Hernan Lopes de Castaneda.
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