Asia. The first part being an accurate description of Persia, and the several provinces thereof : the vast empire of the Great Mogol, and other parts of India, and their several kingdoms and regions : with the denominations and descriptions of the cities, towns, and places of remark therein contain'd : the various customs, habits, religion, and languages of the inhabitants : their political governments, and way of commerce : also the plants and animals peculiar to each country
Ogilby, John, 1600-1676.

The Kingdom of Decan.

THE Kingdom of Decan is, according to Juan de Baroes, generally taken for the whole Extent which the Country of Cuncan comprehends, because the Inhabitants call that Tract of Land Cuncan which extends it self along the Sea, from North to South, to the River Aliga; and from East to West, from the Sea to the Mountains of Gate: So that these People are call'd Cuncanyns. and not, as the Portuguese im∣properly stile them, Canariins. But the Coast of Decan, which extends Eastward to the Mountains of Gate, is call'd The Kingdom of Decan; and the Inhabitants, Decanyns: and, as Linschot hath it, this Country is also call'd Ballagate, that is, The Upper Gate; for Balla signifies Upper, and Gate, A Mountain. Or rather the Country of Ballagate (by Ananie call'd Bilagate) is that Land which extends over and among those Mountains; as appears by the Description of Linschot, who makes three Kingdoms of this Country, dividing it into Balla∣gate, Decan, and Cuncan.

All these three Countries, taken together, bor∣der on the North at the Kingdom of Cambaye or Zurratte, with the Stream Bate between both, and also at the Kingdom of Orixa; on the East, at the Kingdom of Narsinge; on the West, at the Sea; on the South, at Canara, being parted by the River Aliga.

This Country extends it self along the Sea above 250 Italian Miles; or, as Ananie saith, full sixty two German: that is, from the Mouth of the Stream Bate, to that of Aliga; or rather, as Juan de Baroes hath it, from Chaul to the River Aliga in Sintacora is sixty five Spanish Miles. But Texeira, and other Modern Writers, rightly distinguish the Country of Decan from that of Cuncan or Visiapour, by its extent to the North, calling that Country Cuncan which extends to the South, and that which lies more to the North, and nearer to Cam∣baye, Decan.

Decan borders on the North at Cambaye, on the East, at the Mountain of Ballagate; on the South, at Cuncan; and on the West, at the Sea. It ex∣tends from the South to the North along the Sea∣coast of Sifferdan to Negotana, a Tract of twenty Leagues, and runs up into the Country near Cam∣baye.

The Metropolis of Decan, according to Texeira, is call'd Hamedanager; by Ananie, and some others, singly Danager; by others, Amdadanager, who place it up in the Country, and make it the King's Residence, affirming, That he made this the Seat of his Realm, because of the pleasant Situation of the City, and the delightful Gardens about the same: Yet there are some that make Beder, or Bi∣der, by Barbosa call'd Mavider, the Metropolis of all Decan, and Residence of the Kings. Next to this, is reckon'd the City of Decan.

In this Kingdom lies also a City built near the Sea-shore, which Texeira calls Chaul; but Baroes, Page  244Chiaul; by Della Valle, Ciul, and Chaul; and by Barthema, Ceuul: which by Castald is taken for the ancient City Camane of Ptolomy. It lies ten Leagues to the Southward of Bazzain, in 19 De∣grees and 50 Minutes of Northern Latitude, two Leagues from the Sea, near a River, which by the help of the Flood coming from the Sea, brings up Ships close to the Walls of the City: It runs up a great way into the Country, from whence it takes its Course, trending through Hills and Valleys, till it discharges it self into the Sea, ma∣king a spacious Haven in the midst of the Bay below the City.

The Portuguese have two Forts here, whereof the one was built Anno 1520. by Diego Sequeira, who obtain'd leave of the King for it: The other built by the Moors, is on the other side of the Ha∣ven, viz. on the Right hand when you enter into it. To the Southward of this Haven lies a fa∣mous Mountain, in the Portuguese Tongue call'd Il Morro di Ciul, that is, A Member of Ciul, which commands both the City and Harbor, having a Fortress built on the top, which is in a manner in∣accessible, and belong'd formerly to the Moors of Decan, that is, to Nizam Schiah King or Lord over all the adjacent County.

This Fortress was conquer'd by the Portuguese, who with discharging their Musquets at an Ele∣phant which was by the Moors plac'd to defend the Gate, with a great Chain in his Mouth, so frighted him, that he remov'd to one side, and per∣mitted the Portuguese to creep under his Belly, and make themselves Masters of the Place. But others relate, that the Place was taken after this manner, viz. When the Portuguese had first with a handful of People defeated a considerable Party of the Moors, and put them to flight, they retreat∣ed to the Fort Il Morro di Ciul, where they thought to be secure from the fury of the Portuguese; but an Elephant being wounded in the Battel, and re∣tiring amongst them towards the Fort, fell down dead at the entrance of the Gate, which then could not be shut against the Portuguese, who by firing boldly upon their Opposers, soon made them∣selves Masters of the Place, which since that time they have made much stronger, and by that means defended the City Chaul from the continual As∣saults of the Moors.

Pyrard tells us, That there are two Cities call'd Chaul, in one of which inhabit abundance of Handicrafts and Tradesmen. In this City is a famous Temple dedicated to the Goddess Cran∣gene.

Without the City is a Toll-house: Also the Chief Church of the Portuguese stands near the Sea-shore, not far from which is a Cloister of the Jesuits, with a Church dedicated to St. Peter.

Southward from Chaul, by the Sea, lies a Place by Barbosa call'd Banda, or Dando; but by Della Valle, Danda Rajiapori: Near this lies the City Ziffardan, or Zeferdani, the utmost Limits of the Kingdom of Decan. In the same Tract, towards Banda, is a Bay call'd Kelsi, the Country on the South side whereof is very Mountainous. In De∣can is also a City call'd Petan, or Patan, which pro∣duceth abundance of fine Callico.

The Country of Decan is very fertile, produ∣cing all things in great plenty, and agrees in most things with that of Cuncan; and the Inhabitants also agree in their Constitutions, Habits, and man∣ner of Living: Wherefore we will here give an accout of them promiscuously, and at large.

The Air at Chaul is more hot than cold. The Soil thereabouts plentifully produces all things except Raisins, Nuts, and Chess-nuts. Oxen, Cows, and Horses are here in great numbers. The Inhabitants of Decan are call'd Decanyns, as those of Cuncan, Cuncanyns.

After what manner the Countries of Decan, Ballagate, and Cuncan, or Visiagour, which were for∣merly under the Jurisdiction of one Prince, are become subject to several Lords, I shall here give this brief Account.

About three hundred years since the King of Dely brought all the neighboring Kingdoms, but particularly those of Decan, Cuncan, and Ballagate, and the Country of Goa, under his Subjection: At the same time when the Country of Cambaye was conquer'd by the Mahumetans, who treated the Reisboutes, Inhabitants or the Country, very tyrannically.

The Kingdoms of Ballagate and Decan were for∣merly govern'd by Heathen Kings, and inhabited by a mighty People, of which the Venasars and Collers, the present Inhabitants, are Successors. They joyn themselves with the Reisboutes, and commit many Robberies, forcing Tribute from the Inhabitants of Decan and Ballagate, without being punish'd for the same by their King.

After the King of Dely had made these Con∣quests, the Mogols took up Arms, and made them∣selves Masters of the greatest part of Dely. About the same time there was an eminent Lord of Ben∣gale, who, to revenge himself of his King, for put∣ting his Bother to death unjustly, bereav'd him both of his Crown and Life, and afterwards fell into Dely, forc'd the Mogols to fly, and at the same time made himself Master of all the Country of Ballagate and Cuncan, extending to the Borders of Cambaye. But he not being capable of Govern∣ing so many Countries, and being also desirous of qiet, resolvd to return back to Bengale, and com∣mitted the Care of Governing the Kingdoms of Decan, Ballagate, and Cuncan, to one of his Ne∣phews, who being a Lover of Strangers, divided those Countries amongst several Lords of divers Nations, as Arabians, Turks, Rumeans, and Cora∣sons, giving to one whom the Portuguese call'd Idalcan the Country of Cuncan, otherwise call'd Visiapour, or Gingive, lying eight Leagues from Goa. He also gave to one of his Captains, nam'd Nizzamaluko, the Country of Siffardan, which extends it self six Leagues to the North, along the Coast of Negotana. He divided the Kingdom of Ballagate into Provinces, and gave one part thereof to Imademaluko, another to Coralmaluko, and a third to Melik Vervide. But all these immediately rebell'd against their Lord and Benefactor, and marching to the Metropolis Beder, took the King Prisoner, committing him to the custody of Melik Vervide. They also procured several other Hea∣then Princes to joyn with them in this Conspira∣cy, amongst whom were Mohade Koja, and Veriche, who possess'd rich Countries, replenish'd with Towns and Villages. Amohade got the Cities Visiapour, Solapor, and Paranda, lying near Goa; but not long after the City Paranda was taken by Nizzamaluko, and Salapor fell into the Hands of Idalcan, who was also call'd Sabayo, that is, Lord. He possess'd the Island Goa, of which the Portu∣guese afterwards made themselves Masters. His House or Palace stands yet at Goa, but is now con∣verted to a House of Inquisition. The Place ly∣ing between the Great Church and the said House Page  245bears the Name of Sabayo. Idalcan, who Reign'd Anno 1535. was Grandson to one of those fore∣mention'd Kings.

After this Division thus made, there was a Quarrel between Idalcan and the King of Nar∣singa, his Neighbor; who by his Power subduing Idalcan, and the other Kings of Decan, made them Tributaries to him: But in process of time Idalcan, or his Successors, subdu'd all those Countries which were possess'd by peculiar Kings or Lords, except that of Melik, which the Mogol had conquer'd.

F. Bernier relates, That all this great Island of Hindoslan, reckoning from the Bay of Cambay to that of Bengale, near Jagannate, and from thence to the Cape of Comori, was all, some Mountain∣ous Parts onely excepted, about two hundred years agoe under one particular Lord or King, who was a very great and Powerful Prince: But at present it is divided into many Dominions; and the People are likewise of several Religions. The Reason of this Division was as followeth. A cer∣tain Raja or King, nam'd Ramras, the last of those which Reign'd absolute in this Country, impru∣dently promoted three of his Slaves to too great Dignities, by making them Governors: viz. The first he made Governor of a great part of that Country which the Mogol at present possesses in Decan, round about Daulet-Abad, from Bider, Pa∣randa, and Surratte, to Narbadar: To the second he gave the Government of all those Countries which are now comprehended in the Kingdom of Visiapour; and to the third, that Part which is known by the name of the Kingdom of Golconda. These three Slaves growing very Rich and Pow∣erful, and being supported by many Mogols which were in the Service of Ramras, and of the same Religion with the Persians, agreed together to re∣bell against and kill their Lord and Benefactor; which having effected, they return'd into their se∣veral Dominions, each of them taking upon him the Title of Schah, or King. The Successors of Ramras finding themselves not able to engage in a War against these Usurpers, were content to re∣tire and seat themselves in a Place call'd Carnateck or Bisnaguer, where to this day they Reign as Rajas or Kings. The three Slaves and their Suc∣cessors defended their Kingdoms very valiantly, so long as they agreed among themselves, and as∣sisting one another, maintain'd great Wars against the Mogols; but when they went about to defend their several Countries, they were immediately sensible of their Division, to their great prejudice, being soon after reduc'd under the Subjection of the Mogols.

Decan belong'd formerly to a peculiar King; but is at present Govern'd by one of the Great Mogol's Vice-Roys.

The Great Mogol Akebar, or Ecbar, was the first which conquer'd the Kingdom or Country of De∣can. He sent his Son, Sultan Morad, Anno 1595. against Melik Amber, Vice-Roy of Decan, to whom belong'd formerly the City of Chaul, who setting forth from Cambaye, as being the nearest Place to this Province, was kill'd, with many of his Offi∣cers. After this, in the Year 1598. he sent one of his youngest Sons to maintain the Wars against Melik, and revenge the Death of Sultan Morad: And soon after he follow'd in his own Person, re∣solving to be present at the Conquest; but he staid about a Year in the City of Agra, from whence he march'd, Anno 1600. to the Kingdom of Decan: But the Queen of Decan, who Reign'd at that time, being a Woman of great Spirit and Valour, and being also assisted by the Portu∣guese, and some great Lords, oppos'd him with so much Courage and Resolution, that many of his People were slain at their entrance into the King∣dom of Barara, at a Pass near the Mountains, by which they were to come into the Country of De∣can: Yet nevertheless the Decanyns, after the death of this Princess, divided themselves into divers Parties, from which proceeded their overthrow and total subduction; for some being corrupted by Money, and others by Promises, they all, upon hopes of greater Employments, contributed their Assistance to the Great Mogol in his Conquest of the Kingdom of Decan. Having by this means at last added this Kingdom to his Territories, he ele∣cted one of his Sons to be his Vice-Roy, leaving with him a considerable Garrison.

Texeira says the King of Decan was formerly by the Inhabitants call'd Nezal al Malucho, that is, The Lance or Spear of the Kingdom, and also Ma∣lek, or Melik, which signifies King. Della Valle af∣firms that the right Name of the Kings of Decan is Nizam Sciah, which some translate King of the Spear, induc'd thereunto by the Portuguese Word Nize, which signifies A Spear; but falsly, because the King calls himself Nizam Sciah, and not Nize Sciah, as this explanation requires. Others call him, according to the signification of the Word Nizam, King of Falcons; for Nizam in the Indian Tongue signifies A Falcon, or other Bird of Prey; because this King, before he was made a Gover∣nor, was perhaps Falconer to that Great King un∣der whose Jurisdiction all this Country was; so that he retains that Name to this day.

The King which Reign'd Anno 1623. being a Child of about twelve Years of age, gave the Government of his Realm to one of his Slaves, call'd Melik Amber, by Extract an Ambassine, and of the Mahumetan Religion, who Govern'd with so much Policy, that this Country was more known by the Name of The Dominion of Melik, than that of the Kingdom of Nizam Sciah. He Govern'd with great Fidelity, and Obedience to the King, and not as some pretended, like a Ty∣rant: Neither did he keep the King as a Prisoner, though it is said by some that he design'd to mar∣ry his Daughter to the young King, that so he might the better hold his Governor-ship, and make his Heir his Successor. He was a Man of great Prudence and Understanding, yet not with∣out the Name of being very wicked, and incli∣ning to Sorcery, of which some affirm he made use to continue himself in his Princes Favor. It is also said, That for the accomplishing his De∣signs he would offer to the Devil several hun∣dreds of Children that were his Slaves, with abundance of other People, hoping thereby the more easily to obtain his Desires. These and other such barbarous Wickednesses and Impieties have been reported of him.

This Melik Amber maintain'd at that time great Wars against the Mogols, not sparing his own Person, but himself engaging often very valiantly.

It is reported, That this King had a Gun of such a prodigious bigness, that it requir'd fifteen hundred Pounds of Gunpowder to Charge it; that a Man may stand upright in the same; that it is above two Spans thick; and that it cannot be remov'd without many thousands of Oxen, besides Elephants: And though it is not us'd in Page  246

the Wars, but is kept more for Curiosity, yet ne∣vertheless the King held the same in such esteem, that he would always have the same cover'd with Cloth of Gold; nay he repair'd thither one Year with so much Solemnity and seeming Zeal, as if he would have worshipp'd the same.