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. In Volume 1, Tavernier sets out from Isfahan to Agra and Delhi; he then supplies a historical and political description of the empire of Shah Jahan and his successors. An appendix provides details about the values of coins, weights and measures mentioned by Tavernier in the original work.