In the year 1515, five ships sailed from Lisbon under the command of Juan de Sylveira, three of which arrived in Lisbon, and the other two were lost on the sands of St Lazarus. By orders from the king, proceeding on information that the Soldan was fitting out a great fleet at Suez, Soarez sailed from Goa on the 8th of February 1516, with 27 sail of vessels of various sizes and descriptions, having 1200 Portuguese and 800 Malabar soldiers on board, besides 800 native seamen, and directed his course for the Red Sea in order to oppose the Mameluke fleet. On arriving at Aden, Miramirzan the governor immediately offered to surrender the place, declaring he would have done so to Albuquerque if that officer had not at the very first proceeded to hostility. The real state of the matter was that the place was indefensible, as Reis, Soliman, the admiral of the Egyptian fleet of which Soarez was in search had beaten down a part of the wall so that the town was defenceless. Lope Soarez was so much pleased by this flattering offer that he trusted Miramirzan and declined taking possession of the city till his return from the Red Sea, and went away in search of Reis Soliman; but he neither met with him, nor did he take Aden on his return. While on his voyage up the Red Sea, Don Alvaro do Castro with forty men was lost through covetousness, as he so overloaded his ship with goods from some captured vessels that she became water-logged and went to the bottom. Some other ships of the fleet received damage during this part of the voyage. Hearing that Soliman was driven by stress of weather to Jiddah, where he had no means of defence, Soarez determined to sail to that place.
Jiddah or Juddah, the sea-port of Mecca, is a town and harbour of Arabia on the eastern shore of the Red Sea in about 22 deg. of north latitude, situated in a most barren soil composed of deep loose sand, being more calculated for commerce than delight. The buildings are good, but the harbour very bad, and its inhabitants consist partly of native Arabs and partly of foreign merchants. It was fortified by Mir Husseyn after his defeat by Almeyda, under pretence, of defending the sepulchre of Mahomet, but in reality for his own security as he was afraid to return defeated to the Soldan. While he was occupied in constructing the fortifications, Reis Soliman a