Barbosa's Port and Town of Xeher (Al-Shihr)

Al-Shihr (Xeher). Source: Google Maps.

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.


Leaving Cape Fartach towards the coast of the open sea to the north-east by east, going along the coast L leagues off is a town of the Moors and sea-port called Diufar, a city of the kingdom of Fartach, in which the Moors of Cambay trade in cotton stuffs, rice, and other goods.


Further on from this place, in the direction of the same wind, at xx leagues off, along the same coast, is another[31] town of the Moors, called Xeher; it also belongs to the kingdom of Fartach, and is very large; it has a large trade in the stuffs, which the Moors of Cambay, Chaul, Dabul, and Baticala, and the country of Malabar, bring in their ships to this port and town of Xeher; these are coarse and fine cotton stuffs, with which they clothe themselves; granates on strings and several other jewels of small value, much rice, sugar, and spice of all kinds, cocoa-nuts, and other goods, which they sell there to the merchants of the country, who carry them from there to Aden and all this part of Arabia. 

And the importers afterwards employ the money in horses for India: these are very large and very good, and each one of them in India is worth five or six hundred ducats. And they also take from there much wormwood, which grows in that country. 

And in the interior of the country all the people are Beduins: in this country there is much wheat and plenty of meat and dates, grapes, and all other fruits which are in our parts. 

And all the ships which sail from India for the Red Sea, and having been delayed cannot arrive in good time with their merchandise at the place of their destination, remain to sell them in this port of Xeher, and from there they go to India along the coast to Cambay. And so this port is large and of much trade at all times. 

This King of Fartach is, with the whole of his kingdom, in obedience to the King of Aden, because he holds a brother of his a prisoner. 

The wormwood which grows in this country of Xeher is carried from here to all the world, and the ships of this place load the said wormwood, which is there worth a hundred and fifty maravedis the hundred weight.

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