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University Bloomington

Portuguese-Speaking Diaspora

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Peregrinaçam de Fernam Mendez Pinto : em que da conta de muytas e muyto estranhas cousas que vio & ouuio no reyno da China, no da Tartaria, no do Sornau, que vulgarmente se chama Sião, no do Calaminhan, no de Pegù, no de Martauão, & em outros muytos reynos & senhorios das partes orientais, de que nestas nossas do Occidente ha muyto pouca ou nenhũa noticia. ... : e no fim della trata breuemente de alguãs cousas & da morte do santo padre mestre Francisco Xauier

Fernão Mendes Pinto. Peregrinaçam de Fernam Mendez Pinto : em que da conta de muytas e muyto estranhas cousas que vio & ouuio no reyno da China, no da Tartaria, no do Sornau, que vulgarmente se chama Sião, no do Calaminhan, no de Pegù, no de Martauão, & em outros muytos reynos & senhorios das partes Orientais, de que nestas nossas do Occidente ha muyto pouca ou nenhũa noticia....: E no fim della trata breuemente de alguãs cousas, & da morte do Santo Padre mestre Francisco Xauier, escrita pelo mesmo Fernão Mendez Pinto... Lisbon: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1614. [Pilgrimage of Fernão Mendes Pinto: in which he relates the many and very strange things that he saw and heard in the realms of China, Tartaria, Sornau, commonly known as Siam, and in those of Calaminhan, Pegú, Martavão and in many other realms and lands in parts of the Orient, of which there is very little or no news in our Western lands. . .  The last part briefly deals with a few things and the death of the saintly priest and teacher Francisco Xavier, written by the same Fernão Mendes Pinto.]

Mendes Pinto’s account of his travels through the Middle and Far East have dazzled and drawn skepticism from centuries of readers. His is a marvelous story of a man who was shipwrecked and held captive countless times during his travels. He contends that he was among the first Westerners to visit Japan and was instrumental in initiating the period of Namban trade there. In Japan, he supported the founding of the first Christian church after forging a friendship with Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest who was later canonized. Mendes Pinto entered the Jesuit order for a short period of time. He was critical of Portuguese imperialism and often described the Chinese as civilized compared to the Portuguese. This is one of the great pieces of historiography and travel literature written in the late 16th century.