A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.
first is the goodness and safety of the haven.  The second in the facility and good service for lading and unlading ships.  The third in its traffic with very strange and remote people of various manners and customs.  The fourth in the strength and situation of the city.  As touching the goodness and security of the port I shall first speak.  Nature hath so formed this port that no storm from the sea can enter it in any direction.  Within the haven the sea is so quiet, and runs so insensibly, that scarcely can we perceive it to have any tide.  The ground is mud.  The road in all places has five or six fathoms, and seven in some places; and is so large that two hundred ships may ride commodiously at anchor, besides rowing-vessels without number.  The water is so clear that you may plainly perceive the bottom; and where that is not seen the depth is at least ten or twelve fathoms.  The ships can be laden or unladen all round the city, merely by laying a plank from them into the warehouses of the merchants; while gallies fasten themselves to stones at the doors of the houses, laying their prows over the quays as so many bridges.  Now touching the trade and navigation of this port with many sorts of people, and with strange and remote countries, I know not what city can compare with it except Lisbon:  as this city trades with all India, both on this side and beyond the Ganges; with Cambaya, Tanacerim, Pegu, Malacca; and within the Straits with Jiddah, Cairo, and Alexandria.  From all Ethiopia and Abyssinia it procures great quantities of gold and ivory.  As to the strength and situation of this city enough can hardly be said; since to come to it, the inconveniences, difficulties, and dangers are so great, that it seems almost impossible:  as for fifteen leagues about, the shoals, flats, islands, channels, rocks, banks, and sands, and surges of the sea, are so many and intricate that they put the sailors in great fear and almost in despair.  The situation of the city is this:  In the middle of a great nook or bay, is a perfectly flat island almost level with the sea and exactly round, being about a quarter, of a league in circuit, upon which the city of Swakem is built; not one foot of ground on the whole island but is replenished with houses and inhabitants, so that the whole island, is a city.  On two sides this insular city comes within a bow-shot of the main land, that is on the E.S.E. and S.W. sides, but all the rest is farther from the land.  The road, haven, or bay surrounds the city on every side to the distance of a cross-bow shot, in all of which space, ships may anchor in six or seven fathoms on a mud bottom.  All around this bay there is a great shoal; so that the deep water is from the edge of the city all round to the distance of a bow-shot, and all beyond is full of shoals.  In this bay there are three other islands on the land side to the north-west.  The two which
Project Gutenberg
A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook