Kingdom of Dacani, First Stop Cheul

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

Duarte Barbosa (Ramusio). 1515.


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:


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. 

And on the return voyage they fill their ships with wheat, vegetables, millet, rice, sesame, oil of sesame, of which there is much in this country; and these Malabars also buy many pieces of fine muslin for women's head dress, and many beyranies, of which there are plenty in this kingdom. 

A large quantity of copper is sold in this port of Cheul, and at a high price, for it is worth twenty ducats the hundred weight, or more, because in the interior money is made of it, and it is also used throughout the country for cooking pots. There is also a great consumption in this place of quicksilver and vermilion for the interior, and for the kingdom of Guzarat, which copper, quicksilver and vermilion is brought to this place by the Malabar merchants, who get it from the factories of the King of Portugal; and they get more of it by way of the Mekkah, which comes there from Diu. 

These people wear the beyranies put on for a few days nearly in the raw state, and afterwards they bleach them and make them very white, and gum them to sell them abroad, and thus some are met with amongst them which are torn. In this port of Chaul there are few inhabitants, except during three or four months of the year, the time for putting in cargo, when there arrive merchants from all the neighbourhood, and they make their bargains during this period, and despatch their goods, and after that return to their homes until the next season, so that this place is like a fair in those months. 

There is a Moorish gentleman as governor of this place, who is a vassal of the King of Decani, and collects his revenues, and accounts to him for them. He is called Xech, and does great service to the King of Portugal, and is a great friend of the Portuguese, and treats very well all those that go there, and keeps the country very secure. 

In this place there is always a Portuguese factor appointed by the captain and factor of Goa, in order to send from this place provisions and other necessaries, to the city of Goa, and to the Portuguese fleets; and at a distance of about a league inland from Cheul is a place where the Moors
 and Gentiles of the cities and towns throughout the country come to set up their shops of goods and cloths at Cheul during the before-mentioned months; they bring these in great caravans of domestic oxen, with packs like donkeys, and on the top of these long white sacks placed crosswise, in which they bring their goods; and one man drives thirty or forty beasts before him.


Having passed this place, Cheul, at twelve leagues further on along the coast to the south towards Malabar is another town and seaport, also belonging to the kingdom of Dacani, called Damda; where there enter and go out many Moorish ships, both Guzaratis and Malabaris, with cloth and other goods, as at Cheul.


Five leagues further on is a river called Mandabad, on which is a town of Moors and Gentiles, of the same kingdom of Decani; likewise a seaport. Many ships from various parts congregate at this harbour to buy stuffs, particularly from the Malabar country. And they bring there many cocoa-nuts, arecas, and also a few spices, copper and quicksilver: for the merchants of the country buy all these goods.

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