Antonio Galvano, the author of the following Summary of the Discoveries of the World, was a Portuguese gentleman, who was several years governor of the Molucca Islands, and performed signal service to his country in that honourable station, by dissipating a formidable league, which had been entered into by the native princes of these islands, for the expulsion of the Portuguese; and, though possessing very inadequate resources for the protection of so important a commercial establishment, he confirmed and extended the dominion and influence of Portugal in these islands. When first appointed to the command in the Moluccas, Galvano carried with him a private fortune of 10,000 crusadoes, all of which he expended in the public service. Though he added a clear revenue to the crown of 500,000 crusadoes, in consequence of his successful, vigilant, and pure administration, he was so zealous in patronizing the propagation of the Christian religion among the islands belonging to his government, that, on his return to Lisbon in 1540, he was reduced to such extreme poverty, as to be under the necessity of taking refuge in the hospital, where he died in 1557.
Francis de Sousa Tavares, the original Portuguese editor of this treatise, in a dedication of the work to Don John Duke of Aveira, gives the following account of the work, and of its author:
“Antonio Galvano, when on his death-bed, left me this book, along with his other papers, by his testament; and, as I am certain he designed that it should be presented to your highness, I have thought proper to fulfil his intentions in that respect. It was fitting that this treatise should be written by a native of Portugal, as it treats of the various ways in which the spiceries and other commodities of India were formerly brought to our part of the world, and gives an account of all the navigations and discoveries of the ancients and moderns, in both of which things the Portuguese have laboured above