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An Arab's Journey to Colonial Spanish America

The Travels of Elias al-Mûsili in the Seventeenth Century

Caesar E. Farah is professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic history at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of numerous books including Islam, The Sultan's Yemen: Nineteenth Century Challenges to Ottoman Rule, and Arab and Ottoman: A Checkered Rel

Publication Year: 2007

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 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 and Middle Eastern historian Caesar Farah is the first to make these writings available in English translation.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Map, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

The original title of this work is not known, it being undoubtedly a record of travel by the author. The title that has come down to us was the contribution of the Arabic editor of a portion of a larger anthological compilation by al-Mûsili himself. The editor entitled this edition of the travel portion:...

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Translator’s Introduction

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pp. xv-xxx

The author of this travelogue divided the account of his journey into two parts. In the first he relates his journey from Baghdad to Europe, and in the second his travel to America and back to Europe. In the seventeen chapters not included in editor Antûn Rabbât’s 1905 edition, Rev. Elias describes the history of America’s discovery, its ancient...

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Journey of the First Eastern Traveler to America

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pp. 1-4

Praise be to God who created the world out of His wisdom and all beings by His command and word; who created man in His image and made him Lord over the rest of creation by His grace and beneficence; who forbade him the eating of fruit so as not to experience death.1 But this weak created being when he defied the order of his creator and ate...

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Book of Travel

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pp. 5-106

In his introductory remarks Rabbât mentions Elias’s references to the West Indies and the reasons for the Spanish conquest of that land.To such references Elias added what he personally witnessed during the twelve years he spent in South and Central America or, in his own words, “the kingdom of the ‘New World’ and the land of Peru.7 He extracted information from the works of established...


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pp. 107-108


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pp. 109-117

Further Reading, Back Cover

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pp. 150-151

E-ISBN-13: 9780815650621
E-ISBN-10: 0815650620
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632665
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632665

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1
Volume Title: 1

OCLC Number: 607024822
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Subject Headings

  • Mawṣilī, Ilyās, fl. 1668 -- Travel -- Latin America.
  • Latin America -- Description and travel -- Early works to 1800.
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