PIRES, Tomé. 1468? — 1540? or little earlier. Portuguese Traveller. Came to India in 1511, as apothecary and not very young, obtained soon official position under Albuquerque and went to Malacca. From there he also visited Java. Returned to Goa in 1515 and in 1516 was made ambassador to China. After some time in Canton proceeded to Peking in 1520, but was not received well. He was sent back to Canton and held there as hostage for the rest of his life. According to Cortesao he “was above all an eager observer, a keen and inquisitive student, and a faithful, accurate and indefatigable describer; though his literary style is poor.” His manuscript lied forgotten in an archive and was only published in the 20th century (except short sample in Ramusio).

Publications: The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires. An Account of the east, from the Red Sea to Japan, written in Malacca and India in 1512–15 and the Book of Francisco Rodrigues, Rutter of a Voyage in the Red Sea, Nautical Rules, Almanack and Maps, written and drawn in the East before 1515. Transl. from the Portuguese … by Armando Cortesao. 1–2. 96+578 p.  L. Hakluyt Soc. 1944.

Sources: Cortesao’s introduction; Wikipedia.

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