GÓIS, Bento de (Benedictus Goes). Vila-Franca-do-Campo, Ilha de S. Miguel (Azores) 1562 — Suzhou, Gansu, China 11.4.1607. S.J. Portuguese Missionary and Traveller in India and China. Originally a jew, baptized in 1572 as Luís Gonçalves, took the name B. de G., when joined the S.J. Came to India first as a soldier in 1588. As Jesuit missionary (member of the mission from 1593, took his last vows in 1598) he was sent to the court of Akbar and then to Central Asia to search for the Cathay of Marco Polo. In January 1603 he left in Armenian disguise. He was thus the first known European to travel by land from India to China via Central Asia. He died soon after this travel in China, but left an account proving that Cathay indeed was China.
Publications: Journal translated in H. Yule’s Cathay and the Way Thither.
Sources: Grande Enciclop. Portug. e Brasileira 12 with further references; Wikipedia with portrait and more references.
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