Travels of Pietro della Valle in India: From the Old English Translation of 1664

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The publications of the Hakluyt Society (founded in 1846) made available edited (and sometimes translated) early accounts of exploration. The first series, which ran from 1847 to 1899, consists of 100 books containing published or previously unpublished works by authors from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, and covering voyages to the New World, to China and Japan, to Russia and to Africa and India. A member of a noble Roman family, Pietro della Valle began travelling in 1614 at the suggestion of a doctor, as an alternative to suicide after a failed love affair. The letters describing his travels in Turkey, Persia and India were addressed to this advisor. This 1664 English translation of della Valle's letters from India, republished by the Hakluyt Society in 1892, contains fascinating ethnographic details, particularly on religious beliefs, and is an important source for the history of the Keladi region of South India.