5/19/2024


Enrique of Malacca
Who Was Enrique of Malacca? Enrique of Malacca was the first person to circumnavigate the globe linguistically—he traveled so far in one direction (west) that he came to a place where his own language was spoken. Enrique may have also circumnavigated the globe completely, a full circle of the earth beginning and ending in Malacca or somewhere in the Philippines. Enrique’s 10-year journey began in 1511 following the Portuguese invasion of Malacca and continued on Magellan’s Armada de Molucca. Enrique toured the world at a time of seismic global change. Read more about Enrique of Malacca.

Ptolemy World Map: Greco-Roman World View

Ptolemy world map, 1482.
Ptolemy world map created by Lord Nicolas the German in 1482.


It wasn’t Columbus or Magellan who proved the world was round. The flat Earth notion we hear about today was a medieval phenomenon. By 500 BCE the Greeks had established that the planet was a sphere, and in time estimated its size with surprising  accuracy.


Magellan Reaches Guam: Chamorro Outriggers Take On Spanish Carracks

Reception of the Manila galleon by the Chamorro in the "Ladrones" Islands, c. 1590.

March 6, 1521: Ferdinand Magellan's fleet reached Guam after a harrowing three-month crossing of the Pacific Ocean. Retelling the encounter, biographers typically highlight the sensational story of larcenous natives the fleet met and how the Spanish thereby chose the name Ladroni Islands (Thieves' Islands) for Guam and Rota.[1] Stories like that sell books. But the two eye-witness reports of the experience tell a second story, of the Chamorro's amazing boating skills, and it's also worth examining the visit from the Chamorro's perspective.

5/18/2024

The Gargantuan Feast of George Neville


Arms of George Neville
Arms of George Neville (c. 1432 – 8 June 1476),
Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England.

Research notes.

When George Neville[1] was installed as Archbishop of York in 1465, the event was celebrated with a feast that would have impressed the most gluttonous of kings. And as it was in much of Europe at the time, meat was the main feature, boiled, roasted, fried; flesh, fish, and game; and in greater variety than is available anywhere today.[2]

Some History on the Tomato and the Love Apple

Trout, Grouse, Tomatoes (Boston Public Library, (Source.)


A trite legend but accurate anecdote for the plant’s history, in the early 1800s people across America and Europe were terrified by an ornamental fruit that was pretty but highly poisonous, the love apple. According to the story, a man named Robert Gibbon Johnson announced to the community of Salem, New Jersey, that he was going to eat a basket of the deadly fruit in public. And as the townsfolk looked on in front of the courthouse, Johnson proceeded to openly consume a quantity of love apples and failed to keel over and die as expected, demonstrating that the tomato was, surprise, no danger at all.[1]


4/28/2024

Kingdom of Dacani, First Stop Cheul


Kingdom of Dacani, First Stop Cheul
Kingdom of Dacani, First Stop Cheul. (Source.)

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.

KINGDOM OF DACANI.

On coming out of this kingdom of Guzarat and Cambay, towards the south and the inner parts of India, is the kingdom of Dacani, which the Indians call Decani. The king is a Moor, and a large part of his people is Gentile. He is a great lord, and possesses many subjects and an extensive territory, which stretches far inland. It has very good seaports, of great trade in the goods used on the mainland, and they are the following places:

CHEUL.

Leaving the kingdom of Cambay, along the coast towards the south, at eight leagues distance, there is a fine large river, and on it is a place called Cheul, not very large, of handsome houses, which are all covered with thatch. 

This place is one of great commerce in merchandise, and in the months of December, January, February and March there are many ships from the Malabar country and all other parts, which arrive with cargoes. That is to say, those of Malabar laden with cocoa nuts, arecas, spices, drugs, palm sugar, emery, and there they make their sales for the continent and for the kingdom of Cambay; and the ships of Cambay come there to meet them laden with cotton stuffs, and many other goods which are available in Malabar, and these are bartered for the goods which have come from the Malabar country. 

3/31/2024

The Wealth of Cambay and Beyond

Cambay (Khambhat) in the 15th century
Illustration of the city of Cambay (Khambhat) in the 15th century. (Source.)

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.

CITY OF CAMBAY.

Entering this river of Guendari, to the north-east is the great city of Cambay, inhabited by Moors and Gentiles. 

It is a very large city of handsome houses of stone and whitewash, very lofty, with windows, and covered with roofs in the Spanish fashion; it has very good streets and squares, and is situated in a rich, fertile, and pretty country, full of abundant provisions. 

3/27/2024

Enrique of Malacca Interprets at Limasawa—Pigafetta's Account

Over a decade, Enrique and Magellan had traveled to within 2,600 kilometers of a full circuit
of the globe, from Malacca westward to Limasawa.


When Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition first approached Limasawa Island on March 28, 1521, Enrique of Malacca was able to serve as interpreter speaking Malay, the language used in Southeast Asian trade. Enrique had circled the globe, westward from Malacca to Cebu, to a place where his native language was spoken.


3/06/2024

First Voyage of Amerigo Vespucci


Magnificent Lord. I submit humble reverence to you and offer due recommendations. It may be that your Magnificence will be astonished at my temerity that I should dare so absurdly to write the present long letter to your Magnificence, knowing that your Magnificence is constantly occupied in the high councils and affairs touching the lofty Republic. And I may be considered not only presumptuous but also idle in writing things not convenient to your condition nor agreeable, and written in a barbarous style. But as I have confidence in your virtues and in the merit of my writing, which is touching things never before written upon either by ancient or modern writers, as will be seen, I may be excused by your Magnificence.

3/03/2024

Diu Repels the Portuguese

Diu, Civitates Orbis Terrarum, 1572.
Diu, Civitates Orbis Terrarum, 1572. Source.

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.

DUY.

Fifty leagues further along the coast, towards the south, there is a promontory, and joining close to it is a small island, which contains a very large and fine town, which the Malabars call Diuixa, and the Moors of the country call it Diu