"A welcome addition to the body of translated primary sources on colonial Latin America, in which foreign travelers’ accounts are extremely scarce."—Sixteenth Century Journal
In 1905, the Jesuit scholar Antûn Rabbât discovered the writings of Elias al-Mûsili in a Jacobite diocese in Aleppo, Syria. Al-Mûsili, a seventeenth-century Arab and a priest of the Chaldean Church, traveled widely across colonial Spanish America, becoming the first person to visit the Americas from Baghdad. Rabbât transcribed into Arabic and published those portions relating to al-Mûsili’s travels.
Surrounded by a world seemingly filled with exotic miracles, al-Mûsili shares his perceptions of native peoples and their customs, beliefs, and treatment by Spanish conquistadors. Because of the uniqueness and significance of his journey, al-Mûsili was supported by the pope and authorized by the queen regent of Spain. He provides thoughtful descriptions of high-level officials and clerics in the New World and rare insight on a voyage that would turn into a twelve-year adventure.
Acclaimed Middle Eastern historian Farah is the first to make these writings available in English translation, providing an invaluable document for scholars of Middle Eastern history and of the church in Latin America.
Caesar E. Farah was professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic history at the University of Minnesota. He authored numerous books including Islam, The Sultan’s Yemen: Nineteenth-Century Challenge to Ottoman Rule, and Arabs and Ottomans: A Checkered Relationship.
5.5 x 8.5, 158 pages