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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.
preparing the means of their being performed, I have derived much authentic information; as, likewise, by the perusal of many letters and memorials, which were written by men of credit and reputation, all of which I have examined as evidences of the authenticity of my work, both while in India and since my return into Portugal.  As the matters I meant to write of were many, so it became necessary for me to acquire information from many sources; and as those whom I examined were upon oath, it is lawful for me to bring them forward as sure evidence.  In these researches some of these men had to be sought after in almost every part of Portugal; and being separated in sundry places, my inquiries have occasioned great travel of my person, and much expence; to which I have devoted the greater part of my life, and have constituted the preparation for this work my sole recreation.  Since my residence in the university of Coimbra, in the service of your highness, I have joined together all these informations; which, together with the duties of my office, have caused much toil both of body and mind.  Having now accomplished the composition of this book and others, I most humbly offer the same to your highness; and, after many and most fortunate years of governing, I pray God to take you from the transitory seignory of this earth, and to receive you into the perpetual joys of Heaven.

    Hernan Lopes de Castaneda.

SECTION I.

Previous steps taken by the King of Portugal, John II. preparatory to the Discovery of India.

Don John, the second of that name, and thirteenth king of Portugal, considering that all spices, drugs, precious stones, and other riches which came from Venice, were brought out of the east, and being a prince of great penetration, and high emprize, he was greatly desirous to enlarge his kingdom, and to propagate the knowledge of the Christian faith to distant regions.  He resolved, therefore, to discover the way by sea to the country whence such prodigious riches were brought, that his subjects might thereby be enriched, and that his kingdom might acquire those commodities which had hitherto been brought by way of Venice.  He was much encouraged to this enterprise, by learning that there were Christians in India, governed by a powerful monarch called Presbyter John, who was reported to be a Christian prince, and to whom he thought proper to send ambassadors, that an intercourse of friendship might be established between them and their subjects.  He consulted, therefore, with the cosmographers of the time, whom he directed to proceed according to the example already given in sailing along the coast of Guinea, which had been formerly discovered by command of the prince his uncle, Master of the order of Christ.  Accordingly, Bartholomew Diaz, one of the officers of the royal storehouse at Lisbon, was sent upon this expedition, who discovered that great and monstrous

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