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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.

[8] Socotora is called Scorsia or Scoria in the Trevigi edition.—­E.


Of Madagascar, Ethiopia, Abyssinia, and several other Countries[1].

A thousand miles south from Socotora is Magaster[2] or Madagascar, one of the largest and richest islands in the world[3], 3000 miles in circumference, which is inhabited by Saracens, and governed by four old men.  The currents of the sea in those parts are of prodigious force.  The people live by merchandize, and sell vast quantifies of elephants teeth [4].  Mariners report strange stories of a prodigiously large bird like an eagle, called Ruch, said to be found in this country.

Zensibar or Zanguebar, is also said to be of great extent, and inhabited by a very deformed people; and the country abounds in elephants and antelopes, and a species of sheep very unlike to ours.

I have heard from mariners and skilful pilots, much versant in the Indian seas, and have seen in their writings, that these seas contain 12,700 islands, inhabited or desert.

In the Greater India, which is between Moabar or the Coromandel coast on the east, round to Chesmacoran on the north-west, there are thirteen kingdoms.  India Minor is from Ziambo to Murfili[5], in which are eight kingdoms and many islands.

The second or Middle India is called Abascia[6], of which the chief king is a Christian, who has six other kings subject to his authority, three of whom are Christians and three of them Mahometans; there are also Jews in his dominions.  St Thomas, after preaching in Nubia, came to Abascia, where he preached for some time, and then went to Moabar or Coromandel.  The Abyssinians are valiant soldiers, always at war with the sultan of Aden and the people of Nubia.  I was told, that in 1288, the great emperor of the Abyssinians was extremely desirous to have visited Jerusalem; but being dissuaded from the attempt, on account of the Saracen kingdoms which were in the way, he sent a pious bishop to perform his devotions for him at the holy sepulchre.  On his return, the bishop was made prisoner by the sultan of Aden, and circumcised by force.  On this affront, the Abyssinian monarch raised an army, with which he defeated the sultan and two other Saracen kings, and took and destroyed the city of Aden.  Abyssinia is, rich in gold.  Escier, subject to Aden, is forty miles distant to the south-east, and produces abundance of fine white frankincense, which is procured by making incisions in the bark of certain small trees, and is a valuable merchandize.  Some of the people on that coast, from want of corn, use fish, which they have in great abundance, instead of bread, and also feed their beasts on fish.  They are most abundantly taken in the months of March, April, and May.

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