The first European to enter the Arabian Gulf: the only documents actually originating from Albuquerque

Albuquerque, Afonso de. Cartas de Affonso de Albuquerque, seguidas de documentos que as elucidam [...] sob a direcção de Raymundo António de Bulhão Pato [...].

Lisbon, Typographia da Academia Real das Sciencias, 1884-1935.

7 volumes bound in 3. Small folio. XXIII, (1), 448, LVIII, 454, (2) pp. XV, (1), 406, (2), XXXVI, 332 pp. CXLVII, (1), 514, CVIII, 498, (2), 313 pp. Contemporary half calf with giltstamped spine.


The letters of Afonso d'Albuquerque (1453-1515), the Great, published from 1884 onwards under the direction of the Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa, and edited by Raymundo Antonio de Bulhão Pato. While Albuquerque's famous "Commentaries", which ran to a large number of editions, were collected from his papers by his son Afonso (d. 1580), who published them posthumously in 1557, "the only documents actually originating from the father are in the form of letters" (Howgego). This definitive collection includes a large number of despatches to the King. Albuquerque was one of the most striking personalities in the history of Portuguese discovery and colonialism and is the founder of the Portuguese Empire in the East Indies. He advanced the three-fold Portuguese grand scheme of combatting Islam and securing the trade of spices and the establishment of a vast Portuguese Asian empire. He was the first European to enter the Gulf, led the first voyage by a European fleet into the Red Sea, and was also the first Westerner to reach the coast of South-Eastern Arabia: "In 1506 Albuquerque was despatched from Lisbon on an expedition, intended to consolidate Portuguese supremacy in the Indian Ocean. His instructions were to monopolize trade with East India for Portugal, and to exclude both Venetians and Saracens from Indian waters [...] Attacks were made on the Arab ports at Malindi, Hoja, Lamu and Brava, before continuing to Socotra [...] Sailing from Socotra with six ships, Albuquerque coasted the Arabian peninsula, sacked Muscat and Sohar, and then launched an attack on Hormuz during the months of September and October 1507. In spite of the overwhelming forces assembled against him by the island's twelve-year-old ruler, Albuquerque mounted a successful siege, with the result that the ruler become a vassal of the Portuguese crown [...]" (Howgego I, 19-21).

Occasional foxing and browning as common, due to paper.

Howgego I, 21. Henze I, 36. OCLC 3133888.

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