The Travels of Marco Polo, by Marco Polo

Chapter xxviii.

Concerning the Kingdom of Cambaet.

Cambaet is a great kingdom lying further west. The people are Idolaters, and have a language of their own, and a king of their own, and are tributary to nobody.1

The North Star is here still more clearly visible; and henceforward the further you go west the higher you see it.

There is a great deal of trade in this country. It produces indigo in great abundance; and they also make much fine buckram. There is also a quantity of cotton which is exported hence to many quarters; and there is a great trade in hides, which are very well dressed; with many other kinds of merchandize too tedious to mention. Merchants come here with many ships and cargoes, but what they chiefly bring is gold, silver, copper [and tutia].

There are no pirates from this country; the inhabitants are good people, and live by their trade and manufactures.

NOTE 1. — CAMBAET is nearer the genuine name of the city than our CAMBAY. Its proper Hindu name was, according to Colonel Tod, Khambavati, “the City of the Pillar.” The inhabitants write it Kambáyat. The ancient city is 3 miles from the existing Cambay, and is now overgrown with jungle. It is spoken of as a flourishing place by Mas’udi, who visited it in A.D. 915. Ibn Batuta speaks of it also as a very fine city, remarkable for the elegance and solidity of its mosques, and houses built by wealthy foreign merchants. Cambeth is mentioned by Polo’s contemporary Marino Sanudo, as one of the two chief Ocean Ports of India; and in the 15th century Conti calls it 14 miles in circuit. It was still in high prosperity in the early part of the 16th century, abounding in commerce and luxury, and one of the greatest Indian marts. Its trade continued considerable in the time of Federici, towards the end of that century; but it has now long disappeared, the local part of it being transferred to Gogo and other ports having deeper water. Its chief or sole industry now is in the preparation of ornamental objects from agates, cornelians, and the like.

The Indigo of Cambay was long a staple export, and is mentioned by Conti, Nikitin, Santo Stefano, Federici, Linschoten, and Abu’l Fazl.

The independence of Cambay ceased a few years after Polo’s visit; for it was taken in the end of the century by the armies of Aláuddín Khilji of Delhi, a king whose name survived in Guzerat down to our own day as Aláuddín Khúní — Bloody Aláuddín. (Rás Málá, I. 235.)

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 16:24