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Socotran dragon’s blood tree

We have arrived at another new place, an island between Africa and India that the men call Zokatora, and we are the first Englishmen ever to come here. This makes me very proud: I suppose I am a part of history? The people here speak a language called Arabic, which our General, who is very clever, also speaks. They also speak some Portuguese, like the man in Sierra Leone, which is a sign that the Portuguese have already travelled into this part of the world before us. I am told that our aim on this voyage is to take trade away from them. The people here seem friendly, and they are bringing us water and selling us food, though they want to do all of this on the beach rather than have us come to their town or to come on our ship. They also carry lots of weapons. I suppose they are wary of us, as we are of them. It is hard to know who to trust when you meet people for the first time, I suppose, and I can see why they would not trust us. We also met some men like us – traders - but who come from further east, and they are very friendly: some of our men dine on their ship, and some of their own our ships. They are from a place called Gujarat, and I think they are helping our men to understand how to make the next stage in our journey.

Ship's boy


25 April 1608

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"Aboute 4 a clock in the morning the pinaces of both shipps were sent in towards the shoare to discover yf any water were to bee hadd in this bay, and so soone as they were come on land, they were mett wth aboute 200 of the Country people all armed wth gonna swords and dartes, speaking ffriendly with our men, promysing tht wee shall have water, goates, beeves, ryce, and wood as much as wee would desyre, and that their slaves should bringe downe the water to our boats ffor us and should cost us nothinge, but ffor goates and other refreshments wee should pay for them accordinge as wee can agree."

Red Dragon Journal of Hearne and Finch; cited in Richmond Barbour, The Third Voyage Journals (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 216

A. Kotov. 2015: Untitled

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