António Galvão

António Galvão
Born c. 1490
Lisbon, Portugal
Died 1557
Lisbon, Portugal
Nationality Portuguese
Occupation Soldier, chronicler and colonial administrator

António Galvão (c. 1490–1557), known in English as Antonio Galvano, was a Portuguese soldier, chronicler and administrator in the Maluku islands, and a Renaissance historian, the first to present a comprehensive report of all the leading voyages and explorers up to 1550, either by Portuguese and by other nationalities. His works show a remarkable accuracy, especially the Treaty of Discovery published in Lisbon in 1563 and in English by Richard Hakluyt in 1601.


António Galvão was the son of Duarte Galvão, chief diplomat and chronicler to king Afonso V of Portugal.[1] In 1527 he sailed for Portuguese India where he became captain of the Maluku and governor of the fort of Ternate from 1536 to 1540. He is described in Chapter II of the Fifth Decade of Asia" as a respected governor, having sent a mission to Papua and receiving local embassies. He funded a seminar in Ternate, where he spent twelve thousand cruzados from the inheritance he had received from his father, and was known especially for his integrity.[2] In 1540 he handed the government of the fortress to D. Jorge de Castro and returned to Portugal, where he discovered to have fallen into disgrace.[1] He lived the last years in anonymity and poverty, in the Royal Hospital, awaiting a pension. There he died and was buried in 1557.


António Galvão left two manuscripts. One was the treaty of the discoveries printed after his death, in 1563, in Lisbon by his friend Francisco de Sousa Tavares.[3] Based on numerous written sources and documents, the work presented for the first time a synthesis of all the discoveries made by Portuguese and Spanish until 1550. Richard Hakluyt had it translated and published in English in 1601 as "The discoveries of the world - by Antonio Galvano".

The second manuscript was a history of the Moluccas (Maluku) with the title:

This remained unpublished, the manuscript was passed by Francisco de Sousa Tavares to the crown. It is referred to by 16th-century chroniclers João de Barros and João Baptista Lavanha. It is alleged that a good part of it was reproduced verbatim within Damião de Góis's 1566-67 Chronica del rey D. Manuel, but all trace of the original Galvão manuscript disappeared after Góis's death.[4] In 1928, a document was found in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville with a history of the Maluku which was identified as being part (perhaps an early draft) of António Galvão's lost document. It was published in a bilingual (Portuguese-English) edition in 1971, arranged by Hubert Jacobs, under the title A Treatise on the Moluccas (c. 1544), probably the preliminary version of António Galvão's lost Historia das Moluccas (Rome: Jesuit Historical Society).

See also


  1. 1 2 João de Barros; Manoel Severim de Faria; João Baptista Lavanha (1780). Da Asia de João de Barros e de Diogo de Couto, Volume 13, p. 91. Na Regia officina typografica.
  2. Lach, Donald Frederick (1994). Asia in the making of Europe: The century of discovery, p. 195. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-46731-7.
  3. John_Carter_Brown_Library. "Portuguese Overseas Travels and European Readers". Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  4. Diogo Barbosa Machado (1741) Bibliotheca Lusitana, v.1, p.285
  5. Biographical Notes: Galvão, António. "António Galvão". Complete works on pdf. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
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