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.

Sending back the large ships from thence to Massua under the command of Lionel de Lima, de Gama proceeded on his expedition to Suez with 250 men in 16 catures or barks.  At Al-Kossir, in lat. 25 deg.  N.[350] that place was destroyed.  Crossing over to Toro, some vessels belonging to the enemy were taken.  The Turks first opposed their landing; but some of them being slain, the rest fled and abandoned the city, in which nothing of value was found; but De Gama refrained from burning the city from reverence to St Catharine, as there was a monastery at that place dedicated to her, which he visited at the instance of the friars.  Being to his great glory the first European commander who took that city, he knighted several officers, who very justly held this honour in great esteem, which was even envied afterwards by the emperor Charles V. The friars of this monastery of St Catharines at Toro are of the Greek church, and of the order of St Basil.  The city of Toro is in lat. 28 deg.  N.[351] and is thought by learned cosmographers to be the ancient Elana.

[Footnote 350:  Lat. 26 deg. 15’.]

[Footnote 351:  Lat. 28 deg. 15’.]

Proceeding onwards to Suez, after many brave attempts to sound and examine the harbour, all of which failed, De Gama resolved in person and in open day to view the Turkish gallies.  He accordingly landed with his soldiers; but the enemies shot from the town was well kept up, and 2000 Turkish horse broke out from an ambush; and, though some of the enemy were slain by the Portuguese cannon, De Gama and his men were forced to retire, much grieved in being unable to accomplish the great object of the expedition.

On his return to the fleet at Massua, he there found that owing to the severity of Emanual de Gama[352] a mutiny had taken place, and that 80 men had run away with a ship, designing to go into Ethiopia.  They were met however by a captain belonging to the king of Zeyla, and most of them slain after a vigorous resistance.  Five of the mutineers were found hanging on a gallows, executed by order of Emanuel de Gama, for having concealed the design of the other 80 who deserted.  At their execution, these men cited De Gama to answer before the great tribunal, and within a month De Gama died raving mad.

[Footnote 352:  In preceding passage, Lionel de Lima is mentioned as commanding the fleet; Emanuel de Gama may therefore be supposed to have commanded the ship that mutinied.—­E.]

About July 1541, while on its return from Massua to India, the fleet commanded by the governor Don Stefano de Gama encountered so severe a storm that one of the galliots sunk bodily, a bark was lost, and all the other vessels dispersed.  During the continuance of this dreadful tempest, many religious vows were made by the people; but that made by one of the soldiers afterwards occasioned much mirth.  He vowed, if he survived the tempest, that he would marry Donna Isabel de Sa, daughter to Don Garcia de Sa afterwards governor of India, which lady was one of the most celebrated beauties of the time.  At length De Gama arrived at Goa; and as the ships from Portugal did not arrive at the expected time, and the public treasure was much exhausted by the late charges, he loaded the goods provided for the home voyage in four galleons, and dispatched them, for Lisbon.

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