Reflections of a Muslim-Portuguese maritime world in a sixteenth-century Portuguese source
Keywords:Portuguese ships, maritime history, Oman, Hormuz, navigation
This paper discusses a record of expenses of an early sixteenth-century Portuguese vessel, the Santa Maria do Monte, during its voyage from Goa to Hormuz and back in 1520-1521, stopping in the Omani ports of Qalhāt, Ṭīwī, Qurayyāt, Muscat (Masqat), and Khawr Fakkān along the way. The route sailed during this voyage is examined in light of regional navigational practices, and the composition of the crew is discussed, emphasizing the significant non-Portuguese population on board. The nature of the ship and the specific costs of maintaining this vessel during the voyage are also addressed. Collectively, the cultural intersections involved with the navigation, the crew, and the maintenance regime of this vessel provide specific examples of maritime relationships in the region. In terms of its broader significance, such evidence of a high concentration of regional actors in a Portuguese instrument of maritime power alludes to a more complex and interdependent relationship between the Portuguese and the Arabian Sea maritime spheres. It also highlights a specific segment of the vibrant maritime Indian Ocean mosaic that the Portuguese were compelled to navigate during their imperial endeavours.
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Archaeopress Publishing, Oxford, UK