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Les Arméniens dans le commerce asiatique au début de l'ère moderne

 | 
Sushil Chaudhury
, 
Kéram Kévonian

IV. Les Arméniens dans l'Océan Indien / Armenians in the Indian Ocean

12. Armenian Merchants in Portuguese Trade Networks in the Western Indian Ocean in the Early Modern Age

João Teles e Cunha

Texte intégral

1According to Caspar Correia it was a Moorish pilot who gave Vasco da Gama the first information of Armenian presence in the Índian Ocean some 500 years ago. The pilot informed Gama in Mozambique Island haven that he could find fellow-Christian merchants in the great trade port of the Swahili Coast: Kilwa. Thus, Gama had reached one of the objectives set by King Dom Manuel I (r. 1495-1521) for his exploratory voyage, to collect information about Christians in Asia (Felner, 1921-1969, i, [1922], 43).

2A few years before Gama’s voyage, Pêro da Covilhã, one of the explorers sent by King Dom João II (r. 1481-1495) to collect information about Asian spices and Prester John, probably met Armenian traders in some of the Índian Ocean emporia they called at between 1487 and 1493 (Ficalho, 1988, 1-134). Unfortunately there is no record that Covilhâ’s information ever reached Lisbon, though he did send twice all data gathered in his voyages, the first time by a Jewish shoemaker named Joseph in 1489-1490 (Álvares, 1974 [1540], part I, chap. CIV, 282. Barros, 1778-1788 [1552-1553], Ia, III/V, 195-196); and a second time by his travelling companion Rabbi Abraham in 1491-1492 (Carvalho, 1945, 131 [Góis]. Cf. Barros, ibid., 196). Taking into account the many errors made by Gama in his maiden voyage (1497-1499), it was highly improbable that Covilhã’s two reports had ever reached their destination (Subrahmanyam, 1997, 47).

3From the 16th century onwards the Portuguese left their testimony of Armenian presence and their trade routes in a multitude of writings done by Crown representatives, private individuals, as well as missionaries who visited Asia. It is based on these accounts that we can see the evolution, the changes and the characterization of Armenian presence in Asian merchant networks. Though these sources constitute a precious guide to study Armenians, nonetheless they provide a biased version of them. There is also the problem that most of the available sources were written by Crown officials, who mentioned Armenians as rivals vis-à-vis the Portuguese trade routes; or when they tried to attract them to Portuguese commercial networks. As the Portuguese Empire in Asia was mainly a maritime one, there is paucity of data related to the inland presence of the Armenians, which can only be discerned from the testimony of those Portuguese who visited Asia as diplomats, merchants, travellers, spies, or missionaries.

4The way both sides viewed one another evolved during three centuries due to continuous political, economical and religious changes that shaped the history of Portuguese-Armenian relations. The rhythm of change had different paces according to its sources. The interest shown by authorities in Portugal did not always coincide with that displayed by the Goan government; and the same discrepancy could be seen between Goa’s officials and those stationed in Estado da Índia fortresses. Even within Portuguese Asia there were different perceptions as to the relationship with the Armenians according to their origin, e.g. reinóis (metropolitan Portuguese), casados (Portuguese married with Asian women), descendants, or assimilated ones. Besides this twofold reality (political and social), there was a third and important level connected with religion, and missionary work, though not dissociated from the other two. Missionaries seldom shared the same views of the Armenians with their protector, the Crown.

Armenian presence and trade routes in the Indian Ocean on the eve of Vasco da Gama voyage

  • 1 The plot to attract and destroy Gama’s three ships is thoroughly described by Subrahmanyam, 1997, c (...)

5Gaspar Correia was the only chronicler who registered Armenian commercial presence in Kilwa by the time when Vasco da Gama’s ships entered the Indian Ocean. According to Correia, the Moorish pilot was brought to Gama’s ship in Mozambique and tried to lure him to visit Kilwa, using the eventual presence of Christian merchants as bait, and in order to destroy the small armada. Gama, however, cautiously inquired from a local broker, one “Dauane”, about this matter, and the latter confirmed the existence of Armenian traders, though he did not know if they were Christians (Felner, 1921-1969, I, [1922], 47).1 Contemporary evidence does not give much details. The anonymous author of Vasco da Gama’s voyage diary only reported the information given by Muslim merchants in Mozambique about a rich island in the North divided between two warring communities, one of which was Christian and the other Muslim, and he did not refer to Kilwa at all (Marques, 1999, 50 [fol. 10 of the original manuscript]). Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, writing in the middle of the 16th century followed the anonymous diarist’s information (Azevedo, 1924, I/VII, 20); though his contemporary João de Barros (1778-1788, la, VIII/IV, 211), the official chronicler who had access to a translation of Kilwa’s now lost chronicle written in Arabic, referred specifically to Kilwa, and to its Christian community of Abyssinian origin (ibid., la, I/V, 307).

6Correia was wrong when he mentioned the existence of Armenians in East Africa’s coast in 1498. Though not impossible, it was highly improbable, despite the existence of a considerable Armenian diaspora along Asia and the Indian Ocean. Thanks to her geographic position in the crossroad between Asia and Europe, Armenia was in a dangerous position, as she stood in the corridor used for migrations and invasions. When the kingdom of Cilicia (Little Armenia) disappeared in 1375, Armenia vanished as an autonomous political entity; and the Armenian Church became Armenian’s point of reference, besides keeping alive her culture. The new reality led to a political, economical and cultural change in Armenian life, as her core moved to the middle valley of the Araxes River, and with Julfa (Jugha) emerging as a commercial centre, and Ejmiatzin as the new religious centre after 1441 (Pastermadjian, 1971,197-258. Aghassian, Kévonian, 1987, 155-156).

  • 2 “Emformação d’alguas cousas da Persia, dada por Coja Perquolim”: Calado, 1957,133.

7This shift of centre can be discerned in the Portuguese sources throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, which named the higher regions of Mesopotamia, especially to the north of the Upper Tigris valley as Arménia (Armenia), or more often as Grande Arménia (Greater Armenia), in order to differentiate it from former “Little Armenia”, another name for Cilician Armenia, and from northern areas around Georgia and Shirvan, whose names still echoed the weight of Classical and Arab geographers in Modern Age authors, but with different definitions. The more common division was, however, made between Lower and Upper Armenia, and the Araxes River acted as the frontier between them. Armenia Alta (Upper Armenia) was situated to the north of the Araxes River, and Arménia Baixa (Lower Armenia) to its south, with its centre around Lake Van and Bitlis, and whose southern limit lay on Miayfarkin in the upper Tigris River (Baião, 1923, 44-55). Unlike its northern counterpart, almost absent in Portuguese sources, Lower Armenia was the most described part of “Armenia”, as its routes were those usually traversed by Portuguese travellers. Surprisingly, Mestre Afonso made Tabriz the head of Upper Armenia in 1565 (ibid., 188, 197), probably due to its Armenian population, and also on account of Safavid control over great part of Upper Armenia. But he was an exception and not the rule. Around 1548, one “Coja Perquolim” informed governor Garcia de Sá (1548-1549): “From Tabriz towards Turkey all the people living in the land are Armenians subjected to the Shah, and from Tabriz downward there are no Christians.”2

  • 3 For a different version see Gulbenkian, 1995 [1972a], I, 101-131.

8If Upper Armenia presents no specific problem in its borders, its lower counterpart is more problematic given its social, religious and political background and convulsions. Despite a high percentage of Armenians living in Lower Armenia, particularly around Lake Van and Bitlis, there were other populations, namely Kurds, and also fellow Christians of Jacobite or Nestorian affiliation (Baião, 1923, 47-56, 197-237). This presents a problem, how to discern real Armenians from so-called Armenians in Portuguese sources? Political upheavals in the Middle East had led another Oriental Church, the Syrian, to shift the centre of its Patriarchate to the vicinity of Mossul after the Mongol invasions in the 13th century, and particularly after Timur’s campaigns in the late 14th and early 15th centuries (Missel, 1982, 270-274. Sélis, 1988, 34-35. Valognes, 1994, 414-415. Le Coz, 1995, 251-324). With its centre in Rabban Hormuzd convent, the activity of the Syrian Patriarchate extended as far as India, where its bishops started interacting with the Portuguese in the 16th century. As they also came from Higher Mesopotamia they were wrongly labelled as arménios (Armenians) in Portuguese sources, though theirs was a different Church (Schurhammer, 1972, 141-148. Thomaz, 1991a, 141).3

  • 4 According to a later Abyssinian envoy, Saga Za Ab, Abraham was his “true” Armenian name.
  • 5 For a different view see Gulbenkian, 1995 [1980], I, 198-199.

9Such problem is exemplified in Mateus (Matthew), the ambassador sent by the Abyssinian dowager Empress Eleni to King Dom Manuel, and labelled Armenian by the Portuguese. Although there was an Armenian community in Egypt, and even participation of Levantine communities in the exploitation of Sudanese gold mines in the 14th and 15th centuries (Labib, 1970, 69-70), there are no conclusive evidence of Armenian presence in the upper course of the Blue Nile, and in ports serving Abyssinia, namely Massawa, prior to the 16th century. The alleged Armenian ambassador, also known in Portuguese sources as Abraão (Abraham),4 was most probably a Copt (Aubin, 1976, 1-56; 1996-2000, II, 151-158).5

10Prior to this shift in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, there were Armenian communities scattered through Asia. They began their expansion, their “drag nach oosten”, with the Christian missionaries who travelled to China. They were part of a cosmopolitan set of trading communities who thrived through their commerce with India, Southeast Asia and China, and were able to resist the entry of the Muslims (Kévonian, 1998, 115). Their presence in maritime Asia had its ups and downs, but it never ceased completely (ibid., 116). An Armenian text from 1112 indicated their presence in the maritime empire of Çrivijaya, situated in the route to and from China (ibid., 37-39, 114). They were part of a larger Christian community which had laid its roots through a myriad of Asian port-cities, and their attraction for a particular place could be dictated by its religious meaning, as was in the case of Mylapore in the Coromandel Coast. Here the tomb of Saint Thomas, a major pilgrimage centre for Christians, worked as an inducement for their settlement. In 1517 there were Armenians living permanently in Pulicat, and they housed a party of Portuguese merchants en route to Bengal, and showed them the Apostle’s tomb (Thomaz, 1991b, 404).

  • 6 Letters published in English by Georg Schurhammer (1963a, 333-338); and translated from Syriac to P (...)

11Abousahl the Armenian mentioned a Nestorian Church in Barus (Sumatra) in the 12th century, which implies connections to the Syrian hierarchy in India (Malabar), and the Patriarchate in Seleucia-Ctesifont (Kévonian, 1998, 77). Religious links also had its ups and downs like commercial and social connections, and the best example of this is the Syrian Church of India, which had several periods without any kind of communication with its Patriarchate (Mundadan, 1984, 9-282. Neil, 1984, 50-86). In the late 15th century such ties were renewed after a break of communication, and Patriarch Mar Elias (1502-1503) sent four bishops to India, and to “the islands of the sea between Dabag and Çin and Maçin.”6 On their arrival in India in 1503-1504, they met the newly arrived Portuguese and wrote back home about the encounter, and the accomplishment of the first part of their mission. Of these four bishops one died and two stayed in India, and a fourth disappeared; though a later local and Portuguese tradition stated that he had travelled further east, towards Sumatra, and China (Thomaz, 1991, 144-150, n. 15, 21). During the course of their expansion to the Malay-Indonesian archipelago, however, the Portuguese never found trace of any Christian community there, particularly in Palembang, or signs of the vanished Syrian bishop (Guillot, 1991, 80-85. Thomaz, 2002, 381-607).

12Surprisingly there is no evidence of Armenian presence in maritime Asia in the accounts left by the 15th century travellers. Ma Huan, the chronicler of Zheng He’s expeditions in the first quarter of the century, Abd al-Razzaq al-Samarqandi, the envoy of Shah Rukh (r.1406-1447) to India from 1441 to 1444; Niccolò dei Conti, an Italian voyager of the first half of the 15th century, and Afanasii Nikitin, a Russian merchant from Tver, made no mention of any Armenian community in the places they visited, which ranged from Bab el-Mandeb to Indonesia (Mills, 1970. Major, 1974 [1875]). The only known exception was the Genoese trader Girolamo di Santo Stefano, who referred to a few Armenian merchants who accompanied him in Persia after leaving Hormuz in the 1490’s (cf. infra).

13It seems that the first half of the 15th century was one of those lean periods of the Armenian presence in the Indian Ocean trade, as they preferred to invest their capital in inland Asian commerce, and in Mediterranean trade. Tomé Pires’s Suma Oriental, written about 1512, echoed this phenomenon, as he stated that a change was felt in the second half of the 15th century, when the Armenians began investing in the Índian Ocean commerce, using Hormuz as their base and trading in Gujerati-controlled trade routes. Apparently Armenians wanted to complement their investment in maritime commerce, in an age characterized by a rapid economic growth and the relative safety of Asian caravan routes (Rossabi, 1990, 355-360). From Hormuz, the Armenian merchants adventured in the Gujerati-controlled Indian Ocean commercial routes, sailing to Aden, Cambay, and other Indian ports in the Malabar and Kanara coasts. They traded in horses, dry fruits, pearls and silver, which opened Cambay and Índia’s market to them, where they invested in spices, rice, foodstuffs, and textiles. By the end of the 15th century the Armenian merchants, in association with the Persians among other merchants, traded as far as Malacca, the great Southeast Asian emporium, to obtain nutmeg, mace, clove, sandalwood, gold and Chinese manufactures. In March, they freighted a vessel, or part of one, in the four ships leaving annually from Cambay for Malacca, and they called at the Maldives in their homebound voyage to trade in cowry shells. Around 1512, Tomé Pires assessed the cargo of each ship around 15,000 to 30,000 cruzados (a Portuguese gold coin, more or less 20,000 to 40,000 ashrafí), whereas the cargo of a Cambay vessel was worth 70.000 to 80.000 cruzados (93,333 to 106,667 ashrafí) (Cortesão, 1967 [1944], I,15-18, 20-21, 41-47; II, 268-270).

  • 7 Modern day Bandar Abbas, at 27° 15’ N and 56° 19’ E.
  • 8 “Mocarrarias” in Portuguese sources, from the Arab muqarrariyya, one of the two main entries in the (...)

14After paying duties in Hormuz, the Armenian merchants landed in nearby ports in Mughistan (Aubin, 1973, 77-179; 1996-2000, II, 311-317, 354), and from here they either chose a route to the Middle East and the Mediterranean, or to Central Asia. In order to maintain the commercial prosperity of Hormuz and its safety, its Kings paid an annual gift to rulers of the states traversed by the caravans departing from Bandel,7 a tribute known as muqarrariyya and collected locally by their representatives.8 Any delay in its payment could lead to the immediate halt of the caravan traffic; and in some cases it even resulted in an attack on Hormuz possessions in mainland Persia. However maintaining the routes open to caravan trade was also in the best interest of those rulers who received the muqarrariyya, as they benefited from dues collected from trade (Aubin, 1996-2000, II, 344).

15In Mughistan ports the Armenians could choose two routes. A northern one, followed by Mestre Afonso in 1565, went through Sirjan, Nodushan, Ardestan, Kashan, Qom, Saveh, Sultaniya, Mianeh, to Tabriz (Baião, 1923, 131-200 [II. Itinerário de Mestre Afonso, reedição conforme o manuscrito da Torre do Tombo]). A southern one, followed by António Tenreiro around 1523, passed through Lar, Shiraz, Isfahan, and joined the northern route in Kashan (ibid., 7-32 [I. Itinerário de António Tenreiro, sexta edição conforme a segunda de 1565]). From Tabriz the caravans went either to the Mediterranean ports of the Levant, or to Brusa, or as far north as Muscovy, following different roads according to the exigency of the political situation, or to momentarily adverse weather and health conditions. As such many variants could be chosen, as Fr. Caspar de São Bernardino did in his voyage in 1606-1607, when he chose to follow a southern road after Shiraz in the direction of Ramhormoz, Hoveyzeh, Badrah, Khafajeh before joining in Baghdad another route coming from Basra (A. R. Machado, 1953, 173-195). This route was widely used in the beginning of the 17th century, and even preferred to its rival departing from Basra. Apart from Fr. Gaspar, there were other travellers who followed this route: Jacques de Coutre (1606. Stols, Teensmay, Werberckmoes, 1991, 206-211), Nicolau da Orta Rebelo (1606. Serrão, 1972, 128-154), and Dom Álvaro da Costa (1610-1611. Carreira, 1980, 187-205). From the ports in Mughistan there was another route connecting the Persian Gulf with Samarkand and the Silk Route through Kerman (Estado, 1960, 210-211). All these caravan routes changed their course due to wars, plagues, and famines, but once those setbacks disappeared, the old routes were revived (Rossabi, 1990, 335-360).

16Under the common designation Arménios (Armenians), there is a diversity of situations found in the Portuguese sources, and as such far from the uniformity that the term could imply. There was the peddler who invested his small capital in caravan trade, and often freighted his animal, or animals to occasional travellers, as in the case of one Armenian who received money from Mestre Afonso to get rid of the clothes of a plague stricken dead female slave belonging to the Venetian Galeaz2o Laballa. Like him there was a multitude of other nameless peddlers who ventured their capital, and lives, on the back of camels, mules, and other beasts of burden. Also in the caravan trade world, there were drivers of camels, mules, and other pack animals of Armenian origin (Baião, 1923, 44, 231).

17There was also the broker, the agile intermediary, who sold his services to transport capitals, or precious goods, as Simão Fernandes, who accompanied Mestre Afonso to Aleppo, contracted by Mother Mécia de Jesus to escort her to Jerusalem (ibid., 136. Gulbenkian, 1995 [= Berbérian, Gulbenkian, 1971], I, 94-96). The broker made available to his employer all his knowledge of the political and commercial scenario of the countries they were passing through, for the safety of the lady and the goods put under his care. The talent of the broker knew no frontiers: it overcame geographical barriers, and spread along Asian routes previously unknown to him, as in the case of Isaac, the companion of Bento de Góis in his search for Cathay from 1602 to 1608. They made the journey dressed in Armenian fashion, to avoid any possible danger, but only Isaac reached Peking, since Góis died on the way (Bessière, Dehergne, Shih, 1978, V/11, 592-615. F. Guerreiro, 1930-1942, III, 25-30. Brazão, 1989, 41-55. Gulbenkian, 1995 [1969], I, 294-295).

18Besides the peddler, muleteer, and broker, there was the great merchant, with a network of international contacts, and commercial interests spreading along several major trade routes, and based on great emporiums, as in the case of “Vacoyanorizão”, a resident in Bitlis and the companion of Tenreiro during his first voyage to the Near East in 1523 (Baião, 1923, 46). The scanty information provided by the Portuguese sources of the first half of the 16th century pointed out the axis linking the Persian Gulf to the Levantine ports, and the Sea of Marmora, and having Venice as their bridgehead in Europe, as the centre of Armenian merchantile activity. It is worth mentioning that the honorary title coje, coja (khoja = pers.: khwaja), of Persian origin, was also given to great non-Muslim merchants, thence to Armenians, in Levantine ports, and some Portuguese authors made use of it to designate them (Aghassian, Kévonian, 1987, 156. Van Lent, Bearman, 1997, s.v.).

19But most of the Armenians found in the Portuguese sources were small traders, like the six merchants from Nakhichevan who travelled with Tenreiro when he left Tabriz (Baião, 1923, 44). Apart from those globetrotters, there were traders, and craftsmen setded permanendy in places where their families lived and worked for generations, like the ones noticed by Tenreiro and Mestre Afonso in the urban centres along trade routes, particularly after Tabriz during the 16th century (ibid., 31, 44-46, 197). Others, after wandering from one place to another, decided to settle definitely, and created new communities in a foreign land, far from home. Settling initially as individual merchants, they would soon be followed by other Armenians, which led to the establishment of a community. From the centre Armenian merchants would venture to the periphery, and establish new colonies in the towns adjacent to the emporium (Rothermund, 1991, 3-8. Steensgaard, 1991, 9-12).

  • 9 For the numerous types of coins, weights and measures prevalent in Hormuz, see Nunes, 1868, 5-26, a (...)

20Hormuz was one of such centres, where strict law was enforced, for the protection of the merchants. Duarte Barbosa noticed that everything was taxed and priced precisely in Hormuz, the weights were verified; and all transgressors were severely punished (Veiga e Sousa, 1996-2000, I, 159). Although the task was Herculean, given the quantity of different coins, weights, and measures coexisting in the island, its strict observance assured the commercial ascendancy of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.9

  • 10 Cochin-Cananore, 20 September-6 December 1508. Luis Filipe F. R. Thomaz kindly obliged me with this (...)
  • 11 If Beirami did not spoke Portuguese, he should have used Castilian in his negotiations with Albuque (...)

21But the above notwithstanding, merchant colonies were well aware of their fragile position, and their extreme dependency on the ruling power, especially if they were prominent merchants. In the face of Khoja Ata’s power in Hormuz, the Armenian Khoja Beirami [Khoja Bayram] had to serve as a go-between in the negotiations with Albuquerque, since he spoke Portuguese and depended on his skills to survive in Hormuz. There are, however, discrepancies in the Portuguese sources over this figure. A contemporary source, a letter of Viceroy Dom Francisco de Almeida to King Dom Manuel in 1508, called him “Christian of Armenia who was in Hormuz”, leaving no doubts on his origin and religious affiliation (Silva, 1996, 392 [appendix 76]).10 Afonso Brás de Albuquerque, the biographer of his father Afonso de Albuquerque, called him a “Moor Armenian,” implying his conversion to Islam, though he apparently followed Correia regarding his linguistic skills in Portuguese, as he made no mention of an interpreter (Serrão, 1973, I/I, chap. 29, 143).11 To João de Barros (1778-1788, 2a, II/III, 128-129, 135), “Coje Beirami” was an Armenian and also a converted Muslim, but he added that Beirami had to rely on the services of a Muslim interpreter from Granada to assist him in his negotiations with Albuquerque, as they used Castilian and not Portuguese as the diplomatic language. In his chronicle of King Dom Manuel (Góis, 1910, V/II, chap. 33, 15), Damião de Góis, a later chronicler, as also his emulator in Latin, Dom Jerónimo Osório, state that Beirami was a Moor (Nascimento, 1944, I/V, 277). Was Beirami really a merchant, or a bureaucrat working for Hormuz’s bureaucracy, then headed by Khoja Ata?

  • 12 Cf. Barros, 1778-1788, 2a, II/III, 128. Although a bureaucrat, Beirami could engage himself in priv (...)

22It seems more probable that the latter is correct, though data on him is not conclusive.12 Gaspar Correia was the only chronicler who, in his somewhat fantastic reconstruction of Beirami’s meeting with Albuquerque, portrayed him as a merchant with international contacts, particularly Venetians, and fluent in several languages, including Portuguese, though he was not absolutely clear on his present religious affiliation:

  • 13 “Senhor, sou arménio cristão de natureza, e por andar a ganhar a vida corri muitas terras, estive m (...)

“Sir, i am an Armenian Christian by birth, and in order to earn my living I visited many countries, and lived for a long time in the city of Venice, where I learned Portuguese, not counting the others languages I know. A few years ago I settled in this city [Hormuz], dealing in various commodities. I live as necessity teaches me, in my heart I have the belief in the salvation of my soul, and if I finish your [Albuquerque’s] business well, I hope to receive a large reward.”13

  • 14 Supra, n. 10.

23The business did not end well, and Beirami was even threatened by Albuquerque after the battle in which Portuguese forces destroyed Hormuzi resistance, though later on, and still according to Correia, he warned Albuquerque about Khoja Ata’s opposition to the construction of a Portuguese fortress in Hormuz (Serrão, 1973, 1/1, chap. 29, 145-148. Felner, 1921-1969, I/I, [1922], 830-834, 847). That made him suspicious in Khoja Ata’s eyes, and he had to leave Hormuz for India after Albuquerque’s failed attempt to take it in 1508. Having lost all his goods, Beirami was a poor man when he arrived in Cananore in 1508. He left India for Portugal in 1509 in Jorge de Aguiar’s Armada, and the Viceroy named Beirami in one of his letters to Dom Manuel, advising that a reward should be given to him for his relevant services in Hormuz, and also pointed out that he was a good source for what had happened there between Albuquerque and the vizier, perhaps hoping he would tarnish the former’s reputation to his protector, the King (Silva, 1996, 392).14

The First Age of Armenian-Portuguese Contacts in the Western Indian Ocean

  • 15 Pires was half-wrong, as Ismail’s mother was an Aqquyunlu princess (Halima Begi Agha or Alamshah Kh (...)

24There is no certainty about the date of the first meeting between the Armenians and the newcomers, i.e. the Portuguese. The first contact, at least registered, dates from 1507, and was established through the mediation of Khoja Beirami with Albuquerque in Hormuz. This was renewed in 1508 when the Portuguese tried to conquer the island for a second time (Felner, 1921-1969, I/I [1922], 862). The first major reference to the Armenians appeared in Tomé Pires’s Suma Oriental written c.1512. Pires mentioned them in close association with the Persian, Ottoman, and Turkoman merchants, frequenting the great Indian Ocean emporia: Aden, Hormuz, Cambay, and Malacca (Cortesão, 1967, I, 46; II, 268-269). His information on Armenian involvement in inland was, however, scanty, and his description of Armenia was vague, “full of rich and noble provinces,” but Pires main interest, even though not exclusively, lay on maritime Asia (ibid., I, 29). Other aspects of his data on Armenians outside the maritime trade echoed local Armenian, Ottoman and Persian traditions, also present in the Italian relations of Angiolello and Zeno, of a converted Muslim Armenian mother for Ismail Shah (r. 1501-1524), along with an Armenian Christian uncle who had protected him during five years after Ismail’s father had died, and still it was the Armenian Christians who had protected, educated, and helped him to reach power in 1501 (ibid., I, 26-27).15

25By the time Pires wrote his work (c.l 512-1515), the Portuguese began their expansion in the Indian Ocean, and coastal western India became the centre of their activities, especially Malabar. But there are almost no contemporary records of Armenian presence in other Portuguese sources. This may seem rather strange since Armenian merchants were conspicuous by their presence in maritime India, which had commercial ties with the Persian Gulf, from where they ventured to the Indian Ocean. Stranger still was their almost complete absence in Duarte Barbosa’s work, completed around 1516-1518, despite the author’s accurate description of maritime Asian trading world and its communities (Dames, 1989 [1918-1921], Veiga e Sousa, 1996-2000). It seems as if the Armenians assimilated themselves in the thriving Asian mercantile communities, and were thus not noticed by Barbosa. Though he did mention Armenia, included under Ismail Shah’s territories (Dames, ibid., I, 86), Barbosa followed Pires’ idea of the Shah’s childhood protected and educated by an Armenian Christian, but in his case it was not an uncle but a friar (ibid., 83). This wrong conception was the result of the first direct contacts between the Iranians and Portuguese, and it was evident from the reports of the Safavid envoys to India, and from Portuguese diplomats sent to Ismail (Smith, 1970).

  • 16 For an overall picture of the period see: Das Gupta, 1982, I, 407-433; Bouchon, Lombard, 1987, 46-7 (...)
  • 17 Thomaz, 1998, 71-72 (an abridged linglish version of the author’s thesis, submitted at the Faculty (...)

26The reason behind the Armenian absence in early Portuguese sources can be connected with their association with Gujerati trade networks, which rivalled the emerging Portuguese ones. Gujerati merchants became one of the fiercest opponents of the Portuguese expansion in the Indian Ocean, since the newcomers threatened their highly profitable trade networks.16 Gujerati merchants tried to resist their newly arrived competitors, and they were successful in some cases, as in Malacca in 1509, when they were able to persuade its ruler Mahmud Shah (r. 1488-1511) to expel the Portuguese. But the conquest of the Sultanate by Afonso de Albuquerque in 1511, led the Gujeratis and their commercial associates, the Armenians among others, to abandon this emporium until the end of the century.17

  • 18 Letter of Afonso de Albuquerque to King Dom Manuel, Hormuz, 22 September 1515: Mendonça, Bulhão, 18 (...)
  • 19 Mandate of Afonso de Albuquerque to the factor Francisco Corvinel, Goa, 27 January 1515: Mendonça, (...)

27Until 1515 the Armenians were able to avoid any closer association with the Portuguese networks. But the conquest of Hormuz by Albuquerque in 1515 brought them into close contact with the Portuguese, since they used Hormuz as the one of the main doorways of access to several trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Unlike what had happened in Malacca, the Portuguese conquest of Hormuz did not drive them away. On the other hand Albuquerque did everything he could to secure the port’s prosperity, and allowed a relative autonomy in the management of Hormuzi affairs.18 Prior to its conquest Albuquerque had granted rewards to two Armenians, one named “António” (Anthony) and the other “Gregório” (Gregory); and after its conquest another Armenian, a certain “Joane” (Hovhannes?), an archer in the personal guard of the Hormuzian sovereign Turan Shah IV (r. 1514-1522), received a grant from Albuquerque.19

  • 20 Ledger book of the carrack Santa Maria do Monte (1520-1521): Farinha, 1991, 46-55. On this voyage: (...)
  • 21 Instruction given to Rui de Melo, captain of Goa: Goa, 23 March 1519.

28The relative political independence enjoyed by Hormuz up to 1523, along with the small Portuguese structure mounted in the Persian Gulf, left the Armenian presence undisturbed in the maritime networks centred in the island (Aubin, 1994a, 27-31; 1996-2000 [1993], II, 393-415. D. Couto, 2002, 191-200). The increasing Portuguese presence in other ports of the western Indian Ocean only led to a steady rise of Armenian contacts with the former. This is evident from the case of a certain António Fernandes who, accompanied by his son Vasco, travelled from Goa to Hormuz aboard the ship Santa Maria do Monte from March 27 to June 11, 1520, calling at Qalhat on May 10, watering in Tibi on May 14, arriving at Muscat by May 20 and finally Hurfakkan on June 5.20 They had to travel with the permission of Goa’s captain, Rui de Melo, hinting the possibility of their return to Hormuz after having traded in horses with Goa. According to the Instructions given to Rui de Melo in 1519, all merchants coming from Hormuz to Goa with horses were entitled to return with Indian textiles and other merchandise (excepting spices, drugs, dyes, sandalwood and other monopolized goods) without paying taxes (Rivara, 1992 [1865], doc. 10, 17-27).21 The legislation envisaged the development of horse trade, and the reinforcement of Goa’s role as the greatest Indian redistributive port of the Deccan for equines.

29Unfortunately there is no reference to its cargo, though there are revealing data on the character of the ship, its crew, captain, and passengers, which will shed a different light on early Portuguese presence in Asia. Not only the ship was built in pre-Portuguese Goa on orders of Yusuf Adil Shah (r.1489-1510), and employed in Portuguese service after its conquest in 1510 (Farinha, 1991, 55), as its crew was a showcase of sailors from almost all shores of the Arabian Sea, and its captain, Parigi Corbinelli, was an Italian and a relative of Francesco Corbinelli, a Florentine who had been Goa’s factor under Albuquerque (ibid., 46-55. Aubin, 1996-2000, II, 507-522).

  • 22 Consultation of the Ultramarine Council, Lisbon, 14 December 1684: Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (h (...)
  • 23 Willem Floor has kindly informed me that “Kallamachi” could be the Persian word kalamchi “interpret (...)

30It is worth noticing that both the Armenians had Portuguese names and patronymic “Fernandes.” It was not an isolated case, as it appears in the case of other Armenians, namely in the name of Mestre Afonso’s companion in 1565, Simão Fernandes (Baião, 1923, 136); and of the Correia family, three Armenian brothers José, Francisco and Agostinho who worked for the Crown factory of Kung (Bandar-e Kong) in the 1680s.22 More than a conversion to Roman Catholicism, as the names would imply, it was perhaps an alias used by Armenians for their social and economic contacts with the Portuguese. At least in Portuguese mind there were no problems on that matter, as the Correia brothers were characterized as “Armenian Jacobites from Persia,” and Francisco even gave the “Armenian name” of one of his brothers “Kallamachi Exiralonâ.”23

31But the Armenians had also to cope with other changes occurring in the Middle East, especially after Safavid defeat at Çaldiran in August 23, 1514, and Ottoman annexation of Mamluk Egypt in 1517 (Inalcik, 2000, 33-34). The Safavid-Ottoman rivalry had serious effects on the region’s economy. It disturbed the production of manufactured goods, particularly silk, and also disrupted major overland trade routes, especially when Selim I (r.1512-1520) ordered the seizure of all commodities belonging to Persian merchants in his empire in 1515 (Inalcik, 1999, 227-229). Though Selim took the economically important Van-Bitlis-Diyarbakir-Birejik route in 1517, he failed to secure the control of Shirvan and Gilan, the two silk-producing regions in Persia. This was an important political move, since silk revenues in Persia belonged to the Shah, and Selim had hoped that Ismail would face a major uprising in Iran’s sericulture regions (Aubin, 1994b, 200-201). But Selim’s expectations did not materialize since Shirvan remained Safavid territory in 1518, and the embargo of the Iranian silk had disastrous effects on the centre of Ottoman textile industry: Brusa (ibid., 201. Inalcik, 1999, 229).

32However, the Armenians became the beneficiaries of this political and commercial war, as they acted as middlemen since the Persian and Turkish merchants could not continue with their normal commercial exchange. When Suleyman I (r.1520-1566) reopened the trade route in 1521, and indemnified the Persian merchants for the commodities taken in 1515, the Armenian traders had already taken control (Inalcik, 1970, 210-213). Three years after the reopening of the Tabriz-Van-Bitlis-Diyarbakir-Birejik route, António Tenreiro was an eyewitness of the Armenian ascendancy there, as well as in Aleppo; and in the commercial routes linking the Levant with Europe, especially with Venice (Baião, 1923, 44-66, 97-99). If the Armenian traders were predominant in that northern route, there are no records of their presence in the Hormuz-Basra-Baghdad-Aleppo road, which seems strange, taking into account Khoja Beirami’s contacts. When Tenreiro used this route during his second voyage (1528-1529) to convey a message of Cristóvão de Mendonça, captain of Hormuz, to King Dom João III (r. 1521-1556), he did not notice any Armenian presence, hinting their preference for the northerner route through Tabriz. This was odd, because it was an Armenian merchant in Nicosia who advised Tenreiro to return to Hormuz via Basra about 1526, and he even gave the contact of the Venetian Micer Andrea Morosini in Aleppo to the Portuguese (ibid., 98-99). The lateness of his voyage, in the end of September, and an unexpected shift in the wind direction during his crossing of the Gulf, made him arrive at Basra after the caravan had departed (ibid., 106-111). So he could not indicate the eventual presence of Armenian merchants in this route. Despite his reference to Jacobite Christians living in Basra, there is no strong evidence that they were Armenians, as they could be Syrians, who had had there one diocese until the 10th century, or even Sabeans, called Christians of St. John the Baptist in Portuguese sources (ibid., 111. Korolevskij, 1932, col. 1281).

33This points to the fact that the northern route through Iran was preferred to the southern one via Basra and Baghdad, given its greater security, and shorter time of travel. In 1565 Mestre Afonso commented that, after leaving Tabriz:

“We decided not to wait for the cafila (qâfila), and took the lead with our goods which employed fourteenth up to fifteenth mules, between cargo animals and those used to ride; and also because the route ahead was not [so full] of thieves and small cafilas used to travel and stay at night in the inns, and |during] winter there is no possibility of camping in the outer space” (Baião, 1923, 201).

  • 24 “Este hé o caminho que fazem os mercadores que levão a especiaria d’Ormuz pera Trypoly de Sorya, qu (...)

34According to an estimate made about 1548 one month was the average time needed to travel from Tabriz to Tripoli in Syria: “Tabriz to Diyarbakir in seventeen days, Diyarbakir to Aleppo in ten, and thence four days to reach Tripoli” (Calado, 1957, 74).24

35By contrast the Basra-Baghdad-Aleppo route was more dangerous and slow, and the caravans had fixed times for their departure and arrival. In August 1604, Pedro Teixeira mentioned that given the state of the Tigris, running with little water, one boat caravan took three months to arrive at Baghdad, which in normal conditions would take from 35 to 50 days to reach its destination (Sala, 1994, 380). Reporting about 1548 on the recent change of routes, from the swift and short Basra-Damascus-Tripoli (25 days) to the slower and longer way through Basra-Baghdad-Aleppo-Tripoli, a Portuguese informer stated that:

“The way made through Arabia’s desert and that goes to Damascus is more brief, though the Turk, on account of its innumerable thieves and brigands marauding the desert, had prohibited the cafilas and the spice merchants to use it; and instead ordered all of them to go through Babylonia (Baghdad) and Mesopotamia, as they could travel more secure from the thieves [menace] and this will enrich and ennoble his lands” (Calado, 1957, 74).

36The idea was to gather the largest number of traders and travellers possible, in order to lessen every possibility of robbery by the marauding tribes on the roads. That was why Tenreiro had so many difficulties in finding one guide to lead him from Basra to Aleppo, since the caravan had already left for Baghdad. Tenreiro wrote that his guide, given by the local ruler, spent three days feasting and crying with his family, who thought that it was the last time they would see him (Baião, 1923, 111-113).

  • 25 Letters of Afonso de Albuquerque to King Dom Manuel: Canannore,1st December 1513 (Mendonça, Pato, 1 (...)
  • 26 Letter of Diogo Lopes de Sequeira to King Dom Manuel, Cochin, 28 December 1519.
  • 27 Letter of João de Meira to King Dom Manuel, Cochin, 21 January 1522.

37The Hormuz-Basra-Damascus or Aleppo-Tripoli route had gained a renewed importance since the 1510’s, not only on account of the Safavid-Ottoman conflict in Anatolia, but also as a result of the Portuguese economic blockade of the Red Sea. Its relative effectiveness had led to a renewal of the spice trade through Hormuz towards the Middle East and the Levantine ports. By 1513 the route had reached a climax and was seen as a threat to the Crown monopoly, and even enjoyed a “free ride” because of the rise of prices of spices in India and in the distributive markets.25 Despite the conquest of Hormuz in 1515, the spice flow was not interrupted, and even grew in the following years thanks to the Manueline policy of giving grants in spices to those officials who had distinguished themselves with their services in India. By 1519 governor Diogo Lopes de Sequeira (1518-1522) complained to the King that his captains, namely António de Saldanha, had sold pepper in Basra, and advised Dom Manuel to put an end to these “quintais de Ormuz,” but to no avail (Smith, 1975, 42).26 The best judge of this spectacular growth was a Portuguese captain—João de Meira. Since his first visit in 1517 to 1521 he had witnessed the growth of Basra “and the cause Sire derives from our trade in it, because now all the world goes there to search for spices, as well as for indigo, and textiles from Cambay” (Smith, 1973, 26-27).27 By 1521 Basra had two annual large caravans, one of which was the former qâfila linking Damascus to Jeddah (Pages, Nied, 1991, 72), now buying in the Shatt el-Arab the Gujerati textiles that had ceased to come to Aden due to the Portuguese blockade (Smith, ibid).

  • 28 Besides his own account (Baião, 1923, 1-44), see Aubin, 1994, 35-36.
  • 29 The best studies on this matter are by Dejanirah Couto (1990, 243-267) and José Alberto Rodrigues d (...)
  • 30 For the pivotal role of these two communities: Goofman, 2002, 169-183.

38Political events occurring in the Persian Gulf interfered with this route, namely Bahrain’s attack on the maritime traffic in 1521, followed by Hormuz uprising, extinguished only in 1523, and had temporary setback on the trade, and on Armenian presence (D. Couto, 2002, 192-207). This led to a revival of the northern route via Tabriz, particularly since Süleyman I (1520-1566) had restored the silk trade with Iran, as he gained from its renewal (Inalcik, 1999, 229). António Tenreiro witnessed the strong Armenian presence along this route, in the Levantine ports, in Cyprus, and also their commercial connections with the Venetians (Baião, 1923, 44-105). His interest in the Armenians was more than accidental, as Tenreiro after being a member of the Portuguese embassy headed by Baltasar Pessoa to a dying Ismail in 1523-1524,28 started a periplus to gather information on Ottoman power and its intentions towards the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean, as well as to recruit informers to establish a spying network in the Middle East.29 His mission was, however, only partly successful, as he caught the attention of the Ottoman officials in Amid, or Diyarbakir (Bacqué-Grammont, 1976, 161-173). This was only the beginning. In the next two centuries Portuguese authorities would employ members of two communities (Jews and Armenians) to collect information, as they could spy without raising suspicion as a Portuguese would have.30 The Armenians would only marginally get involved in such networks, as the Portuguese recruited and employed preferably Jews, despite their anti-Jewish feelings and the Inquisition (supra, n. 29).

  • 31 The allegiance of these petty Arab rulers was more virtual than real, with the exception of Basra. (...)

39The quiet rhythm of land routes was disturbed with the renewal of war between the Ottomans and Safavids in the 1530s. One of the Sultan’s objectives was to capture the silk producing regions that had eluded his father in 1517 (Inalcik, 1999, 229-230). His second objective was to secure in Ottoman hands the spice route from Basra to Aleppo via Baghdad; and simultaneously try to stop the drain of silver from his Empire to India. Ibrahim Pasha’s disastrous campaign in Northern Persia during the winter of 1533-1534, however, forced Suleyman to lead his troops into Arab Iraq, still under Safavid rule, where he took Baghdad in November 1534 (Inalcik, 2000, 38). Süleyman’s presence in Baghdad from December 1534 until April 1535 had the same political effect of his father’s sojourn to Cairo sixteen years earlier. As the victorious champion of Sunnite Islam he attracted to his orbit most of the Arab petty rulers of the Persian Gulf. Thus, without shooting a bullet, the Ottomans had opened a window in the Gulf, and temporarily disrupted the trade routes through Iraq (Shaw, 1976, 95-96. Bacqué-Grammont, 1989, 150-152).31

  • 32 Citing Simão Botelho, Tombo do Estatdo da Índia.
  • 33 Letter of vizier Rukn al Din to King Dom João III: Hormuz, 12 September 1537.
  • 34 Letter of Pêro Fernandes to King Dom João III: Goa, 20 October 1538.

40The impact felt on the Persian Gulf was almost immediate, and it affected Hormuz’s revenues, which dropped from 83,294 xerafins (24,988,200 réis) in 1535 to 79,961 xerafins (23,988,300 réis) in 1536 (Felner, 1868, 89-91)32. Hormuz was already suffering from another commercial setback due to the war ravaging the sultanate of Gujerat, her greatest trading partner (36-38%), as Bahadur Shah I (r.l526-1537) was fighting the Mughal Emperor Humayun (r.1530-1556). In 1537 the vizier of Hormuz reported to King Dom João III on the impact felt in the local revenues due to war in Gujerat, Iranian commercial blockade in Mughistan, and to the progressive loss of the kingdom’s territories in Arabia, namely Al-Qatif taken by the ruler of Basra. As there were contradictory news about the Ottomans, namely one about Süleyman’s death, and another on the construction of a fleet in the Tigris, the vizier also informed Dom João III that he had sent two relatives to Baghdad with instructions to gather information on Ottoman intentions for the Gulf, despite internal opposition from Salghur Shah (r.1535-1543) and the elders (amtiguos) (Farinha, 1991, 103-105).33 In 1538 the Controller-General of the Exchequer Pêro Fernandes confirmed to Dom João III the commercial decline in which Hormuz was engulfed. To make things worse, news of Ottoman presence in Arab Iraq had led to the diversion of Hormuzi trade routes to Yemen. According to India’s Controller-General local revenues had dropped to 58,488 pardaus (17,546,400 réis) from March till August 1538; of which only 27,000 pardaus (8,100,000 réis) were net profit, since the rest was used to pay the muqarrariyya, and other due tributes (ibid.).34

  • 35 For an overview of the Gujerati Sultanate at the period of Bahadur Shah and all its implications: A (...)

41The course of the trade routes changed frequently from 1538 to 1548 all through the Persian Gulf. In 1538 the expedition of Hadim Suleyman Pasha besieged the newly built Portuguese fortress of Diu with no grave consequences, except in a temporary reduction of trade between Gujerat and the Gulf (Inalcik, 1999, 326). Gujerat witnessed political chaos following Bahadur’s death in Portuguese hands in 1537, which plunged the sultanate’s economy into a small crisis, though of small magnitude.35 Hadim Suleyman Pasha’s Indian objective failed, but his expedition strengthened Ottoman presence in Yemen, and obtained an open window for Ottoman expansion in the Indian Ocean (Orhunlu, 1978, IV, 934. Shaw, 1976, I, 100. Bacqué-Grammont, 1989, 152. D. Couto, 1998, 483-508).

  • 36 Letter of the vizier Rukn al-Din to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 14 December, 1546.
  • 37 “Letter of vizier Rukn al-Din to governor D. João de Castro”: Hormuz, 24 August, 1545; “Letter of L (...)
  • 38 “Emformação do emxofre que vem de demtro do estreyto d’Ormuz, dada per Bastião Lopez Lobato, feytor (...)
  • 39 Letter of Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 18 December 1545.
  • 40 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 15 January 1546.

42During the 1540’s the western Indian Ocean witnessed a clash between the Ottomans and the Portuguese for supremacy, which spread also to the Persian Gulf. That marked the beginning of Ottoman-Portuguese commercial relations in the Gulf, especially after 1546, with its shift in the kind of goods traded, particularly after the Ottomans had seized Basra and begun to exercise direct control, stationing there a garrison of Janissaries (Cortesão, Albuquerque, 1976, III, 277-278).36 A cloud of an impending war fell over Hormuz, with immediate reflections in its revenues, which was also affected by a similar situation in India (ibid., III, 64, 100-101, 112).37 Some commodities became extremely attractive (steel, iron, wood, coir, sulphur) and sought for all contending parties. Sulphur came from several sources in Iran, namely in Laristan; and its trade had been monopolized by a Jew named “Xamel,” established in Hormuz since 1533-1536, and his family living in Lar (Calado, 1957, 117-120).38 By December 1545 this usual supplier to Hormuz factory had reached its limits (Cortesão, Albuquerque, 1976, III, 107),39 which led the factor Sebastião Lopes Lobato to try an alternative source of supply, especially an Armenian who had recently farmed the sulphur monopoly in Lar, and had been selling it to everyone (ibid., III, 118-119).40

  • 41 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 25 March 1546.
  • 42 1 bahar of sulphur in Hormuz equals 217.797 kg: Nunes, 1868, 51.
  • 43 “Emformação do emxofre que vem de demtro do estreyto d’Ormuz, dada por Bastiâo Lopez Lobato, feytor (...)
  • 44 Letter of Dom Manuel de Lima to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 23 July 1547.
  • 45 Dom Manuel de Lima to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 13 October 1547.

43In March 1546 Sebastião Lopes Lobato saw his hopes fading away, as the Armenians had decreased the sulphur output to raise the prices, and also on account of the plague that broke out in Laristan. The factor could only rely on his traditional supplier, “Xamel,” which was insufficient for Portuguese needs (ibid., III, 147).41 Sulphur was, however, being actively traded everywhere in the Gulf, as there were other sources, namely in Mughistan, which was diverted to Jask, where Iranian merchants in collusion with the Portuguese exported it to India (Gujerat, Ahmadnagar, Bijapur). With the wars, its prices soared in India, and the Portuguese factors in Hormuz were partly responsible for it, as they had almost doubled its price (from 25-30 hazâr to 40-50 hazâr per bahar)42 during the early 1540s (Calado, 1957, 118-120).43 After an inquiry conducted around 1546-1547, several Portuguese involved in this “illicit” commerce, including one Gomes Eanes also connected in spice trade with Basra, were thrown into prison (Cortesão, Albuquerque, 1976, III, 425).44 Despite Portuguese policing activity in the Strait of Hormuz, the “illegal” trade continued, and in October 1547 Dom Manuel de Lima, Hormuz’s captain, was able to get his hands on a cargo of sulphur that was being put aboard in a nearby port in Mughistan (ibid., III, 463).45

  • 46 Letter of Rafael Lobo to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 2 February 1546.
  • 47 Letter of Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 30 November 1546.
  • 48 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro”: Hormuz, 03 February 1546; Letter of Dom Man (...)
  • 49 Letter of governor Dom João de Castro to King Dom João III: s. 1, non-dated [1547].

44In spite of Dom João de Castro’s orders to stop all trade with Basra, closing the drain of strategic Indian goods, Hormuzi authorities did not abide by these orders. However, Indian goods were reaching Basra by way of Julfar (ibid. III, 121-122)46, which explains the abundance of pepper and textiles in Basra in 1546 (ibid. III, 271)47. In 1547 the muhafiz of Basra, Bilal Mehmed Pasha, through an Arab intermediary, Hajji Fayat, asked Dom Manuel de Lima, Hormuz’s captain, to petition the reopening of the Hormuz-Basra route to governor Dom João de Castro (ibid. III, 357, 413-416).48 The governor did not agree (ibid. III, 357, 569-570),49 but eventually summoned a council to discuss the matter, whose members expressed different opinions regarding the Ottoman proposition, which led to a stalemate (Albuquerque, 1989a, II, 73-75).

  • 50 Governor Dom João de Castro to King Dom João III: Goa, 1547 (Albuquerque, 1989b, 121). Letter of Si (...)
  • 51 Excerpt of a letter by Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus SI: Hormuz, September 1549 (Wicki, 1948-1979, I [1948], (...)

45Goa’s government was, however, not to enforce the decision locally, since “illegal” commodities continued to be supplied by official routes as also by the smugglers. In 1548 the Controller-General of Índia’s Exchequer, Simão Botelho, reported to King Dom João III that the Ottomans still pressed to reopen officially the trade with Hormuz. Although it was forbidden, Bilal Mehmed Pasha had exchanged correspondence with vizier Ra’is Rukn al-Din according to information supplied through a few Portuguese temporarily residing in Basra.50 This “illegal” route supplied Indian goods to Basra continuously, and all the merchant communities of Hormuz had an active participation in it, Armenians included. Despite all the difficulties, Hormuz was still the best location to get access to different markets. No wonder that the Jesuit Gaspar Barzaeus wrote in 1549 that Hormuz was a barren island with lots of money. The possibility to make a profit from international trade attracted different nations, among who, as the Jesuit noted, were the Armenians too: “There are here Armenians in Moors’ clothes [and with caps] who are Christians; to every nation they go they change clothes and habits, they know many languages.”51

  • 52 Barzaeus even preached in Hormuz Synagogue: Schurhammer, 1963b, 413-435.
  • 53 “De una carta de mestre Gaspar Francisco [Barzeu] que embio de Ormuz a los hermanos de la Compañia (...)
  • 54 Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus to the Jesuit College of Coimbra: Hormuz, 24 November 1550; Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus (...)

46The Armenian community in Hormuz was mainly composed of merchants in transit, but there is little information about their family life. It seems that most of them were temporary settlers, who moved according to the trading seasons. They lacked religious support, and had no place of worship, unlike the Jews who had a synagogue.52 There was a Gujerati who sustained a yogi (hermit) living in the outskirts of the city (Garcia, 1993, non-pag.).53 In case of need, for instance to administer last rites, Armenians living in Hormuz had to resort to Roman Catholic priests. Some Armenians attended mass and listened to Jesuit missionaries preaching. In the early 1550s Fr. Barzaeus SI wrote to his superiors in Europe stating that he tried to attract all Christians living in Hormuz to Catholicism, but he had never succeeded with the Armenians (Wicki, 1948-1988, II [1950], 78, doc. 26; 256-257, doc. 56).54

  • 55 On the Portuguese Padroado, a right enjoyed by Portugal’s sovereigns to appoint bishops and oversee (...)

47It is worth noticing that the synagogue episode, when Fr. Barzaeus tried to convert the Jewish community in Hormuz, was far more important in all the literature on the Jesuit father than his attempts to bring the Armenians to Rome’s obedience. Armenians never occupied the centre stage in the Portuguese Padroado missionary effort, despite later work carried in Iran and Armenia by Portuguese Augustinians.55 Though Fr. Sebastião Gonçalves SI (1555/1557-1619), himself a missionary in India from 1594 to 1619, wrote in his História da Companhia de Jesus no Oriente (1608-1619) a rather pious story on how, hypothetically, an Armenian Christian living in pre-Portuguese Goa had concealed a cross in the walls of a house to protect it from desecration from Muslim hands, which was later discovered after Albuquerque took the city in 1510 (Wicki, 1957-1962, I, book II, chap. 2, 100-102). His source was João de Barros, who in his second Decade of Da Ásia (c.1553) had reported on the discovery of a cross after Albuquerque’s conquest in 1510, and of its political use by the governor. The official chronicler was, however, less generous to the Armenians, as he did not mention them at all in his account (Barros, 1778-1788, 2a, V/I, 434-435).

48This story depicts the evolution of how the Portuguese perceived the Armenians in two different periods. By the time João de Barros wrote his chronicle (1550s) Portugal was approaching a new imperial stage marked by the continuous confrontation with the traditional enemy since Reconquista (Islam), which threatened the Portuguese Empire in Asia, and was overshadowed by an economic crisis affecting the Crown revenues. Another factor that combined with the other two, and was affecting the way the non-Portuguese were seen, was the Catholic Reformation. For Barros (ibid., 1a, IX/II, 313-317), Armenian subjection to Islam was, like the subjection of other oriental Christian communities, a punishment for their transgression of the Law, and abandonment of the true Church. Barros abhorrence for Oriental Christians was even greater in the case of the Christians of Saint Thomas (Syrian Christians of Malabar), whom he labelled with the worst adjectives due to their deep involvement in the spice trade (ibid., 3a, VII/XI, 237).

  • 56 On the overall impact of the 1565-1570 crisis in Portuguese India: Thomaz, 1995, 481-519.
  • 57 First Goan Provincial Council, 1567: first action, decree 39.

49It was no wonder that relations between the Portuguese Padroado and the Armenians only improved towards the end of the 16th century, and the beginning of the 17th, when the Armenian Patriarchate was in obedience to Rome for a short while in 1607 (Gulbenkian, 1995 [1975], I, 133-159; 1995, I, 211-253; 1995, I, 305-356. Pires, 2001, 440-446). By 1565-1570, in the midst of the most serious crisis the Estado da Índia had experienced since its foundation,56 the first provincial council of Goa in 1567 decreed that in future all Armenian and Georgian Christians, residing in or visiting any of the Crown fortresses in Asia, should dress in Portuguese fashion. At a time marked by a concerted threat made by Muslim powers to Portuguese India, it became necessary for the Prelates eyes to identify friends and foes (Rivara, 1992 [1862], IV, 29-30).57

Learning to cope (1550-1604)

  • 58 Sanjay Subrahmanyam (1998, 210-211, 219-220) has pointed to the fact that the competition between P (...)
  • 59 Letter of Tomé Serrào to King Dom João III: Hormuz, 24 November 1550.

50The Armenians living in Portuguese Asia during the second half of the 16th century had to cope with increasing political pressure, and there was also a mounting religious problem between them and the Padroado. Most of the problems arose in Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, where Ottoman expansion had forced them and the Portuguese to divert temporarily their main routes to Iran. The traditional Basra-Baghdad-Aleppo route did not close, but its traffic followed the rhythm of Ottoman offensives in the region during the 1550s (Özbaran, 1994, 129-136).58 In 1550, Hormuz ouvidor, Tomé Serrão, informed King Dom João III that, in spite of repeated prohibitions issued by governors Dom João de Castro and Jorge Cabrai (1549-1550), the trade with Basra continued through Bahrain, Al-Qatif, and Rayshahr (Gavetas, 1960-1975, V [1965], 39-40).59

  • 60 Letter of Rui Gonçalves de Caminha to governor Dom João de Castro: Cochin, 17 January 1548.
  • 61 Report given to Don Antonio de Mendoza Viceroy of New Spain: non-dated [c.1550]. On Portuguese trad (...)

51The Portuguese were the “involuntary” providers of such route, whose immediate centre lay in Cochin, where Arabian and Persian merchants had approached the Controller-General of the Exchequer Rui Gonçalves de Caminha in 1548 to buy luxury spices (clove, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon) (Sanceau, 1973-1983, III, 449).60 Around 1550, a Spanish report submitted to New Spain’s Viceroy Don António de Mendoza (1535-1550) mentioned that the quantity of clove and nutmeg traded through Hormuz to Levantine and Mediterranean markets was greater than that sent to Portugal through the Cape Route (only 800-1000 quintals of clove), and it mentioned explicitly the distributive role played by the Armenians (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 32 [1966], 105-106).61

  • 62 The reports where assembled in a fictitious codex known as Livro que trata das cousas da India e do (...)
  • 63 “Emformação da madeyra que há por derredor dos rios Eufrates e Tygre, e como ha trazem por eles aba (...)

52During his short governorship Garcia de Sá (1548-1549) tried to tackle the problem, and gathered information from someone with local experience, Sebasdão Lopes Lobato, and from an informal dragoman and diplomatic agent working for the Portuguese since the 1530s, namely “Coja Perquolim” (Khoja Pir Qoli).62 Strategic concerns, however, dictated a different course, as the Portuguese authorities in India and in Portugal became worried about the possibility of the Ottomans building and repairing warships in Basra. Although perceptible in 1546, this hypothesis actually materialized in c.1548, though Basra shipyard proved to be less effective than hoped for by the Porte, as its supply line was long and inefficient (Calado, 1957, 72-73).63

  • 64 Letter of Francisco Barreto to King Dom João III: Bassein, 6 January 1557.

53The failure of three successive Ottoman expeditions by Piri Reis (1552), Murad Reis (1553) and Seydi Ali Reis (1554), led to the temporary interruption of the trade routes in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. In the aftermath of these expeditions, the Porte engaged its forces in the conquest of Bahrain but to no avail (Özbaran, 1994, 129-140). By 1557 India’s governor Francisco Barreto (1555-1558) was suggesting that Dom João III should accept the truce proposed locally by Basra’s Pasha, which was made earlier during the governorship of his predecessor Dom Pedro Mascarenhas (1554-1555). The Pasha had renewed recently his truce proposal through some Jews living in Hormuz, which indicated continuous trading relations with the Ottoman Empire. The governor was willing to accept it, despite general opposition, and hoped that the metropolitan authorities would follow his advice (Gavetas, 1960-1975, IV, [1964], 232).64

  • 65 Letter of Dom Constantino de Bragança to Queen-Dowager and Regent Dona Catarina: Cochin, 20 January (...)
  • 66 Letter of Queen-Dowager and Regent Dona Catarina to the count of Castanheira: Lisbon, 5 August 1561 (...)

54Meanwhile the bellicose faction had won in Portugal, and Barretos’ successor, Dom Constantino de Bragança (1558-1561), in tune with the imperialist mood of Queen-Dowager and Regent Dona Catarina favoured a policy of confrontation (M. do R. S. T. B. de A. Cruz, 1986, 49-64). Dom Constantino became worried with the news coming from the Gulf of a mounting Ottoman military build-up in Basra, confirmed by intelligence gathered in Hormuz. In 1561, the Viceroy stalled the conquest in order to save the main source of Portuguese revenues in Asia: Hormuz (A. dos S. Pereira, 2003, 469, 472).65 Back in Portugal Dona Catarina was worried about the Ottoman shipbuilding activity in Basra and considered its occupation in order to secure India (Ford, Moffatt, 1933, 58-59).66 Locally, as ever, Hormuz captain Dom Antão de Noronha was negotiating a peaceful modus vivendi with the Ottoman authorities in the Gulf after their ill-fated expedition to Bahrain in 1559 (D. do Couto, 1974 [1783], 7a, VII/vii-xi, 109-152).

  • 67 Letter of Simão da Costa to King Dom Sebastião: Goa, 11 December 1563.
  • 68 Simão da Costa to King Dom Sebastião: Goa, 11 December 1563.

55Coinciding with a change of regency during King Dom Sebastião’s (r.l557-1578) minority, there was also a change of mind regarding the Ottoman peace offers (M. do R. S. T. B. de A. Cruz, 1986, 58-59; 1992). By 1561 there were rumours in Goa of the impending arrival of an Ottoman mission, though only in 1562 did the Basra authorities took the initiative to send an emissary to Viceroy Count of Redondo (1561-1564) asking for truce. By 1563 Simão da Costa, sent to Basra as an agent by Count of Redondo, witnessed in loco that the local Ottoman war machine was in a shambles, and was no match for the Portuguese power in Asia (Gavetas, 1960-1975, V [1965], 137-143).67 In his report Costa touched on another important point: that of the trade carried between Basra and Aleppo, which had been seen as competing with the one made through the Portuguese ships in the Cape Route, was then facing a major crisis (Thomaz, 1995, 481-519). According to Costa, all merchandise traded between Basra and Aleppo paid 42-50% in duties over their original value, which made it an improbable alternative to the Cape Route. Costa, however, added that despite the high duties paid “these goods [clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, benzoin, Indian textiles] have so great returns that they overcome everything, and as they run through this open route there are other goods which run in the opposite direction [to Basra], and which paid the same [duties]” (Gavetas, 1960-1975, V [1965], 141).68

  • 69 “Enformação das fortalezas e lugares da India.”

56In some quarters, at least in India, Hormuz and the Gulf were seen as a sensible border zone with the Ottoman Empire, and its partisans continued to defend a more active policy towards Basra. Diogo do Couto, future official chronicler of Estado da Índia and a staunch imperialist, advocated in his first Soldado prático (1563-1573) the temporary conquest of Basra to overcome the Ottoman threat and ensure the security of Hormuz and India (Martins, 2001, chap. 19, 487-492). About 1568 João da Fonseca, India’s Controller-General of the Exchequer was still worried about the safety of Hormuz vis-à-vis Ottoman Basra and Safavid Iran, but more with the Ottoman threat. He advised its captains to keep men of trust in Baghdad and in Aleppo to collect intelligence about Ottoman moves, as “if there are any news (in Hormuz) [it] is by means of a Jew or an Armenian, who says what he pleases, and therefore most of the times they lie in their saying” (Wicki, 1961, 178-181).69

  • 70 Law of Dom Sebastão: Lisbon, 14 August 1563. L. de Matos, 1972, 224.
  • 71 Law of Dom Sebastão, 4 December 1567. Rego, 1947-1958, X [1953], 406-407, 411-412.

57The Armenians became one of the unintended victims of the Ottoman-Portuguese conflict, as they were seen with suspicion due to their capability to cross the frontier from one empire to the other. What was their advantage in the first half of the 16th century—their inconspicuous presence in the Middle East—became their liability in the second half. In 1563 a law was passed prohibiting all Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Persians, or any other Ottoman subject from entering Portuguese territory; and if they did they were to be imprisoned and their goods seized, and they were to be released only after informing the Portuguese authorities of the purpose of their visit, expected duration of their visit, and their future whereabouts.70 No wonder that Goa’s first Provincial Council (1567) targeted them and the Georgians, expressing the Church’s intention to assimilate them as Portuguese through a dress code (supra, n. 57). The Crown, as protector of the Padroado, endorsed part of the Council’s decrees, particularly the one obliging Armenians and Georgians to wear a head cap to distinguish themselves from the “infidels,” under penalty to pay a fine if they did not. Curiously enough, political realism ruled out anti-Islamic measures in Hormuz, as King Dom Sebastião neither approve of the Council’s decision to pull down its towering minaret nor prohibited the muezzin call.71

  • 72 In the 1560s the Red Sea route knew a revival, though less spectacular than some historians (e.g. V (...)
  • 73 Isaque do Cairo and Matias Bicudo, named in a letter of the Portuguese ambassador in Rome, Antonio (...)
  • 74 Letter of Tomás de Carnoça (?) to Pêro de Alcáçova Carneiro (?): Venice, 20 July 1566.

58Many of these laws became dead letter, and were being constantly renewed but to no avail. The Armenians continued to use Portuguese networks, and live under the Portuguese authority without problems. But they resorted to a diversion of routes, as they preferred those running through Iran in the 1560s to those crossing the Ottoman Empire. Behind their choice, perhaps the main factor was the concern for safety as the Portuguese officials were still saw suspicious of those who were coming from Basra. Master Surgeon Afonso observed this shift in 1565, though he added that it was also due to the war waged by the Arabs against Basra since 1564 (Baião, 1923, 136). Interruption and renewal of the Basra-Aleppo route was common enough, and it played an important role in the movement of prices of Asian goods in Levantine and Mediterranean markets, particularly vis-à-vis its rival route through the Red Sea.72 In 1566 the Basra-Aleppo route was open again and working in full speed. Tomás de Carnoça in Venice informed Lisbon, possibly from intelligence gathered by two Jewish spies,73 that prices of spice had fallen by 75% due to the large quantity in the market, and a major shift was noticed, as Aleppo was only dealing with luxury spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, clove), and some ginger, since Suez and Alexandria dealt with pepper (Gavetas, 1960-1975, IV [1964], 97-98).74

  • 75 “Letter of Mr. Arthur Edwards, written the 26 of April 1566, to the right worshipful Sir Thomas Lod (...)

59Mestre Afonso’s travel companion bears witness to the cosmopolitanism and continuity of the trade routes emaning from Hormuz, namely the Venetian Galeazzo Laballa. Mestre Afonso bought some clove to disguise himself as an inoffensive sodagar [pers.: saudagar “merchant”] (Baião, 1923, 136-137). His travelling group included Armenians, and he saw their increasing presence in the northern route, which he chose in Kashan because of the state of war existing between his sovereign and the Turks, and even after knowing that Armenia and Anatolia were stricken with plague (ibid., 171). He was not alone in his remarks on Armenian predominance in the northern route, and on their role as distributors of spices and textiles coming out of Portuguese Asia. In the 1560s, Fr. Gaspar da Cruz OP noticed that Hormuz’s commercial networks extended as far as Muscovy and Venice in Europe (G. da Cruz, 1937, 172-173). Other Europeans travellers, namely agents of the English Muscovy Company, also noticed the presence of the Armenians in the northern routes, and their role as distributors of spices and textiles supplied by the Portuguese networks (Hakluyt, 1972 [1598-1600], 117-124);75 despite a temporary blockade of Hormuz by Iran and Lari, which interrupted the distributive role of the Armenians, as it happened in 1568 (ibid., 121-122 [Laurence Chapman report]).

  • 76 “Passport, free transit,” given to protect shipping from attacks. From the Arabic qirtas “papyrus r (...)
  • 77 Its customs house worked only for a short span of time during the 16th century, from 1592 to 1594.

60To some extent, the Armenians faced similar problems if they used Portuguese-controlled trade routes, or ports, particularly when there was a state of war between Portugal and other Asian states, namely the Ottoman Empire, Safavid Iran, or Mughal India. If they travelled protected by a Portuguese cartaz76 their cargo could be seized if officials found them dealing in monopolized or forbidden goods in strategic and sensible areas, like the Persian Gulf, or the Red Sea (Disney, 1989, 57-75). Very soon the Armenians found ways to bypass the relatively weak control exercised by the Crown in the Indian Ocean, and enter into Portuguese trade routes without paying duties. One of the side effects of Ottoman-Portuguese conflict was the reduction in or even the temporary interruption of silver flowing from the Middle East to India. This temporary setback caught the Armenians by surprise, and obliged them to get their supply of precious metals elsewhere, namely in the Red Sea area and in Africa’s East Coast. To do so they needed to move into Portuguese ports, and Chaul suited them particularly well (A. T. de Matos, 1999, 161-167). An Ahmadnagar port ceded to the Portuguese in 1508, Chaul lacked a customs house until 1633 (A. T. de Matos, Teles e Cunha, 2000, 92, n. 110),77 which made it a perfect entry point to several Portuguese fortresses in Asia and Africa, as well as to Indian markets, especially Gujerat (Godinho, 1982, 76-77).

61Thus Chaul thrived at the expenses of Diu and Goa (A. T. de Matos, Teles e Cunha, 1999, 84-85), so much so that in 1553 Viceroy Dom Afonso de Noronha (1550-1554) had to impose tariffs: 5% over all goods brought by the Armenians, Moors, and “Gentoos” from Hormuz, Persia, Arabia and Malindi, and only 2% on gold, cash and silver (A. T. de Matos, Teles e Cunha, 2000, 44-45). The gaps in the legislation, which had enabled the Armenians to use Portuguese networks to their profit, were filled with new laws promulgated by Viceroys Dom Antão de Noronha (1564-1568), Dom Luis de Ataíde (1568-1571), and Dom António de Noronha (1571-1573). The new laws resulted in more control and collection of more revenues, something important in an age of economic crisis for Estado da Índia (Thomaz, 1995, 492-508. Subrahmanyam, 1993, 100-106).

62In fact, changes were occurring almost everywhere, e.g. in Hormuz, where there was a complete take over of the customs house by the Portuguese in 1565, though a few appointments were still made by its monarch, and even the muqarrariyya was paid by Crown officials through Hormuzî authorities, namely its vizier (Estado, 1960, 206-210. F. Guerreiro, 1930-1942 [1603], 11 [1931], 389). Another important change took place in the sea-routes linking Diu to the Red Sea. Until the crisis of 1565-1570, Diu was one of the greatest suppliers of Malabar pepper and Gujerati textiles to Aden, and received in exchange precious metals, either coined or in ingots (Luz, 1960, fol. 29b. Cid, 1992, II, 75-76). The Ottoman offensive in the Red Sea in the 1570s and 1580s almost closed this traditional route, and the Indonesian Archipelago took over Diu’s role as supplier of pepper, as its pepper was more prized than that coming from Malabar or Kanara (Godinho, 1987, III, 130-134. Subrahmanyam, 1993, 133-137). Moreover there was then a price rise then in Malabar pepper, and a decrease in the supply of luxury spices (mace, nutmeg, clove) in the Portuguese networks (Godinho, ibid., III, 21-23, 75-76, 157-160), which affected Armenian participation in the Diu-Red Sea route. The 1570s also witnessed Mughal annexation of Gujerat in 1572, a process not concluded until the 1580s because of frequent revolts, which hindered the access to its textile producing centres (Richards, 1993, 32-33. Streusand, 1999, 76-77).

63Thus the upheavals in Gujerat up to the mid 1580s forced Armenian traders to use Chaul once again, which provided them with a valuable alternative since it was an ideal place for penetrating into Estado da Índia trade routes without a tight control. Despite tariff reforms in 1553, Chaul was the Achilles heel from where Armenians could enter into Portuguese Asia. From Chaul they travelled by sea to Cochin, and thence to the Bay of Bengal, Malacca, the Indonesian Archipelago, and China, taking advantage of the Eastern routes made accessible by Estado da Índia after 1565, and a renewed impetus in the commerce with China and Japan through Portuguese networks (inter alia, Subrahmanyam, 1993, 100-105). The countries bordering the Bay of Bengal had no official Portuguese presence, and were the realm of private trade and settlement, carried out outside the Crown’s interference (Subrahmanyam, 1990a, passim). The Bay of Bengal acted both as heaven and a haven for Armenian-Portuguese relations, and frequently some of its ports rivalled those held by the Crown in Asia. Masulipatam was one of such ports since the 1570s, as it was Golconda’s chief port, and it had cordial relations with Pegu, particularly with Syriam and Martaban (Subrahmanyam, 1990b, 147-160).

64In the 1570s there is a data on an Armenian merchant active in this route, Manuel Fernandes. He became entangled with Ibrahim Qutb Shah (r.1550-1580) and the Portuguese mercenaries. According to Primor e honra da vida soldadesca no Estado da Índia (1578-1581), he tried to ransom some Portuguese mercenaries held captive in Golconda, but only in vain, and he himself was forcibly converted to Islam. Having informed the Qutb-Shah that he could trade with Pegu without a cartaz Manuel Fernandes received a ship to make the voyage, and there he returned to Christianity, and lived among the Portuguese in Martaban, or in Syriam. Fernandes’ fate was sealed when his former master asked for his repatriation, which was granted, and he was paraded in a cage on his return in Golconda, before being incarcerated for life (L. M. Pereira, 2003, I/XII, 117-118).

65Another port in the Coromandel Coast, Mylapore, known in Portuguese records as São Tomé de Meliapor, where the body of Saint Thomas was enshrined, had become a major pilgrimage centre, and harbour town. São Tomé had routes linking it to Pegu (Cosmin), and to Malacca (Subrahmanyam, 1990a, 147-160). Around 1580, the anonymous author of Livro das cidades e fortalezas stated that it was the greatest Christian settlement in the Coromandel Coast, and side by side with the Portuguese there were several Armenians living there permanently, not only because of the tomb of Saint Thomas, but also its thriving trade (Luz, 1960, fol. 55b. Subrahmanyam, 1990b, 191-192).

  • 78 Peace treaty signed between Viceroy Dom Garcia de Noronha and Burhan Nizam Shah: Goa, 22 April 1539 (...)
  • 79 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vidigueira to king Filipe II (Goa, 21 December 1599): Lisbon, Biblioteca (...)

66Though an official Crown settlement, Chaul also provided access to several Portuguese ports, some of them in Africa’s East Coast, especially to Mozambique, perhaps India’s major source for gold and ivory. Chaul functioned as a great distributive port to markets in India, Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Far East (Burnell, Tiele, 1988 [1885], I, 62-64). Some merchandise was shipped to the Red Sea through Indian shipping provided with cartazes issued annually by Goan officials to the ruler of Ahmadnagar, in accordance with peace treaties signed at least since 1539 (Biker, 1995 [1881], I, 84, 99-100, 120-122.78 These informal trade routes used by the Armenians were still operational in the beginning of the 17th century.79

  • 80 All the same the merchant had to pay a duty of 42 pardaus (15,120 réis) per head.

67By the time of Viceroy Dom Luis de Ataíde’s second government (1578-1581) it was discovered that the Armenians had found a way to evade the existing rules, namely by importing horses from the Gulf to Ahmadnagar. Taking advantage of the old legislation, that exempted all merchandise transported aboard ships carrying more than ten horses from tax (A. T. de Matos, Teles e Cunha, 2000, 42-43),80 Armenians were making more money than ever, as they sold the animals to the Nizam-Shahi, and sent goods to various destinations in Asia (ibid., 45). Despite old treaties ascribing Ahmadnagar’s ruler the right to import horses, Goan authorities were trying to reinforce the capital’s declining role as the major Indian equine distributive port to the Deccan. In 1581, this destroyed the convenient cover under which the Armenians were operating (ibid., 42-45).

68The new legislation on horse trade did not prevent the Armenians, Moors, and Indian merchants from finding new loopholes in the existing laws and take advantage of them, as Francisco Pais, India’s Controller-General of the Exchequer discovered in 1591-1592. Sent by Viceroy Matias de Albuquerque (1591-1597) to compile all scattered data on revenues in order to modernize the method of revenue collection in the Northern Province—which comprised the fortresses of Chaul, Bombay, Bassein, Daman and Diu, and respective dependencies—Pais found to his dismay that Asian merchant communities, especially the Armenians, hardly paid any taxes for their highly profitable trade in Chaul. Using cartazes issued to Ahmadnagar rulers for ships bound for the Red Sea, the Armenian, Gujerati, and Muslim traders diverted their homeward shipping to Hormuz and they called at other ports, like Muscat and Lahari Bandar, before reaching Chaul. Silver coins and precious metals were among the merchandise imported by Armenians. The final destination of the treasure was however Gujerat, to the distress of Goan authorities, who were trying to avoid its evasion from Estado da Índia’s economic space. Local Crown officials only levied taxes on gold and silver currency brought from the Red Sea ports to Chaul, but as the bulk of this commerce came from Hormuz and, on a smaller scale, from Mozambique and Mombassa, the revenue collected was small. Besides that, private Portuguese merchants profited as middlemen exporting bullion to Cambay, as well as importing dyes and textiles to Chaul, which they sold to the Armenians among other traders (A. T. de Matos, Teles e Cunha, 2000, 45-49).

  • 81 Letter of Ralph Fitch to Leonard Poore: Goa, 25 January 1584.
  • 82 “Voyage of Master John Eldred to Tripoli in Syria by sea, and from thence by land and river to Baby (...)
  • 83 Letter of John Newberry to Leonard Poorer: Goa, 20 January 1584.

69The relatively peaceful period enjoyed by Estado da Índia after 1575 enabled the Armenians to prosper within Portuguese networks. They had become very active commercially, and little by little Armenian presence was felt in major Portuguese trade centres, especially in Hormuz, Diu and Goa, and also on the Coromandel Coast. They had been living or trading traditionally in Hormuz before the Portuguese conquest (1515), and never deserted the island afterwards, even though they were pressurized to become Catholics. By the 1580s other Europeans travelling by, or living in Portuguese Asia, bear witness to their continuous presence. The Hollander Jan Huyghen van Linschoten names them in his description of Hormuz’s communities (Burnell, Tiele, 1988, I, 47), though his information was purveyed by three Englishmen who arrived in Goa in 1583: Ralph Fitch, John Newberry, and William Leeds (ibid., II, 158-164). They were also probably Linschoten’s source on the Armenians in Diu (ibid., I, 58), as they passed through it en route to Goa in 1583 (Locke, 1997, 85-88).81 But strangely enough Armenians were not mentioned in Chaul, where Fitch and his mates were by November 10 (Foster, 1985, 13), and where the presence of the Armenians should have been noticed. More strangely still, none of the Englishmen mentioned Armenians in Diu, or Chaul in their writings (ibid., 11-14), though they mentioned them in their description of the merchant communities in Aleppo (Locke, ibid., 37),82 and of course they acknowledged their presence in Hormuz (ibid., 79).83

70Even Goa had one such community, as Linschoten described it:

“They dwell in the towne among [all sorts of nations], as Indians, Heathens, Moores, lewes, Armenians, Gusarates, Benianes, Bramenes, and of all Índian Nations and people, which doe all dwell and traficke therein, everie man holding his owne religion, without constrayning any man to doe against his conscience” (Burnell, Tiele, 1988, I, 181).

  • 84 Third Goan Provincial Council, 1585: second action, decree 29.
  • 85 Fourth Goan Provincial Council, 1592: second action, decree 14.

71Though for Hormuz and Diu, Linschoten had to rely on second hand information, on Goa he relied on his own experience of a five years’ stay there (1583-1588). Surprisingly non-Portuguese and non-Christian communities survived, and even thrived in spite of a reinforced Catholic proselytism within Portuguese India. The Third Goan Provincial Council (1585) renewed the law that reduced all “foreign Christians” to Rome’s obedience, especially those entering through Hormuz, like Armenians, Syrians, and Georgians (Rivara, 1992 [1862], IV, 141).84 The Fourth Goan Provincial Council (1592) limited their activities even further, by forbidding all Christians, Armenians included, to work as factor for Muslims, or Hindus (ibid., IV, 192-193).85

  • 86 In this article (297-300), Roberto Gulbenkian names two Armenians, father and son, Mirza Sikander a (...)
  • 87 Despite being both Armenians, Zu-l-Qarnain and his father served Mughal Emperors since Akbar (r. 15 (...)

72Although the administrative authorities, who needed traders and trade to tax, overlooked this prohibition, it remained an obstacle for Armenians living in Portuguese Asia. Notwithstanding the religious problem, Armenian-Portuguese relationship outside Crown fortresses was good, and such relations were common enough even with the most important agent of Catholic proselytism, the Jesuits. Their mission in the Mughal court received several donations from prominent Armenian merchants since its establishment in 1579 and throughout the 17th century (Gulbenkian, 1995 [1969], I, 259-300).86 One of such patron was Mirza Zu-l-Qarnain, known in Portuguese sources as Dom Gonçalo Mirijá, who farmed the Mughal salt monopoly in Rajastan during Jahangir’s reign (r.1605-1627),87 and was until his death c. 1656 a regular donor to Jesuit missions, particularly those of Tibet (Didier, 1996, 327). Around 1630 he was governor of Gozepor [Jaunpur or Ghazipur], and a protector of the local Jesuit mission, and of Christians (ibid., 144 [Francisco de Azevedo, 1631]).

  • 88 On Macau and the Far East: Subrahmanyam, 1993, 137-142; Flores, 2000,179-213.

73The economic boom witnessed by Estado da Índia during the 1590s acted as a magnet for Asian merchant communities, as two of the most attractive routes passed through Portuguese fortresses: Macau and Hormuz.88 The common denominator in both routes was silver, Japanese in Macau’s case (Kinshichi, 1994, 267-279), and American in Hormuz’s case. Though Chinese silk was the target of Macau’s trade, American silver was the objective of Hormuz’s commerce, as it opened the door to India’s market. An estimate made c.1600 in Hormuz assessed the annual flow of silver coming from Basra was over two million reales (Estado, 1960, I, 200). India attracted most of it, and it arrived either through Sind, or through Gujerat. By the 1590s the latter route became insecure due to pirates and privateers active in the Gulf of Cambay, namely Muhammad Kunjali Marakkar (Nambiar, 1963, 109-115. Bouchon, 1987, 179-182). Sind ports prospered with Kunjali Marakkar’s piracy, as Chaul shipping suffered from his attacks during the 1590s. Sind routes were safer for those merchants using Hormuz, and its ports also benefited from Uzbek-Safavid conflict, as it worked as a major deterrent for those using Qandahar’s land route (Deloche, 1980, 26-38. Subrahmanyam, 1991, 50-54).

  • 89 In Hormuz the bundle of indigo had 40 maunds (76.5236 kg). Nunes, 1868, 17, 50, 52.
  • 90 Quintal: a Portuguese weight of 51.405 kg in the old system, which was kept in use for weighting sp (...)

74The absence of direct relations between the Porte and Portugal, led to a limbo favouring, as ever, the captain of Hormuz’s partial control over the Basra-Hormuz route. In some quarters in Portuguese India there was still people, like Francisco Rodrigues da Silveira, a soldier who served in the Gulf during the 1590s, who still saw the Ottomans as a threat (Barreto, Winius, Teensma, 1996, 87). But they ceased to be so after a brief incursion into Muscat in 1581, as their offensive was transferred to Africa’s East Coast in the 1590s, commanded by Mir Ali Beg. However this had no greater success than his earlier attack on the Gulf (D. do Couto, 1974, 11a, chap. V-XI, 26-59). The situation in the Gulf favoured the Hormuz captain, whose revenue thrived from this informal trade and which was tolerated by Goan authorities (Barreto, Winius, Teensma, ibid., 85-86). Around 1600 an anonymous Portuguese source pointed out that the captain gave cartazes to those merchants exporting bullion to Persia and in exchange they brought him 10% of all merchandise they purchased in Hormuz, and at a price 15% higher than their real market value. The captain institutionalised other levy, which obliged every merchant to pay a fee of 450 réis for a bundle of indigo,89 and a quintal90 of clove, or any other luxury spice exported (Estado, 1960, 200-201, 214-215).

  • 91 Letter of Filipe I to Viceroy count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 8 January 1598. Lisbon, Arquivos naciona (...)
  • 92 ANTT/MMCG, box 3-6°L, fol. 167: letter of Filipe II to Viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 10 Dece (...)
  • 93 Letter of Filipe II to viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 21 November 1598.

75The captain’s profitable arrangement suffered quite a bit when the Porte, after 1595, tried to enforce a ban on all bullion exported through Basra to Índia, and to its traditional enemy—Safavid Iran (Inalcik, 1979, 338-339). The Hormuzi market was prone to suffer blows from other important markets, like the sudden and unexpected halt of caravans arriving at Gombroon from Iran c.1597.91 Both had a great impact on Hormuz revenues (Teles e Cunha, 1995, 111-112), especially since the Crown tried to tap again the spices exported to the Middle East through the Gulf during the same period, given the low economic performance of the Cape Route during the 1590s (Guinote, Frutuoso, Lopes, 2002, 30-33). During Viceroy Count of Vidigueira’s first government (1597-1600), the Crown tried in vain to control the exportation of spices through Hormuz, which led to a widespread occurrence of smuggling in the Strait area (Disney, 1989, 57-75). The Armenians used the “illegal” routes, as these became an alternative to those emaning from Hormuz, given the captain’s increasing rapacity on the Basra route,92 and also because the Armenians along with Venetians and other foreigners were forbidden to use the said route by a royal edict in 1598 (L. de Matos, 1972, 241).93

  • 94 ANTT/MMCG, box 3-6°L, fol. 133-134, 164. Filipe I to Viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 8 January (...)

76The royal decision envisaged the exportation of silver from Estado da Índia’s economic space, particularly to Mughal India through Sind, where the Armenians were active, and also given the Crown’s fear of Akbar receiving through Thatta or Lahari Bandar strategic materials like horses, weapons, mercenaries, and foundry experts, in the backdrop of Mughal expansion in the Deccan.94 Keeping silver, gold, and hard currency within Portuguese India, and fighting their smuggling, became one of the Crown’s concerns after regaining the control of the spice trade after 1598 (Godinho, 1987, III, 67). However the royal decision of 1598 was ineffective, as the Armenians and Venetians were still using and living in Hormuz. Around 1600 the Venetians were again active in the Basra-Hormuz route, as also the Armenians, because it was reopened in 1599 (Estado, 1960, I, 214-215. Teles e Cunha, 1995, 113). Pedro Teixeira, who passed through Jarun Island in 1604, noticed its cosmopolitan atmosphere and communities, among which he mentioned the Armenians (Sala, 1994, 330). Another contemporary Portuguese traveller, Nicolau da Orta Rebelo, also noted in 1606 its cosmopolitan character and its Armenian community (Serrão, 1972, 92).

77By the early 17th century things were changing. The endemic piracy of the Nakhilus in the Gulf, very active after 1550 (Barreto, Winius, Teensma, 1996, 41-45), became a regular nuisance to all shipping, as Teixeira witnessed in 1604 (Sala, 1994, 370-372). Another discouraging factor in the Hormuz-Basra route was “Cide Bombareca” (Sayyid Mubarak b. Muttalib b. Badran) of Hoveyzeh, whose activity near Basra was a major deterrent to its use until his death in 1616 (Luft, 1993, VII, 675. Gulbenkian, 1995 [1989], II, 344-345). In Iran Abbas I (r.1587-1629) defeated the Uzbeks, and conquered part of Khorasan, thus securing the safety of caravans towards Central Asia, and reopened Qandahar route to India, which competed with Hormuz’s distributive role in Sind. Abbas’ expansion in Laristan in 1601-1602, and his conquest of Shamil, one of the last Hormuzi outposts in Iran, led to the suspension of regular commercial traffic in Bandar Gombroon (Calmard, 1986, V, 677). From 1602 to 1604 there was a state of war between Safavid Iran and Estado da Índia, which increased with Bahrain’s conquest in 1602, and a direct threat to Gombroon by a Safavid army (Teles e Cunha, 1995, 20-23, 113).

78When a truce was concluded in 1604, as a result of Portuguese diplomatic missions, led by Luis Pereira de Lacerda and Augustinian friars, the political consideration had surpassed the economic aspect of the Armenian presence within Portuguese trade networks in the western Indian Ocean (Gulbenkian, 1972b, 35-48).

Conflict Around Armenian Presence in Portuguese Networks (1604-1622)

  • 95 According to Herzig (1990, 59-71) the deportation of Julfa’s population was not planned, and it res (...)
  • 96 The best account of Lacerda’s embassy and its background is by Roberto Gulbenkian: 1912b, 30-43.

79The change coincided with Shah Abbas’ campaigns in the Caucasus, and the subsequent displacement of local populations, namely the Armenians, to other regions in Iran. Though it was not an entirely new phenomenon: it had begun with Tahmasp (r.1524-1576), reaching the climax in 1604 when Abbas deported the inhabitants of Julfa to a suburb of his capital Isfahan (Baghdiantz McCabe, 1999, 35-59).95 His concerns were political and economic, as the deported Julfans would provide a needed influx of commercial and financial expertise to Safavid Iran. Fr. Belchior dos Anjos, an Augusdnian friar, wrote a detailed account of Abbas’ campaigns in Armenia, as he was made part of an embassy sent by King Filipe II (r.1598-1621) to the Shah, along with his confrère Fr. Guilherme de Santo Agostinho.96

  • 97 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 26 February 1605.

80This Portuguese embassy was part of a wider diplomatic initiative which began with the mission of Hussein Ali Beg as Abbas’ ambassador to eight European powers in 1599. It included an English adventurer named Sir Anthony Shirley, and a Portuguese Dominican, Fr. Nicolau de Melo (Cortés, 1946, 197-200). Abbas’ objectives were both political and economic: to build a military alliance against the Ottomans—a traditional European and Safavid policy—and to divert Iranian silk trade to alternative channels so that its revenues could be utilized for financing and maintaining the Shah’s military and bureaucratic machinery. Abbas’ aims were not, however, shared by Filipe II, who in his instructions to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro (1605-1607) in 1605 only expressed his concern on the recovery of Bahrain, lost in 1602, and instructed the maintenance of good diplomatic relations with the Shah (Pato, 1880-1935, I, 11-14).97

  • 98 On the “historical moment”: Luz, 1952, 199-356; Steensgaard, 1974; Meilink-Roelofsz, 1962, especial (...)
  • 99 Fr. Manuel da Avé Maria, “Manual Eremítico da congregação da India Oriental dos Eremitas de N. P. S (...)

81Nothing could be more estranged than the Safavid and Portuguese diplomatic goals c.1600-1605, particularly the latter’s as Portugal’s only concern was the safety of the Gulf, also thinking on that of India, and maintaining a favourable status quo in western Indian Ocean, as the Estado da Índia had to fight on another Asian front, namely the Malay-Indonesian archipelago, against the new-comer Hollander.98 The diplomatic initiative coincided with the starting of the Augustinian establishment in Iran in 1602 (Rego, 1947-1958, XI [1955], 202),99 stimulated by Goa’s archbishop and confrère Dom Fr. Aleixo de Meneses (1595-1609), whose great design after 1600 was to integrate under the Portuguese Padroado the Christians living in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Socotra (Gouveia, 1988 [1606], III/IX-XIII, 302-345. Engl. transi.: Malekandathil, 2003, 517-591). In fact they had a presence in Hormuz since 1573, with a convent after 1575, which was greatly protected during Matias de Albuquerque’s captainship (1584-1587) (Vida, 1998, chap. XIV, 200-206. Rego, ibid., XI [1955], 148 [”Manual Eremítico da Congregação da Índia Oriental”: chap. 16]), and a member of the order, Fr. Simão de Morais, had been sent as ambassador to Muhammad Khodabandeh (r.1578-1588) in 1582 (Rego, ibid., XII [1958], 188 [“Missães dos Religiosos Agostinhos na Índia”: chap. 39]. Gulbenkian, 1912b, 29-30).

82In 1602 Viceroy Aires de Saldanha (1600-1605) sent three Augustinians (Fr. Jerónimo da Cruz, Fr. Cristôvão do Espirito Santo, Fr. António de Gouveia) to Abbas as Estado da Índia’s diplomatic agents, who also doubled as missionaries since they established a house in Isfahan (Rego, 1947-1958, XI [1955], 202; XII [1958], 188-189). Their predecessor had already undertaken both the tasks in 1582-1585 (ibid., XI [1955], 203), and Fr. Simão de Morais missionary work was part of wider union movement developed by Rome to attract to its orbit the Oriental Churches, especially since Gregory XIII’s pontificate (1572-1585), and kept up by his successors with the establishment of new pontifical congregations and languages institutes well endowed for the new mission (Pastor, 1938, XX, 367-381. Heyberger, 1994, 183-379).

83The religious objectives of the Portuguese diplomatic agents would lead them, and their employers, into bitter conflicts in Iran in the near future, as they had hardly any control over the political and religious process they had initiated. Politically they were tied to two different centres, Goa and Lisbon, whose interests and initiatives seldom coincided, and acted under a third entity, the Shah, who perceived them under a distinct perspective. Religiously they belonged to the Portuguese Padroado, whose area of jurisdiction was being undermined directly by Rome, particularly in areas, like Iran, where there was a Roman missionary tradition since the 13th century (Tournebize, 1930, 11, col. 315-323). Through the travellers’ accounts, and reports from monks and priests, there was already a picture of Armenian Christianity in Portugal, though tinted with schismatic colours. In 1606, Fr. João dos Santos OP met in Lisbon one Dom Fr. Azarias Fridonix, none other than Fr. Azarias Fridon, archbishop of Nakhitchevan, an Armenian Dominican who was trying to return to his church through the Cape Route after he had visited Rome in 1602. Dom Fr. Azarias informed his confrère on the work carried on by Catholics in Armenia. In his work Etiópia Oriental published in 1609, he gave a broader view of Armenian Christianity, and even crosschecked that information with the report sent by the Augustinians in Iran to Dom Fr. Aleixo de Meneses in 1604. His work was an eulogy of his Order, but Fr. João dos Santos was one of the first Portuguese missionaries who provided the European audience with a fuller perspective of Armenian Christianity (Lobato, Medeiros, 1999, 411-420. Gulbenkian, 1995, I, 135-140). This was only the beginning, as the contacts increased over the years, and so did the works available in Europe, some of them coming through Portuguese sources, namely the Augustinian accounts (Gulbenkian, ibid., 141-151).

84Lay Armenians were also used in this missionary process as they had language skills, knowledge of the region, and could circulate without arousing suspicion. Fr. Simão de Morais had already employed one João Baptista in his mission, who had worked previously for Naples Viceroy, Don Iñigo López de Mondoza, probably as an agent near Muhammad Khodabandeh (Gulbenkian, 1972b, 29, n. 41). Of course he was not alone, as Alexander II (r.1574-1604) of Georgia employed Armenians in his trade with Safavid Iran, the Ottoman Empire and Europe, and Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) used one of these Armenians as his messenger asking for a Georgian embassy, or a letter from the King (Allen, 1972, I, 203-206). Curiously another Augustinian, Fr. Félix de Jesus, portrayed João Baptista (“Garabed”) in bad light in his chronicle of his Order in Asia, stating that he tried to assassinate Fr. Simão in Iran after leaving Hormuz (Gulbenkian, ibid.). By the time Fr. Félix wrote his work (1630s) (cf. D. B. Machado, 1965-1967 11741-1759], II [1966], 5-6), Safavid Iran and Armenians had lost all their credibility in Portuguese eyes.

  • 100 “De ce qu’avec la grâce de Dieu le père ‘servo sem proveito’ fit dans le royaume de Perse”, non-dat (...)
  • 101 It is probably a reference to Dom Fr. Azarias Fridon, who was in Spain around this time to collect (...)
  • 102 ANTT, Colecção São Vicente (henceforth CSV), cod. 17, fol. 24-25. Letter of King Filipe II to Vicer (...)

85This dual vision could also be discerned some thirty years earlier when Julfans started arriving in Isfahan in 1604, as Fr. Diogo de Santa Ana’s activity amongst them was prone to misinterpretation. While he saw his actions as “answering to the pressing spiritual and material needs of Armenian Christians who, running [sic] from the war between the Shah and the Turks, had arrived in the outskirts of this city [Isfahan],” the Armenians, and possibly the Shah, considered his moves with suspicion, and as an intolerable pressure to force their union with Rome.100 But Fr. Diogo was not alone, as there was a wider movement in Rome favouring the union, and asking for privileges for Armenians. Around 1604 Filipe II was pressurized by the archbishop of Arzena,101 who was acting on behalf of the Armenians, to grant them equal rights like other Christians in Hormu2, namely in the matter of paying the same rate of tariffs.102

  • 103 Letter of King Filipe 11 to the Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro”: Lisbon,1st January 1607.
  • 104 King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 15 March 1608.

86In Lisbon, as in Goa, this interference was not welcomed gladly for security and financial considerations. In 1605 Filipe II had been warned that the Armenians living in Hormuz were poor, and working for Persian and Ottoman merchants, which led him to ask for more information. Goan authorities took their time, and as much Filipe II did not received it in 1607. As a result he renewed his previous order (Pato, 1880-1935, I, 56).103 Meanwhile the situation had changed locally in the Gulf, and Viceroy Martim Afonso de Castro became increasingly concerned with Abbas’expansionism, and he even cautioned about an uprising in Mughistan supported by Hormuz King Mir Firuz Shah (r. 1602-1609) in 1606, as he was trying to recover his lost possessions (ibid., I, 218).104 The outcome was disastrous for Estado da Índia, as Abbas took advantage of the rebellion to suspend all trade relations with Hormuz and demanded the payment of the muqarrayyia in arrears. Nicolau da Orta Rebelo found four of his countrymen in Lar in September 1606, where they had been waiting for thirty days, as they had been stopped on their way back to Hormuz (Serrão, 1972, 103). However their goods were not seized, and Orta Rebelo was not hindered during his remaining voyage through Iran, though he preferred the southern route. Jacques de Coutre, who had followed the same route earlier that year, had no problems during his travel, and he saw Armenians selling wine in Lar, and in Hoveyzeh. He hired an Armenian guide, and joined a caravan with an Armenian group (Stols, Teensmay, Werberckmoes, 1991, 206-211). According to the Flemish jeweller, business was still good in Hormuz, and a merchant could get an average profit of 40-50% for each commercial trip, and annually they made two (ibid., 205).

  • 105 ANTT/MMCG, cx.6-2aE, fol. 651-655: letter of Diogo do Couto to Dom Francisco da Gama Count of Vidig (...)
  • 106 Consultation of the Council of Portugal, Madrid, 10 January 1607.

87In November 1608 disturbing news were reaching Goa, and the official chronicler Diogo do Couto reported them to his patron, Dom Francisco da Gama Count of Vidigueira: Qanbar Beg, Lar’s governor, had subdued Mughistan, besieged Gombroon, occupied Qeshm, and threatened Hormuz. Dom Henrique de Noronha, Hormuz’s captain, had to pay the muqarrariyya due to Abbas—23,856 xerafins extorted locally (Teles e Cunha, 1995, 118)—and could not prevent the construction of two Persian forts that commanded the route to Gombroon.105 Whereas the Goan officials were quite concerned with the moves by Abbas, the Crown authorities in Europe were still unconcerned because of the religious union of 1607, and Abbas’ economical and political offers. In Madrid, the Council of Portugal felt reassured of Abbas’ good intentions after its members had read Luís Pereira de Lacerda’s report, despite Bahrain’s pending devolution, and they even envisaged a new alliance against the Porte in the Mediterranean (Luz, 1952, 490-492).106 The strategy was obviously Spanish, since Portugal had ceased to have a Mediterranean policy after 1580.

  • 107 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 15 March 1608.
  • 108 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Rui Lourenço de Távora: Lisbon, 13 February 1610. See also Luz, (...)
  • 109 Reply given by Filipe 11 to Sir Robert Shirley: Madrid, 3 March 1610.

88Filipe II continued to cherish in 1608 Abbas’ plan to divert to Portuguese channels all Iranian silk possible, and he ordered equal fiscal treatment in Hormuz customs for Armenian “chofalines” (Julfans) trading in silk and rhubarb, similar to Portuguese merchants (Pato, 1880-1935,I, 220).107 The blind had not fallen by 1610, as Filipe II still had hopes regarding Abbas’ silk offer, that was being negotiated by Sir Robert Shirley in Spain, though his worries for the safety of Hormuz and its revenues were increasing (ibid., I, 322-331).108 And Filipe II was eager to conclude a military alliance with Sir Robert against the Porte, also involving his Habsburg relatives of Central Europe, and was willing to commit to the enterprise of his Portuguese Crown along with that of the Spanish (Luz, 1952, 498-501).109

  • 110 AHU/DAÍ, box 3, doc. 12. Inquiry on Dom Henrique de Noronha captainship: Goa, 20 January 1615.

89High politics have had seldom an immediate implication in the Gulf, and in 1606-1608 it was not different, as Hormuz captains, their associates, and other local Crown officials had other priorities in mind. Revenue expectations were high, 50-60,000 cruzados (20-24,000,000 réis) alone for a three-year captainship c.1580 (Luz, 1960 [Livro das citade...], fol. 33), and since then a myth was slowly built up and consolidated around the captain’s possible earnings, whose limit was said to be 300,000 xerafins (90,000,000 réis) during the first quarter of the17th century (Stols, Teensmay, Werberckmoes, 1991, 205. Teles e Cunha, 1995, 129-130). Obviously this was not true, but it created a growing pressure for the office holders to make such money, which was damaging as Hormuz’s trade suffered from periodic crisis, which became more acute since the beginning of the 17th century. From 1605 to 1615 three captains and three controllers of the Exchequer collected forcefully 108,000 xerafins (32,400,000 réis) from the Banian traders, of which only 15,000 were paid to Hormuz treasury.110 This not include the extraordinary tax levied in 1608 to pay the muqarrariyya due to Abbas, of which 10.1% came from the mercantile community (Teles e Cunha, ibid., 118).

  • 111 AHU/DAÍ, ibid.
  • 112 Ibid.
  • 113 Kharaj was a capitation tax collected over all foreigners coming from Persia: Aubin, 1972, 218. Hor (...)

90While the Portuguese Crown became more and more entangled in diplomatic negotiations with Abbas (Luz, 1952, 303-356. Steensgaard, 1974, 253-291), new developments were taking place in the Gulf affecting the Armenian merchants. Hormuz captain, Dom Henrique de Noronha was forcing them, along with other traders, to buy his goods at a price 15% higher than the market rate.111 News of the Gulfs bad economic and political situation was reaching Lisbon and Goa, which left government circles worried about its outcome in a growing hostile environment, and so it was decided to send someone to control and inspect the Exchequer, and the captain. The choice fell on Garcia de Melo, who was given adequate powers, but he used this indescridy which led Dom Henrique to show his discontent through a garrison uprising.112 Garcia de Melo perceived the crisis as a mere tariff problem, aggravated by the captain’s behaviour, which drove many merchants away to nearby ports, and alternative routes. He tried to solve it through a privileged treatment to Persian and Armenian traders, exempting them from the corujos (khoruj = khuraj, kharaj),113 so that they would be attracted to Hormuz (Pato, 1880-1935, II [1884], 143).

  • 114 It was a short-lived union that ended abruptly. Gulbenkian, 1995, I, 305-356 (“Deux lettres surpren (...)
  • 115 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Rui Lourenço de Távora: Lisbon, 19 March 1609.
  • 116 Copy of the chapters 4 and 5 of the truce with the United Provinces of Flanders: Brugge, 22 March 1 (...)

91This was a significant political step, and one taken locally, when at the top level the diplomatic negotiations between Abbas and Filipe II were lingering. Lisbon and Madrid were exultant with what they saw as good signs to achieve their objectives, especially after the union of Churches in 1607,114 whose corollary was the order to finance David IV’s voyage to Europe to visit Pope Paul V (1605-1621) in 1609 (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 3 [1955], 600).115 Though the union was short-lived, David IV continued to cultivate ties with Spain during the 1610s (Gulbenkian, 1995, I, 325-356). While the Iranian embassy negotiated in Madrid, the Dual Monarchy achieved another goal in its foreign policy when the Dutch signed a truce for twelve years (1609-1621) (Elliot, 1990, 148-149). The preliminary treaty was prompdy communicated to Goa (Pato, 1880-1935, I, 252-253),116 which released funds to finance a war against the Turks, a fixation in Habsburg policy, and always maintained at all cost (Corral, 1950).

  • 117 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo: Lisbon, 26 January 1612.

92The Crown had, however, a different understanding of the Armenian problem, which differed from Melo’s approach. Though the government circles in Lisbon saw it also as a tariff problem, and tried to tackle it through tax reform and protection to trade and traders, they excluded a preferential treatment for Armenians. Filipe II was more concerned with safety matters in Hormuz, but he ordered Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo (1612-1617) to study the tariff question regarding Armenians with Goan officials, taking into account the existing legislation and the political situation (Pato, 1880-1935, II [1884], 142-144).117

93In India the Viceroy and his advisers had different peceptions of the problem, and as such different priorities from those expressed in Lisbon and Madrid. To Goa it became more important to secure Hormuz and the Gulf from Abbas’ growing hegemonic designs, while it applied an economic and fiscal reform locally to protect traders from extortions, destroy alternative ports and routes, and consolidate dwindling revenues. Despite the crisis, Hormuz still provided Safavid Iran with a safe trade route to India, especially to Sind. Its chief port, Lahari Bandar, had strong trade relations with Hormuz, and part of the Iranian raw silk ended up in Thatta looms (Cid, 1992, II, 65-67 [Bocarro, Livro das plantas...]. Carita, 1999, fol. 64b [id., Lyvro deplantaforma...]).

  • 118 Letter of Viceroy Dom jerónimo de Azevedo to King Filipe II: Goa, 29 December 1616.
  • 119 “Ajournai of the Journey of Richard Steel and John Crowther from India to Persia.”

94The greatest problem came from alternative routes to the Portuguese ones, and after 1610 Suhar emerged as Hormuz’s rival port, when its Sheikh, one Muhammad, offered it as a surrogate harbour with low taxes to Armenian and Persian merchants travelling between Basra, Iran, and Sind (Felner, 1876, II, 641-642 [Bocarro, Década 13, chap. CLVII]). Things got worse when Muhammad offered Shiraz’s governor a commercial treaty by which he compromised to put there any commodity with a price equal to that of its purchase price in Hormuz, which made it almost unbeatable as he offered free transportation cost and risk (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 4 [1955], 851).118 Hormuz was tied to burden some commercial legislation, particularly the one enforced after 1609, which compelled all shipping to have cargo manifestos, and register all ports of call. Local ports in the Gulf thrived with this “illegal” trade, and their rulers, and the Asian merchant communities proved to be resilient, and impossible to beat. The competition to Portuguese fortresses on the Gulf also came from the caravan route linking Herat to Lahore, via Qandahar, which had flourished spectacularly since the beginning of the 17th century. Earlier caravans in this route moved with an average of 3,000 camels, but the number increased to 12-14,000 animals in 1614-1615 (Purchas, 1905-1907 [1625-1626], IV, 268-269),119 and the Armenians were among the users of the route. In the 1630s, António Bocarro, Estado da Índia’s official chronicler, wrote that the Armenians of Iran “resented this tribute [kharaj], [and so] trod the road of Lahore and Qandahar, avoiding Hormuz, thus reducing its revenues, which was a big loss to your Majesty’s Treasury” (Felner, ibid., I, 82 [chap. XIX]).

  • 120 Fr. Manuel da Ave-Maria, “Manual Eremítico da congregação da Índia Oriental dos Eremitas de N. P. S (...)
  • 121 Letter of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos to King Filipe II, non-located: [Iran], 30 November 1615.

95Diplomatic negotiations between Abbas and Filipe II had new developments and more complications. While talks in Europe ended without agreement with Sir Robert, in Iran Safavid officials were pressing Goa, through Dom Fr. António de Gouveia, bishop of Cyrene, to exempt their traders, Armenians included, from paying the kharaj in Hormuz (Felner, 1876, I, 82). Abbas objective was to keep open all possibilities of trading in Iranian silk with Asia and Europe, and the Armenians provided networks, funds, commercial expertise and international contacts. As such they were indispensable. Dom Fr. António de Gouveia, who acted as Papal legate and Portuguese diplomat (Rego, 1947-1958, XI [1955], 255),120 tried to bring the Armenians again into communion with Rome, and concomitantly developed a plan to open to them all Portuguese commercial networks in Asia. This combination of roles and goals, diplomatic and religious, together with Gouveia’s personality, would prove catastrophic to Portuguese interests, and in 1615 Abbas confided to Fr. Belchior dos Anjos that the archbishop was to be blamed for the recent Iranian-Portuguese war of 1614 (Luz, 1952, 584).121

  • 122 AHU/DAÍ, box 2, doc. 86. Letter of Francisco Rebelo Rodovalho to King Filipe II: Goa, 13 January 16 (...)
  • 123 See also Pato, 1880-1903, III, 185-186. Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo (...)

96Gouveia had other detractors too. Francisco Rebelo Rodovalho, Controller-General of India’s Exchequer, who complained to Filipe II in 1613 of the archbishop’s misdoings to Abbas by offering 1,641 maunds of silk to the King in 1609.122 It was against this background that the State Council in Goa began to discuss Gouveia’s proposals in 1613, and its members approved the exemption of kharaj for all Armenian and Persian merchants, as also of a new tariff applied recently on the Hormuz-Basra route; but excluded those Armenians and other “Alabins” [Halabî] or Aleppo merchants considered Ottoman subjects. Part of the problem lay precisely in the process to distinguish between Iranian-Armenians and Ottoman-Armenians. The Council decided that the former had to show a document, issued by Gouveia, or the Portuguese ambassador in his absence, or alternatively by the Augustinian prior of Isfahan, to prove their claim as Abbas’ subjects (Felner, 1876, J, 82-83). The Viceroy’s plan was wider, and contemplated the revitalization of the Hormuz-Sind route to fight its Qandahar rival. In his instructions to Hormuz’s new captain Dom Luís da Gama, Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo gave orders to extend those tariff privileges to all Armenians who used the Sind-Hormuz route, which was to be announced in Lahari Bandar and Thatta. By February 1614, after Dom Luís had sent a messenger to Sind to proclaim it, Armenian merchants began to use that route again (ibid., I, 203 [chap. XLVIII]).123

  • 124 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jeronimo de Azevedo: Lisbon, 6 February 1615.

97Not knowing if his plan would be approved in Goa, Gouveia involved Filipe II in his designs. While Armenians in Iran were taking advantage of his position and were asking him to further their privileges, namely the right to travel from Hormuz to India aboard Portuguese ships, and return with merchandise (i.e. paying the same tariffs), Gouveia pushed forward their case reasoning that “these Armenians are the richest, the greatest and one the most ancient merchants of Asia, and that by going to Goa they will enhance the Portuguese revenues by paying in that fortress and in Hormuz which the ships of Dabhul and Sind do not pay.” He went so far as to defend their establishment in Hormuz, which would secure it from any attempt to take it by force, while at the same time it would boost its economy (Pato, 1880-1935, III [1885], 185-188).124

  • 125 Letter of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos to Filipe II: non-located:[Iran], 30 November 1615.

98However for the Portuguese Crown things were slipping out of control. First in Europe, where Sir Robert Shirley crossed over to the English side and returned with them to India, despite the measures taken by Filipe 11 to stop or kill him before he reached his destiny in Iran, all of which failed (Felner, 1876,I, 201-203 [Bocarro, Década 13, chap. XLVIII]). Then in Iran, as Abbas was not satisfied with the lack of palpable results of his anti-Ottoman objective because of Filipe II’s partial reluctance, and became less than pleased with Gouveia’s schemes for the Armenians. The outcome of all this was the archbishop’s flight from his court, and a brief campaign to conquer what was left of Hormuzi possession in Iranian soil—Bandel was taken in 1614 (ibid., I, 344-349 [chap. LXXIX]. Steensgaard, 1974, 286-297). Despite his recent moves, Abbas was still trying to entice Filipe II for new diplomatic negotiations (Luz, 1952, 583-587),125 but in Lisbon and in Goa there was a growing fear of possible Safavid moves against Hormuz.

  • 126 Report of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos on the Persian silk trade: 8 September-10 October 1619.
  • 127 AHU/DAÍ, box 6, doc. 32. Letter of Lopo Alvares Pereira to King Filipe II: Goa, 14 February 1619.
  • 128 Letter of Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo to King Filipe II: Goa, 29 December 1616.
  • 129 Proceedings of the Revenue Council at Goa: 13 February 1617.

99The plans to attract Armenians into Portuguese networks met with a sudden set back after 1615, as they became progressively less appealing to them. The arrival and establishment of other Europeans competitors in the Gulf, first in Jask and then in Gombroon (Bandel), renamed Bandar Abbas, provided Armenian merchants with a direct access to the Indian market, together with the Qandahar route (Luz, 1952, 593-595).126 By 1622, on the eve of Hormuz conquest, there were still a few Armenians who called at its port, as it still attracted silver coming from the Ottoman Empire, and textiles from India,127 though the neighbouring harbours were rivalling it to attract commercial shipping with some success. Competitors along Oman’s littoral were successfully eliminated, like Suhar in 1616 by a Portuguese-Arabian joint force (Felner, 1876, 641-648 [Bocarro, Década 13, chap. CLVII-CLVIII]. Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 4 [1955], 851-852),128 but a mounting expensive defensive system had to be put in place (Gune, 1979, I/I, 67-68).129 It remained, however, difficult to fight back “smuggling” and Pimenteiro activity using Gwadar, and other Iranian ports, like the ones faced by Jacques de Coutre in his trip to Basra in 1620, never calling afterwards at any other Portuguese settlement; not even on his return to Goa. After he had visited Isfahan and described its Christian quarter “Julfais,” the Flemish jeweller embarked in Bandar Nakhilu bound for Rajpuri (Stols, Teensmay, Werberckmoes, 1991, 317-326).

A New Beginning after 1622

  • 130 Unlike Hormuz, Abbas marched personally to Qandahar using the desert route through Tabas: Melville, (...)
  • 131 Nautaques were pirates established in Makran’s coast, whose activity was known since pre-Portuguese (...)

1001622 was marked by Safavid conquest of Hormuz, and of Qandahar,130 which subsequently closed Iran’s direct trade with Mughal India through the latter route. The Armenians, like many other merchants, became dependent on the sea route for trade with Sind and Gujerat. They could choose between the protection given by the European companies (East India Company, EIC; or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) established in Bandar Abbas, or take a hazardous navigation along the perilous Makran coast. If the latter route was chosen, the Armenians had to call at Gwadar in order to pay in advance for protection from Nautaque marauders established there,131 before reaching Lahari Bandar.

  • 132 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 263 and ff. Letter of Martim Afonso de Melo to King Filipe III: Muscat, 8 J (...)
  • 133 Ibid., fol. 265 and ff. Letter of Nicolau da Silva to King Filipe III: Muscat, 20 June 1623. See al (...)
  • 134 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 365 and ff. Letter of Rui Freire de Andrade to King Filipe III: Muscat, 28 (...)

101Anyway, the Armenians and other traders, namely Persians, coming to or going out of Iran were too dependent on this protection, either “Nautaque” or European, and were thus vulnerable. To break away from this dependency, they also sought the protection offered by Portuguese cartazes between Sind and Persia, which obliged them to call at Muscat. The Portuguese side, on the other hand, tried to attract all merchants they could to their new base in the coast of Oman, while they expelled the Safavids from Suhar, and consolidated their influence over Oman’s littoral.132 The officials in Muscat tried to find a way to pay for the increasing military expenses in the Gulf by encouraging commercial activity.133 Thus Rui Freire de Andrade, captain-general of the Portuguese naval forces in the Gulf, launched a campaign against alternative maritime routes, namely through Gwadar with partial success, and secured a bridgehead in Basra as a result of Abbas’ onslaught in 1623-1624. This made the Portuguese networks quite a viable alternative.134

  • 135 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 June 1624, doc. 2.
  • 136 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 June 1624. Proceedings of the Goan Court of Appeal:1st (...)

102It was proclaimed in Sind in 1623, with the cooperation of the Mughal authorities, that any Armenian or Iranian merchant could travel aboard Portuguese ships, or aboard other vessels as long as they had a cartaz and call at Portuguese controlled ports without fear of seizure of their merchandise (Gune, 1972, I/II, 5).135 Rui Freire de Andrade, reffered to earlier, and Nicolau da Silva controller of Muscat’s Exchequer, were responsible for the move, which was facilitaded by the assistance of Sind’s Portuguese factor, but they had forgotten to consult Goa, and Muscat’s captain, Martim Afonso de Melo. The latter resented Rui Freire’s power and jurisdiction, and so grabbed the opportunity to imprison the Armenian and Iranian merchants, and seize their goods (valued in 20,000 pardaus) as soon as they landed in his fortress in December 1623, though they had a cartaz issued in Lahari Bandar. The matter was taken to Goa, and thoroughly discussed in several councils, particularly in the Exchequer Council in June 1624. Finally it was decided to release the traders, and return the cargo to them, as the Crown also wanted to attract traders to Muscat to pay for the growing military expenditure in the Gulf. On the other hand, Viceroy Dom Francisco da Gama, Count of Vidigueira (1622-1627), and his councillors were also worried with the possibility of eventual reprisals against Portuguese commercial interests in Mughal India, especially in Sind, as the Armenians and the Iranians were described as living or basing their activity in Lahari Bandar and Thatha (ibid., I/II, 5-6).136

103What began as a difficult exploratory voyage in 1623, ended up as regular trade route used by the Armenians in the years that followed, especially after the Portuguese had rebuilt their networks in the Persian Gulf through Rui Freire de Andrade’s naval and military campaigns (Leiter, 1940, II/XLIV-XLVI, 240-254). In the early 1630s the Portuguese networks in the Gulf had an advantage over their rivals. They touched all its ports, however small, and had a regular and secure connection with Basra, which the other rivals lacked, at least until 1645 when VOC ships began to have irregular trade connections there, while the English started their Basra voyages in 1637 (Floor, Faghfoory, 2004, app. 3, 214-220). Another advantage was their privileged link with Sind, a door to Mughal Índia as António Bocarro wrote in 1634 in his Livro das plantas:

“And Sind is a pipe which fills the Mogul kingdom with many seed-pearls and pearls of Bahrain, and of a great quantity of gold and silver, and various drugs from the South [Malay-Indonesian archipelago], and large quantity of dates, coconut, coir, and cotton, which bring the Portuguese and other nations to its ports; they take in exchange textiles, indigo, sugar, and opium” (Cid, 1992, 64-645. Ramos, 1994, 115-124).

  • 137 Copy of the treaty, called “Contract” and dated January 20,1635, in Veiga e Ataida e Melo, 1937-194 (...)

104The flourishing of these networks prevented the Dutch from establishing there in 1632 (Cid, ibid., 67. Floor, 1986, 111-113), and the English only did so in 1635 after signing a truce with Estado da Índia.137

  • 138 Entry of 18 February 1634.
  • 139 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 19 November 1642.
  • 140 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 160 and ff. Itinerary of Pedro Paredes from Manila to Madrid by land: Paler (...)
  • 141 Entry of 3 September 1634 (Goa). The cited letter was dated from Aleppo,1st November 1633, and it t (...)
  • 142 To make things more confuse in some Portuguese sources these so-called Christians were also denomin (...)

105In the early 1630s Rui Freire’s long-standing offensive against Iran paid off. An understanding was reached locally after Abbas’ death (1629), which gave free access to Iranian market through Kung following the truces (Leite, 1940, II/XLVIII, 260-261). Kung remained the Portuguese bridgehead in Iran until the 18th century, though Rayshahr was offered as an alternative to them at two reprises at least: in 1634 (Veiga e Ataíde e Melo, 1937-1943, I, 10 [Count of Linhares’ Diário])138 and again in 1642 (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, II [1953], doc. 135, 377-378).139 The other advantage of the Portuguese was Basra, still the pipeline that supplied silver to the Gulf and India, and which had been saved and kept out of Safavid hands thanks to Estado da Índia’s help, though there was a growing resentment against the privileges granted to the Portuguese (Cid, 1992, 62-63). The connection with Aleppo and the Levantine ports was never lost, despite Abbas’ conquest of Baghdad in January 1624. The route shifted westwards and continued to be viable as the Spaniard traveller Pedro de Paredes witnessed in the late 1623 and early 1624.140 The Portuguese networks in the Middle East were well established with links with Venetian merchants in Aleppo, as Prospero Benedetto and Luigi Sagredo, who had an associate named Manuel Correia in Goa in 1634, informed the Viceroy Count of Linhares (1629-1635) on European matters, and offered their services as couriers (Veiga e Atafde e Melo, 1937-1943, II, 168).141 Again the Portuguese policing activity near the Shatt al-Arab had also paid off, as the naquilu threat to maritime routes was reduced (Cid, ibid., 62), and Viceroy Count of Linhares renewed old projects to use the nearby Mandeans, known as Christians of Saint John the Baptist, to his imperial designs in the Gulf (Gulbenkian, 1995 [1989], II, 388-398).142

  • 143 There are different views regarding the size of the Armenian community living in Basra at that time (...)
  • 144 Letter of Fr. Manuel de Cristo to Fr. João de Mesquita: Isfahan, non-dated [1634].

106Despite earlier clash between the Armenians and Catholic proselytizers, the Armenian community in Basra managed to build a peaceful modus vivendi with the local Augustinians (Portuguese) and Carmelites (Italian) monasteries. Bocarro wrote around 1634: “There are here [in Basra] many Armenian Christians, who are subject to these priests, and many of whose wives take Holy Communion each Sunday” (Cid, 1992, 63).143 These Armenians took advantage of the existing Portuguese networks, and continued to work as their middlemen in the overland trade with the Middle East (Masson, 1896, 416-420, cited by Disney, 1998, 538, n. 30). Their role as intermediaries was not sustainable as others competitors in the field could be preferred, as it happened in the early 1660s, when Banians networks appeared to be prevailing in the route connecting India with the Gulf, and even stretching to Baghdad and Aleppo. Fr. Manuel Godinho SI employed their money-lending services, and used their credit letters (A. M. Guerreiro, 1974, 189-190). Writing two decades earlier (1640s), Fr. Sebastião Manrique also witnessed Banian ascendancy in Qandahar’s overland route, though he did mention a few Armenians as his travelling companions (Silveira, 1946, II, chap. LXVII-LXXIII, LXXXIII-LXXXIV). Political confrontation between Safavid Iran and the Ottoman Empire seriously affected the overland routes, at least until 1639 (Faroqhi, 1999, 503), though Venetians were already optimistic on the renewal of Levantine trade after 1633 (Masters, 1988, 24). In 1634 Fr. Manuel de Cristo, prior of the Augustinian convent in Isfahan (Rego, 1947-1958, XI, 411), informed Goa that Shah Safi 1 (1629-1642) was in Tabriz, and his army was raiding in “Kurdistan” to retaliate on a recent Kurd raid on an Iranian caravan, where the Armenian “Cougelala” [Khoja Lala] had lost 2,000 tumans (Veiga e Atakle e Melo, 1937-1943, II, 259).144 A similar phenomenon occurred on the Ottoman side, as Fr. Manuel also reported that in Aleppo all sorts of pressures were put on every merchants trying to trade with India (ibid., II, 260). It had to do probably with Murad IV’s nearby campaigns (Faroqhi, ibid., 421-422).

  • 145 Proceedings of the State Council: Goa, 12 December 1651.

107The importance of the Portuguese networks in the Gulf and in the Arabian Sea for the Armenians decreased after the 1640s, thanks to European competition, and also with the reopening of Qandahar route (Teles e Cunha, 1995, 62-73). The rise of the sheikhs of Nizwa, and their conquest of Muscat in 1650, meant the dismantling of Estado da Índia’s possessions and routes in the Arabian Peninsula, though Kung still remained a viable axis between Sind and Basra throughout the 17th century, despite periodical interruptions (Risso, 1986, 13). To worsen things, Muscat’s new masters built rapidly a navy that took the Indian Ocean by storm, attacking in particular Portuguese shipping and possessions in a war waged intermittently until the first quarter of the 18th century (McPherson, 1998, 190. Barendse, 2002, 212). Portuguese networks became unsafe and Kung was raided several times; the first occurring in 1651 (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, III [1955], doc. 105, 189-190).145

  • 146 On the content of cartazes see Biker, 1995 [1881-1887], IV, 181-182. Cartaz given to the Adil-shahi (...)
  • 147 On the effectiveness: Thomaz, 1999, 135-162.
  • 148 Farman of Abdullah Qutb Shah to Viceroy António de Melo de Castro: non-located, 26 July 1666.
  • 149 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 August 1668.

108Despite growing dangers posed by the Muscati navy (Risso, 1986, 14-15), the Armenian, Gujerati and Iranian merchants still travelled through Portuguese networks, even though similar services were offered by the Dutch and English between India and Iran. The Armenians faced another problem, namely if they travelled aboard Asian shipping provided with a cartaz as the Portuguese legislation had always been quite adamant on the prohibition of Christians travelling on non-Christian vessels since the 16th century, even if they were Eastern Christians.146 But policing could only be enforced with a considerable naval power, which the Estado da Índia no longer had, as the effective sea power lay elsewhere, and patrolling such huge area with few Portuguese men-of-war could only seize stray ships in the Arabian Sea.147 Shipping from Gujerati ports, which had intense commercial relations with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, was particularly disrupted by these aleatory Portuguese policing activities, though other Indian ports, such as Masulipatam in 1666 (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, IV [1956], doc. 63, 165-167),148 were also affected (Arasaratnam, 1987, 99-101). The outcome of the patrolling activity, with the occasional capture of Asian shipping without cartaz led to diplomatic crisis with economic implications, as was the case in 1666, when Golconda and Iran asked for indemnities and the ships’ release (Pissurlencar, ibid., IV, doc. 77, 192).149

  • 150 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 27 April 1694.

109The main beneficiaries of this were the Dutch and the English, and their success also meant that Asian merchants began to do more business with them, as Asian shipping was often involved in European private trade (Arasaratnam, 1987, 124-127). However, Asian traders wanted to maintain alternative routes to avoid being caught between two fires, since in case of a conflict between the European factors and Asian authorities, or among the Companies themselves (Prakash, 1998, 139-146), the Portuguese commercial networks could still be used, though traffic would be diminished. Portuguese ports like Diu, Daman, Bassein and Chaul were still appealing, as they provided access to other routes, mainly to the Bay of Bengal, and to the Far East; besides handling key products like gold and ivory from Mozambique. Special arrangements had been made since the 1640s to overcome several prohibitions included in the cartaz between the fortresses’ captains and merchants trading in the Gujerati ports. The change reflected partly the official policy adopted by King Dom João IV (r. 1640-1656), and during Queen Dona Luísa de Gusmão regency (1656-1662), to comply temporarily with Asian shipping sailing without a cartaz. But as soon as the Dutch-Portuguese peace treaty was signed at The Hague in 1662, the Crown reinstated the old cartaz policy, though it was only applied to Asian shipping (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, IV [1956], doc. 170, 457-458).150 After 1663 Tistado da Índia tried to regain its lost prosperity by adopting several measures in order to attract merchants to its ports; besides opening new routes and recovering old ones, particularly those connecting Goa with Macau and Manila (Ames, 1989, 283-300; 2000, passim).

  • 151 He himself writes in Portuguese Minaz. On other homonymous Khoja Minas: Aghassian, Kévonian, 1999, (...)
  • 152 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 8 November 1669.

110Although the outcome was relatively successful, it also meant the recovery of Goa’s pivotal role as the political and economic centre of the remaining Portuguese Asian Empire. During the administration of Viceroy Count of São Vicente (1666-1668), Goan authorities recovered their former power to issue all passports for the Arabian Sea, which they had lost during the Dutch blockade of Goa (1635-1662); but Kung’s factor and the captain-general of the Strait of Hormuz could still issue cartazes. The new policy produced an unexpected result. The merchant community of Surat, which had been receiving passports either in Diu, or in Daman, showed no interest in requesting for one in Goa. So Surat ships began to sail without a cartaz and it was only a matter of time before a Portuguese man-of-war seized one such ship in October 1669, when two Portuguese frigates captured a ship belonging to Coja Minaz, i.e. Khoja Minas, the great Armenian merchant, near the Kanarese coast,151 and towed it to Goa. The Goan authorities had, unknowingly, opened the Pandora’s box, in what would turn to be a serious crisis in Portuguese-Mughal relationship. The Viceroy and the State Council decided to release the ship in November 1669, as they acknowledged Minas’ friendship, and his defence of Portuguese interests in Surat. In the inquiry Goan officials discovered to their surprise that Minas had in fact asked for a cartaz. The request had been made slightly before the monsoon season to the secretary of Estado da Índia António Pais de Sande, during his visit to the Northern fortresses, but it was denied on account of the existing viceregal edict (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, IV [1956], doc. 84, 205-206).152

  • 153 Ibid.: 13 February 1670.
  • 154 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to the King Dom Pedro, Diu, 30 December 1685.
  • 155 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 7 January 1670.

111Count of São Vicente’s policy had a negative impact on Portuguese networks, as man-of-war patrolling the Arabian Sea tried to enforce it with the objective to profit from the capture of “illegal” shipping, without taking into consideration the political consequences of their actions. These pillages made on Asian navigation had a double economic impact: they diverted Asian merchants to rival networks, and indemnities had to be paid to plaintiffs who presented their cases in the Portuguese courts. For instance, Khoja Minas’s ship was seized and plundered (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, IV [1956], doc. 87, 211),153 which obliged the Goan authorities to pay 20,000 rupees to him, though he was never fully repaid.154 The worst thing that could happen was the closure of Asian ports to Portuguese trade, something damaging to Estado da Índia, whose major source of income came from customs revenues. In January 1670, Fr. Gaspar Baptista arrived in Goa as an emissary of the Nawab of Surat, its shabbandar, and the merchant community of which Minas was a leading member. The Capuchin mission was to negotiate a new agreement regarding the provision of cartazes to Mughal ports in Gujerat, and he carried with him letters from the directors of the English, French, and Dutch Companies in Surat, offering their services as intermediaries in the process (ibid., IV, doc. 86, 208).155

  • 156 Ibid.: 7 January 1670.
  • 157 Citing Foster, 1927, 208-209. Letter of Master (?) to Gerald Augier: Surat, 14 January 1670.
  • 158 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 13 February 1670.

112Negotiations were concluded swiftly, and the Council of State, along with India’s governors (1667-1671) empowered Diu and Daman’s captains, especially the latter, to issue cartazes to all shipping departing from Mughal ports. Under the new system, all vessels, ingoing and outgoing, would pay dues in these two Portuguese ports, but for the sake of tradition no novelty was introduced in the terminology employed in the document itself (Pissurlencar, 1953-1957, IV [1956], doc. 86, 208, 210).156 But before the ink dried up, a Surat ship was captured by Diu’s fleet, violating the agreement concluded in Goa. The ship was towed to Diu for collection of dues, and the Portuguese also extorted money from all merchants aboard. The Nawab seized the opportunity to expel all the Portuguese trading or dwelling in his sarkar after January 25. He wanted to negotiate a better deal from a position of strength, and an English EIC agent even registered rumours of a possible attack against Daman and Diu (ibid., IV, 210, n. 1).157 Goa received the news on February 13, and the governors summoned the State Council to discuss the affair, and decide a course of action, as the crisis came in a bad time, because it coincided with the season for procurement of Gujerati textiles by Goan traders to send it to Lisbon. To counteract the damage done by the ship’s pillage, the governors opened a process against the culprits, and dispatched hastily Fr. Gaspar Baptista to Surat with instructions to appease and negotiate with the Mughal authorities, and prevent any eventual attack on Diu and Daman. The Capuchin friar also took with him a copy of the former agreement, and received instructions to warn the Nawab that, unless Goan proposals were fully met, all passports issued to Mughal shipping, especially from Surat, would lose their validity, and therefore any vessel could be captured (ibid., IV, doc. 87, 210-212).158

  • 159 Proceedings of the Portuguese-Mughal negotiations: Surat, 8 April 1670. Portuguese-Mughal treaty: S (...)

113The two attitudes showed that both sides wanted to force the other to accept their respective position, but Fr. Gaspar Baptista was unable to persuade anyone in Surat on the rightfulness of his mission. The Surat merchant community, mostly comprising great international traders like Minas and Abdul Goffur, replied unitedly that if the contents of the cartaz were applied strictly, they would lose money and freights to competition. In their counterproposal they asked for the withdrawal of all prohibitions regarding people (including Turks, Iranians, and Armenians, who traded extensively and intensively in Mughal India), and merchandise carried aboard Asian ships, arguing that they could not know in advance what was for sale, or who would embark in the ports eventually called at. In exchange, the Surat merchant community was willing to pay entry and exit dues in all Estado da Índia ports, but only on the vessel’s tonnage and not on the cargo value as before, promising to pay five rupees over each hundred candy of gauge, liquidated immediately before receiving the cartaz plus 55 rupees of remuneration to Crown officials (25 to the secretary of Estado da Índia, and 20 to Daman’s captain). They also promised not to carry any Portuguese aboard their ships, nor call at any Omani port. The final agreement was reached in April 10, 1670, and it bears Minas’ signature (Biker, 1995, IV, 178-181).159

  • 160 AHU/DAÍ, box [34] 54, doc. 41. Regiment of the captain-general João Correia de Sá e Benavides, Pana (...)
  • 161 Ibid., box. [49] 79. Copy of Viceroy Count of Alvor edicts: [Goa, c. 1708]. Beginning with box [47] (...)
  • 162 Ibid., box [37] 67, doc. 76. Letter of Francisco de Abreu Castelo Branco to India’s governors: Kung (...)

114The authorities of Goa accepted the new agreement implicitly, but they did not extend its content to all cartazes issued by them since it was seen as a sign of weakness that should be masked as exceptional, and only enforced in the Gulf of Cambay. That was seen in the political guidelines given for other areas of Estado da Índia, particularly in the case of the Persian Gulf, whose captain-general received instructions to follow old rules, with the exception of Surat shipping. In 1674 captain-general João Correia de Sá e Benavides was instructed to escort all shipping from Sind to Kung, in order to collect customs in the latter port, but his mandate prevented him from doing the same on navigation coming from Surat, which should be left undisturbed unless any ship willingly wanted to call at Kung. As the content of the five hundred cartazes left unsigned in Kung followed the traditional pattern, they were of no avail to Surat nacodas or ship owners.160 The system established in 1670 was also prone to problems given its regional character, which were largely caused by local collusions not to show the full amount gauge taxes collected, as well as by other petty conflicts triggered by rivalry between different officials empowered to issue cartazes, particularly the captains of Diu and Daman, and the captain-general of the fleet in the Gulf of Cambay. To stop the increasing troubles caused by this competition, Viceroy Count of Alvor (1681-1686) decided in 1686 to share that power between Diu and Daman’s captains, according to their geographical area of influence. Although Daman’s captain was entrusted to issue passports to Surat, Diu kept her traditional authority to issue cartazes to the Great Mughal ships.161 Goan officials preferred to restrict the new status quo to the Gulf of Cambay, since they could no longer enforce old policies given their weak naval forces. Therefore it made no sense forbidding the traffic of naval materials through Asian shipping when the aimed enemy, Muscat, could easily obtain them, and not being prevented from buying, or commanding ships in Indian shipyards. For instance, Kung’s factor, Francisco de Abreu Castelo Branco, reported to Goa in 1691 that a great ship built in Surat had sailed unarmed, and undisturbed up to Muscat.162

Armenian Fortunes in Portuguese Networks

  • 163 Petition of Khoja Nü/Num and Khoja Martis: [Goa, before May 16,1670].

115Despite this juncture, 1670 represented the height of Khoja Minas ascendancy in Surat. In the aftermath of the agreements, he tried to strengthen his ties with Estado da Índia, thus diversifying his trade partners, which included the English East Índia Company. Taking advantage of Estado da Índia’s policy to attract Asian investment, and waving his Christian condition (he presented himself as a Catholic in Portuguese documents), and as a resident in a Mughal port, Minas was able to conclude a deal with India’s governors in May 1670, before Shivaji’s second attack on Surat in October 1670. Minas’ son, Khoja Nü/Num (?), and one of his associates, Khoja Martis, carried the negotiations on his behalf and obtained a favourable trade arrangement with Portuguese India (Boxer, 1976, 89-90).163

  • 164 Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa: 16 May 1670.
  • 165 Letter-patent of India’s governors: Goa, 20 October 1670. Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at G (...)

116Though governors António de Melo de Castro e Manuel Corte Real de Sampaio signed the agreement, the Exchequer Council granted only part of Minas’s requests, particularly those related to smaller customs duties in Goa (he would pay about half of what other Asian merchants paid); but he received no privileges to sell goods as retail in the Goan market (Boxer, 1976, 90-91).164 Minas also obtained cartazes for eight of his ships to trade with Macau and Mombassa. Both ports were important to Gujerat’s economy: from Mombassa Minas imported ivory in exchange for cheap Índian textiles; and Macau gave him access to Far Eastern markets, especially to Manila. The latter was critical for him to acquire American silver, and Minas knew very well that without a Portuguese pass his chances to go to Manila were minimal (ibid., 86-89, 91).165

117Probably he did not enjoy any of the privileges granted by Estado da Índia, since his fortune in Surat declined after 1672. His over ambitious economic ventures with East India Company’s commerce in Asia, particularly in the distribution of English broadcloth to Tonkin and Siam, was probably the cause of his ruin. That also explains the reason why he requested cartazes to trade with Macau, thus “protecting” his presence in the South China Sea. But before he could do that, Minas lost East Índia Company’s support due to his heterodox commercial practices vis-à-vis those of the English; and possibly by his failure to pay his English partners after Shivaji’s sack of Surat in October 1670. As in the previous sack, Shivaji plundered all the major commercial houses in Surat, and that surely included Minas’s. In the aftermath something happened between him and the Mughal officials, among whom was the newly arrived Nawab Ghiath al-Din Khan, which led Minas to complain over some abuse to Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707). That letter, written sometime between 1670 and 1672, was the turning point of his commercial career. When the imperial answer arrived it displeased Ghiath al-Din, who had Minas thrown into prison, where he was beaten with shoes and staffs until he almost died. His English associates became restless with his loss of favour in Surat, and tried to recover their assets (Sardesai, 1986 [1946], I, 201-202. Boxer, 1976, 84. Baghdiantz McCabe, 1999, 344).

  • 166 AHU/DAÍ, box [29-A] 53, doc. 186. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 7 July 1674.
  • 167 Ibid. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 5 July 1674. See also Boletim, 1954-1993, n° (...)

118A third blow struck Khoja Minas in 1673, when Viceroy Count of Lavradio (1671-1677) withdrew all the privileges bestowed upon him earlier in 1670. That had to do with the change of policy from one government to another in Estado da Índia, but it had also to do with the lack of money to pay indemnities, or to grant liberal exemptions in customs duties. Lavradio doubted the former government’s impartiality in the privileges granted to Minas, and disclaimed all responsibility regarding the indemnity that should have been paid by the officials and the crew of the frigate responsible for the attack on the ship.166 Lisbon agreed with the Viceroy’s decision, and endorsed it completely, thus bringing to an end all of Minas’ plans regarding his operations within Portuguese networks to Mombassa, or to Macau.167

  • 168 It amounted to 52,871 reis in 1687, or 0.095% of the overall revenue of Estado da Índia. Cf. ANTT/M (...)
  • 169 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to King Dom Pedro II: Diu, 30 December 1685.
  • 170 ANTT/MMCG, box 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 276. Budget of Estado da India, 1687.
  • 171 Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa: 24 October 1684.

119Minas declared bankruptcy in 1677, but he kept some of his former assets, perhaps six ships, and his commercial contacts in the Indian Ocean. His position in Surat became progressively unsustainable, and in 1684 Minas surfaced in Goa to claim the indemnity owing to him since 1669 (9,000,000 réis), apparently unaware of the fact that Viceroy Count of Lavradio had refused to pay it. To Minas’ frustration, Viceroy Count of Alvor (1681-1686) informed him that he had no money to pay his indemnity. In exchange Alvor proposed to Minas to recover his money from Daman’s cartaz income (in fact a very small annual revenue),168 and to move his commercial base, and trading house from Surat to Diu.169 Viceroy Count of Alvor planned to recover Diu from its declining prosperity by attracting rich Asian merchants to its port, which had been one of the richest in Portuguese India in its heyday. In the middle of the 1680s, however, its income had dwindled to mere 4,500,000 to 6,000,000 réis per year, far less than expected by Minas. To make things worse, no net profit yelded from Diu in 1687, as there was a deficit of 979,319 réis.170 Even so Minas accepted the bargain, and was made farmer of Diu’s customs in 1684. His main task was to reestablish the merchant’s confidence in Diu as a safe and reliable market with secure routes to Aden, and possibly Jeddah. Portuguese authorities had also hoped that Minas would eventually move his trading house from Surat to Diu, which led them to make him also the farmer of Diu’s mint (Aragão, 1966 [1875-1880], III, doc. 105, 557).171 Within a short period of time, Minas cornered the market to everyone else’s distaste, including the real power in Diu, its captain Manuel Furtado de Mendonça.

  • 172 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to King Dom Pedro II: Diu, 30 December 1685. (...)

120Until then Minas had been in control of the market and its merchants. Like his predecessors, he had sent his ships ahead of those of other merchants, compelled Banian traders and financiers to lend him money under some pretext, which was seldom repaid, and sold and bought goods at fixed prices. Minas realized that if he wanted to overcome Manuel Furtado he had to apply directly for King Dom Pedro II’s (r. 1683-1706) intervention, which he did in December 1685, asking for direct royal protection, and also presenting a plan to recover Diu’s decayed greatness. According to his plan, the Crown should send 60,000 silver reales to Diu to be invested over a ten-year period, and the money would be kept in Jesuit hands. A fixed amount of it should be invested annually in six ships carrying goods worth 6,000,000 réis each, and the profit would be reinvested the following year in the same way. Minas also requested the revival of his old privileges; implying that, if his proposal was accepted, he would transfer his trading house from Surat to Diu.172

  • 173 Ibid., doc. 109. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 6 November 1686. Ibid., doc. 110. (...)
  • 174 ANTT/MMCG, box 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 42. Draft of a letter from governor Dom Rodrigo da Costa to King D (...)

121Dom Pedro II and the Ultramarine Council in Lisbon accepted Minas’ proposal,173 but when the answer reached Goa in 1687, Minas had passed away, probably in 1686, to the great relief of all traders working in Diu, and with none of his projects materialized.174 Although this kind of performance was ultimately responsible for affecting the reputation of Asian merchants in European eyes, the former still remained active in the latter networks. This was true about Armenian presence in private Portuguese commercial routes, especially those connecting the Bay of Bengal with the Far East (Bérinstain, 1996, 147-149).

  • 175 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to King Dom Pedro 11: Goa, 10 December 1696.
  • 176 Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to King Dom Pedro II: Goa, 13 February 1696.

122But even in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf, Armenian merchants still used official Portuguese networks, though on a smaller scale. Sometimes they played important roles, like the unnamed Armenian who supplied saltpetre to Estado da Índia in 1696, in close association with another unnamed Indian merchant. Viceroy Count of Vila Verde (1693-1698) doubted his sincerity too much, but given the particular situation, characterized by a strong Indian and European demand of saltpetre and a small supply of the commodity, Goan authorities were only too pleased to find alternative sources and suppliers (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 46 [1984], 143).175 Despite his doubts, Count of Vila Verde used another Armenian, one Khoja Minas, as his commercial agent to deal with horses in 1696 with the governor of Concan (ibid., n° 41-42-43 [1970], 211-212).176

  • 177 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to Rustamji Manakji: Goa, 13 February 1696.

123Portuguese neutrality during European conflicts that ravaged maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean during the last quarter of the 17th century was also a major opportunity that was used by Asians merchants, particularly the Armenians. On the other hand the renewed Goan interest in Persian matters, visible in the diplomatic missions sent to Shah Sultan Husayn I’s (1694-1722) court (Aubin, 1971), led to closer ties with Armenian communities in Iran and in India. Though nothing palpable came out of these diplomatic missions, there was an unexpected side effect connected with Omani attacks on Portuguese networks, particularly the ones centred in Kung. During the 1690s it became usual for Armenians to trade between Surat and Iran under Portuguese naval protection. Armenians living or trading in Surat often turned to Rustamji Manakji to obtain Portuguese protection, as this Parsee merchant represented informally Goa’s interests in that port (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 41-42-43 [1970], 209-210).177

  • 178 Letter of governor António Luís da Gonçalves Câmara Coutinho to Issally Isephany: Goa, 25 August 17 (...)

124Armenian-Portuguese relationship during the 1690s reached an excellent level. If politically and religiously they still tended to fight each other, economically they were inclined to cooperate. Both gained from this cooperation, and Armenians became once again informers for Goa’s government. A certain “Issally Isephany,” an Armenian in the western Indian port of Danda warned governor António Luis Gonçalves da Cámara Coutinho (1698-1701) that Sidi Yakut Khan Habashi intended to launch a naval attack against Estado da Índia in 1700 to recover several of his vessels taken by Portuguese frigates. Later, the governor informed “Issaly Isephany” that he was under Portuguese protection, and that Sidi Yakut Khan had been warned to leave him untouched (Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 38-39-40 [1969], 85-86).178

125Such form of cooperation was episodic and short lived. In the long run things returned to the same old pattern of confrontation. When that happened again, the Armenians returned to informal Portuguese networks, particularly those linking Bengali and Tamil ports with Macau and Manila. Those routes had been out of Goa’s control since the second half of the 17th century, though Goan authorities had tried in vain to recover control over this elusive trade carried outside the reach of its taxing arm.

126For the Armenians it was simpler to enter into the remaining parts of Estado da Índia through the Bay of Bengal rather than by way of Goa. Some Armenian communities continued to live in informal Portuguese centres along the Bay of Bengal, or in nearby ports. On the other hand, British protection offered by the Bombay Navy was becoming more effective than that provided by the Portuguese men-of-war in the Arabian Sea. To worsen things, Goa’s Asian, Portuguese, and traders of Portuguese descent had begun competing with their rivals from Macau to fix prices among themselves to obtain Chinese gold in exchange for silver. Its outcome was disastrous for Goan economy, which faced an inflationary spiral almost immediately.

  • 179 AHU, cod. 431, fol. lb-3b. Duties paid by the frigate Nossa Senhora das Brotas, non-dated [c.1720].

127The gold traffic between Macau and Goa was still considerable in the first quarter of the 18th century; as proved alone by the gold carried aboard the frigate Nossa Senhora das Brotas c. 1720, estimated at 86,361,100 réis, out of which 1,727,222 was paid as freight. The remaining Chinese goods, mainly porcelain and furniture, paid more duties that amounted to 10,235,792 réis, and the Armenians trading in this route paid 207,900 réis (2.03%). Armenian participation was small by any standard, showing that they preferred other networks, with less customs duties than in Portuguese ports.179

Conclusion Between Estrangement and Cooperation

128The Armenian presence in the official networks of Estado da Índia was negligible in the beginning, since most of them stayed outside Portuguese Asia and remained hostile to the newcomers due to their close commercial ties with the Gujerati traders. Only gradually did they use the most important networks within Portuguese Asia, in the western Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea). The Armenians did it because they had been doing it long before the arrival of the Portuguese, and the latter were eager to maintain a steady commercial traffic in order to obtain revenues, that ultimately enabled to sustain Estado da Índia. Even though a new dissemination of the Armenians throughout maritime Asia was contemporaneous of Portuguese arrival, and of their subsequent expansion, it was not linked with it nor it was a result of the latter. Though they were well accepted officially in the beginning, as they were fellow-Christians, later on they were seen and treated differently, sometimes as enemies and deviants of Christian orthodoxy. In the early years of the 17th century Armenians became the object of policies aiming at attracting them into the Portuguese networks, but that move was linked with a political decision connected with Portuguese-Safavid negotiations at a time when some of them were Iranian subjects, and enjoyed Safavid protection. Simultaneously the axis of their commercial world shifted towards the south, to major Indian Ocean ports and trade networks, strengthening a movement perceptible since the second half of the 15th century.

  • 180 See also for an overview: Chaudlhuri, 1985, 105, 211-212, 224-225; Subrahmanym, 1990a, 192-194; McP (...)

129Throughout this period, roughly from 1515 to 1700, the Armenians never had large communities within major official centres of Portuguese Asia, even though their presence was felt in other trade emporia of the Indian Ocean. Armenian relation with Estado da Índia was based, not on community basis but on an individual basis. Contrasting with their low numbers in official ports, they lived in large numbers in and traded with Portuguese unofficial settlements, especially those around the Bay of Bengal, like Mylapore and Hughli, which gave them access to the Southeast Asian and Far Eastern markets.180

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Wicki, J., 1961. “Duas relações da Índia portuguesa nos anos de 1568 e 1569”, Studia [Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos / Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical], Lisbon, 8.

Woods, J. E., 1999. The Aqquyunlu. Clan, Confederation, Empire. Revised and expanded edition, Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press.

Annexes

Appendix I

Letter of Coja Minaz (Khoja Minas) to King Dom Pedro II: Din, 1685. Lisbon, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino. Documentos avulsos da Índia (AHU/DAÍ), box [33] 60, doc. 109, unfolliated. By courtesy of the Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (fig. 6-a-b).

Image 100000000000017F000001FD9C677F97.jpg

Fig. 6-a. Letter of Khoja Minas. Fol. [Ba]

El Rey meu Senhor,

Senhor,

[fol. Aa ] Como vaçallo e captiuo de Magestade faço estas breues regras pera que me relleue o atraminto [sic] manifesto que por estar a dcuer trinta mil xerafins, que Vossa Magcstade me mandou pagar em Goa por huma carta sua, c hindo eu cobrar este dinheiro mc fez grande fauor e merce [o] Conde Vizo Rey de mandar cobrar este dinheiro do rendimento dos cartazes de Damão athe seis annos; e elle me diçe que por estar este porto de Dio qucbrado fosse eu pera elle a conseruar e fazer seruiço de Vossa Magestade dizendo que nào ficaçe nas terras dos mouros aonde eu hera morador no porto de Surrate, e com minha uinda ficaria esta terra bem conseruada pera poderem tambem uir outros mercadores como deffeito tomando o contrato d’alfandiga desta fortaleza de Vossa Magestade; uim nella e uindo eu achey estar quebrado pello temor do jnimigo Arabio e os mercadores moradores delle achey estarem espalhados por deuerssos portos, por terem alcançado que o dito e jnimigo Arabio sempre cada anno na monção hirem apanhar os ditos barcos que partem desta terra no Estreito.

Outrossy em rezão de o capitão desta dita fortaleza fazer mercancia com seus barcos pera os portos que a elle lhe pareçem milhor e os mercadores ficão empatados de sua mercancia, e com fazenda delles faz a dita mercançia e tomando por empretimo o dinheiro [fol. Ab] a responder com aueixaçõis e prizons; e com a[s] chegadas dos ditos barcos a saluamento faz pagamento da fazenda que nelles uem como a elle lhe pareçe milhor no que rezultão notauel perda, e pellas cauzas referidas assjm da dita aueixação como do dito jnimigo Arabio fica esta terra cada dia mais por detraz e não pode aumentar.

Image 1000000000000184000001295F687787.jpg

Fig. 6-b. Ibid. The signature of Khoja Minas

Como tambem me rclleue Vossa Magestade o atrauimento pera que fosse sabedor em como não hade hauer outro porto como este de Dio tambem de nenhum Rey; a isso atentando Vossa Magestade no que manifesto faça fauor pera conseruação delle de mandat saçenta mil patacas pera ficar em depozito nas maos do padre administrador deste collegio athe dez annos que sera ajuda e aumentação desta terra, da qual quantia ordenando que poderão tomar seis barcos cada hum de dez mil xerafins, e mais em cada hum poderão leuar os ditos barcos carregados de fazenda pera suas uiagens uinte mil xerafins, por esta maneira podera esta terra ser mais remediada e os ditos mercadores poderão tambem fazer suas mercancias uindo pera esta terra nos ditos barcos com grande animo; e quando queira tambem fazer sua mercancia [fol. Ba] o pode fazer nelles e não podera partir o dito capitam o seu barco pera nenhum porto, e sendo assjm podera tornar esta praça como dantes e ficar prospera, e ficando assjm eu tambem pertendo mandir uir os meus barcos pera aquy com toda a minha caza pera seruiço de Vossa Magestade do dito porto de Surrate.

No mais Deos guarde a Vossa Magestade por largos e fellices annos pera amparo de seus vacallos de todo estado, ettc. Dio 30 de Dizembro de 1685 annos.

Captiuo e vaçallo de Vossa Magestade

Image 100000000000009A0000000F4D29EBDD.jpg181 (mark)

Coja Minaz contratador

[Verso]

Dio 30 de Dezembro de 685

De Coja Minâz contratador

Em que dá conta de alguns pareceres tocantes a conseruação e augmento daquella praça.

Conultada.

Appendix II

Letter of Coja Minaz (Khoja Minas) to King Dom Pedro II: Diu, 1685. Lisbon, Arquivo Histôrico Ultramarino, Documentos avulsos da Índia (AHU/DAÍ), box [33] 60, doc. 110, unfolliated. Another copy in: Arquivos Nacionais da Torre do Tombo, Miscelâneas manuscritas do Convento da Graça (ANTT/MMCG), box 6, doc. 3° E, fol. 43. By courtesy of the Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (fig. 7).

Image 10000000000001830000020106734D93.jpg

Fig. 7. Second letter of Khoja Minas. Fol. Ab.

El Rey meu Senhor,

Senhor,

[fol. Aa] Alem de ter escripto a Vossa Magestade huma, tambem quero valler como vaçallo e captiuo de Vossa Magestade que me mande hum aluara na forma que tinha paçado outro sendo gouernadores deste Estado António de Mello de Castro e Manoel Corte Real de Sampayo estando eu no porto de Surrate, no qual me tinha concedido que os meus barcos que partiçem do dito porto se Surrate e hindo pera alguns de Vossa Magestade não tomaçem direitos nenhuns por cauza do tempo ou emvernar ou fazer agoada mais que tenha recolhido suas fazendas nos bacares, e que uendendo a dita fazenda pagaçe eu a metade dos direitos, como milhor constata a Vossa Magestade pelo dito aluara que com esta remeto esperando que me mande outro em nome de Vossa Magestade na forma que tinha conçedido os dito gouernadores. E pagar eu a metade dos ditos ditos [sic] nesta fortaleza mandando uir meus barcos do porto de Surrate com toda a minha caza pera ser morador deste porto e fazer nelle mercançia que puder com os ditos barcos, [fol. Ab] como tambem espero ser fauoreçido por Vossa Magestade que me recomende muito ao Conde Vizo Rey e no Conselho da Fazenda em Goa, pera que me fação muito fauor e merce de dar ajuda e fauor que for necessario pera não receber as aueixaçõis do meu contrato na forma do regimento.

No mais Deos guarde a Vossa Magestade por largos e fellices annos pera amparo de seus vaçallos e de todo estado, ettc. Dio 30 de Dizembro de 1685 annos.

Captiuo e vaçallo de Vossa Magestade

Image 10000000000000810000000F312BF7DF.jpg (mark)

Coja Minaz contratador

[Verso]

Dio

Senhor o que escreue Coja Minaz de Dio e pede aluara na forma em que lho passaram os gouernadores que forão daquelle Estado.

Consultada

Notes

1 The plot to attract and destroy Gama’s three ships is thoroughly described by Subrahmanyam, 1997, chap. III.

2 “Emformação d’alguas cousas da Persia, dada por Coja Perquolim”: Calado, 1957,133.

3 For a different version see Gulbenkian, 1995 [1972a], I, 101-131.

4 According to a later Abyssinian envoy, Saga Za Ab, Abraham was his “true” Armenian name.

5 For a different view see Gulbenkian, 1995 [1980], I, 198-199.

6 Letters published in English by Georg Schurhammer (1963a, 333-338); and translated from Syriac to Portuguese with a study by Luís Filipe Thomaz (1991a, 119-181); reprinted with the same pagination and with many typographic errors in the series “Separatas” (n° 224, 1992) of the Centro de Estudos de História e de Cartografia Antiga, Lisbon.

7 Modern day Bandar Abbas, at 27° 15’ N and 56° 19’ E.

8 “Mocarrarias” in Portuguese sources, from the Arab muqarrariyya, one of the two main entries in the Ilkhanids ledgerbooks, under which the monarch paid ministers that depended from the Treasury: Dalgado, 1988, s.v.; Van Lent, Bearman, 1997, s.v.: The muqarrariyya was the money/present given in Hormuz to pay the expenses of diplomatic envoys sent by rulers whose countries were cruised by the caravans departing from Bandel Comorão.

9 For the numerous types of coins, weights and measures prevalent in Hormuz, see Nunes, 1868, 5-26, and Aubin, 1996-2000 [1973], II, 350-351.

10 Cochin-Cananore, 20 September-6 December 1508. Luis Filipe F. R. Thomaz kindly obliged me with this reference.

11 If Beirami did not spoke Portuguese, he should have used Castilian in his negotiations with Albuquerque.

12 Cf. Barros, 1778-1788, 2a, II/III, 128. Although a bureaucrat, Beirami could engage himself in private trade, which would validate part of his biographic data on Correia. He was not an isolated case: according to Tomé Pires, Hormuz’s vizier, Khoja Ata had his own factor in Bhatkal to trade in horses (Cortesão, I, 62).

13 “Senhor, sou arménio cristão de natureza, e por andar a ganhar a vida corri muitas terras, estive muito tempo na cidade de Veneza, onde aprendi esta fala portuguesa, e sei muitas outras, e há muitos anos que assentei nesta cidade, tratando de mercadorias. Vivo como me ensina a necessidade, no coração tenho a crença da salvação, que espero que a minha alma tenha em dita, se acabar tuas cousas em bem, porque espero que dai me venha muito bem”: Felner, 1921-1969, I/I [1922], 820.

14 Supra, n. 10.

15 Pires was half-wrong, as Ismail’s mother was an Aqquyunlu princess (Halima Begi Agha or Alamshah Khatun) married to Hayder b. Junayd Safavi (Woods, 1999, 107), though his grandmother was a Greek princess from Trebizond, Theodora Comnenos, married to Uzun Hasan. However, it was possible that the Artzerounids of Vaspurakan, which had the Catholicosate of Aghtamar Island and had even tried to restore an Armenian kingdom during the Turkoman period (King Sembat was crowned in 1471) through their power over the new siege of Edjmiatzin, could have had some kind of relationship with the Safavids in the turn of the 15th to the 16th century. On Ismail early life: Aubin, 1988a, 1-130.

16 For an overall picture of the period see: Das Gupta, 1982, I, 407-433; Bouchon, Lombard, 1987, 46-70; Steensgaard, 1987, 125-150.

17 Thomaz, 1998, 71-72 (an abridged linglish version of the author’s thesis, submitted at the Faculty of Arts of Lisbon in 1964). Id., 1987, 36, 39.

18 Letter of Afonso de Albuquerque to King Dom Manuel, Hormuz, 22 September 1515: Mendonça, Bulhão, 1884-1935, I, 369-379. Letter of Pêro de Alpoim to King Dom Manuel, Hormuz, 11 October 1515: Farinha, 1991, 35-38.

19 Mandate of Afonso de Albuquerque to the factor Francisco Corvinel, Goa, 27 January 1515: Mendonça, Bulhão, 1884-1935, VI [1915], 221. Id., Hormuz, 11 April 1515: ibid., 260.

20 Ledger book of the carrack Santa Maria do Monte (1520-1521): Farinha, 1991, 46-55. On this voyage: Aubin, 1996-2000 [1988], II, 507-522.

21 Instruction given to Rui de Melo, captain of Goa: Goa, 23 March 1519.

22 Consultation of the Ultramarine Council, Lisbon, 14 December 1684: Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (henceforth AHU), Documentos avulsos da Índia (henceforth DAÍ), box [33] 60, doc. 13. Petition of Francisco Correia, Lisbon, 24 March 1687, AHU/DAÍ, box [34] 62, doc. 47.

23 Willem Floor has kindly informed me that “Kallamachi” could be the Persian word kalamchi “interpreter.”

24 “Este hé o caminho que fazem os mercadores que levão a especiaria d’Ormuz pera Trypoly de Sorya, que hé no Mar de Levante.”

25 Letters of Afonso de Albuquerque to King Dom Manuel: Canannore, 1st December 1513 (Mendonça, Pato, 1884-1935, I, 167-168); Cananore, 4 December 1513 (ibid, IV [1910], 181).

26 Letter of Diogo Lopes de Sequeira to King Dom Manuel, Cochin, 28 December 1519.

27 Letter of João de Meira to King Dom Manuel, Cochin, 21 January 1522.

28 Besides his own account (Baião, 1923, 1-44), see Aubin, 1994, 35-36.

29 The best studies on this matter are by Dejanirah Couto (1990, 243-267) and José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim (1998, 309-342).

30 For the pivotal role of these two communities: Goofman, 2002, 169-183.

31 The allegiance of these petty Arab rulers was more virtual than real, with the exception of Basra. But even this small state maintained a considerable autonomy until 1546, when the Ottoman beylerbey of Baghdad Ayas Pasha took it: Ozbaran, 1994, 125-127.

32 Citing Simão Botelho, Tombo do Estatdo da Índia.

33 Letter of vizier Rukn al Din to King Dom João III: Hormuz, 12 September 1537.

34 Letter of Pêro Fernandes to King Dom João III: Goa, 20 October 1538.

35 For an overview of the Gujerati Sultanate at the period of Bahadur Shah and all its implications: Alam, Subrahmanyam, 2002, 239-269.

36 Letter of the vizier Rukn al-Din to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 14 December, 1546.

37 “Letter of vizier Rukn al-Din to governor D. João de Castro”: Hormuz, 24 August, 1545; “Letter of Luís Falcão to governor D. João de Castro”: Hormuz, January 1, 1546.

38 “Emformação do emxofre que vem de demtro do estreyto d’Ormuz, dada per Bastião Lopez Lobato, feytor que foy na dita terra”.

39 Letter of Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 18 December 1545.

40 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 15 January 1546.

41 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 25 March 1546.

42 1 bahar of sulphur in Hormuz equals 217.797 kg: Nunes, 1868, 51.

43 “Emformação do emxofre que vem de demtro do estreyto d’Ormuz, dada por Bastiâo Lopez Lobato, feytor que foy na dita çydade e fortaleza.”

44 Letter of Dom Manuel de Lima to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 23 July 1547.

45 Dom Manuel de Lima to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 13 October 1547.

46 Letter of Rafael Lobo to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 2 February 1546.

47 Letter of Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 30 November 1546.

48 Sebastião Lopes Lobato to governor Dom João de Castro”: Hormuz, 03 February 1546; Letter of Dom Manuel de Lima to governor Dom João de Castro: Hormuz, 23 June 1546.

49 Letter of governor Dom João de Castro to King Dom João III: s. 1, non-dated [1547].

50 Governor Dom João de Castro to King Dom João III: Goa, 1547 (Albuquerque, 1989b, 121). Letter of Simão Botelho to king Dom João III: Bassein, 24 December 1548, (Felner, 1868, 19-20). Cf. D. Couto [= Couto-Potache], 1989, 145-161; Özbaran, 1994, 126-127.

51 Excerpt of a letter by Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus SI: Hormuz, September 1549 (Wicki, 1948-1979, I [1948], 504-505, doc. 76). Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus to the Jesuits in India and Europe: Hormuz, 10 December 1549 (ibid., I, 671, doc. 87b).

52 Barzaeus even preached in Hormuz Synagogue: Schurhammer, 1963b, 413-435.

53 “De una carta de mestre Gaspar Francisco [Barzeu] que embio de Ormuz a los hermanos de la Compañia de Iesus en Coymbra”: Hormuz, 24 November 1550.

54 Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus to the Jesuit College of Coimbra: Hormuz, 24 November 1550; Fr. Gaspar Barzaeus to Ignatius of Loyola: Goa, 16 December 1551. See also supra, n. 53. On Barzaeus mission, see Fr. Sebastão Gonçalves: Wicki, 1957 1962, II [1960], book VI, chaps. 10-14, 56-84.

55 On the Portuguese Padroado, a right enjoyed by Portugal’s sovereigns to appoint bishops and oversee the religious orders acting in his dominions as long as they were financially supported by him, see Jacques, 1999.

56 On the overall impact of the 1565-1570 crisis in Portuguese India: Thomaz, 1995, 481-519.

57 First Goan Provincial Council, 1567: first action, decree 39.

58 Sanjay Subrahmanyam (1998, 210-211, 219-220) has pointed to the fact that the competition between Portuguese and Ottoman trade routes (in a wider perspective) is a false historical problem, as the cause for confrontation was political, and had nothing to do with economic efficiency. He also pointed out that Ottoman interest for the Indian Ocean declined abruptly after Ibrahim Pasha’s death in 1536, and after 1546 the Porte was only interested in controlling the mouth of both straits (Aden and Hormuz).

59 Letter of Tomé Serrào to King Dom João III: Hormuz, 24 November 1550.

60 Letter of Rui Gonçalves de Caminha to governor Dom João de Castro: Cochin, 17 January 1548.

61 Report given to Don Antonio de Mendoza Viceroy of New Spain: non-dated [c.1550]. On Portuguese trade in the Malay-Indonesian world: Lobato, 1999.

62 The reports where assembled in a fictitious codex known as Livro que trata das cousas da India e do Japão, kept in Elvas and edited by Adelino de Almeida Calado (1957). On Pir Qoli carreer: Thomaz, 2004, 122-124.

63 “Emformação da madeyra que há por derredor dos rios Eufrates e Tygre, e como ha trazem por eles abayxo à cydade de Baçorá.”

64 Letter of Francisco Barreto to King Dom João III: Bassein, 6 January 1557.

65 Letter of Dom Constantino de Bragança to Queen-Dowager and Regent Dona Catarina: Cochin, 20 January 1561.

66 Letter of Queen-Dowager and Regent Dona Catarina to the count of Castanheira: Lisbon, 5 August 1561. pp. 58-59.

67 Letter of Simão da Costa to King Dom Sebastião: Goa, 11 December 1563.

68 Simão da Costa to King Dom Sebastião: Goa, 11 December 1563.

69 “Enformação das fortalezas e lugares da India.”

70 Law of Dom Sebastão: Lisbon, 14 August 1563. L. de Matos, 1972, 224.

71 Law of Dom Sebastão, 4 December 1567. Rego, 1947-1958, X [1953], 406-407, 411-412.

72 In the 1560s the Red Sea route knew a revival, though less spectacular than some historians (e.g. Vitorino Magalhães Godinho and F. C. Lane) said. Godinho, 1987, 128-134. Lane, 1996, 111-120. Lane, Wake, 1996, 141-183.

73 Isaque do Cairo and Matias Bicudo, named in a letter of the Portuguese ambassador in Rome, Antonio Pinto, to King Dom Sebastião: Rome, 23 December 1564. Moniz, 1891, X, 186.

74 Letter of Tomás de Carnoça (?) to Pêro de Alcáçova Carneiro (?): Venice, 20 July 1566.

75 “Letter of Mr. Arthur Edwards, written the 26 of April 1566, to the right worshipful Sir Thomas Lodge, and in his absence to Mr. Thomas Nichols, secretary to the right worshipful Company trading into Russia, Persia, and other North and East parts”, and “The voyage into Persia, made by Mr. Arthur Edwards, agent, John Sparke, Laurence Chapman, Christopher Faucet, and Richard Pingle, in the year 1568.”

76 “Passport, free transit,” given to protect shipping from attacks. From the Arabic qirtas “papyrus roll, papyrus, parchment, rag of paper,” on which the document was written: Van Lent, Bearman, 1997, s.v. For the historical origin: Labib, 1970, 69. For the Portuguese side: Thomaz, 1999, 115-162.

77 Its customs house worked only for a short span of time during the 16th century, from 1592 to 1594.

78 Peace treaty signed between Viceroy Dom Garcia de Noronha and Burhan Nizam Shah: Goa, 22 April 1539. Peace treaty signed between governor Dom Estêvão da Gama and Burhan Nizam Shah: Goa, 30 March 1542. Peace treaty signed between governor Dom João de Castro and Burhan Nizam Shah: Goa, 6 October 1547.

79 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vidigueira to king Filipe II (Goa, 21 December 1599): Lisbon, Biblioteca nacional de Lisboa (henceforth BNL), Fundo geral, cod. 1976, fol. 128-129. Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Aires de Saldanha (Lisbon, 25 March 1601): Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 3 [1955], 577. Luz, 1960 [Livro das cidades...], fol. 20a-20b. Guerreiro, 1942 [1603], II, 389-390. Teles e Cunha, 1995, 76-77,186-187.

80 All the same the merchant had to pay a duty of 42 pardaus (15,120 réis) per head.

81 Letter of Ralph Fitch to Leonard Poore: Goa, 25 January 1584.

82 “Voyage of Master John Eldred to Tripoli in Syria by sea, and from thence by land and river to Babylon, and Basra.”

83 Letter of John Newberry to Leonard Poorer: Goa, 20 January 1584.

84 Third Goan Provincial Council, 1585: second action, decree 29.

85 Fourth Goan Provincial Council, 1592: second action, decree 14.

86 In this article (297-300), Roberto Gulbenkian names two Armenians, father and son, Mirza Sikander and Mirza Zu-l-Qarnain, who protected and helped the Jesuits and the Portuguese in the Mughal Empire.

87 Despite being both Armenians, Zu-l-Qarnain and his father served Mughal Emperors since Akbar (r. 1556-1605). On Zu-l-Qarnain there is an entry in Jahangir’s memoirs on 22 February 1620: “Zulqarnayn was assigned as garrison commander to Sambhar. He is son of Iskandar the Armenian, and his father had the good fortune to be in His Majesty Arsh-Ashyani’s service. His Majesty married him to Abdul-Hayy the Armenian’s daughter who served in the royal harem, and by her had two sons. One was Zulqarnayn, who was intelligent and possessed valour, and during my reign the great administrators of the imperial demesnes entrusted the salt works to him.” Tackson, 1999, 356.

88 On Macau and the Far East: Subrahmanyam, 1993, 137-142; Flores, 2000,179-213.

89 In Hormuz the bundle of indigo had 40 maunds (76.5236 kg). Nunes, 1868, 17, 50, 52.

90 Quintal: a Portuguese weight of 51.405 kg in the old system, which was kept in use for weighting spices, and 58.752 kg in the new system. Godinho, 1982, 364.

91 Letter of Filipe I to Viceroy count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 8 January 1598. Lisbon, Arquivos nacionais da Torre do Tombo, (henceforth ANTT), Miscelâneas manuscritas do Convento da Graça (henceforth MMCG), box 3-6°L, fol. 142.

92 ANTT/MMCG, box 3-6°L, fol. 167: letter of Filipe II to Viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 10 December 1598.

93 Letter of Filipe II to viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 21 November 1598.

94 ANTT/MMCG, box 3-6°L, fol. 133-134, 164. Filipe I to Viceroy Count of Vidigueira: Lisbon, 8 January 1598 and 10 October 1598.

95 According to Herzig (1990, 59-71) the deportation of Julfa’s population was not planned, and it resulted from a hasty decision taken locally. The initial deportations did not involve the civil population, and simply followed the traditional modus operandi of the Safavid pillaging expeditions made since the 16th century. The decision to deporte them was taken during the winter of 1605, when it became clear that the displaced population could not return to their point of origin given the Kurd and Ottoman banditry menace. To Matthee (1999, 85), Herzig’s revisionist opinion does not explain the reason behind the massive displacement of Armenians to New Julfa.

96 The best account of Lacerda’s embassy and its background is by Roberto Gulbenkian: 1912b, 30-43.

97 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 26 February 1605.

98 On the “historical moment”: Luz, 1952, 199-356; Steensgaard, 1974; Meilink-Roelofsz, 1962, especially chap. VIII, 173-206; 1980, 1-43.

99 Fr. Manuel da Avé Maria, “Manual Eremítico da congregação da India Oriental dos Eremitas de N. P. S. Agostinho,” (= chap. LXVI).

100 “De ce qu’avec la grâce de Dieu le père ‘servo sem proveito’ fit dans le royaume de Perse”, non-dated: Gulbenkian, 1912b, 117-124 (= 1995, II, 131-159). Baghdiantz McCabe, 1999, 62-63.

101 It is probably a reference to Dom Fr. Azarias Fridon, who was in Spain around this time to collect money for his bishopric. Aubert, 1981, col. 117.

102 ANTT, Colecção São Vicente (henceforth CSV), cod. 17, fol. 24-25. Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Aires de Saldanha: Lisbon, 10 March 1605.

103 Letter of King Filipe 11 to the Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro”: Lisbon, 1st January 1607.

104 King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 15 March 1608.

105 ANTT/MMCG, cx. 6-2aE, fol. 651-655: letter of Diogo do Couto to Dom Francisco da Gama Count of Vidigueira, nondated [Goa, December 1608]. Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Rui Lourenço de Távora: Lisbon, 13 February 1610 (Pato, 1880-1903, I, 325-326).

106 Consultation of the Council of Portugal, Madrid, 10 January 1607.

107 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Martim Afonso de Castro: Lisbon, 15 March 1608.

108 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Rui Lourenço de Távora: Lisbon, 13 February 1610. See also Luz, 1952, 325-333, and Steensgaard, 1974, 270-283.

109 Reply given by Filipe 11 to Sir Robert Shirley: Madrid, 3 March 1610.

110 AHU/DAÍ, box 3, doc. 12. Inquiry on Dom Henrique de Noronha captainship: Goa, 20 January 1615.

111 AHU/DAÍ, ibid.

112 Ibid.

113 Kharaj was a capitation tax collected over all foreigners coming from Persia: Aubin, 1972, 218. Hormuz controller of the Exchequer Miguel Borges de Sousa stated in a letter to Filipe II (Hormuz, 5 August 1618) that the “corujos” in the beginning were only applied to merchants coming from Basra: AHU/DAÍ, box 5, doc. 127.

114 It was a short-lived union that ended abruptly. Gulbenkian, 1995, I, 305-356 (“Deux lettres surprenantes du catholicos arménien David IV a Philippe III d’Espagne, Il de Portugal, 1612-1614”]. Baghdiantz McCabe, 1999, 63-66.

115 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Rui Lourenço de Távora: Lisbon, 19 March 1609.

116 Copy of the chapters 4 and 5 of the truce with the United Provinces of Flanders: Brugge, 22 March 1609.

117 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo: Lisbon, 26 January 1612.

118 Letter of Viceroy Dom jerónimo de Azevedo to King Filipe II: Goa, 29 December 1616.

119 “Ajournai of the Journey of Richard Steel and John Crowther from India to Persia.”

120 Fr. Manuel da Ave-Maria, “Manual Eremítico da congregação da Índia Oriental dos Eremitas de N. P. S. Agostinho,” book 2.

121 Letter of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos to King Filipe II, non-located: [Iran], 30 November 1615.

122 AHU/DAÍ, box 2, doc. 86. Letter of Francisco Rebelo Rodovalho to King Filipe II: Goa, 13 January 1613.

123 See also Pato, 1880-1903, III, 185-186. Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo: Lisbon, 6 February 1615.

124 Letter of King Filipe II to Viceroy Dom Jeronimo de Azevedo: Lisbon, 6 February 1615.

125 Letter of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos to Filipe II: non-located:[Iran], 30 November 1615.

126 Report of Fr. Belchior dos Anjos on the Persian silk trade: 8 September-10 October 1619.

127 AHU/DAÍ, box 6, doc. 32. Letter of Lopo Alvares Pereira to King Filipe II: Goa, 14 February 1619.

128 Letter of Viceroy Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo to King Filipe II: Goa, 29 December 1616.

129 Proceedings of the Revenue Council at Goa: 13 February 1617.

130 Unlike Hormuz, Abbas marched personally to Qandahar using the desert route through Tabas: Melville, 1993, 215.

131 Nautaques were pirates established in Makran’s coast, whose activity was known since pre-Portuguese times, as they plundered boats in Oman’s littoral using elaborated techniques: cf. Gaspar Correia (Felner, 1922, I, 792-799). Hormuz’s sovereigns, and later the Portuguese authorities paid muqarrariyya to Makran’s King, which amounted to a little more than 326 xerafins after 1568 (Estado, 1960, I, 209). Ten years earlier Seyyidi Ali Reis made mention of them in his work under the name nûtâk, and described them as a sort of “levend” who lived and thrived on marauding trade vassels, and sea ports (Bacqué-Grammont, 1999, 55). A contemporary (c. 1550) visual document depicted them in two tarrads, armed with bows, muskets, and guns: L. de Matos, 1985, pl. XXI. The muqarrariyya did not keep them from plundering commercial navigation bound to Hormuz, which led the Portuguese authorities around 1600 to complain on the situation arisen from this break of compromise and threat with its suspension (Estado, 1960, I, 209).

132 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 263 and ff. Letter of Martim Afonso de Melo to King Filipe III: Muscat, 8 June 1623.

133 Ibid., fol. 265 and ff. Letter of Nicolau da Silva to King Filipe III: Muscat, 20 June 1623. See also the Proceedings of the Revenue Council at Goa (9 September 1623): BNL, Fundo geral, cod. 1983, fol. 24b-25b.

134 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 365 and ff. Letter of Rui Freire de Andrade to King Filipe III: Muscat, 28 May 1624.

135 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 June 1624, doc. 2.

136 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 June 1624. Proceedings of the Goan Court of Appeal: 1st June 1624. See also the Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa (4 June 1624): BNL, Fundo geral, cod. 1983, fol. 44a-b.

137 Copy of the treaty, called “Contract” and dated January 20,1635, in Veiga e Ataida e Melo, 1937-1943, II, 267-269.

138 Entry of 18 February 1634.

139 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 19 November 1642.

140 ANTT/CSV, cod. 19, fol. 160 and ff. Itinerary of Pedro Paredes from Manila to Madrid by land: Palermo, 18 March 1624.

141 Entry of 3 September 1634 (Goa). The cited letter was dated from Aleppo, 1st November 1633, and it took ten months to reach its destination. Disney (1998, 547) identified Benedetto as a Portuguese courier, but his name is unmistakably Italian.

142 To make things more confuse in some Portuguese sources these so-called Christians were also denominated “Armenians.” Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 9 [1958], 330: letter of Viceroy Count of Linhares to King Filipe III, Goa, non-dated [1633].

143 There are different views regarding the size of the Armenian community living in Basra at that time, as in some Carmelite reports their number is very small.

144 Letter of Fr. Manuel de Cristo to Fr. João de Mesquita: Isfahan, non-dated [1634].

145 Proceedings of the State Council: Goa, 12 December 1651.

146 On the content of cartazes see Biker, 1995 [1881-1887], IV, 181-182. Cartaz given to the Adil-shahi of Bijapur: Goa, 9 August 1613.

147 On the effectiveness: Thomaz, 1999, 135-162.

148 Farman of Abdullah Qutb Shah to Viceroy António de Melo de Castro: non-located, 26 July 1666.

149 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 14 August 1668.

150 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 27 April 1694.

151 He himself writes in Portuguese Minaz. On other homonymous Khoja Minas: Aghassian, Kévonian, 1999, 77-78, n. 11.

152 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 8 November 1669.

153 Ibid.: 13 February 1670.

154 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to the King Dom Pedro, Diu, 30 December 1685.

155 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 7 January 1670.

156 Ibid.: 7 January 1670.

157 Citing Foster, 1927, 208-209. Letter of Master (?) to Gerald Augier: Surat, 14 January 1670.

158 Proceedings of the State Council at Goa: 13 February 1670.

159 Proceedings of the Portuguese-Mughal negotiations: Surat, 8 April 1670. Portuguese-Mughal treaty: Surat, 10 April 1670.

160 AHU/DAÍ, box [34] 54, doc. 41. Regiment of the captain-general João Correia de Sá e Benavides, Panaji, 17 December 1674.

161 Ibid., box. [49] 79. Copy of Viceroy Count of Alvor edicts: [Goa, c. 1708]. Beginning with box [47] 79 (individual documents no longer have an identifying number, unfortunately!).

162 Ibid., box [37] 67, doc. 76. Letter of Francisco de Abreu Castelo Branco to India’s governors: Kung, 8 May 1693.

163 Petition of Khoja Nü/Num and Khoja Martis: [Goa, before May 16,1670].

164 Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa: 16 May 1670.

165 Letter-patent of India’s governors: Goa, 20 October 1670. Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa: 21 October 1670.

166 AHU/DAÍ, box [29-A] 53, doc. 186. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 7 July 1674.

167 Ibid. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 5 July 1674. See also Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 35-36-37 [1968], 103.

168 It amounted to 52,871 reis in 1687, or 0.095% of the overall revenue of Estado da Índia. Cf. ANTT/MMCG, box. 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 230b-231b. Budget of Estado da Índia, 1687.

169 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to King Dom Pedro II: Diu, 30 December 1685.

170 ANTT/MMCG, box 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 276. Budget of Estado da India, 1687.

171 Proceedings of the Exchequer Council at Goa: 24 October 1684.

172 AHU/DAÍ, box [33] 60, doc. 109. Letter of Khoja Minas to King Dom Pedro II: Diu, 30 December 1685. Ibid., doc. 110.

173 Ibid., doc. 109. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council: Lisbon, 6 November 1686. Ibid., doc. 110. Consultation of the Ultramarine Council”, ibid. See also ANTT/MMCG, box 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 41. Letter of King Dom Pedro II to governor Dom Rodrigo da Costa: Lisbon, 5 March 1687.

174 ANTT/MMCG, box 6, doc. 3°E, fol. 42. Draft of a letter from governor Dom Rodrigo da Costa to King Dom Pedro II: Goa, 23 January 1688. See also Boletim, 1954-1993, n° 41-42-43 [1970], 47-48.

175 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to King Dom Pedro 11: Goa, 10 December 1696.

176 Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to King Dom Pedro II: Goa, 13 February 1696.

177 Letter of Viceroy Count of Vila Verde to Rustamji Manakji: Goa, 13 February 1696.

178 Letter of governor António Luís da Gonçalves Câmara Coutinho to Issally Isephany: Goa, 25 August 1700.

179 AHU, cod. 431, fol. lb-3b. Duties paid by the frigate Nossa Senhora das Brotas, non-dated [c.1720].

180 See also for an overview: Chaudlhuri, 1985, 105, 211-212, 224-225; Subrahmanym, 1990a, 192-194; McPherson, 1998, 189.

181 “From Minas [your] humble servant.”

182 This is the unique publication collecting the whole of the Décadas da Ásia by Barros and Diogo do Couto, which was published in the 18th century by the Régia Oficina Tipográfica. It was reissued as a facsimile publication in the years 1973-1975 by the Livraria San Carlos in Lisbon (24 vols.). Barros’ works count nine volumes, included his biography (vol. 9) and his Fourth Decade, which Joào Baptista Lavanha ended in the beginning of the 17th century.

183 Publishes the summaries of Portuguese documents which have been recorded on microfilms by Father A. da Silva Rego between 1950 and 1970 in several archive collections in Europe and India.

184 Part of: [Silva, A. R. da; Leal, J. da Silva Mendes, et al., eds.], Corpo diplomático português..., 15 vols., Lisbon, Academia Real das Sciências, 1862-1936.

185 Part of: Johnson, G., et al, eds., The New Cambridge History of India, 22 vols., Cambridge, Cambridge Univiversity Press, 1989-2005.

Auteur

Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa. (Portugal)

© Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2007

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540