Sailing with a fair wind, they got sight of land, which the pilots foretold before they saw it; this was a great mountain which is on the coast of India.
Continuing Vasco Da Gama Sails Around Africa and Opens the Sea Route To India,
our selection from The Three Voyages of Vasco da Gama: and His Viceroyalty by Gaspar Correa published in 1556. The selection is presented in ten easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Vasco Da Gama Sails Around Africa and Opens the Sea Route To India.
The captain-major made a hole with pickaxes in a stone slab at the entrance of this river, and set up a marble pillar, of which he had brought many for that purpose, which had two escutcheons, one of the arms of Portugal, and another, on the other side, of the sphere, and letters engraved in the stone which said, “Of the Lordship of Portugal, Kingdom of Christians.” The captain-major, seeing how much the seamen and masters and pilots worked, especially his own, notwithstanding the imprisonment which he had inflicted upon them, when he was about to quit this River of Mercy, made them all come to his ship, where he addressed them all, beseeching them not to suffer weakness to enter their hearts, which would induce them to wish to commit another such error by harboring thoughts of treason, which is so hideous before God, and always brings a bad end to those who engage in it; he said that he well saw that faint-heartedness was the cause of what had passed, and that he forgave all. And that since the Lord had been pleased to deliver them from so many dangers as they had passed up to that time, by his great mercy, therefore they should put their trust in him, who would conduct them in such manner as to obtain the result which they were going in search of; by which they would gain such great honors and favors as the King would grant them on their return to Portugal; and he would present them to the King, and would relate their great labors and services, and that they ought to bear in remembrance these great advantages, which would be such a cause of rejoicing for all of them. They, with tears of joy, all answered, “Amen, amen, may the Lord so will it of his great mercy.” And they weighed anchors and went out of the river with a land-breeze.
Sailing with a fair wind, they got sight of land, which the pilots foretold before they saw it; this was a great mountain which is on the coast of India, in the kingdom of Cananor, which the people of the country in their language call the mountain Delielly, and they call it of the rat, and they call it Mount Dely, because in this mountain there were so many rats that they never could make a village there. As it was the custom to give the fees of good news to the pilots when they see the land, they gave to each of the pilots a robe of red cloth and ten testoons; and they went on approaching the land until they saw the beach, and they ran along it and passed within sight of a large town of thatched houses inside a bay, which the pilots said was named Cananor, where many skiffs were going about fishing, and several came near to see the ships and were much surprised and went ashore to relate that these ships had so much rigging and so many sails and white men; which having been told to the King he sent some men of his own to see, but the ships had already gone far, and they did not go.
In this country of India, they are much addicted to soothsayers and diviners, especially on this coast of India, which is named the country of Malabar, and they call these diviners canayates. According to what was known later, there had been in this country of Cananor a diviner so diabolical, in whom they believed so much, that they wrote down all that he said, and preserved it like prophecies which would come to pass. They held a legend from him in which it was said that the whole of India would be taken and ruled over by a very distant king, who had white people, who would do great harm to those who were not their friends; and this was to happen a long time later, and he left signs of when it would be. In consequence of the great disturbance caused by the sight of these ships, the King was very desirous of knowing what they were, and he spoke to his diviners, asking them to tell him what ships were those and whence they came. The diviners conversed with their devils, and told him that the ships belonged to a great king and came from very far; and according to what they found written, these were the people who were to seize India by war and peace, as they had already told him many times, because the period which had been written down was concluded. The King, much moved, asked them whether his kingdom would receive much injury. They replied that our people would do no harm except to those who did it to them.
Upon this the King became very thoughtful, and talked of this frequently with his people, who very much contradicted what the diviners said, and they told him not to believe them, for in this they never hit upon the truth, because at the time that our ships arrived more than four hundred years had elapsed since in one year more than eight hundred sail of large and small ships had come to India from the ports of Malacca and China and the Lequeos, with people of many nations, and all laden with merchandise of great value, which they brought for sale; and they had come to Calicut, and had run along the coast and had gone to Cambay; and they were so numerous that they had filled the country, and had settled as dwellers in all the towns of the sea-coast, where they were received and welcomed like merchants, which they were. When those people arrived thus on the coast of Malabar everybody considered that they were the people whom their prophecies mentioned as those who would take India, and they had inquired of the diviners, who, looking at their records, told them not to be afraid, since the time when India was to be taken had not yet arrived.
We want to take this site to the next level but we need money to do that. Please contribute directly by signing up at https://www.patreon.com/history