[Footnote 153: The Taprobana or Sielendive of the ancients certainly was Ceylon, not Sumatra.—E.]
[Footnote 154: The Andaman and Nicobar islands, in long. 93 deg. East from Greenwich, reach from the lat. of 6 deg. 45’ to 15 deg. N.—E.]
Of the Island of Sumatra and the City of Malacca.
The island of Sumatra is very large and is governed by many kings, being divided by many channels through which there is a passage. Towards the west end is the kingdom of Assi or Acheen, under a Mahometan king who has great military power, besides a great number of foists and gallies. This kingdom produces large quantities of pepper, besides ginger and benzoin. The king is a bitter enemy to the Portuguese, and has frequently gone against Malacca, doing great injury to its dependent towns, but was always bravely resisted by the citizens, with great injury to his camp and navy, done by their artillery from the walls and batteries.
[Footnote 155: This assertion is unintelligible, unless the author means to include a number of small islands off the coast as belonging to Sumatra.—E.]
[Footnote 156: Foists are described as a kind of brigantines, rather larger than half gallies, and much used by the Turks and other eastern nations in those days for war. Maons, formerly mentioned among the ships of Soliman Pacha in the siege of Diu, are said to have been large flat-bottomed vessels or hulks, of 700 or 800 tons burden, having sometimes seven mizen sails.—Hakluyt.]
Leaving Sumatra on the right hand, I came to Malacca, which is a city of wonderful trade in all kinds of merchandise from various parts, as all ships frequenting those seas whether large or small must stop at Malacca to pay customs, even though they do not load or unload any part of their cargoes at that place, just as all ships in Europe frequenting the Baltic must do at Elsineur. Should any pass under night without paying the dues at Malacca, they fall into great danger afterwards, if found any where in India without the seal of Malacca, having in that case to pay double duties.
I have not gone beyond Malacca during my Indian peregrinations. Indeed the trade to the east of Malacca, particularly to China and Japan, is not free for all, being reserved by the king of Portugal to himself and his nobles, or to those who have special leave for this purpose from the king, who expects to know what voyages are made from Malacca eastwards. The royal voyages from Malacca eastwards are as follow. Every year two galleons belonging to the king depart from Malacca, one of which is bound for the Moluccas to lade cloves, and the other goes to Banda for nutmegs and mace. These two are entirely laden on the kings account, and do not take any goods belonging to individuals, saving only the privilege of the mariners and soldiers.