Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

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.
within the equinoctial, the gold mines belonging to the king of Portugal being about the middle of that coast.[2] Beyond that coast of the gold mines, and nine degrees to the south of the winter tropic,[3] they came to a great promontory called the Cape of Good Hope, which is almost 5000 miles distant from our country.  From thence they came to the cape anciently called Prasum, which was considered by Ptolemy as the extremity of the southern regions, all beyond being unknown to the ancients.  After that they reached the country of the Troglodites, now called Zaphala, or Sofala, which our ancestors affirm to have abounded in gold, infinitely more than any other part of the earth.  Stretching from Sofala across the Barbaric Gulf,[4] they came into the Indian Ocean, and at length to the city of Calicut.  Such was their voyage, which carefully calculated, as following the coasts of the ocean, extends to the prodigious length of 15,000 miles; but which, if the lands and mountains would allow in a direct line, were greatly shorter.

Before passing the Cape of Good Hope, in consequence of being forced out of their course by a S.W. wind, they discovered a new country to which they gave the name of the Land of Parrots, because they found, there an incredible number of these birds, of many beautiful colours, some of them a cubit and a half in length and more.  We have seen two of these birds, and can vouch for the truth of the description.  On exploring this extensive coast, the navigators believed that it must necessarily belong to a continent, as they sailed along it for the space of 2000 miles without having seen either extremity.  Its coasts are inhabited by people of a tolerably handsome appearance, who go quite naked.[5]

In this voyage they lost four ships.  Two others were sent to the gold mines, which are not yet returned; and seven only reached Calicut, where they were honourably received, and had a house allotted them by the prince, and there they brought their ships to anchor.  Soon afterwards there assembled many boats of the Moors and other neighbouring people, and some frigates belonging to the great sultan, all the people belonging to which conspired together against the Christians, being exceedingly adverse to the coming of the Christians into these parts, lest they should diminish their profits.  They insisted therefore to have their ships first loaded, to the great dissatisfaction of the Christians, who immediately complained to the king of the insolence of the Moors, but soon discovered that he favoured them.  The king of Calicut was a person of very doubtful faith, and made the following answer:  That it did not seem equitable for the Moors to be permitted to finish their traffic before the Christians; and gave orders accordingly, that the Christians might carry on their trade.  The Moors trangressed this decree, and took away the goods of the Christians at pleasure; upon which disputes arose

Follow Us on Facebook