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The Voyage of Francois Pyrard of Laval to the East Indies, the Maldives, the Moluccas and Brazil
Francois Pyrard de Laval
1611
translated into English in 1887 from the third French edition of 1619 by Albert Gray assisted by H.C.P. Bell

Vol.1 Chapter 18

Curiosity of the Maldive king. - His genealogy. - Political changes at the islands. - The king's wives, and other matters.

Kalafan - the king of Maldives
Having said enough of the island, I come now to tell more particularly of the king of the Maldives, his genealogy, wives, conduct, and various events that happened in his time. This king often asked me about the king of France, his age, manner of life, wars, armaments, ships, cannon, and other matters, and if the two ships we came in belonged to him. I answered him in some detail on these points, and said that if our king were to send ships to the Indies, it would not be two or three only, but two or three hundred, which surprised him much.

He also inquired if the French were the Franki or Franqui who were spoken of in the Indies. This question I could not well resolve at the time, but since then I have learnt that this name Franki signifies all the Western peoples: to wit, the French, Italians, Spaniards, and other Europeans, but principally the French, who in former days, by their great conquest in the holy wars of the East, wherein they took the leading part, have left their name in the Indies, since then applied in common to the rest.

The king of the Maldives asked me many other questions, among others, of the court of our king, which I described to him at length as best I could. Then I enlarged upon the greatness of the king and his state, with all which he was highly pleased.

On their part, the queens, princesses, and other ladies inquired much of the queens and princesses here, and how many wives the king had, and were greatly astonished to hear that, though so great and powerful, he had but one. But chiefly they desired to know how the ladies here conducted affairs of love - for they cared to talk and hear of nothing but love. They were vastly amazed when I told them that the ladies of these parts had no male intimates but their husbands. They also thought it a strange custom to salute wives with a kiss before all the world, and wondered at the great liberty I told them our wives had; yet they praised and commended it highly in contrast to themselves, who are always shut up. They put many more questions to me on the subject of love and women, and their conversation with men. Thus was I ever a welcome guest at the palace, and went frequently to entertain them with various stories in answer to their questions.

The king, among other things, liked to hear in detail all about the building and management of our ships. He was much astonished when I told him that the dye of red scarlet was made with the urine of men who drank wine only, in so much that he flung away a scarlet bonnet he wore, and on that account would no longer use it. They had found in our vessel some brushes of pigs' bristles and scrapers of the same; but when he knew what they were, he had them burned outside his palace, and was much annoyed at having used or even touched them. He also wanted to burn some boxes and chests covered with sea-wolf (seal) skin, thinking that it, too, was pig's skin.

He wanted to know about everything, and to what uses each was put. He much admired the art of making parchment and paper, and above all was curious to learn our science of navigation, and often made me bring the charts and marine instruments, the knowledge of which I imparted to his pilots.

He could hardly believe all I told him of our France and its king, whereof he had never heard tell before.

But to come to the genealogy of this king of the Maldives. I shall tell what I heard there, how he and his family came to the throne. His father had been katib of an island.

Earlier Maldivian king converted to Christianity
About fifty years before this time, the king of these islands, who was of noble and ancient lineage, seeing that he was but ill-obeyed, and was unable to withstand a formidable rival who wished to depose him, was inspired of God with a resolve to quit all.

He departed secretly with his wife and some of his family, without saying a word of his destination to anyone. He went straight to Cochin, where he became a christian, along with his wife and some of his followers, sending back such as would not be baptized. For this cause his rival, who was his near relative, was at once accepted as king. The name of the latter was Ali, of the former Hassan.

The ordinary title is Rascan which signifies 'King'; but when they sign, they always put 'Sultan', as do all the moslem kings. They say there are but five kings of their religion who have a right to use the title Sultan, which means Sovereign - that is to say, the Turk, the Persian, the Mogor, he of the Maldives, and the king of Acheh or Sumatra.

This former king, then, when he became a christian at Cochin, wrote word to all his subjects that they should become christians, and pay him their wonted tribute, otherwise he would come and see to it with a large army of Portuguese, who had promised him their aid.

The new king and the Maldive people made answer that they would no longer acknowledge him; that if aught was due to him he might come and get it; and that if he preferred to be a christian he should remain where he was; as for them, they would sooner die than change their faith.

Hearing this, he asked the aid of the Viceroy of the Indies at Goa, who promised it, but on terms that he should not go in person, as it was feared that he would not agree with his people, or might bring the Portuguese into difficulties. The Portuguese army then set out, but were not able to effect anything, and lost a galley with three ships, and a goodly number of men, and so were constrained to retire.

Portuguese seize Male'
The following year they returned with a stronger force and better pilots, and the new king went out bravely to meet them, though he knew himself lost; he might perhaps have escaped, but he preferred to die in battle rather than to retreat with shame. He was vanquished and put to death, and the Portuguese made themselves masters of Male', where they built a fortress, and thence sallied forth to compel the submission of the other islands, and put many of the inhabitants to the sword.

Then they assembled all the chiefs of the islands, and told them they desired to leave them at peace, and not to constrain them in any way, nor to change their religion, if only they would pay the king his dues. These terms being accepted, they left one of the island chiefs to govern, and to remain always at Male' with the Portuguese commandant, on terms that he should take no political measures but after consulting the Portuguese and the island chiefs, and that all the trade should be in the hands of the Portuguese alone. I have heard it said by the islanders that the trade and prosperity of the islands were never so great as when the Portuguese governed there.

The governor appointed by the Portuguese to rule under them as viceroy was a lord, a native of the island, and of their religion; but he did everything in the name of the christian king who lived in the Portuguese territory. This lord was grandfather to the wife of him that was king in my time.

The Two Brothers lead a revolt
The Portuguese in this way ruled the islands in peace for the space of ten years, during which time the father of this king and his brother were katibs, each of his own island, but, with the pride of their race, would never submit to the Portuguese yoke, nor obey the governor whom they had left in power. On the contrary, they rebelled and levied a force of men and galleys for war, and retired to the atoll Suvadhu, at the southern extremity of the islands, while the Portuguese dared not follow them, nor cross the channel of the said atoll; so that this atoll, and the islands belonging thereto, were never subject to the Portuguese, nor any of the other islands and atoll to the south of that channel.

These two brothers then built a strong fort, and being distant about eighty leagues from Male', where the Portuguese were, they became in time so strong in men, arms, and ammunition, that they, as it were, held Male' and the Portuguese in check, so that they dare not come out without daily experiencing a harassing war. This lasted for eight years, at the end of which arrived four galleys of Malabar corsairs for the purpose of war and pillage, as was their wont.

The two brothers accosted them, and agreed with them to make war upon the Portuguese on terms of half the booty; so one day, getting word that the captain of the fortress and island of Male' was gone to Cochin with a goodly number of Portuguese soldiers, they could not miss the opportunity, and resolved to attack the fortress: which project they carried out so well, that one night they surprised it by escalade, and made themselves masters, of the place, putting to death upwards of 300 men that were within, and taking prisoner the native governor who was set there by the Portuguese.

The place being taken and sacked, the Malabars, having got their agreed share of the spoil, were going home, leaving the two brothers masters of the town; but they, jealous to see so much of the riches of the islands being carried off, resolved to attack the Malabars. This they did, and, after a long engagement, at length were left victorious, and got both the booty and the galleys, sending the men back to the Malabar coast, and thus repaid with treachery the good service they had of them.

In this manner the two brothers became kings of the islands, and equally shared the throne without any quarrel between them. They were both men of great valour, and were acknowledged as such by the people. All the lords and chiefs of the islands submitted to them, and such as would not, had permission to retire to their own private islands without taking part in any way in affairs of state. There were many who would not obey, esteeming themselves of better lineage than the two brothers, who nevertheless knew how to make themselves feared; and when one would not obey them, they sent a force at once to sack and pillage his island. They married wives of the best houses of the country, and were acknowledged throughout all the islands and atolls as absolute kings.

As for the Portuguese, they were indignant at the rebuff they had received at the Maldives, and were resolved to avenge it; so the next year they sent an army to the islands, and carried on the war for a long time; but the two kings defeated all their forces. This war lasted three years.

Treaty with the Portuguese
These kings were very powerful, and possessed two fortresses, that of Male', and the other at the atoll of Suvadhu, in an island called Gan. At length both parties considered that it would be for the good of the country and of trade to come to some sort of understanding, rather than to continue this war to a doubtful issue; accordingly, they made a treaty, with these conditions: that the Maldive kings and their people should be left in peace to possess the islands in like manner as their predecessors, save that they should give a certain pension to their christian king, his successors and heirs, to be rendered at Cochin, but without acknowledging him in any other way; on the other hand, that the moslem kings at the islands should not be allowed to take the title and name of king, though they were to be absolute in all things, but only that of prince, duke, or the like. Also, that those two only should be entitled to this name, in their language 'Kilege', and that they should be responsible for the payment of the pension of the christian king, who on his part was allowed to have a factor there.

Furthermore, all natives of the Maldives desiring to traffic with other countries, were bound to take a passport from the Portuguese, as were all the other Indians that were at peace with them. Such were the terms of this peace, which has endured to the present day. As for the christian king, he gave a third part of his revenue to the king of Portugal: this revenue consists of these boli and cairo, coir, which is rope made of the coconut palm.

The Maldive kings send every year at their own expense four ships, of 150 tons burthen each, laden with it, and that is at the risk of the Maldivians until the ships get beyond the banks at the northern end of the islands: beyond that point, the risk is with the christian king.

The rule of Mohamed Takurufan and Hassan Kilege
Notwithstanding this peace, the Maldivians bear a deadly hatred to the Portuguese. The two brothers reigned together in peace for twenty-five years. The personal name of the elder was Mohamed; he was also called Bodu Takuru, signifying 'great lord'; he married the wife of the king who was slain at Male' by the Portuguese.

The younger was called Hassan Kilege, and married the daughter of the same king, so that the two brothers had for their wives a mother and daughter.

That deceased king had a son, who, on seeing these brothers become kings, never came to court, and was allowed to live in peace. I have seen him many a time, and his sister too.

These two kings had great difficulty in maintaining their position, for they had risen from low estate, and there were some always on the point of revolt; but the kings never gave them time to do anything, for as soon as they got the slightest word or suspicion of their intentions, they took the proper measures. As it happened, the elder brother only had a son, while the younger had a daughter, who was of noble birth on her mother's side - for in that land nobility passes by the mother as well as by the father.

The son of the elder was the king we found there, who was not of lineage so good as the daughter of the younger, for his mother was taken by the king for her beauty alone. And there they have many wives, but there is always one who is the chief, though all are lawful wives.

The revolt of Meedhoo Kilege
Subsequently, the younger of the two kings being fallen into a grievous sickness, it befell that his wife's brother, who was the greatest noble in the land, revolted against them. He bore the name of his island and fortress, to wit, Meedhoo Kilage. This island, which I have visited, is 30 leagues distant from Male' towards the south, in the atoll Nilandhoo. Thither the elder brother proceeded in force with secrecy and despatch, bidding them say nothing to his brother, who was sick unto death. At length this lord was taken and put to death, and all his island pillaged. But when the news reached Male', his sister, the younger's wife, had such sorrow that she wished for death, and they had some pains to prevent her laying hands on herself in her despair; whereupon her husband, all sick though he was, swore that if God should give him health again, his brother should rue it. For all that he died of that sickness, and men said that he was more valiant than his brother.

The reason why this elder brother despatched these great lords was, that he knew that his son would be king, and he misliked that such rivals should exist; for the son was still young, and was never like to be as valiant as his father. And so his humour turned out, as I to some extent saw, for he was in nowise inclined to war, but solely to letters, sciences, and manufactures, and he was also much given to women, as, indeed, was nothing remarkable in that land.

It is highly necessary to be valiant there, for the stronger wins the day, and they that would rule must slay the kings that be. Three were once slain in a year, the memory whereof keeps the kings in perpetual fear and apprehension. This elder brother lived three years after the death of the younger, and had his son acknowledged for king before his death, causing all his servants and subjects to swear allegiance to him.

The Two Brothers adopt a Portuguese/Indian boy
During the life time of these two kings, a great ship was wrecked on their island, in which were a great number of men, as well Indians as Portuguese, and among others a young boy, seven years of age, of Portuguese and Indian birth. For him, the two brothers conceived an affection as great as though be were their own son, and had him brought up in like manner at the house of the elder; there he kept the king's son company, both being of the same age, and was made to adopt their faith. He was one of the finest boys one could see, of such high spirit, that, as I heard from all the natives, he attained in perfection to all their sciences and accomplishments. The elder king caused him to be instructed in all kinds of exercises, in like manner and with like respect as his own son; while he, finding himself in this condition, believed himself to be brother to the young prince, going everywhere as his peer.

But when he grew to years of discretion, the kings bade tell him who he was, and advised him to be ever a good and faithful servant of the prince and future king. Moreover, after the death of the younger brother, the other made him marry his brother's daughter, the noblest and richest match in the kingdom; her he would like to have given in marriage to his own son, did not their law forbid the marriage of cousins-german; wherefore, for fear lest some other great lord of the realm should get her and make war upon his son, he preferred to give her to this young man, in whom he had perfect trust and confidence, as being his own creature; also he considered that, as a stranger, he could have no pretension to the throne.

After the death of his father, the young prince peaceably succeeded; the young mestif lord became daily more brave and gallant, more beloved and honoured of the people and all the foreigners. He was admiral, or Velaanaa, and one of the six elders or Muskulhin, and captain of a company, or, as they call it, a 'sarudaru'.

Kalafan murders his popular rival
So then, seeing that the king was no warrior nor addicted to arms, while he himself was greatly esteemed for his valour, he became presumptuous and began to despise the king and to pay him but little regard; wherefore the king entertained some jealousy, and feared lest the youth, enjoying all that favour and goodwill with the world, should take it into his head to dispossess him; so he took counsel with his friends, and resolved to put him to death rather than run the risk of greater troubles.

Yet he could hardly bring his mind to do it, as well for the friendship he bore him as for the special trust regarding him wherewith his father on his death bed had charged him, and further, that he was married to his cousin. Notwithstanding these considerations, he continued his designs, being prompted by information brought to him daily, that this man was secretly treating with the Portuguese to make them masters of the kingdom and get himself made king under them.

On his part, he lacked not warning of the king's ill-will towards him, and could full well have saved himself had he been so minded; but he heeded not, saying that he was innocent of the charges against him. So one day, the king sending for him at an unwonted hour, though he doubted it would go ill with him, yet on that account he omitted not to go, nor indeed had he time to refuse. On his arrival in the great hall of the palace, where the king sat awaiting him with all his lords and guards, he made a profound reverence to the king, who saluted him in return, and bade him be seated in his proper place.

This he did, and forthwith issued from behind the tapestry, men with ropes and arms, who seized and bound him, and then dragging him along the ground, carried him to a place on the seashore, about a thousand paces off, where they put him into a boat and slew him, and then cast his body into the sea. When his wife heard of it, she fell into such grief and sorrow that it was more than two years ere she would see the king or the queens, or even go to the palace.

He left a son, who was fifteen years old when I left the Maldives, and was not at all like the Indians, being as fair as men of these parts. Such was the end of this unfortunate lord - an example to all foreigners who would rise above their condition in these lands and elsewhere.

Kalafan mutilates and tortures his step-mother
Some time after this king lost his father, he began to ill-treat the wife that survived him, who was his own stepmother, and was called Mava Kilage, and whom his dying father had especially commended to his care; whereupon, in her indignation, she was resolved to be avenged. She had a brother who was one of the captains of the realm, very rich and valiant, named Faamuludeyri Kaloge, whose son, a man of high breeding, was afterwards one of my greatest friends.

This woman, then, and her brother conspired against the king's life, with design to make this boy king and his father lieutenant-general, and to divide all the offices of state among those of their faction. But their enterprise was discovered, and the king had them seized and forthwith given over to justice, swearing an oath that whatever justice should ordain should be carried out without hope of pardon. They had their hands cut off, this brother being the first to suffer, and were then exiled to Suvadhu. As for the step-mother, she was bereft of all she had, as also was her brother, and she was even tortured to make her discover her treasure.

Revolt of Fashana Takuru
So little security was there in the political estate of the Maldive king; treasons and attempts were practised upon him day by day, and the spoil remained to the stronger. There was afterwards another revolt, which lasted a long time, during which this king was forced to quit the island of Male', and retire to another called Guraidhoo ten leagues off.

This revolt was raised by a great lord of the country, named Fashana Takuru, who had a number of galleys and big ships, with which he pillaged and ravaged all the islands whereat he cast anchor. The king withdrew to this island of Guraidhoo because the access to it was narrow and exceeding difficult, and a very expert pilot was required to find the passage.

This lord, then, became so strong and puissant that wheresoever he landed he caused to be borne over his head a white parasol, called 'hudhu haiykolhu', which is a mark of royalty; and in all other respects he made himself served and obeyed as king, distributing and granting to his followers the revenues and offices of the state.

But after the king had sent against him many ships and men at arms, at length he was caught: for I shall say, in passing, this king never went to war himself, he only despatched forces; nor was he valiant like his father, who always went in person, and as soon as he heard of anyone bestirring himself, he gave him no time, but took measures at once.

As for this rebellious lord, the cause of his capture was that while his galleys were in the south of the islands, the currents then running east bore the greater part of them to Acheh, in Sumatra, and the remnant of the force, thus weakened, were all taken. Most of the men were put to death with their leader, and the remainder only had a hand cut of, and were then sent into exile: for thus it is enacted by their law that those who conspire against their prince, or make attempts on his person, have their right hand cut off. Of those who were carried to Acheh, some returned after a time, the king extending to them his grace and pardon.

Dangers of the currents
With regard to these currents, of which I have just spoken, they run for six whole months each way, so that if a vessel happens to be at the northern extremity of the islands it is no great matter, for then it is only carried to Cochin, on the coast of India, or thereabouts, about 150 leagues distance, or to some of the islands along that coast. But if they cannot make the island of Ceylon, they are carried to Sumatra, a distance of about 500 leagues; and if ill-luck has it that these currents carry them away at the close of the monsoon or seasons (when the current carries them, they call that 'behigen gos'), and before they make land anywhere, they are caught in the other current; as often happens, they are infallibly lost, as I have seen in a number of cases, when they were expecting to make land every night, and were without water and other provisions.

If the current carries them to the west, they are borne straight to the Arabian coast, which is much further off than that of Sumatra; but most often they are dead before they get there. One day I saw a boat which had been carried off by these currents, and while it was a long way out, suddenly the currents changed and brought it back to these islands; but most of those on board were dead, and the rest only skin and bone, to such straits had they been reduced.

Ship from Java carrying 500 people wrecked on Guraidhoo island
I have made mention above of Guraidhoo. I was at that island one day, and saw the mast and rudder of the ship that was lost there, wherein was the foreign queen who died in childbirth while I was about the king. I was told that it was the richest ship conceivable. It had on board some 500 persons, men, women, and children, for the Indians take the greater part of their household to sea with them. These 500 persons were nigh all drowned, and there remained but a hundred saved.

This queen's father and mother, to whom the ship belonged, were among those that perished, and she, at that time but a child, was saved by chance. This ship came from Sunda (west Java), laden with all kinds of spices and other merchandise of China and Sunda. Judging merely from the mast of this vessel, I thought it the largest I had ever seen, for the mast was taller and thicker than those of Portuguese carracks; and the king of the Maldives built a shed of the length of the mast to keep it as a curiosity. I saw also another mast and a top much larger than those of Portugal. Thus was I led to believe that in the Indies they build vessels larger and of better material than in Portugal or anywhere else in the world.

The greatest ships come from the coast of Arabia, Persia, and Mogor, and some have as many as 2,000 persons on board. They build not their ships with as many decks as we, for they have but one, the main deck, and below they have none, not even a tween deck; as for their water, they keep it not in pipes and jars as we do; but on each side of the main-mast, which goes down to the ship's bottom, they fix two wooden cisterns, well joined and secured, so that the water is well preserved, and there are merely holes for drawing the water as from a well. These are of greater capacity than our pipes, and take up less room.

But I observe that our system of pipes is better, for one reason, namely, that if any accident happens to these cisterns they lose all their water at once. It is not so with us, for in case of a cannon shot, all that can happen is the loss of one or two pipes; or if any one goes bad, all the water is not spoiled.

Throughout the whole of India they nowhere use our system of pipes. They use only certain handsome jars, of finer shape and lacquer than I have seen elsewhere. Some of these will hold as much as one pipe, or even more. They are made in the kingdom of Martaban, (Mottama, Burma), whence they are exported, and take their name throughout all India. The water never goes bad in them, and the jars are kept shut by a key.

The affair between Simon Rodrigues and Kanboi Bubu, wife of Mohamed Kaka
But to return to this ship of the queen, which was lost at the island of Guraidhoo, I would tell what, during the time I was there, befell an honorable, rich, and discreet merchant of Bengal, called Mohamed Kaka, and his wife, also a foreigner, and very beautiful and fair complexioned for those parts - she was called Kanboi Bubu, Kanboi being her personal name in the language of Bengal, and Bubu signifying Mademoiselle. Both were wrecked with the queen; they were her slaves, and were about thirty years of age, and had no children. The queen had such an affection toward them that she made them stewards of her household, and placed all her confidence in them, seeing that they had been about her in their youth; thus they rose to extraordinary wealth, to credit and favour with her majesty.

But no sooner was their kind mistress dead, in manner already described, than every kind of misfortune and disaster overtook them. Theirs was the happiest home in the world, the fullest of concord and love; but, as misfortune would have it, their house adjoined the warehouse or lodging of the factor of the christian king at Goa, who always has one such at these islands. This factor was a man of Cochin, of the race of Hindu Canarins, but baptised and naturalised as a Portuguese in dress and manners. He had been baptised as a child, and had a wife and children at Cochin; he was called Simon Rodrigues, and was at this time about twenty-seven years of age.

It is customary not to leave these clerks or factors there, when they are christians, for more than a year or two, so as they may come and render their duty to the Church, for in these islands there is no exercise of the christian religion; but this fellow would not return so soon, and remained there four years. He learned exceedingly well the language and customs of the country, and made himself so agreeable to the king, and to all the inhabitants, that although he was recalled, and three other clerks one after another were sent to succeed him, yet he managed so cleverly, by making presents to the king, that he had not to budge. The king also, being written to, answered that he would not detain him, but could not and would not force him to go against his will.

So this clerk and the merchant's wife being neighbours, fell into an intrigue of the closest kind, and indulged their amours at their ease, the merchant being often absent at his trading. This continued for the space of two years without discovery; but at length the husband became aware of it, and getting certain information by means of spies, resolved to have his satisfaction.

The more easily to attain his end, he made as though he were going abroad for a fortnight, according to his wont. He equipped a barque in the usual way, took leave of his wife, commending all his affairs to her keeping, and departed; but after nightfall he put back to land, and about eleven o'clock at night went straight to his wife's bedchamber, and finding her not in her bed, he presently went to the palace to find the king, who used never to retire till after midnight.

The first person he met was the master of the galleys and all the king's ships, who was to all appearance an intimate friend of the factor; yet, as an instance of the faithlessness of these people, he was the first to apprise the king, and to assist the merchant in obtaining justice, as we shall see hereafter.

The husband, on being introduced to the king's presence, made his complaint that his wife was abed with a christian, whom they call 'kafaru', and that he and his wife were moslems, whom they call that is, the faithful, and that his majesty should be pleased to have justice done. On hearing this, the king ordered the master of the galleys to take twelve soldiers of the guard, and to put the factor to death, and cast his body in the sea.

These men forthwith surrounded his house, and knocked at his door to gain admittance. The poor factor was so astonished he knew not what to do, yet trusting to the king's friendship for him, and to the master, who cried out to him to open the door, with assurance of safety, he was so ill-advised as to open it, then throwing himself at his feet, prayed him to save his life; but he was slain on the spot, the other being the first to strike him.

At this result, those who had owed him money were well enough pleased, as also was the king, who wanted to be possessed of his great wealth, the which he seized incontinently. The Portuguese, too, were not annoyed; and thenceforth it was arranged that the factors should no longer be men of Cochin, but of the islands.

The unfortunate man being thus slain, the husband went straight to his wife to do the like to her; but he was with difficulty restrained, and she was cast into prison, to come up for judgment thereafter. At first it was proposed to drown her, but seeing that the man was dead, and his goods seized, they were content to punish her in the usual manner, as all others are who are taken in adultery or lewd practices, but somewhat more rigorously. Her husband refused even to see her, and got married again, this time to a young girl of the country, as I shall tell hereafter with what came of that marriage.

Kalafan's affair with the pilot's wife - the king stabs her husband
To return to the king of the Maldives. Some years after the death of his father he became enamoured of a married woman, the fairest in complexion and beauty in all the land, and abandoned his first wife, whom his father had made him espouse, in order to get this woman, who had three daughters as fair as herself, all married to princes and great lords. I have often seen her arm, as she showed it to us out of coquetry, and it was as white as that of the fairest in our country here.

Her husband was a pilot, the cleverest in the country in his profession and in trade, and a man of large means. The king and this woman loved each other much and he was minded to marry her, while she daily strove to persuade her husband to consent to leave her, but he would do nothing; wherefore in her anger she advised the king to put him to death.

This the king for the love of her resolved to do; and having sent for him one day to give him some information about navigation on the country chart, when the man came, and was making his obeisance, the king gave him a blow with a dagger, intending to plant it in his abdomen, but the man raised his hand to parry the stroke, and turned the dagger straight into his eye, which it put out. He was not otherwise hurt, for I saw him often afterwards. He was an agreeable companion, and he it was who gave me the news of our mate and comrades who escaped from the island of Fulhadhoo, having himself seen them chained by the feet.

So, to return to this woman, she got the king to marry her, but, after living together for a while, he fell in love with her who was the chief queen while we were there, and so got tired of the other - who, in truth, was the lewdest woman in the world, abandoning herself indifferently to all sorts of men, slaves, as well as others. Yet that was not the sole cause why the king left her.

Kalafan forces his nephew's wife to divorce and marry him
Now the king had two nephews, brothers, of whom the elder was married to the richest young lady in all the islands, the grand-daughter of the governor of the country under the Portuguese rule. She was also sister to the prince, who came to our ship, and with whom the king was so annoyed that he boxed his ears, as I have related above. This lady was of noble birth, young and beautiful, and so the king. became enamoured of her; but the mischief was that her husband would not leave her, nor she him: for she had no ambition to be queen, preferring her first condition and liberty.

The husband and wife, then, aware of the king's intentions, resolved to escape in a barque along with a younger brother, who afterwards died with the king, as I shall tell hereafter; but while carrying out their plan they were unluckily surprised at their setting out: the king's galleys caught them and brought them back to Male', where the poor husband was constrained to quit his wife, for sorrow whereof he was for a whole year without going beyond his house, and so died. It was also much against the will of the young lady - as, indeed, she afterwards showed, for she never bore the king any goodwill, and always had other male friends.

Before marrying her, the king was constrained to leave his other wife, who would not by any means consent to quit him, for a separation must needs be by the free will and consent of both parties, otherwise the man restores her dowry to the woman, and then quits her whether she will or no; but it is dishonourable and scandalous for a woman to take it.

This the king did in the case of this first queen, for he gave her her dowry and rank, and left her, and then married the other. The former remained unmarried ever after, for the king did not permit her to marry again, and without that none would dare to espouse her. Her first husband would not speak to her again, although they had had three daughters of their marriage. The king liked this man much, and did him many benefits.

This lady was very gay in her dress, pearls, and jewels, and the king gave her a fine house in the island, where she resided at her ease in all respects, but without marrying again. She spent her time in pleasure and was much visited, and had a large retinue of servants and slaves.

As for the other, the king never afterwards abandoned her; and when he was killed she was still with him, with two foreign women; but she always maintained her regret for her first husband, who was, as it were, first prince of the blood, and lieutenant-general of the forces.

Abortion
The king being now well on in years, and having reared no children while he was young, saw that those he might now have would be still young when he came to die, and would be liable to be set aside and bereft of their inheritance; he therefore resolved to have no more: and accordingly, while I was there I heard that for four or five years he had no intercourse with this chief queen, because she was very prolific, and had already by him a son and a daughter, both of whom died at six or seven years of age. And yet these people have no scruples in killing the child in its mother's womb, deeming it better for them so to die than come into the world. But the queens had no great concern that the king went not to see them, for they were never in want of male friends, who used to visit them when they pleased.

Kalafan forces Mohamed Kaka's wife to divorce and marry him
But to return to the merchant of Bengal, that would not take back his wife, as related above. He married another woman, who was thought to be the most lovely in all the islands: and in truth she was no whit inferior to the fairest in these parts, save that her skin was not quite so white. She was eighteen or twenty years of age, and was chosen by him for her beauty alone, being neither noble nor rich: he, however, had plenty of means for both.

Now a second misfortune befell him, for as he lived near the royal palace, no sooner did the king set eyes on this wife, than he became violently enamoured of her, and having attained his desire, even compelled her to separate from her husband, whom he threatened to cast into the sea, should he refuse to consent, insomuch that the unfortunate man was constrained to quit her with all possible regret; and, three months before the great Maldive disaster, the king took her to wife, because the Fandiyaru told him that, to free his conscience, it were better for him to marry her than to continue in the sin wherein he was. Such were the misfortunes that befell this poor merchant one upon another, which had never occurred but for the death of his kind mistress.


Footnotes 1887:

The Fort at Male'
The fort, being at present (1835) filled up with earth, is a solid mass, in height about twenty feet, faced with stone, and on it are mounted ten guns, which, though very old and almost useless, are taken care of by being covered in. As no native inscription is to be found on this fort, similar to those on the bastion built at the angles of the wall that partly surrounds the island, and as it exhibits signs of more skill than has been evinced in the other defences which appear to have been constructed by the natives, having a round front and gentle slope upwards from the inner line of the base, it seems probable that it is an erection of the Portuguese (Christopher).
Mr. Bell says that it has been partially excavated since Christopher's time: he also noticed some twenty or thirty iron guns lying about in the rank vegetation, and two brass guns with Arabic inscriptions.

Bodu Takurufan
Tradition still keeps alive in the Maldives the story of those stirring times, and of the national heroes who threw off the Portuguese yoke. The following is from the mouth of Mr. Bell's Maldive pandit, a native of Nolhivaramfaru, in Thiladhunmati atoll:

'When Sultan Hassan, who was the son of Sultan Yusub, left the islands, Ali, his rival, reigned in his stead. Incited by Hassan, who had become a christian, the Portuguese made an attempt to take Male', but failed for want of ammunition. They returned two or three times, and after four years' war took Male', and slew the Sultan Ali.

'His death was on this wise - being faint and parched with thirst during the final attack, he was seen by a toddy drawer from the neighbouring island of Viligili, who, crossing on a coconut-shell raft, offered the wearied Sultan some sweet toddy. As he drank, a shot put an end to his life. His body was washed ashore on an islet westward of Male' (only dry at low tide), called to this day Ali Rasgefanu Ziyaraiy.

'The Portuguese left as their governor at Male a half-caste named Andiri Andiri, whose father was the sole survivor of a wreck at Huvadu (Suvadive) atoll, and married a Maldive woman, leaving two sons, Andiri and another. During the Portuguese rule there was also a Viyadoru living at Baara, in Thiladhunmati atoll, as atoluveri (the 'thief of Baara', referred to in the letters patent of the christian king Dom Manoel, i.e. Hassan, dated 2 October 1561).

'At Utheemu, in Thiladhunmati atoll, lived Hussein Katib Takurufan, father of the noble brothers, Mohamed Bodu Takurufan and Hassan Kilegefan. On the death of their father, the brothers, with a lad named Ali Dandahelu, went to Male' to obtain for one of the brothers the title and office of Katib, held by their late father. They asked, 'In which of our two names?' 'In that of the elder,' replied Andiri. Henceforth the elder was always styled Bodu Takurufan.

'This elder brother induced the Viyadoru at Baara to build a gundara, which he stole, and therewith yearly visited the Malabar coast, and at length surprised and killed the Viyadoru. The brothers and the lad then removed their families to Minicoy, and carried on for years a desultory war throughout the atolls. They gradually regained them from the Portuguese, and finally captured Male' and slew Andiri, the governor. The elder brother then occupied the throne till his death He was succeeded by his son, Kalafan (Sultan Ibrahim of Pyrard's time), who came to his death by the hands of some strangers, and was buried at Kanimeedhoo, in Kolhumadulu atoll.'

It will be seen that the tradition differs from Pyrard's narrative only in minor points, such as that the Portuguese governor was a half-caste. As to the Sultan Hassan, who became a christian under the name of Dom Manoel, and the Portuguese accounts of their invasions of the Maldives, see App. B.

The Bodu Takuru title shows that he was not of royal or even of high birth.

Gan, Huvadu atoll
There are said to be traces of an old fort still visible.

Portuguese-Maldive Treaty
The terms of the treaty as between the Portuguese and the Maldive princes de facto, do not appear in the Portuguese records. The tribute payable by the ex-king to the Portuguese treasury is frequently alluded to. From the King of Spain's despatch of the 10th January 1587, it appears that Dom Manoel (Hassan) engaged to pay, and did pay, to the Portuguese 500 bahars of coir. If Pyrard is right in saying that his tribute was one third of what he received, the Maldive tribute would be 1,500 bahars of coir. In 1606 the ex-king Dom Filippe complained to the King of Spain that his revenue, which formerly amounted to 18,000 xerafins, had dwindled to 5,000.

Faruna, Fashana
The minister next in rank to the Kilage.

Mogor
The application of the word Mogor to the territories of the Great Mogul is adopted by the author from Portuguese use.

Martaban Jars
Mr. Bell saw some large earthenware jars at Male', some about two feet high, called 'rumbaa', and others larger and barrel shaped, called 'mataban'. The name seems to survive also on the Madras coast; e.g. we find in Mr. P. Brown's Zillah Dictionary (1852), 'Martaban - name of a place in Pegu: a black jar in which rice is imported from thence.' Linschoten writes: "In this town (Martaban) many of the great earthen pots are made, which in India are called Martauanas, and many of them carried throughout all India of all sorts, both small and great: some are so great that they hold full two pipes of water.' Ibn Batuta shows that the term was current in the fourteenth century.




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