Travels in India
In 1676, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-89), French merchant, traveller and pioneer of trade with India, published an account of his journey through India. This two-volume translation, published in 1889 by Irish geologist Valentine Ball (1843-94), includes a biographical sketch of the author, notes and appendices. Tavernier begins his tale with the declaration that 'I came into this world to travel.' As well as most of Europe, he visited large areas of Turkey, Persia and India (where he acquired the great gem, now known as the Hope Diamond, which he sold to Louis XIV), and sailed to Java. Volume 2 continues his history of India, and describes Hindi and Muslim religious practices; Tavernier then continues to the Dutch territories in the East Indies and returns home on a Dutch ship via St Helena. Tavernier's interest in the details of everything he saw makes this work a fascinating read.