CAMÕES, Luís Vaz de. Coimbra (or Lisbon?) 1524/25 — Lisbon 10.6.1580. Portuguese Poet. Born in a poor noble family, son of Simão Vaz de Camões and Ana de Sá de Macedo. Educated by Dominicans and Jesuits, briefly studied at Coimbra. Driven into difficulties in Lisbon he enlisted in colonial army. In 1547-50 in African war in Ceuta and, after an unlucky stay in Lisbon, in 1553-67 in India (1556-58 in Malacca and Moluques, 1558 in Macao). He was quarrelsome, and easily driven into difficulties. Wrote his epic during his stay in India. Back in Lisbon in 1570 he soon published it, but earned with it only a small pension from the king and lived in poverty. Died in the blague. The Lusiads is an epic in ten cantos about the Indian expedition of Vasco da Gama, full of allusions to classical mythology, but also showing his own experiences of India.
Publications: Os Lusiadas. Lisbon 1572, numerous editions and translations (English first by R. Fanshawe, 1655).
– Also wrote lyrics and dramatic pieces; letters from Ceuta and India (publ. 1598).
– Obras completas. 1985.
Sources: *Grande Enc. Port. e Bras.; R.P. Garay, Literature of Travel and Explor. 1, 2003, 176-178; Wikipedia with portrait and many references (and a long separate article on his epic).