Diu Repels the Portuguese

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

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.


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

It has a very good harbour, and is a port of much trade in merchandise, and of much shipping from Malabar, Baticala, Goa, Dabul and Cheul; and the people of Diu sail to Aden, Mekkah, Zeyla, Barbara, Magadoxo, Brava, Melinde, Mombaza, Xer, Ormuz, and all parts of the kingdom.[60] 

And the Malabars bring hither rice, cocoa nuts, jagara, wax, emery, iron, and sugar from Baticala, and all the spices that can be got in India and Malacca; and from Chaul and Dabul they bring a large quantity of cotton stuffs, which they call beyranies, and caps for women, which are carried from this place to Arabia and Persia. 

And they load at this port for the return voyage cotton cloths of the country and silk stuffs, horses, wheat, vegetables, sesame, cotton, oil of sesame, and opium, both that which comes there from Aden, and that which is made in the kingdom of Cambay, which is not so fine as that of Aden; and they export many coarse camlets and silk stuffs made in this kingdom of Cambay, and thick carpets,taffeta, scarlet cloth, and of other colours. 

They also export the spices and things brought to them from India, by the people of the country, to Aden, Ormuz, and all parts of Arabia and Persia, so that this town is the chief emporium of trade which exists in all these parts. 

This town gives such a large sum of money as revenue to the king, for the loading and unloading of such rich goods, that it is a subject of marvel and amazement; for they also bring to it from Mekkah much coral, copper, quicksilver, vermillion, lead, alum, madder, rose-water, saffron, and much gold and silver coined and uncoined. 

The king keeps a Moorish governor in this place called Melquiaz; an old man, and a very good gentleman, discreet, industrious, and of great information, who lives with great order and regularity in all his affairs. He makes much artillery, and has many rowing barges, very well arranged, small and very light, which are called Talayas. 

He has had constructed in the port a very strong and fine bulwark, in which he has very good artillery, with many lombards, and he always[61] keeps with him many men-at-arms, to whom he pays very good appointments. They are very well armed. 

He is always on his guard, and is very apprehensive of the power of the King of Portugal. He shows great honour and attention to the ships and people of Portugal who come to his port. The people of his country are kept in very good order, and governed with much justice and good treatment; he dispenses many favours and presents to voyagers and strangers in his country.

A large fleet of the Great Sultan of sailing ships and row galleys arrived at this port, well equipped, with large crews and a good armament; its captain was Emir Hussein. He came to reinforce himself in this port with the assistance of the king of Cambay and the before-mentioned governor Meliquiaz, and from thence to go to Calicut, to fight with the Portuguese, and turn them out of India. 

He was for some time in the port making many preparations, and the Portuguese fleet came there to seek for them, of which Don Francisco de Almeyda, viceroy of India, was the captain major. 

And the Moors put out to sea to meet them, and the two fleets fought in the entrance of this roadstead vigorously, and many people were killed and wounded on both sides; and at the end the Moors were beaten and captured with great slaughter, and the Portuguese took their ships and galleys, with all their arms and heavy artillery. 

They captured there many Moors, and the said Emir Hussein escaped, and left his fleet to suffer as has been told; and when Meliquiaz, who assisted and favoured them with his guard-boats and forces, saw the havoc, he at once sent messengers to the before-mentioned viceroy to seek peace of[62] him, and he sent many provisions and refreshments and other presents as a sign of peace.



Further on after this the coast begins to make a bend into Cambay towards the north, in which bend are several sea-ports of the same king, and towns of great trade. One of these is Guogari, at a distance of twenty-five leagues (from Diu), which is a very large town and a good port, where they always load many ships from Malabar and other parts of India; and many other ships bound for Mekkah and Aden. At this place all sorts of merchandise are dealt in, as at Diu.


Another is called Barbesy, a sea-port twelve leagues further on to the north, in which stretch of coast are several sea-ports of the King of Cambay. All sorts of goods are traded in for all parts, and the dues upon them produce very much to the king, who has in each of these two places his custom houses, and all are well supplied with provisions.



Further on, to north-west by north, there is another place in the mouth of a small river which is called Guendari, twenty leagues distant from Barbesy. And it is a very good town, a seaport of the same trade, because further up that river is the great city of Cambay. 

There arrived there many zambucos, which are small vessels of the Malabar country, with areca (nuts), spices, wax, sugar, cardamums, emery, ivory, and elephants: and these goods are sold there very well. And from there they carry away cotton, sesame, thread, wheat, peas, horses, alaquequas, and many other goods.

The navigation of these places is very dangerous, especially for ships with keels which draw much water, because in this gulf which the coast here makes, the ebb and flow is so great, that in a very short space of time the sea leaves uncovered four or five leagues of dry land, and in some places less; and it is expedient for those who go in there to take country pilots, because, when the tide runs down, they may know how to remain in pools of deep water such as there are there, and sometimes they make mistakes and remain upon rocks, where they are lost.

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