The most comprehensive work on Portuguese colonial history

Barros, João de and Couto, Diego de. Da Asia. Nova ediçâo.

Lisbon, na Regia Officina Typografica, 1777-1788.

Large 12mo. 24 vols. With engraved portraits of Barros, Couto, Henry the Navigator, and Afonso de Albuquerque and 5 folding maps. Uniformly bound in contemporary full calf, spines with titles and number of volume on giltstamped red labels. Edges lightly sprinkled red.


A fundamental travel work: the best and most complete edition of what is considered the most comprehensive publication on Portuguese exploration and colonial history by João de Barros (decades I-IV) and Diego de Couto; the first edition to include decades X and XI. Books 2 and 3 of the "Decada Segunda" offer a detailed narrative of Afonso de Albuquerque's expedition to the Arabian Gulf and his conquest of Ormuz in 1507; the island remained under Portuguese occupation from 1515 to 1622. As vassals of the Portuguese state, the Kingdom of Ormuz jointly participated in the 1521 invasion of Bahrain that ended Jabrid rule of the Arabian archipelago.

This is "the best edition of this famous work on Portuguese colonial history. The first edition appeared at Lisbon, Madrid and Paris from 1552 to 1645. It consists of 12 "Decadas" (decades), comprising the history of the years 1420-1600. Only Decadas I, II, III and a part of IV are by J. de Barros, the rest is by D. de Couto, who begins his part also with Decada IV, so that there are two Decadas IV" (Laures). De Barros (1496-1570), head agent for the Portuguese overseas trade authority "Casa da Índia", managed to persuade King João III to commission from him a history of the Portuguese in India (including Asia and southeast Africa). The result earned him renown as one of the first great Portuguese historians, and the the title of a "Portuguese Livy". The 'Decades' contain "the early history of the Portuguese in India and Asia and reveal careful study of Eastern historians and geographers, as well as of the records of his own country. They are distinguished by clearness of exposition and orderly arrangement. They are also lively accounts" (Enc. Britannica).

A crisp, uniform set with a contemporary ink note by L. Quesnel on the front pastedown of the index volumes and 19th century collector's blue monogram labels (JCQ?) to flyleaves.

Cordier, BJ, 34 and BS, 2309. Innocencio III, 322. Laures 642. Streit IV, 667 (with extensive list of contents) & VI, 630. This edition not in Borba de Moraes. For the maps cf. Gole, India, 8.

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