CESAR FREDERICK’S CRUISE UP THE GANGES IN THE YEAR 1568

The transcript below is from the document ‘Voyages and Travels of Cesar Frederick in India’ published in the book A GENERAL HISTORY AND COLLECTION OF VOYAGES AND TRAVELS compiled by ROBERT KERR. The specific reference to the book is VOL VII, PART II, BOOK III, EDINBURGH, 1812. Cesar Frederick writes .. In the year 1563, while residing at Venice, being desirous to see the eastern parts of the world, I embarked in a ship called Gradaige of Venice , bound for Cyprus .. He further states (p 143) Having for the space of eighteen years continually coasted and travelled over almost all the East Indies, and many other countries beyond the Indies . He landed India (Goa) possibly in 1565, though not clearly stated in his travelogue. He made several voyages from Goa to Malacca and back coasting the west and east coast of India. In page 173 he states: In my return voyage in 1566, I went from Goa to Malacca . In another context he states (p 155): When I was in Goa in 1570 In one of his several cruises from Malacca to Coromandel he landed Orissa coast possibly during 1568-69 and then sailed up the Ganges

Section XVI: Of the Kingdom of Orissa and the River Ganges (p. 178- 181)

This was a fair and well regulated kingdom, through which a man might have travelled with gold in his hand without danger, so long as it was governed by its native sovereign who was a Gentile, and resided in the city of Catecha six days journey inland [Cuttack, at the head of the Delta of the Mahamuddy or Gongah river, in lat 20º 30ʹN 86º 9ʹ E, is probably here meant. It is only about 45 miles from the sea, but might have taken 6 days journey from the port where the author took shelter, which is probably Balasore – Ed]. This king loved strangers, especially merchants who traded in his dominions, insomuch that he took no customs from them, neither did he vex them with any grievous impositions, only that each ship that came thither paid some small affair in proportion to her tonnage. Owing to this good treatment twenty-five ships, great and small, used to lade yearly in the port of Orissa, mostly with rice and with different kinds of cotton cloths, oil of zerzerline or verzino which is made from a seed and answers well for eating or frying fish, lac, long pepper, ginger, dry and candied mirabolans, and great store of cloth made from a kind of silk which grows on trees requiring no labour or cultivation, as and when the bole or round pod is grown to the size of an orange, all they have to do is

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to gather it. About sixteen years before this, the Pagan king of Orissa was defeated and slain and his kingdom conquered, by the king of Patane [Patna], who was also king of the greatest part of Bengal. After the conquest of Orissa, this king imposed a duty of 20 per centum on all trade, as had been formally paid in his other dominions. But this king did not enjoy his acquisitions long, being soon conquered by another tyrant, who was the great Mogul of Delhi, Agra, and Camabia, against whom the king of Patane made very little resistance.

Departing from Orissa I went to the harbour of Piqueno in Bengal, 170 miles to the east from Orissa. We went in the first place along the coast for 54 miles when we entered the river Ganges. From the mouth of this river to a place called Satagan, where the merchants assemble with their commodities, are 100 miles, to which place they row up the river along with the flood tide in eighteen hours. This river ebbs and flows as it does in the Thames, and when the ebb begins, although the barks are light and propelled with oars like foists, they cannot row against the ebb tide, but must make fast to one of the banks of the river and wait for the next flood; These boats are called bazaras and patuas, and row as well as a galliot or any vessel I have ever seen. At the distance of a good tide rowing before reaching Satagan we come to a place called Buttor, which ships do not go beyond, as the river is very shallow upwards. At Buttore a village is constructed every year, in which all the houses and shops are made of straw, and have every necessary convenience for the use of the merchants. This village continues as long as the ships remain there; but when they depart for the Indies, every man goes to his plot of houses and sets them on fire. This circumstance seemed very strange to me; for as I passed up the river to Satagan, I saw this village standing, having a great multitude of people with many ships and bazaars; and at my return along with the captain of the last ship, for whom I tarried, I was amazed to see no remains of the village except the appearance of the burnt houses, all having been razed and burnt. Small ships go up to Satagan where they load and unload their cargoes. In this port of Satagan twenty-five or thirty ships great and small are loaded yearly with rice, cotton cloths of various kinds, lac, great quantities of sugar, dried and preserved mirabolans, long pepper, oil of Verzino, and many other kinds of merchandise. The city of Satagan is tolerably handsome as a city of the Moors, abounding in everything, and belonged formerly to the king of Patane or Patna, but is now subject to the Mogul. I was in this kingdom four months, where many merchants bought or hired boats for their convenience and great advantage, as there is a fair every day in one town or city of the country. I also hired a bark and went up and down the river in the prosecution of my business, in course of which many strange things. The kingdom of Bengal has been long under the power of the Mahomedans, yet there are many Gentile inhabitants. Wherever I speak of Gentiles I am to be understood as signifying idolaters, and by Moors I mean the followers of Mahomet. The inhabitants of the inland country do greatly worship the river Ganges; for if one is sick. He is brought from the country to the banks of the

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river, where they build for him a cottage of straw, and every day they bathe him in the river. Thus many die at the side of the Ganges, and after their death they make a heap of boughs and sticks on which they lay the dead body and then set the pile on fire. When the body is half roasted, it is taken from the fire, and having an empty jar tied about its neck is thrown into the river. I saw this done every night for two months as I passed up and down the river in my way to the fairs to purchase commodities from the merchants. On account of this practise the Portuguese do not drink the water of the Ganges, although it appears to the eye much better and cleaner than that of Nile.

Note by the Editor: Of Satagan, Buttor, and Piqueno, in the kingdom of Bengal, no notices are to be found in the best modern maps of that country, so that we can only approximate their situation by guess. Setting out from what the author calls the port of Orissa, which has already been conjectured to be Balasore, the author coasted to the river Ganges, at the distance of 54 miles. This necessarily implies the western branch of the Ganges, or Hoogly river, on which the English Indian capital, Calcutta, now stands. Satagan is said to 100 miles up the river, which would carry us up almost to the city of Sautipoor, which may possibly have been Satagan. The two first syllables of the name are almost exactly the same, and the final syllable in Sautipoor is a Persian word signifying town, which may have been gan in some other dialect. The entire distance from Balasore, or the port of Orissa, to Piqueno is stated at 170 miles, of which 154 have been already accounted for, so that Piqueno must have been only about 16 miles above Satagan, and upon the Ganges.

SDG Geology1950 29.06.2012

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