PELSAERT, Francisco

PELSAERT, Francisco. 159? — Batavia ?.9.1630. Dutch Factor in India and Indonesia. From Antwerpen. In 1618 sailed to the East as Assistant, the lowest grade of the Dutch E.I.C.’s service. In 1620 promoted to junior factor (onderkoopman) and posted to India. Travelled overland from the east coast to Surat and soon continued to Agra, where he remained until 1627, rising to senior factor. Once visited Kashmir and Lahore. Returning to the Netherlands arrived in June 1628, but was soon re-employed and sailed in October. In the unlucky voyage the Batavia was driven too far south and wrecked on Australian west coast. Pelsaert and a few others took a boat, succesfully reached Batavia and returned on a relief vessel. In the wreck a mutiny had excurred, which Pelsaert, now in charge, sternly suppressed. But his health had seriously suffered. In spring 1630 he was second-in-command in an expedition to Jambi in Sumatra, in June returned ill and died in September. The nomination as an Extraordinary Member of Companys’s Council of India came too late. Unmarried.

Close to the end of his stay in Agra, where he mainly dealt in cotton and indigo, Pelsaert prepared a report about the trade and economy, but also dealing with society and customs, of Mughal Empire. As official report it was never published, but it was read by Thévenot, who published an abridged version in French in 1663.

Publications: De Ongeluckige Voyage van ’t Schip Batavia nae den Oost-Indien. Amsterdam 1648.

Jahangir’s India. The Remonstrantie of Francisco Pelsaert. Transl. from the Dutch by W. H. Moreland and P. Geyl. 17+88 p. Cambridge 1925.

Sources: Moreland’s Introduction; Wikipedia.

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