First English translation of Ribeiro
History of Ceylon
presented by Captain John Ribeyro to the King of Portugal, in 1685, translated from the Portuguese, by the Abbe le Grand. Re-translated from the French edition, with an appendix, containing chapters illustrative of the past and present condition of the island, by George Lee. Colombo printed at the Government Press 1847
First edition in English. 8vo (22 x 14 cm), pp.[iv], 278, 4 maps & plans printed on tissue, folding table. A very good used copy in contemporary boards, later calf spine. Boards a little rubbed. One map torn without loss.
COPAC records copies at Oxford and the National Library of Scotland.
First edition in English of this eyewitness account of Ceylon at the height of the Portuguese-Sinhalese wars of the 17th century by João Ribeiro (1622-1693), who served with the Portuguese forces on the island from 1640 until 1658. Ribeiro's Portuguese manuscript was presented to King Pedro II in 1685, but was only published in Portuguese in 1836. The first 144 pages comprise Ribeiro's account translated from the French edition of 1701, its first part a contemporary account of Ceylon, and the second on the war between the Portuguese, Dutch, and the Sinhalese. Lee distinguishes between Ribeiro's original text and the additions of the French editor. The extended appendix has sections on Ceylon's early history, the colonial powers who had occupied the island, its state in 1740 and 1762, notes on revenue and expenditure from 1739 to 1751, and notes on geology, flora, coffee planting, cinnamon and pearl trading, customs returns, and two essays on Buddhism.