Moroccan princesses visit Portugal: rare eye-witness account

Sousa (João de). Narração da arribada das Princezas Africanas ao Porto desta Capital de Lisboa. Seu desem-barque para terra, alojamento no palácio das necessidades, hida para Queluz, seu embarque, e volta para tangere.

Lisbon, Academia Real das Sciencias, 1793.

4to. (8), 36 pp. Marbled paper boards.


First and only edition of a Portuguese eyewitness description of the visit of Moroccan princesses to Portugal in 1793. In April 1793, Molei Abdessalam, the son of Mahomet XVI, sent his wives, concubines and children on a ship to Salé in north-west Morocco. He gave them instructions that if they could not reach that city, they should go to Portugal. Indeed, they were forced to go there due to illness and stormy weather, and they entered the bay of Cascais. The Portuguese sent João da Sousa, the author of this account, to meet them. Da Sousa, born in Damascus and the first professor of Arabic at the University of Lisbon, spoke Arabic fluently, so he could welcome them. He gives an account of their stay from their arrival to their departure in August, describing the tours they were given, their introduction to the Portugese king in Queluz and their entertainment in Portugal. A list at the end notes 221 people on the ship, naming the African princesses and reporting the number of crew members in different categories, such as slaves, a secretary, musicians and the male servants and their wives. Because Da Sousa was so close to these Moroccan princesses and could communicate with them, his book provides a rare and very intimate account of the visit of these Moroccan princesses to Portugal.

Some small stains on the title-page and one stain in the lower right corner throughout, not affecting the text, but still in good condition.

Documentos y manuscritos árabes del occidente musulmán medieval, p. 417. WorldCat (2 copies).

Stock Code: BN#50031 Tags: ,