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An Arab’s Journey to Colonial Spanish America
The Travels of Elias al-Mûsili in the Seventeenth Century

Elias al-Mûsili

Cloth $24.95    |    0-8156-0790-3    |   2003

Paper $16.95s    |    978-0-8156-3266-5    |    2011

The first known account of the New World by a visitor from the Middle East.

Reverend Antûn Rabbât, a respected Jesuit scholar of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, discovered these extraordinary writings in a Jacobite diocese in Aleppo, Syria. Rabbât immediately transcribed into Arabic those portions relating to the remarkable experiences of Reverend Elias-al-Mûsili, a priest of the Chaldean Church, the first person ever to come to the Americas from Baghdad.

Surrounded by a world seemingly filled with exotic miracles, al-Mûsili shares his perceptions of native peoples, their customs, beliefs, and treatment by Spanish conquistadors. Because of the uniqueness and significance of his journey, al-Mûsili was supported by the pope himself and authorized by the queen regent of Spain. He provides insightful descriptions of high-level officials and clerics in the New World. And he tells of uncommon visits to royalty in Catholic Europe prior to embarking on a voyage that would turn into a twelve-year adventure (1668-1680). Also featured are rare notes culled from a manuscript in a monastery of the Chaldean Christian rite in Baghdad.

Aesthetically appealing and historically important, this unique account remains an invaluable document for scholars of early modern history and of the church in Latin America.

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 Relationship.

Translated from the Arabic and Edited by Caesar E. Farah

5 x 8, 144 pages, 1 map, index

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