A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
which is fifty leagues from Calicut.  The inhabitants of this city are idolaters, but it is frequented by many merchants from different places, as its district produces excellent pepper.  At this place we found certain merchants who were Christians, calling themselves followers of the apostle St Thomas.  They observe lent, or the fast of forty days, as we do, and believe in the death and resurrection of Christ, so that they celebrate Easter after our manner, and observe the other solemnities of the Christian religion after the manner of the Greeks.  They are commonly named John, James, Matthew, Thomas, and so forth, after the names of the apostles.  Departing thence, after three days journey we came to another city named Coulan, about twenty leagues from Caicolon.  The king of this place is an idolater, and has an army of 20,000 men always on foot.  Coulan has an excellent harbour, and the surrounding country produces plenty of pepper, but no corn.  By reason of the wars, we made no stay here, and on our way farther we saw people fishing for pearls, in the manner already mentioned when treating of Ormuz.

[Footnote 83:  From the distance and direction of the journey or voyage, this name may possibly be an error or corruption for Cranganore.—­E.]

The city of Coromandel on the sea coast, is seven days sail from Coulan.  It is very large, but without walls, and is subject to the king of Narsinga, being within sight of the island of Ceylon[84].  After passing the southern point of Cape Comorin, the eastern coast of India produces abundance of rice.  This city is resorted to by vast numbers of Mahometan merchants from many distant countries, as from it they can travel to various great regions and cities of India.  At this place I met with certain Christians, who affirm that the body of St Thomas the apostle is buried in a certain place about twelve miles from the city, where several Christians continually dwell to guard the body of the saint.  They told me that these Christians are evil intreated by the natives, on account of the war carried on by the Portuguese against the people of the country; and that the Christians are often murdered in secret, that it may not be known to the king of Narsinga, who is in amity with the Portuguese, and greatly favours the Christians.  Once on a time there was a conflict between the Christians and Mahometans, in which one of the Christians was sore wounded in the arm.  He immediately repaired to the sepulchre of St Thomas, where, making his prayers and touching the holy shrine, he was immediately healed by miracle, upon which, as it is said, the king of Narsinga has ever since greatly favoured the Christians.  At this place my companion sold much of his merchandize; but on account of war raging in the country, we determined to depart, and calling with much danger over a gulf 20 leagues broad, we came to the large island of Zailon, or Ceylon.

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