The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

Notes concerning the trade in Alexandria.

Alexandria in Egypt is a free port, and when a man commeth within the castles, presently the Ermyn sends aboord to haue one come and speake with him to know what goods are aboord: and then hee will set guards aboord the ship to see all the goods discharged. And then from the Ermin you goe to the Bye, [Marginal note: This is another officer.] onely for that he will inquire newes of you, and so from thence to the Consuls house where you lie. The Venetians haue a Consul themselues. But all other nations goe to the French nations Consul, who will giue you a chamber for your selues apart, if you will so haue it.

The customs inward of all commodities are ten in the hundred, and the custome is paid in wares also that you buy: for the same wares in barter you pay also ten in the hundred, at the lading of the wares. [Marginal note: Other smal customs you pay besides, which may be at two in the hundred: and for Consulage you pay two in the hundred.] But if you sell for mony, you pay no more custome but the ten aforesaid, and one and a halfe in the hundred, which is for the custome of the goods you lade for the sayd mony, for more custome you pay not. But for all the money you bring thither you pay nothing for the custome of the same. And if you sell your wares for mony, and with the same money buy wares, you pay but two in the hundred for the custome thereof. And if you steale any custome, if it be taken, you pay double custome for that you steale.

The weight of Alexandria is called Pois Forforeine, which is a kintal in that place, which maketh at Marseils 109. li. of Marseils waight, at 15 ounces the pound, which is 103. li. of 16. ounces to the li. There is another waight called Pois Gerrin, which is 150. li. of Marseils waight, by which are sold all things to eate: but spice is sold by the former waight.

From Alexandria to Cairo is three daies journey, but you must take a Ianissarie with you: and to go vp thither by water it is 8. dayes journey. Roials of Spaine are currant mony there, and are the best money you can cary. And 4. roials are worth 13. Medins, and 2. Medins, are 3. Aspers. Pistolets and crownes of France and Dollers will goe, but of all Roials are best.

Rice is not permitted to goe out of the land, but is kept for a victuall. But with a present to the Bye and Ermine some may passe.

All sortes of spices be garbled after the bargaine is made, and they be Moores which you deale withall, which be good people and not ill disposed. And after you be searched and haue leaue to passe, you must presently depart out of the port, and if you doe not, they will search you againe. And you must depart in the day, for in the night the castles will not suffer you to depart. The duetie to the Consul is 2 in the hundred, for his aide, and meate, and drinke and all. And the port of Alexandria is good when one is within it with good ankers and cables. Silver is better currant then gold in Alexandria, but both are good.

Commonly the Carauans come thither in October from Mecca to Cairo, and from thence to Alexandria, where the merchants be that buy the spices, and therefore the spices are brought most to Alexandria, where each Christian nation remaineth at the Consuls houses. Yet oftentimes the Christians go vp to Cairo to buy drugs and other commodities there, as they see cause. And the commodities there vendible are all sorts of kersies, but the most part blewes, and of clothes all colours except mingled colours and blacks. Pepper is usually sold for 24. ducats the quintal, Ginger for 14. ducats. You most take canuas to make bags to put your commoditie in from Alexandria, for there is none. There is also fine flaxe, and good store of Buffe hides.

Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:20