A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

Zipangu[2] is a very large island on the east, and fifteen hundred miles distant from the shores of Mangi.  The people of this island are of a white complexion and of gentle manners, and have a king of their own.  They have gold in great plenty, as Jew merchants report thither, and no gold is allowed to be exported.  Such as have traded to this island speak of the kings palace as being covered over with gold as our churches are with lead, and that the windows and floors are likewise of gold.  It abounds in pearls, and is amazingly rich.  Hearing of the vast opulence of this island, Kublai Khan sent two of his barons, Abasa and Vensaasin[3], with a fleet and a great army, to attempt the conquest.  Sailing from Zaitum and Quinsai[4], they arrived safely on the island, but falling out between themselves, they were only able to take one city, all the garrison of which they beheaded, except eight persons, who could not be wounded with steel, because each had an enchanted stone inclosed between the skin and flesh of their right arms.  These men were beaten to death with clubs, by order of the generals.  Soon after this a violent north wind arose, which flew so hard as greatly to endanger the ships, some of which were lost, and others blown out to sea.  On this, the whole army re-embarked, and sailed to an uninhabited island, at the distance of about ten miles:  But the tempest continuing, many of the ships were wrecked, and about thirty thousand of the people escaped on shore, without arms or provisions; the two generals with a few of the principal persons, returning home.  After this tempest ceased, the people of Zipangu sent over an army, in a fleet of ships, to seize the Tartars; but having landed without any order, the Tartars took the advantage of a rising ground in the middle of the island, under cover, of which, they wheeled suddenly round between the Zipanguers and the ships, which had been left unmanned, with ail their streamers displayed.  In these ships, the Tartars sailed to a principal city of Zipangu, into which they were admitted without any suspicion, finding hardly any within its walls except women, the men being all absent on the expedition into the uninhabited island.  The Zipanguers collected a new fleet and army to besiege the city, and the Tartars receiving no succour, were constrained to surrender, after a defence of six months, on terms by which their lives were spared.  This happened in the year 1264[5].  For the bad conduct of the two commanders, the great khan ordered one to be beheaded, and sent the other to the desert island of Zerga, in which malefactors are punished, by sewing them up in the new flayed hide of a buffalo, which shrinks so much in drying, as to put them to exquisite torture, and brings them to a miserable death.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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