Page From Rare 1713 Latin Book on Calicut
This is a leaf from the 1713 Latin Book- “Universi Orbis Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium” about Calechut or Calicut (Kozhikode). And published by Artist- Lasor A Varea Alphonse in Latin. The Print measures 11 x 8.5 inches. The scene shown in this antique plan is perhaps just as the coast appeared to the astonished Vasco da Gama and his men.
The Europeans not used to exotic sights before. Here they were seeing a Royal procession, elephant, city, tropical landscape, and so on. The Portuguese ships are also visible in the foreground. Vasco da Gama of Portugal came to Kozhikode in 1498 in search of pepper. A spice much valued for its weight in gold in Europe and Egypt. At the time only the wealthy could afford it.
Since the exact source of this valuable commodity was kept a secret by a group of traders its origin was a mystery to the Europeans for a very long time. For centuries there was an intense scramble to get hold of the spice directly. It was the Portuguese who first extracted the secret by intimidation and threats at the traders.
The secret source was none other than Calicut (Kozhikode) a city on the Malabar coast. The landing of Vasco da Gama at Calicut in 1498 in search of Pepper was to change the course of world exploration and history from then on. Read more about Vasco da Gama’s First Voyage to India.
Did you know- Vietnam today is the largest pepper growing country and Tellicherry grade of Kerala is the top quality pepper in the world.
From the collection- Vintage Print Tellicherry On The Malabar Coast., Antique Plan/Map of Bombay Malabar Coast 1754., Vintage Postcard Bombay Prince of Wales Museum., Raja Ravi Varma’s Saraswati Oleograph c1910., M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal On Paper Beautiful Lady (#6)