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Document Details :

Title: Les Portugais au Yémen d'après les sources arabes
Author(s): CHELHOD, J.
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 283    Issue: 1   Date: 1995   
Pages: 1-18
DOI: 10.2143/JA.283.1.556559

Abstract :
In 1497, Vasco de Gama rounds the Cape of Good Hope and casts anchor in Melinde. Advised by the famous Omanese pilot Ibn Mâdjid (not mentionned by the Portugese), he heads safely for Calicut.
Having got a foothold in India, the Portugese try to monopolize the spice trade to the detriment of the Arabs, the traditional intermediaries for Indian products. In order to succeed, they attack the main Yemenite ports, particularly Shiḥr and Aden. The Arabs' reactions to these deeds are preserved in the local chronicles of the time. Most of those are still unpublished, such as, for instance, Ibn al-Dayba{'s “Increase in merit” (edited by the author), which covers the period from 1495 to 1517; MuÌammad Bâ Faqîh's “History of Shiḥr”, which covers the period from 1491 to 1591; Quṭb al-Dîn Nahrawâli's “The Conquest of Yemen by the Ottomans”, for the period 1478-1570.
These works underline the attempt of the Mamlûks and then of the Ottomans at expelling the Portugese and preventing them from entering the Red Sea. The main target of the fight is the occupation of the ports of ShiÌr and Aden. Threatened from both sides, the sultan of ShiÌr signs a peace agreement with the Portugese, and also acknowledges the sovereignty of the caliph of Istanbul. As for the governor of Aden, he succeeds in resisting the assaults of both the Portugese and the Ottomans. But in 1538, the port is treacherously occupied by the latter. Twice it is taken back by the Arabs (in 1547 and 1568) who seek help from the Portugese against the Turks. But each time, the “Francs'” mobilization is slow: at their arrival, Aden is already reoccupied by the Arwâm (Greeks).
The chronicles end in 1592, i. e. after the decline of Portugese power in the Indian Ocean, in the wake of the defeat of Portugal against Spain in the battle of Alcazar-Quivir in 1578.

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