MANUEL GODINHO de EREDIA ( 1563 - 1623 )
The Portuguese author, Manuel Godinho de Erédia (1563-1623), was born and lived in Portuguese Malacca. His father's side is of Aragonese descent, while his mother was a Macassarese princess, according to his own account. He was educated at Malacca and at the Jesuit seminary at Goa, and soon after leaving there in 1580, he decided to find the Isles of Gold which figured prominently in Malayan legend. His fascination was based essentially on the writings of Ptolemy, Polo, Ludovico di Varthema, and on reports of contemporary Malay voyages.
The main source for Erédia's life and views is his own Declaracam de Malaca e da India Meridional com Cathay (Description of Malacca, Meridional India and Cathay) – published in 1613 - existing in his own manuscript at Brussels and published there by L. Janssens in 1882. Erédia was a good surveyor and cartographer and an excellent observer, and his work retains its importance as one of the best early accounts of Portuguese Malacca, the Malay Peninsula and the surrounding Malay archipelago.
Eredia’s Description of Malacca, Meridional India, and Cathay, containing many maps and illustrations by his own hand, also provides fascinating information on the genealogy of the kings of Melaka up to 1511, the burial place of its founder Parameswara and on the traditional overland trails, particularly a short route that separates the Muar River and the nearest navigable tributary of the Pahang River that was once used by the local Malay population in traversing parts of the Peninsula.
His was the earliest known writings about Malacca by an own son of Malacca.
Posted here with permission from: Nutmeg Publishing