The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema (1863)

The Italian traveler Ludovico di Varthema (ca 1470 – 1517) began his wonderings at the end of 1502 - first visiting Egypt, continuing from there to Syria, before arriving in Mecca between April and June in 1503. He remained in Mecca where he remained for some weeks before continuing to Yemen, India, and Ceylon, finally returning to Europe in 1508. Adopting the Arabic name of Yûnas (Jonah) and disguising himself as a Muslim, he was able to travel to places he would not have been allowed to as a European, although he was later exposed as a fraud in the kingdom of Arabia Felix (modern day Yemen), from where he managed to get away by using his wits - and bribery. All that is known of di Varthema comes from the book detailing his remarkable travels, which were originally published in 1510 and first translated into English in 1556-77 in Richard Eden’s History of Travayle. The version found here was published by The Hackluyt Society, which was founded in 1846 and had as its purpose to further the knowledge of travel and exploration through the publishing and editing of texts rather than actual expeditions.

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