind, and at the _twentieth_ hour came into the port of _Contror
Abehin_, where one of our gallies was sunk in attempting to double a
point of land. At this place a carpenter belonging to the Venetian
gallies of Alexandria, named Mark, turned Mahometan and remained behind.
Having staid here two days, we proceeded again with a fair wind along
shore, and cast anchor in 12 fathoms at a place called _Amomuskhi_, 70
miles farther. Setting sail on the 15th two hours before day, the
_Moorish captains_ galley got aground on a bank, but was towed off by
the boats belonging to the other ships, without having received any
damage. We then coasted along the land 30 miles, to a place called
_Raban_ or _Robon_, where we cast anchor in 13 fathoms. From the 16th to
the 20th both inclusive, we left this place every day, and were always
forced to return by contrary winds. The 21st we departed with an off
shore wind; but at the sixth hour of the day were again driven towards
the coast by a contrary wind, and obliged to put in among certain banks
where we remained all night.

[Footnote 240: It does not appear that the Pacha ever rejoined his
fleet. It has been already mentioned from De Faria, that on his return
to Turkey he was reduced to the necessity of killing himself. "Cruel and
tyrannical men like him, says De Faria, should always be their own

The 22d we coasted along by favour of a land breeze; but the wind coming
contrary were obliged to anchor at a place called _Farsi_, having only
advanced 16 miles. The 23d we continued along the coast till noon, when
the wind changed full in our teeth, and we had to come to anchor at a
place named _Sathan_, having sailed 25 miles that day. The 24th we
proceeded along the coast till noon, when the wind became again
contrary, and we were driven to the coast, and came to _Lorma_, 30 miles
beyond Sathan. We rowed along shore against the wind on the 25th, and
came at evening to _Yamboa_[241]. This place affords provisions,
particularly fish and dates. Their water is kept in cisterns, and has to
be brought on camels from a place a days journey distant, as there are
no wells or springs. A days journey[242] inland from this place is a
large town named _Medinah_, or _Medinat al Nubi_, where is the sepulchre
of Mahomet, though commonly said to be at Mecca[243]. We remained at
Yamboa six days, and set sail at four o'clock on the 1st of May; but
after proceeding only 10 miles the wind became contrary, and we had to
anchor among some shoals, where we staid two days. During the 3d and
4th, we had to stand off and on, beating up against a contrary wind; and
so continued for _six_ days, advancing only eight miles in all that
time. The 10th and 11th, the wind being still contrary, we made only 10
miles, and anchored in a different place. Proceeding along the coast on
the 13th, we came up with a galleon which left _Zabid_ before the rest
of the fleet. The pilots name was _Mikali_, and some of those on board
belonged to the Venetian gallies of Alexandria.

[Footnote 241: Called _Jombu_ in the edition of Aldus, and _Jambut_ by
Rarmusio. This is Yembo, Yambo, or Yamboa, the Italians using the _J_
instead of the _Y_. Yamboa is the port of _Medina, Medinah_, or _Medinat
al Nubi_, signifying _the city_, or the city of the prophet.--Astl. I.
100. c.]

[Footnote 242: Medina is at least 90 miles inland from Yamboa, which
cannot be less than _three_ ordinary days journeys.--E.]

[Footnote 243: This error has been long since corrected, yet many
travellers still persist in placing the tomb of Mahomet at Mecca.--Astl.
I. 100. d.--Christian travellers are debarred from visiting the holy
cities of Mecca and Medina. At Mecca the grand object of pilgrimage is
the _Caaba_ or holy house, containing _a black stone_, the remains of
the ancient Pagan superstition of the Arabians: Perhaps the same with
the _Lingam_ or _Priapus_ of the Hindoos.--E.]

The 14th, we sailed 10 miles[244] along the coast, and cast anchor in 7
fathoms at a place named _Sikhabo_. The 15th we sailed 70 miles N.W. and
came to anchor in the open sea. The 16th, we sailed along the coast 30
miles, and anchored at a place named _Buducktor_ or _Bubuktor_. The 17th
sailing 30 miles along the coast, we anchored in 20 fathoms in the open
sea, near an island called _Yenamani_. Going 20 miles along shore on the
18th, we anchored for the night off _Khifate_. We proceeded 50 miles
along shore on the 19th, and anchored at _Molin_. The 20th, we anchored
at sea 25 miles farther. Proceeding 48[245] miles on the 21st along
shore, we anchored in the evening out at sea. The 22d, after sailing 10
miles, we anchored again at sea. Being in a very bad anchorage, we
proceeded again on the 24th with a tolerably good wind. The half galley
left an anchor and three cables at this last anchorage, and one galley
ran aground but was got off. After advancing only 10 miles, we came to
anchor in 8 fathoms with good ground, and remained two days. Proceeding
85 miles along the coast on the 26th, we came to anchor in a road-stead.

[Footnote 244: In Ramusio this distance is made 60 miles.--Astl. I. 100.

[Footnote 245: Only 40 miles, in the copy published by Ramusio.--Astl.
I. 100. f.]


_Conclusion of the Voyage to Suez, and return of the Venetians to

On the 27th of May we proceeded on our voyage, sailing W.N.W. At noon we
were abreast of _Tor_ or _Al Tor_, and continued our course for two
hours after night-fall, when the wind came foul, on which we lay too
till day-light, when the _Moorish captain_ set sail again, and the other
gallies weighed anchor and hoisted their foresails. After running 100
miles we came to shoal water where we cast anchor in 6 fathoms, and
remained five days waiting for a fair wind. Leaving the bank on the 3d
of June, and holding on our course, we cast anchor sometimes on the
western coast[246] and sometimes on the eastern, having contrary winds,
and on the 15th we arrived at _Korondol_, where Pharaoh and his host
were drowned, and where are the baths of Moses as they are called. We
took in water at this place, where we staid two days. The 16th, the
fleet sailed from Korondol, and continuing its course for two days
together, we arrival at Suez on the 17th of May 1589, whence we had set
out on the 27th of June in the former year.

[Footnote 246: In the original called the _Abyssinian_ coast, but
certainly that of Egypt.--E.]

On the day of our arrival, we began to draw the barks on shore. The 2d
of June we began to haul up the large galley, and next the half galley
of the Pacha, all the rest being unrigged and drawn up successively. On
this occasion the whole labour rested on the Christians, who acted as
porters and worked all the tackle for unloading, cleaning and unrigging
all the vessels: In short the entire fatigue lay upon their shoulders.
On the 16th, the _Lemin_[247] came and paid off all the seamen,
Christians as well as Turks, giving 180 maidans to each. The 19th of
August, the _Emin_, accompanied by seven boats, went to Tor to pay off
the gallies which remained behind, taking with him all the best and
strongest of the Christian mariners to navigate these gallies to Suez,
as they were in a manner disarmed, many of their crews having died and
others run off. At Tor all were paid off, and the Christians were
distributed among the gallies, which they brought up to Suez on the 20th
of October, and were all drawn up by the Christians, who worked hard
both day and night. On the 26th, all the gallies being hauled up, the
cables, rigging, tackle, iron work, planks, small cannon, and all the
other stores were carried into the castle of Suez.

[Footnote 247: In Ramusio the _Emin_, who is an officer of the treasury,
or the pay-master.--Astley, I. 101. a.--Probably _Al Emin_, and
originally written in _Italian L'Emin_.--E.]

The Red Sea, from Suez to its mouth extends 1800 miles in length; the
coast running all the way from N.W. to S.E.[248] This gulf is 200 miles
broad, and in some places more. In its whole length it is full of banks,
shoals, and shelves, towards the land on both sides, so that it cannot
be navigated by night, except in the middle. These obstructions are so
intricately disposed that the channels can only be discovered by the
eye, nor can the proper course be taken except by means of an
experienced pilot standing constantly on the _prow_, and calling out
_starboard_ or _larboard_[249] according to circumstances. Owing to
this, the return voyage does not admit of being described so accurately
as the outward bound. There are two distinct kinds of pilots for this
sea; the one being acquainted with the middle of the gulf, which is the
passage outwards; and the others, called _Rubani_, are for ships
returning from the ocean, and navigating within the shoals. These are
such excellent swimmers, that in many places where they cannot cast
anchor on account of foul ground, they will swim under water and fix the
gallies within the shoals, and will often even fasten the prows under
water, according to the nature of the place[250].

[Footnote 248: From Suez to the Straits of _Bab-al-Mandub_, the direct
distance is about 1590 statute English miles, or 1200 geographical
miles, 60 to the degree. From the Straits to _Cape Guardafu_ is about
433 English miles farther, or 375 geographical: Making in all 1825 of
the former and 1575 of the latter. The direction is S.S.E.--E.]

[Footnote 249: In the original Italian, _Orza_ and _Poggia_, being the
names of the ropes at the yard-arms which are hauled when these words
are pronounced.--Astl. I. 101. b.]

[Footnote 250: The expression in the text is not very obvious, but seems
to indicate that these _Rubani_ are such excellent divers as to be able
to fasten ropes or hausers to the rocks below water.--E.]

On the 28th. of November 1539, the Christians belonging to the Venetian
gallies left Suez, and arrived at Cairo on the 1st of December, where
they were lodged in the same house that they had formerly occupied. Each
of them was allowed half a _maidan_ daily for subsistence, which is
equal to about twopence of Venice. They here suffered great affliction
and fatigue, as whatever laborious work was to be performed was devolved
upon them. Clearing out the water-cisterns, levelling hills, putting
gardens in order, new buildings, and such like, all fell to their share.
On the 25th of March 1540, many of the Christians went from Cairo with a
guard of Turks to a hill or mount two miles from the Nile, which seemed
to have been a burying-place like the _Campo Santo_, where every year,
on the Friday before our _Lady of August_[251], a vast number of people
assemble to see dead bodies rise out of the ground. This resurrection
begins on Thursday evening, and lasts till Saturday at six o'clock,
during which time great numbers rise; but after that no more appear.
When they do rise, some are rolled about with linen bandages in the
manner in which the ancients swathed their dead. It must not be imagined
that these dead bodies move, and still less that they walk about. But,
one instant you may observe and touch the arm or the leg of one, or some
other part, and going away for a moment, you will find at your return
the part you had formerly seen and touched still more exposed, or
farther out of the ground than at first; and this will happen as often
as you make the experiment. On that day, many tents are pitched about
this mount, and thither many persons repair, sick as well as healthy;
and near this place there is a pond in which the people bathe on the
Friday night, in order to get cured of their infirmities. _For my own
part, I did not see these miracles_.

[Footnote 251: The 15th of August, the Assumption of the Virgin.--E.]




Don Juan or Joam De Castro, the author of the following journal, was a
Portuguese nobleman born in 1500; being the son of Don Alvaro de Castro,
governor of the Chancery, and Donna Leonora de Noronha, daughter of Don
Joam de Almeyda, Count of Abrantes. In his youth, Don Juan de Castro
served with reputation at Tangier, and on his return home had a
commandery of 500 ducats of yearly revenue conferred upon him, which was
all he was ever worth, though a man of high birth and rare merit. He
afterwards served under the Emperor Charles V. in his expedition against
Tunis, and refused his share of a pecuniary reward from that prince to
the Portuguese officers on the expedition, saying that he served the
king of Portugal, and accepted rewards only from his own sovereign.
After this he commanded a fleet on the coast of Barbary, and was sent to
join the fleet of Spain for the relief of Ceuta. On hearing that the
Moors were approaching, the Spaniards wished to draw off, on pretence of
consulting upon the manner of giving battle, but Don Juan refused to
quit his post; and the Moors retired, not knowing that the fleets had
separated, so that he had all the honour of relieving Ceuta.

[Footnote 252: Astley, I. 107. Purchas, II. 1422.]

When Don Garcia de Noronha went viceroy to India, Don John was captain
of one of the ships in his fleet; and when about to embark, the king
sent him a commission by which he was appointed governor of Ormuz, and a
gift of 1000 ducats to bear his charges till he obtained possession. He
accepted the latter, because he was poor; but refused the government,
saying that he had not yet deserved it. After the expedition to
Suez[253], contained in the present chapter, he returned into Portugal,
and lived for some time in retirement in a country house near Cintra,
giving himself up entirely to study. He was recalled from this retreat
by the advice of the infant Don _Luys_, and sent out governor-general to
India in 1545; where he died with the title of viceroy in 1548, when 48
years of age. We shall hereafter have occasion to speak farther of this
great man, who made himself illustrious in the _second_ siege of Diu by
the forces of the king of Guzerat. In his life, written by _Jacinto
Freire de Andrada_, there is a particular account of this siege, with a
map to illustrate its operations. The author also treats of the
Discoveries, Government, Commerce, and affairs of the Portuguese in
India. This book was translated into English, and published in folio at
London in 1664.

[Footnote 253: De Faria in his Portuguese Asia, says that Don Juan went
up to Mount Sinai, where his son Don Alvaro was knighted. But this does
not appear in his journal.--Astl. I. 107. a.]

Such was the illustrious author of the following journal, which was
never published in Portuguese; but having been found, if we are rightly
informed, on board a Portuguese ship taken by the English, was
afterwards translated and published by Purchas. Purchas tells us that
the original was reported to have been purchased by Sir Walter Raleigh
for sixty pounds; that Sir Walter got it translated, and afterwards, as
he thinks, amended the diction and added many marginal notes. Purchas
himself reformed the style, but with caution as he had not the original
to consult, and abbreviated the whole, in which we hope he used equal
circumspection: For, as it stands in Purchas[254] it still is most
intolerably verbose, and at the same time scarcely intelligible in many
places; owing, we apprehend, to the translator being not thoroughly
acquainted with the meaning of the original, if not to the fault of the
abbreviator. These two inconveniences we have endeavoured to remedy the
best we could, and though we have not been always able to clear up the
sense, we presume to have succeeded for the most part; and by entirely
changing the language, except where the places were obscure, we have
made the journal more fit for being read, and we hope without doing it
any manner of injury[255].

[Footnote 254: Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 1122, under the title of _A
Rutter_, or Journal, &c. from India to Suez, dedicated to the Infant Don
_Luys_.--Astl. I. 107. b.]

[Footnote 255: On the present occasion we have followed the example of
the Editor of Astleys Collection, having employed the original
abbreviated translation by Purchas modernized in the language and
endeavouring to elucidate obscurities; using as our assistance the
version in Astley.--E.]

This expedition was undertaken for two important purposes. _One_, to
carry succours to the emperor of _Habash_ or Abyssinia; and the _other_,
to endeavour to destroy the Turkish ships at Suez. For, soon after the
retreat of Solyman Pacha from Diu, it was rumoured that another fleet of
the _Rumes_ or Turks was on its way to India; but as Don Stefano de Gama
was afterwards informed that the Turks could not set out during the year
1540, he determined to be before hand with them, in some measure to be
revenged for the late siege of Diu, and to prevent a second attack by
burning the fleet they had prepared for that purpose. The governors
liberality brought more men to inlist under his banners than he desired,
so that he was enabled to select the best. The fleet consisted of 80
sail of different sorts and sizes, and carried 2000 soldiers besides
mariners and rowers. On coming into the Red Sea, he found most of the
cities and islands abandoned, the inhabitants having notice of his
coming. At Suakem, the sheikh or king, who had retired a league up the
country, amused De Gama with pretences of peace, that he might not
destroy the town and island. In consequence of this delay, De Gama was
prevented from carrying his design into execution of destroying the
ships at Suez; as it afforded time for the Turks to receive intelligence
of the expedition. This is the account given by De Faria; but Bermudas
gives a different reason for the want of success in that design, as De
Gama could not get at the ships, which were all drawn up on the land,
which we have already seen to have been the case, in the journal of the
voyage of Solyman Pacha, in the immediately preceding chapter.

In revenge for the duplicity and delay of the sheikh of Suakem, De Gama
marched into the interior with 1000 men, accompanied by his brother Don
Christopher, and defeated the sheikh with great slaughter. He then
plundered the city of Suakem, where many of the private men got booty to
the value of four or five thousand ducats, and then burnt it to the
ground. From thence, he went towards Suez with only sixteen, _Katurs_
or Malabar barges, and sent back the fleet to Massua under the command
of Lionel de Lima. On this occasion, there was a great dispute, as every
one strove to go on this expedition; whence the bay got the name of
_Angra de los Aggraviadas_, or _bay of the offended_. Many gentlemen
went in the barges as private soldiers or volunteers, willing to go in
any capacity if only they were admitted. The number of men on this
fruitless expedition was 250. They plundered and burnt _Cossier_ or _Al
Kossir_; whence crossing to _Tor_ or _Al Tur_, they took some vessels
belonging to the enemy. At first the Turks opposed their landing; but
some of them being slain, the rest abandoned the city, in which nothing
was found of value. De Gama did not burn this town, in reverence for the
relics of St Catharine and the monastery and religious men there, which
he visited at their request. He was the first European commander who had
taken that city, where he knighted several of his followers, an honour
much prized by those who received it, and which was envied; afterwards
even by the emperor Charles V. From thence De Gama proceeded to Suez;
and after many brave but fruitless attempts to sound the harbour, De
Gama determined to go himself in open day to view the gallies. He
accordingly landed and saw the enemies but endeavouring to force his way
towards them, the enemies shot poured thick from the town, and 2000
Turkish horse broke out from an ambush, by which the Portuguese were
reduced to great straits. Though the Portuguese cannon slew a good many
of the enemy, their numbers were so much superior that the Portuguese
were obliged to retreat with some loss, and much grieved that the object
of their expedition was frustrated. Thus far we have deemed necessary to
premise, relative to the design and success of the expedition, from De
Faria and other authors; because the journal of Don Juan de Castro is
almost entirely confined to observations respecting the places visited
in the voyage, and gives little or no information respecting these

The _rutter_ or journal must be allowed to be very curious.--The author,
like an exact and diligent navigator, has not only given the course and
distance from one place to another, with the latitudes of the principal
ports and head-lands; but has noticed the minute windings of the coast,
and the situations of islands, with observations on the tides, currents,
shoals, sand-banks, and other particulars respecting the Red Sea. Yet,
far from confining himself to mere nautical remarks, he has given an
account of all the places at which he touched, together with accounts of
the countries and the inhabitants, so far as he was able to collect from
his own observations, or the accounts of such as he was able to converse
with, particularly the natives. Don John hath gone farther yet, and has
even attempted to draw a parallel between the ancient and modern
geography of this sea. If in all points of this last he may not have
succeeded, the great difficulty of the task, owing to the obscurity of
the subject, is to be considered: most of the ancient places having been
destroyed; the ancient names of others long since out of use and
forgotten; and that very little is known of these coasts by Europeans,
even at this day. For these reasons, as the conjectures of the author
are often erroneous respecting the ancient geography, and as at best
they are very uncertain, we shall for the most part _insert them by way
of notes_, with our own remarks respecting them[256]. Whether the
_altitudes_ have been taken by Don Juan with that precision which
geography requires, may also be in some measure questioned; since we
find there was a _crack in the instrument employed_, the size of which
is not mentioned; neither were all the observations repeated. Even if
they had been, it is well known that the observations of those times
were by no means so accurate as those made of late years. After all,
however, the observations in this journal appear to have been made with
a good deal of care, and they cannot fail to be of great service to

[Footnote 256: In this edition, which has been taken from that by
Purchas, these conjectures of Don Juan de Castro are restored to the
text: but the remarks by the Editor of Astleys Collection are all
retained in notes.--E.]

It is alone by the observations contained in this journal that
geographers are able to determine the extent of the Arabian Gulf or Red
Sea from north to south[257], as well as the situation of its principal
ports on the west side. The latitude of the straits was verified by the
observations of Don Juans pilot. But as most maps and charts give the
situation of Suez, at the northern end of the Red Sea, very different
from that marked in this journal, which is 29 deg. 45' N. it may not be
amiss to examine this point.

[Footnote 257: The modern knowledge of the Red Sea has been much
augmented by the labours of Bruce, Nieubur, Lord Valentia, and others,
which will be given in a future division of our work.--E.]

By several very accurate observations made in 1694, M. Chazelles of the
Royal Academy of Paris found the latitude of Cairo to be 80 deg. 2' 20". The
difference of latitude therefore between Cairo and Suez, will be 17
minutes; which we conceive cannot be very far from the truth, if not
quite exact, since the map published by Dr Pocock makes the difference
about 20 minutes. It is true that in Sicards map of Egypt, and in a
_late_[258] French chart of the _eastern ocean_, Suez is placed only two
or three minutes to the southward of Cairo. But as these authors had no
new observations made at Suez to go by, and seem to have been
unacquainted with those of Don Juan de Castro, their authority can weigh
very little against an express observation, and against Dr Pococks map,
which, among other helps, was constructed upon one made by the natives.
Besides this, in his later maps _De L'isle_ regulates the situation of
Suez according to the latitude found by Don Juan. Indeed Sicard places
Suez nearly in that parallel, but egregiously mistakes the latitude of
Cairo, so that he seems to have given it that position more by chance
than design.

[Footnote 258: It is proper to remark here that the collection of Astley
was published in 1745, _sixty-seven_ years ago.--E.]

This may suffice to support the credit of the observations of latitude
as made by Don Juan, till new and better ones can be made, which we are
not to expect in haste, as European ships now seldom sail any farther
into the Red Sea than _Mokha_ or _Zabid_, for which reason this journal
is the more to be prized. In other respects it is full of variety; and
if some parts of it be dry and unamusing, these make amends by their
usefulness to geographers and navigators, while other parts are
calculated to instruct and give pleasure on other accounts.--_Astley_.

* * * * *

So far the foregoing introduction is taken from Astleys collection. In
our edition of the Journal of Don Juan de Castro, we have used the
earliest known copy as given by Purchas, Vol. II. p. 1122-1148, under the
title of _A Rutter or Journal of Don John of Castro, of the Voyage which
the_ Portugals _made from_ India _to_ Zoes, _&c. and here abbreviated.
The original of which is reported to have been bought by_ Sir Walter
Raleigh, _at sixtie pounds, and by him caused to be done into_ English
_out of the_ Portugal.

Of this Journal Purchas gives the following account in a marginal note,
which is inserted in his own words: "This voyage being occasioned by
sending the Patriarch _Bermudez_ to _Ethiopia_, and relating how that
state decayed, invaded by the _Moores_, and embroiled with civil
discontents, contayning also a more full intelligence of the _Red Sea_,
than any other _Rutter_ which I have seene, I have here added; and next
to it, _Bermudez_ own report, translated, it seemeth, by the same hand
(not the most refined in his _English_ phrase, which yet I durst not be
too busie with, wanting the original) and reduced to our method; here
and there amending, the _English_, which yet in part was done, as I
thinke, and many marginall notes added, by _Sir Walter Raleigh_
himselfe."--In the present edition, while we have adhered closely to
that of Purchas, with the assistance of that in Astleys Collection, we
have endeavoured, _little more busy_ than Purchas, to reduce the
language to a more intelligible modern standard; and have divided it
into _Sections_, in imitation of the editor of Astleys Collection of
Voyages and Travels. On purpose to carry on the series of events, we
have inserted as a necessary introduction, an account of the Portuguese
Transactions in India, from the discontinuance of the siege of Diu and
retreat of Solyman Pacha in November 1538, to the commencement of the
expedition of Don Stefano de Gama to the Red Sea in December 1540, when
the journal of Don Juan de Castro begins; which _first section_ of this
chapter is taken from the Portuguese Asia of De Faria.--E.


_Portuguese Transactions in India, from the Siege Diu by the Turks, to
the Expedition of Don Stefano de Gama to Suez_[259].

Soon after the retreat of Solyman Pacha from Diu in November 1538, but
in the beginning of the subsequent year 1539, when the new viceroy Don
Garcia de Noronha had returned from his tardy expedition to relieve Diu,
_Don Gonzalo Vaz Confino_[260] came with five small vessels from
_Onore_, where he had been sent by the former governor Nuno de Cuna on
the following occasion. One of the gallies belonging to the fleet of
Solyman Pacha had been forced into the port of Onore[261], and it was
thought the queen of that province, then a widow, had violated the
treaty subsisting between her government and the Portuguese, by giving
protection to that vessel. Gonzalo Vaz called her to account on this
subject, when she declared that the vessel was there against her will,
as she was not in condition to prevent it, but would be glad that it
were taken by the Portuguese. Gonzalo Vaz accordingly made the attempt,
but was repulsed after a sharp engagement, in which he lost fifteen of
his men, and among these his own son Diego Vaz. Gonzalo suspected the
queen of having secretly assisted the enemy, and refused some
refreshments she had sent for the wounded men, returning a rash and
resentful answer mingled with threats. The queen cleared herself of the
imputation, and again offered a treaty of peace with the Portuguese,
which was concluded, and some Portuguese were left by Gonzalo at Onore,
to observe what conduct was pursued by the queen for expelling the

[Footnote 259: This section is added from the Portuguese Asia of De
Faria, II. s. et seq. to connect the history of events.--E.]

[Footnote 260: The name of this commander is probably erroneous in the
text, from an error of the press, and ought to have been

[Footnote 261: Probably the galley already mentioned in the Venetian
Journal, as having separated from the Turkish fleet on the voyage to
Diu, and for which the pilot was executed by command of Solyman.--E.]

Before leaving Diu, and having repaired the fortifications of the
castle, the command of which was given to Diego Lopez de Sousa, pursuant
to a commission from the king of Portugal, a treaty of pacification with
the king of Guzerat was set on foot and concluded, very little to the
advantage of the Portuguese, owing as was generally believed to the
covetousness of Noronha.

The late success of the Portuguese terrified all the princes of India
who had been their enemies. Nizam-al-Mulk and Adel Khan sent ambassadors
to the viceroy to renew the former treaties of peace; and the zamorin,
to obtain the more favourable reception from the viceroy, employed the
mediation of Emanuel de Brito, commandant of the fort at _Chale_. Brito
accordingly promised his interest, and the zamorin sent _Cutiale_ as his
ambassador to Goa accompanied by a splendid retinue, where he was
received by the viceroy with much courtesy and great pomp. Had not the
viceroy fallen sick, he intended to have gone to Calicut, to perform
the ceremony of swearing to the observance of the articles of
pacification and amity which were agreed to upon this occasion; but he
sent his son Don Alvaro on this errand, under the discretion of some
discreet men, as Alvaro was very young. They came to Paniany with a
numerous fleet, where they were met by the zamorin, accompanied by the
kings of Chale and Tanor. The peace was confirmed and ratified with
great demonstrations of joy on both sides, and lasted thirty years to
the great advantage of the Portuguese.

The illness of the viceroy became serious and threatened to end fatally,
insomuch that he could not attend to the affairs of government; for
which reason he proposed that some worthy person might be chosen to
supply his place, and even desired that the choice might fall upon his
son Don Alvaro. This surprised all men as violating the public liberty
of choice, and might have proved of dangerous consequence, had not the
death of the viceroy prevented its adoption. On the death of the
viceroy, the _first_ patent of succession was opened in which Martin
Alfonso de Sousa was named; but he had gone a short while before to
Portugal. On the _second_ being opened, Don Stefano de Gama was therein
named, who then lived in retirement a short way from Goa.

Don Stefano de Gama, who was the son of Don Vasco de Gama the discoverer
of India, entered upon the government in the beginning of April 1540.
The first thing he did was to have his whole property publicly valued,
that it might not be afterwards laid to his charge that he had acquired
riches during his government; and indeed at his death, his fortune was
found considerably diminished. Finding the public treasury very much
exhausted, he advanced a large sum to it from his own funds. In the next
place he refitted the fleet, which had been laid up by his predecessor
after his return from Diu. He likewise founded the college of _Santa
Fe_, or St Faith, at Goa for the education of the heathen youth who were
converted, appointing the vicar-general Michael Vaz as first rector. He
sent his brother Christopher de Gama, to attend to the repair of the
ships at Cochin, and gave notice to several commanders to hold
themselves in readiness to oppose the _Rumes_ or Turks, whose fleet was
reported to be again proceeding towards the western coast of India. But
being afterwards credibly informed that the Turks would not set out
this year, he attended to other affairs.


_Journal of the Voyage from Goa to the Straits of Bab-al-Mandab_.[262]

Having expedited all the affairs of his government, and collected an
armament of 80 sail of different sorts and sizes, on board which 2000
soldiers were embarked, besides mariners and rowers. Don Stefano de Gama
set sail from the bar of Goa, at sunrise of the 31st December 1540, on
his expedition to Suez. The wind was easterly, blowing from the land,
and they advanced under an easy sail, coming to anchor about ten o'clock
at the mouth of the river _Chaparoa_. Proceeding on their voyage till
the 13th of January 1541, they saw in the morning of that day great
quantities of weeds which grow on the rocks of the sea coast, and soon
afterwards a sea-snake, being indications of the neighbourhood of land;
and when the sun was completely risen, they descried the island of
Socotora, whither they were bound in the first place, bearing due south.

[Footnote 262: We now take up the Rutter or Journal of Don Juan de
Castro, but Purchas has chosen to omit the navigation from the Malabar
coast to the Island of Socotora, _to avoid prolixity_.--E.]

After coming to anchor at this island, I inquired at the principal
pilots of the fleet how far they had reckoned themselves from the land
when we first came in sight. The chief pilot was 90 leagues short; the
pilot of the _Bufora_ galleon 100 and odd; those who made the least were
70 leagues short; and my own pilot, being only 65 leagues, was nearest
in his reckoning. They were all astonished at this difference, and all
affirmed in excuse for their short reckoning, that the way was actually
shorter than was expressed on the charts; with them the Moorish pilots
concurred in opinion, affirming that it was only 300 leagues from Goa to
Socotora[263]. The island of Socotora is 20 leagues in length from east
to west, and 9 leagues broad, being in lat. 12 deg. 40' N. on its north
side. This northern side runs east and west, somewhat inclined towards
the north-west and south-east The coast is all very clear without rocks
and shoals, or any other hinderance to navigation. The anchoring ground
in the road is sand, stony in some places, but not of such a nature as
to cut the cables. On this side the north wind blows with such force as
to raise up great heaps of sand over the hills, even beyond their
highest craggy summits. In the whole circuit of the island there is no
other place or harbour where a ship may winter in safety. The sea coast
all around is very high, and girt with great and high mountains, having
many pyramidal peaks, and having a grand appearance. The tides on the
coast of this island are quite contrary to those on the opposite shore
of India, being flood when the moon rises in the horizon, and as the
moon ascends the tide of ebb begins, and it is dead low water when the
moon comes to the meridian of the island; after which, as the moon
descends, the tide begins to flow; and when set it is full sea. I made
this observation for many days by the sea side, and always found it

[Footnote 263: The real distance is 430 marine leagues, and the
difference may be easily accounted for by the operation of an eastern
current, not observed or not sufficiently allowed for.--E.]

If I am not deceived, this island of Socotora was in ancient times named
_Dioscorides_, and had a city of the same name, as appears in the
_sixth_ table of Asia by Ptolemy: But by the situation which he has
given it, he appears to have had bad information from navigators[264].
The Socotorians are Christians, their ancestors as they say having been
converted by the holy apostle Thomas. The island has many churches, in
which there is _no oracle_[265] except the cross of Christ. They pray in
the _Chaldean_ tongue; and are very ignorant, but as I was informed they
are desirous of being instructed in the doctrines and ceremonies of the
Romish church, which they confess to be alone good and worthy of being
followed. The men have names like us, as John, Peter, Andrew, &c. that
of the women being generally Mary. The manner of life of these people is
singular, as they have no king, governor, prelate, or other person in
authority, but live in a manner like wild beasts, without any rule, or
order of justice or policy[266].

[Footnote 264: Don Juan omits all mention of the island of _Abdal
Kuria_, about nine leagues E.S.E. of Socotora, with two intersposed
small islands, called _Las Duas Hermanas_ or the Two Sisters.--E.]

[Footnote 265: Probably meaning no images or Christian idols.--E.]

[Footnote 266: Since then they have been subdued by the Arabs.--Astl.]

In the whole island there is no city or great town, and most of the
people dwell in caves, though some have small thatched cottages,
separated from each other, more savage than pastoral. Their food is
flesh and wild dates, and their drink chiefly milk, as they taste water
but seldom. They are much devoted to the cross, and you will hardly meet
a single individual without one hanging from the neck. Their
dispositions are good; their persons tall and straight, their faces
comely but swarthy, the women being somewhat fairer, and of very honest
behaviour. They have no arms either of defence or offence, except very
short swords of dead iron. The men go entirely naked, except a clout of
a certain cloth called _Cambolis_, a considerable quantity of which is
manufactured in the island. The country is very poor, and produces no
other merchandise than _verdigris_[267] and _sanguis draconis_; but the
_verdigris_ is in great abundance, and is esteemed above all. All the
island is mountainous, and breeds abundance of all kinds of cattle like
those of Europe. There is no wheat or rice or other provisions of that
kind, which I believe is not the fault of the ground, but owing to want
of skill and industry in the people; as the land within the external
mountains is fresh, and hath many vallies and plains, very convenient
for culture. They have no manner of navigation, neither do they catch
any fish, though the sea around their coast has an infinite quantity.
They have very few fruit trees, among which the palm tree is chiefly
esteemed, and produces a principal part of their food. The land produces
all kind of garden and medicinal plants, and the mountains are covered
with the herb _Basil_ and other odoriferous herbs.

[Footnote 267: By verdigris is probably meant the Socotorine

Leaving Socotora, we were very near Aden in the morning of the 27th of
January 1541, which was to the north-west, distant from us about 6
leagues. The wind being from the east and fair, we sailed W.S.W. and
then knew that the land we had seen the evening before, thinking it an
island, was the mountain of Aden. This mountain is very high and is full
of crags on every side, with some very high peaks, like the hill of
Cintra, having a noble appearance. This hill descends to the sea, into
which it projects a very great and long cape or promontory; on each side
of which there is a deep harbour or bay, the strong city of Aden being
situated on that which is to the east of the cape. In ancient times the
hill was called _Cabubarra_, famous among navigators, and the city of
_Aden_ was then known by the name of _Madoca_. Within these three years,
this city of Aden has fallen under the power of the Turks, being taken
by the treachery of Solyman Pacha, governor of Cairo, in the following
manner. At the request of the king of Cambaya and all the inhabitants of
the _Straits of Mecca_[268], the grand Turk sent the governor of Cairo,
Solyman Pacha eunuch, with a great fleet of ships and gallies for India.
On coming to Aden, the king and inhabitants, fearing the treachery of
the Turks, refused to allow them to come into their city, but supplied
them, with all kinds of provisions and necessaries. As Solyman and his
soldiers shewed no resentment, the king became reassured, and after many
messages and declarations of friendship on both sides, consented to an
interview with the Pacha on board his galley, that they might treat
respecting the conquest on which the Pacha was bound. But the king was
made prisoner by Solyman on board the galley; and the Turks landing
possessed themselves of the city, before the gates of which the king was
hanged next day. Whereupon Solyman left a garrison to keep possession of
the city, and proceeded on his voyage to Diu.

[Footnote 268: This singular expression certainly means the Red Sea,
which the Arabs often call the Straits of Mecca, or more properly the
Gulf of Mecca; sometimes Bahr-hejaz, or the Sea of Hejaz, one of the
provinces of Arabia.--E.]

From the Cape of _Guardafu_ on the coast of Africa, anciently called
_Aromata_, and from the opposite promontory of _Siagros_ or Cape
_Fartak_ in Asia, all the sea to the city of _the heroes_, now _Suez_,
is called the _Arabian Gulf_, vulgarly the Red Sea. The distance between
these two promontories may be 58 leagues. From these promontories the
coast on both sides of this sea extends towards the west, nearly at the
same distance, till they come to the two cities of _Aden_ in Arabia; and
_Zeyla_ in Ethiopia or _Abexi_[269]; and from thence the two shores
begin to approximate rapidly, with desert coasts and little winding,
till they almost meet in the straits which are formed by two capes or
promontories; that on the Arabian side being named _Possidium_ by the
ancients, but I could never learn either the ancient or modern name of
that on the side of Ethiopia[270]. This strait between the promontories
is called by the neighbouring people and those who inhabit the coasts of
the Indian ocean _Albabo_[271], which signifies the gates or mouths in
the Arabic language. This strait is _six_ leagues across, in which space
there are so many islands, little islets, and rocks, as to occasion a
suspicion that it was once stopped up. By those straits, sluices, and
channels, there entereth so great a quantity of water, which produces so
many and great creeks, bays, gulfs, and ports, and so many islands, that
we do not seem to sail between two lands, but in the deepest and most
tempestuous lake of the great ocean. Now returning to the mouths of the
strait, which is the object of our description, we are to note that the
land of Arabia at this place stretches out into the sea with a long and
large point or promontory; and as there is a great nook or bay, it
appears on coming from sea as if this cape were an island separate from
the continent. This is what was named the promontory of _Possidium_ by
Ptolemy. Not more than a stones throw from this promontory is a small
islet called the Isle of the _Robones_. For _Roboan_[272]in Arabic
signifies a pilot, and in this isle dwell the pilots who are in use to
direct ships coming from sea to the ports for which they are bound
within the straits. This islet is round and quite flat, about the sixth
part of a league in circuit, and the channel between it and the main
land of Arabia may be crossed on foot at low water; but at one
quarter-flood it becomes too deep for being waded. To seawards from this
little island about a league from the coast is an island about a league
and a half in length, which has a large haven on the side towards
Ethiopia secure in all winds, where a large fleet of gallies may be
safely harboured; but the side of this island towards Arabia has neither
harbour nor landing-place[273]. This channel is easily sailed in the
middle, steering N.W. and by W. from S.E. and by E. having 11 fathoms
all through. It is all clean in every place, without flats, shoals, or
any other obstruction, so that it may be passed on either side or in the
middle. The whole ground is a soft coral rock, with hardly any sand.
Being far within the channel, and going to seek the road or haven for
shelter from the east winds which are here very strong, the depth
somewhat diminishes, but is never less than 9 fathoms.

[Footnote 269: Meaning Abassi, Abyssinia, or Habash.--E.]

[Footnote 270: The cape on the Arabian shore is called Arrah-morah, or
of St Anthony, and that on the African _Jebul al Mondub_, or _Mandab_,
which signifies the Mountain of Lamentation, as formerly explained
respecting _Bab-al-Mandub_, the name of the straits--E.]

[Footnote 271: In Arabic _Al Bab_ is the gate, and _Al Abwah_ the gates.
By the Turks it is called _Bab Bogazi_, a general name for all straits;
and _the babs_ by the English sailors.--Ast.]

[Footnote 272: Rather Roban or Ruban.--Ast.]

[Footnote 273: The island of Prin.--E.]

Besides this channel of the Arabians[274], there are many others by
which we may safely enter the straits; but we shall only mention one
other, which they called the channel of Abyssinia, between the _Island
of the Gates_, or _Prin_, and the promontory opposite to _Possidium_,
which is on the Abyssinian shore, and is about five leagues broad; but
in this space there are six great high islands, which being seen by
sailors while without the straits are apt to put them in fear that there
is no passage that way; but between all these islands there are large
channels of great depth all of which may be taken without danger, or
leaving them all on the right hand, we may pass in safety between them
and the coast of Abyssinia. At noon on the 29th of January 1541, I took
the altitude of the sun, which at its great height rose 62-3/4 degrees
above the horizon, the declination of this day being 15 degrees, whence
the latitude of the promontory _Possidium_ and mouth of the straits is
12 deg. 15' N. The pilot took the same altitude with me, and being taken on
the land, it cannot but be accurate.

[Footnote 274: From this expression it is probable that Don Juan had
described the channel between the island of Pria and the shore of
Arabia, or rather the pilot island.--E.]


_Continuation of the Voyage, from the Straits of Bab-el-Man-dub, to

On the same night, two hours after midnight, we set sail from the mouth
of the straits, and by day-light on the 30th we saw the land of both the
Arabian and African coasts, being nearer to the latter. The wind blew
hard at E.S.E. till noon, and we sailed to the N.W. and by W. making our
way by a channel between the first islands and the coast of Abyssinia,
till that day unknown to the Portuguese, being about 4 leagues distant
from that coast. An hour after sunrise, we saw a range of islands along
the coast, most of them low, stretching from S.E. to N.W. and which
extended about 60 leagues. Continuing our course in this channel with a
fair wind, we saw many little islands on either side, at whatsoever part
we cast our eyes. In this channel of the _Abyssins_, as it is called,
it is not proper to sail by night, nor unless the wind is in the poop,
as if the wind should change there is not room to turn to windward,
neither can we come to anchor till so far forward _as the first of the
first islands_, when we shall observe to seawards nine little islands,
and from thence forwards the sea remains free and open to seaward, but
towards the land there still are many islands. Some of these islands are
about two leagues distant from the coast, but the greatest part of them
are close to the land. The length of this channel, between the three
first islands and the coast of Abyssinia is about 8 leagues, and the
safest navigation is nearer the continent than the islands: But in my
opinion no one ought to venture upon this passage without a pilot of the

On the 31st day of January we came to a shoal with six fathoms water,

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