1st Edition

The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo

Edited By M.G. Da Costa Copyright 1999

    Jerónimo Lobo was the last survivor of the small band of Jesuit Fathers who tried, with a measure of success, to reconcile Ethiopia to the Church of Rome. The narrative begins with Lobo’s ordination in 1621 and ends seventeen years later. Chosen to serve in India he reached that country after being involved with a naval fight against the Dutch and English off Mozambique. Selected for the Ethiopian mission, he made a remarkable attempt to reach the country from the Somali coast, and eventually made his way to Bailul in the Red Sea and across the Danakil desert. He spent nine years in Ethiopia, principally in the north and in the neighbourhood of the source of the Blue Nile. Exiled when the Emperor restored the authority of the Ethiopian Church, he was handed over to the Turks at Massawa. After suffering much hardship and danger he regained India. Sent to Europe to advocate intervention on behalf of the Ethiopian Catholics, his ship was wrecked on the South African coast. The castaways built two boats, one of which succeeded in rounding the Cape and arriving at Luanda. Here Lobo embarked on a ship carrying slaves to the Spanish main which was captured by the Dutch. Lobo was marooned on an island but contrived to make his way to Cartagena and Havana and so to Europe. His diplomatic business took him to Madrid and Rome, but his plea for armed assistance for the Ethiopian Catholics did not succeed.

    Translated by Donald M. Lockhart.

    PREFACE, ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, BIBLIOGRAPHY, ABBREVIATIONS, INTRODUCTION, CHRONOLOGY OF LOBO'S LIFE, Chapter 1 How I set out for the first time for India and was forced to return to Lisbon, Chapter 2 How it was decided that we would return to Lisbon, Chapter 3 How I departed a second time for India with the Conde da Vidigueira, Viceroy of India, Chapter 4 Naval battle with the Dutch and how we were wrecked at the bar, Chapter 6 How I tried to enter Ethiopia by way of Malindi, Chapter 7 Information is presented concerning the Gallas and how we returned to Diu, Chapter 8 How I departed a second time for Ethiopia in the company of the Patriarch Afonso Mendes, Chapter 9 Description of the Red Sea, Chapter 10 The same description is continued and the reason for the name of the Red Sea is given, Chapter 11 How we disembarked at the port of Bailur and reached the Kingdom of Dancali, Chapter 12 What happened with the King of Dancali, Chapter 13 How we left Dancali for the Emperor's court, Chapter 14 How God delivered us from the Gallas, Chapter 15 Of the Abyssinian Empire, its origins and progress, of the emperors it has had, the religion it has professed; and when the Catholic faith came to these kingdoms,by whom it was brought, the time it persevered and when it was lost, with many other curious things pertaining to the subject matter of which I treat, Chapter 16 Of the customs, religion and civilization of the Abyssinians, Chapter 17 Of the Residence at Fremona and of some missions that I undertook, Chapter 18 Concerning the calamitous state in which the locusts left the Abyssinians and the conversions made among them, Chapter 19 Concerning Dom Christovão da Gama and how I discovered his bones, Chapter 20 Concerning the rebellion of Tekla Georgis and how he tried to get me in his power, Chapter 21 A brief and very reliable account of the River Nile, Chapter 22 Other curiosities concerning the River Nile including the reason for its floods, Chapter 23 How I went to the province of the Damotes and returned to the kingdom of Tigré. Beginning of the persecution, Chapter 24 How we were exiled to Fremona, Chapter 25 Concerning the difficulties we experienced until being handed over to the Turks, Chapter 26 Concerning what happened with the Muslims of Massawa and Suakin, Chapter 27 Concerning our voyage from Suakin to Goa, Chapter 28 Concerning my report to the Viceroy, my subsequent embarkation on the carrack Belém and the pitiful condition of the ship, Chapter 29 How, after many difficulties, we suffered a pitiful shipwreck on the coast of Natal, Chapter 30 How the ship came to run aground near the beach and how we began to deal with the Kaffirs. A report on their customs and on the fruitfulness of the land, Chapter 31 How we salvaged what we could from the ship and obtained food through the good offices of a man who had stayed there from another shipwreck, Chapter 32 How the order was given to construct boats and the means by which this was accomplished, Chapter 33 Concerning how we were helped by the Kaffirs and the injurious treatment accorded them by the Captain, Chapter 34 Concerning how we embarked on the boats and the great storm we experienced until reaching Angola, Chapter 35 How, after fulfilling our vow, I left for the Castilian Indies and was captured by the Dutch, Chapter 36 How, after many storms, I disembarked in Cádiz, and then went to Lisbon, Madrid and Rome and again to Lisbon, INDEX


    M.G. Da Costa