The Prester John of the Indies : a true relation of the lands of Prester John, being the narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520

Author: Alvares, Francisco
Beckingham, C. F. (Charles Fraser) (editor)
Huntingford, G. W. B. (George Wynn Brereton) (editor)
Uniform Title: Preste Ioam das Indias. English
Responsibility: written by Father Francisco Alvares ; the translation of Lord Stanley of Alderley (1881) revised and edited with additional material by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford
Corporate Author: Hakluyt Society
Place: Cambridge
Publisher: Published for the Hakluyt Society at the University Press
Date Published: 1961
Series: Works issued by the Hakluyt Society ; 2nd ser., no. 114, 115
Description: 2 v. (xvi, 617 p., [24] leaves of plates (some folded)) : maps ; 23 cm.
Call Number: rg 963.02 a 1961
Subject: Alvares, Francisco--Travel--Ethiopia
Galvão, Duarte, 1446-1517--Travel--Ethiopia
Albergaria, Lopo Soares de, approximately 1453-approximately 1532--Travel--Ethiopia
Sequeira, Diogo Lopes de, 1466-1530--Travel--Ethiopia
Manuel I, King of Portugal, 1469-1521
Lebna-Dengel, Negus of Ethiopia, active 1508-1540
Explorers--Ethiopia--Biography--Early works to 1800
Explorers, Portuguese--Biography--Early works to 1800
Missionaries--Ethiopia--Biography--Early works to 1800
Ethiopia--Description and travel--Early works to 1800
Ethiopia--Discovery and exploration--Portuguese--Early works to 1800
Portugal--Foreign relations--Ethiopia--Early works to 1800
Ethiopia--Foreign relations--Portugal--Early works to 1800
Ethiopia--Social life and customs--16th century--Early works to 1800
Prester John (Legendary character)--Early works to 1800
Mits'iwa (Eritrea)--Description and travel--Early works to 1800
Travellers' writings, Portuguese--Early works to 1800
Biography: Francisco Alvares (ca. 1465-ca. 1540) was born in Coimbra, Portugal, a missionary priest, explorer and chaplain to the Portuguese royal court during the reign of King Manuel I. In 1515 Lopo Soares de Albergaria was appointed to replace Afonso de Albuquerque as the Governor of India. Albergaria commanded a large fleet of Portuguese ships that set sail from Lisbon for Goa. Aboard was an embassy of diplomats bearing rich gifts bound for the court of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Lebna Dengel. The diplomats were Father Francisco Alvares, the elderly ambassador Duarte Galvão and the Ethiopian ambassador to the court of Portugal, Mattheus, returning to Ethiopia. Because of an error of judgement by Albergaria this attempt failed to reach their destination port, Massawa, on the Red Sea coast (Eritrea). In 1517 they reached the Dahlak Archipelago, where the embassy set ashore at the Portuguese island of Kamaran off Massawa. Galvão died on the island before the next passage ship could reach them. A
Notes: Includes index. Map in pocket of vol.2. Bibliography: p. 587-693.
Summary: Legends of a Christian kingdom in the East furnished a wealth of inspiration for poets, writers and explorers of the Middle Ages. In Jerusalem at the beginning of the 15th century Abyssinian priests described their country (modern Ethiopia) as the Kingdom of Prester John to Portuguese merchants. The Portuguese priest Francisco Alvares recounts a 16th-century venture to Abyssinia. The editors of this book state that Alvares' work is "incomparably more detailed than any earlier account of Ethiopia that has survived; it is also a very important source for Ethiopian history, for it was written just before the country was devastated by the Muslim Somali and pagan Galla invasions of the second quarter of the sixteenth century. He is sometimes wrong, but very rarely silly or incredible. He made a few mistakes; he may well have made others that we cannot detect because he is our sole authority; when he tried to describe buildings his command of language was usually inadequate; he is often conf