BALBI, Gasparo

BALBI, Gasparo. 15?? — after 1590. Italian Merchant and Traveller, in the East 1579-86. He was from Venice and dealt in jewels, and therefore went to India. Started from Venice in 1579, travelled by the land route, via Aleppo, Basra, and Ormuz to Goa, where he stayed till 1582. Then travelled in Kerala, Ceylon, Madras and Pegu. In 1586 returned through Kerala, Ormuz and Basra. Arrived at homein 1588  he was put for some months in prison, released in 1590 and was never heard more.

Balbi’s published diary concentrates mostly on commerce. He gives very exact account, with dates, of his travels and in his descriptions concentrates on things of commercial interest, but occasionally also describes local manners and customs. Charpentier has showed that beside his own experiences he also used —> Federici’s recent account, there is a number of word-for-word correspondences.

Publications: Viaggio dell’ Indie Orientali. 198 p. Venezia 1590 and several editions, Latin (De Bry 1600), German (De Bry 1605, with some pictures added) and Dutch (1706) translations, English summary in Purchas (1625).

Sources: J. Charpentier, “Cesare di Federici and G.B.”, Geografiska annaler 2, 1920 146-161 & *IA 53, 1924, 49-61; Donald F. Lach, Asia in the making of Europe. 1. Chicago 1965, 473-475; U. Tucci, D.B.I. 5; Wikipedia.

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