RIBEIRO, João

RIBEIRO, João. Baptized Lisbon 17.5.1622 — ?.11.1693. Portuguese Officer in South Asia. Son of a cap-maker. Left for India as private soldier in 1640 and was sent from Goa to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Participated in the war between Portugal and the Netherlands, wounded several times. In 1658 caught by the Dutch in Colombo and 1660 sent from Batavia to home. In Spanish navy service rose to Captain (1663) and was finally knighted (1668) because of bravery. Now he became garrison commander to Funchal (Madeira) and married, retired in 1680. Now he wrote his his memories, which were not published, but had some circulation as manuscript copies (several autographs). He is often compared to Knox as his contemporary, but Knox was prisoner in Kandyan highland, while Ribeiro served in lowlands (Boxer).

Publications: Historia do Ceylão / Fatalidade Historica da Ilha de Ceilão. Manuscript of 1685 publ. Lisbon 1836; French transl. by Abbé Le Grand, Histoire de l’Isle de Ceylan. Trevoux 1701 (from incomplete and corrupt manuscript); English transl. Colombo 1847; new English translation (of the 1836 edition) by Paul E. Pieris: The Historic Tragedy of the Island of Ceylão. 1899?, 2nd ed., with copious notes 16+266 p. 1909.

Sources: C. R. Boxer, JRAS 1955, 1-12 (collecting and correcting the information of both next); *D. Ferguson, “Captain João Ribeiro: His work on Ceylon, and the French translation thereof by the Abbé le Grand”, JRAS-CB 10:36, 1888 (1890), 263-309; *Frazão de Vasconcellos, “Subsídios inéditos sobre o capitão J.R.“, Brasões e Genealogias 3-6, Lisbon 1927, 8f.

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