This electronic edition scanned and edited by  July 2006





H A N S   S T A D E N




Translated and edited by Malcolm Letts
with an Introduction and Notes

Published by






First published in the Broadway Travellers, 1928

[orig. printing notice]




HANS STADEN'S book is not altogether unknown to English readers, for it was translated and issued by the Hakluyt Society to its members in 1874, with an Introduction and notes by Sir Richard Burton. It has long seemed to me that Hans Staden deserves a wider public, and I have therefore made a new translation and have incorporated the quaint and interesting woodcuts which were printed in the first edition, and which must have carried wonder and terror into many a German home in the 16th century. Sir Richard Burton was British Consul at Santos for some years, and knew the country of Hans Staden's captivity very intimately, and by the courtesy of the Council of the Hakluyt Society I have been enabled, as occasion arose, to make use of certain of his notes. In every case where I have done so I have added the initials R.B.

The first translator, Mr. A. Tootal, worked from the Frankfurt edition of 1557, which was a reprint without the original woodcuts. The true first edition was issued at Marburg on Shrove Tuesday, 1557, by Andres Kolben at the sign of the Clover Leaf, and this is the edition from which my translation has been made. Apart from the woodcuts the differences are not many, but a point has been cleared up here and there, and a whole paragraph has been restored in Chapter XXXIII of Part II.

I desire to express my thanks to the Council of the Hakluyt Society for the permission indicated above; to the Royal Geographical Society, and particularly to its Librarian, Mr. Ed. Heawood, for advice and assistance; to Professor R. Häpke of Marburg University for information concerning Dr. Dryander, the learned Marburg professor who first introduced Hans Staden to the world; to the publishers for the willingness with which they acceded to my request for the reproduction of all the woodcuts; and to my wife for much help in checking and proof-reading.

Staden's spelling of proper names is most erratic. I have not attempted to correct him except in the case of well-known places such as Dieppe, Lisbon, Antwerp, etc. It seemed useless to print Depen, Lissebona, Antdorff, or Lunden, but where necessary I have added the modern names in brackets after Staden's rendering, or in the notes. I have no knowledge of the Tupi language and have left the Tupi words as Staden printed them, but here again there is no consistency. Kawi, a drink, has three different spellings, and the Tupinambá are sometimes called Tuppin Imba and sometimes Tuppin Inba.

The first edition of the book is very scarce. I have worked on a beautiful copy in the Grenville Library at the British Museum.

 MALCOLM LETTS.             

Easter, 1928.



[orig] PAGES

PREFACE                                                                                 v

INTRODUCTION                                                                     1

NOTE TO INTRODUCTION                                                 15

HANS STADEN'S INTRODUCTION                                    19

DR. DRYANDER'S INTRODUCTION                                  21





[The voyage to Portugal]     33–34


My first voyage from Lisbon in Portugal    35–38


How the savages of the place called Prannenbucke (Pernambuco) rebelled and strove to expel the Portuguese from their settlement        39


The nature of our defences and how they fought against us   39–41


How we sailed away from Prannenbucke (Pernambuco) to a country called Buttugaris and engaged a French vessel   42–44


My next voyage from Seville in Spain to America     44–45


In what manner we reached America in latitude twenty-eight degrees without finding the harbour to which we had been directed, and how a great storm arose off the coast    4547




In what manner we left the harbour to seek the country for which we were bound             48


How certain among us set of in a boat to inspect the harbour, and how we found a crucifix handing on a rock   49–51


In what manner I was dispatched with a boat full of savages to our ship   52–53


How the other ship arrived, in which was the chief pilot, and which we had loft at sea   53


How we took counsel and sailed for the Portuguese colony of Sancte Vincente, where we intended to freight another ship with which to complete our voyage; how we suffered shipwreck in a storm, not knowing how far we were from Sancte Vincente       54–56


How we learnt in what savage country we had been shipwrecked    56–57


The situation of Sancte Vincente      57–58


How the place is named in which the enemy is chiefly gathered together, and how it is situated    58–59


In what manner the Portuguese rebuilt Brikioka, and later constructed a fort in the island of Sanct Maro    59–61




How and for what reasons it was necessary to keep watch for the enemy at one season of the year more than at other times   61


My capture by the savages and how it occurred    62–64


How my people came out when the savages were carrying me away, intending to recapture me, and how they fought with the savages       64–66


In what manner my captors returned to their own country   66–69


How they dealt with me on the day on which they brought me to their dwellings   69–70


How my two captors came to me and told me that they had presented me to one of their friends, who would keep me and slay me when I was to be eaten   71–72


How they danced with me before the huts in which their idols Tammerka had been set up      73


How, after they had danced, they brought me home to Ipperu Wasu who was to kill me       74


How my captors made angry complaint that the Portuguese had slain their father, which deed they desired to avenge on me   75–76




How a Frenchman who had been left among the savages came to see me and bade them eat me, saying that I was truly a Portuguese    76–77


How I suffered greatly from toothache     77


In what manner they brought me to their chief ruler, King Konyan Bebe, and how they dealt with me there   78–81


How the Tupin Ikins came with twenty-five canoes, as I had predicted, to the king, intending to attack the huts where I was kept   81–82


In what manner the chiefs assembled in the moonlight   82–83


How the Tupin Ikins burnt another village called Mambukabe   84


How a ship came from Brikioka enquiring for me, and of the brief report which was given    84–85


How the brother of the king Jeppipo Wasu returned from Mambukabe with the news that his brother and mother, and all the company had fallen sick, and entreated me to procure my God to make them well again   85–86


In what manner the sick king Jeppipo Wasu returned home   86–89




How the Frenchman returned who had told the savages to eat me, and how I begged him to take me away, but my matters would not suffer me to go     89–91


Of the manner in which the savages ate a prisoner and carried me to the feast      91–93


What happened on the homeward journey after the man had been eaten    93–94


How once more a ship was sent after me by the Portuguese   95–98


How a slave, who had perpetually defamed me and desired to have me killed, was himself killed and eaten in my presence   98–101


How a French ship arrived to trade with the savages for cotton and Brazil wood, to which ship I tried to escape, but God did not intend it     101–103


How the savages went forth to war taking me with them, and what befell me on the way   103–107


How the prisoners were disposed of on the return voyage   107–110


How they danced in the camp on the following day with their enemies   110–111




How the French ship, to which the savages had promised to bring me, was still there when they returned from the war   112


How they ate George Ferrero, the Portuguese captain's son, and the first of the two roasted Christians   112–113


How Almighty God worked a wonder   113–114


How I went fishing one evening with two savages, and God worked another wonder with rain and storm   114–115


How the savages ate the second roasted Christian, called Hieronymus   115–116


How they carried me to be given away   116–117


How the savages of this place reported to me that the French ship had sailed away again    117


How shortly after I had been given away another ship arrived from France, the Catherine of Vattavilla, which through God's providence was able to buy me, and of the manner in which this fell out   117–120


The name of the ship's captain, from whence the ship came, and what happened before we left harbour, and the manner of our return to France   120–122




How at Dieppe I was taken to the house of the captain of the ship Bellete, which had left Brazil before us, but had not yet arrived   123–124

My prayer to the Lord God when I was in the hands of the savages who threatened to eat me   124–125




The manner of the voyage from Portugal to Rio de Janeiro in America      128


The situation of the land called America or Brazil, of which I have seen a part      129


Concerning a great range of mountains which is in the Country     129–131


Concerning the dwellings of the Tupin Inba, whose prisoner I was      131–133


In what manner they make fire     133–134


Of their manner of sleeping      134


Of their skill in shooting beads and fish with arrows      134–136


Of the appearance of the people      136




How they cut and hew without axes, knives and scissors   136137


Concerning their bread and the names of their fruit; how they plant them and prepare them to be eaten    137–139


How they prepare their food    139140


Concerning their government by chiefs, and their laws   140


How they bake the pots and vessels which they use   140–141


How they concoct their drinks and make themselves drunk therewith, and the manner of their drinking   141142


Of the manner in which the men adorn and paint themselves, and of their names   142–144


Concerning the adornment of the women       145


How they first name a child        145–146


How many wives a man has, and his manner of dealing with them   146




Of their betrothals     147


Of their possessions    147


What is their greatest honour    148


Of their beliefs      148150


How they turn the women into soothsayers   150–151


Concerning their canoes       151


Why one enemy eats another       152


Of their plan of campaign when they set out to invade their enemy's country   152–153


Concerning their weapons     154


Of their manner of killing and eating their enemies. Of the instrument with which they kill them, and the rites which follow      155–163


Concerning certain animals in the country       164




[Certain animals]     165–166


Concerning a small insect, like a flea, which the natives call Attun   166


Concerning a kind of bat which at night bites the toes and foreheads of the people when they are asleep   166


Concerning the bees of the country    167


Concerning the birds of the country       167


An account of certain trees in the country    168


Concerning the growth of the cotton plant, and the Brazilian pepper plant, and of certain other roots which the savages plant for food     168

The concluding address. Hans Staden wishes the reader mercy and peace in God's name   169–171

NOTES                             173–183

INDEX                              185–191



Map to illustrate the two voyages                                                     at end

Hans Staden's map                                                                               p. 31

Map showing the islands of San Vincente and Santo Amaro              p. 58





THE woodcuts which adorn the first edition of the book and which are here reproduced are very remarkable, even if they are not quite up to the standard of mid-sixteenth-century work in general. They must have been executed under Hans Staden's personal supervision, and he figures in nearly all of them. He is easily recognized by his beard, and in many of them his hands are raised in prayer. The artist seems to have placed his initials, D.H., on the ship's flag in the illustration on p. 33, but it has not been possible to identify him. The lower of the two woodcuts on p. 163 has the initials H.S., but these are probably inserted to identify Hans Staden who stands immediately below them. Counting the ornaments on pp. 18 and 125, but excluding the map, there are fifty-six woodcuts, namely thirty-three in Part I. and twenty-three in Part II. Of these three are duplicated. The woodcuts appear only in the Marburg edition of 1557. The reprint at Frankfurt-a.-M. in that year has a number of fanciful woodcuts, drawn apparently from a book on Turkey or the Near East. There are pictures of elephants and camels, veiled ladies and walled cities, not one of which has any bearing on Hans Staden and his adventures. The Marburg woodcuts, on the other hand, do really illustrate the story. Many of them are very much alive and help us to see the country and the people, and to realize something of the hardships which the traveller had to endure during his captivity.

Page 31. Hans Staden's map is interesting as an early attempt at cartography, but not very helpful. The title reads: "The country with the harbours which in part I saw in America. Also of the



inhabitants, how they are called, and the manner in which their countries adjoin each other. This I have contrived according to the best of my ability for the better understanding of each judicious reader." There is an interesting note at the right-hand corner of the map by the tail of the sword-fish: "Here Amazons are said to dwell, as I was told by the savages." The legend was well established by the sixteenth century. Another German, Ulrich Schmidel (1534-54), went off in search of the Amazons, and Purchas adds a characteristic note: "The Amazons are still further off. I doubt beyond the region of Truth." For the Stories of the Amazons in S. America see G. Friederici, Die Amazonen Amerikas, Leipzig, 1910; Southey, History of Brazil, 1810, I, p. 604; and generally Archiv für Anthropologie, V (1872), pp. 220-225.

Pages 33, 35. Two drawings of ships.

Page 36. Shows Cape de Gell (Arzilla) and the capture of the boat.

Page 38. The ship surrounded by fish as described on p. 37.

Page 41. An interesting view of Garasu with some business-like cannon inside the enclosure. Below is the food-party on its way to Itamaraccá, while the attackers are throwing down trees across the channel.

Page 42. The harbour and settlement of Buttugaris, and the fight with the French ship.

Page 44. See woodcut on p. 35.

Page 46. The haven of Supraway (Superaqui).

Page 49. The island and harbour of S. Catharina with the settlement of Acutia and the cross described on p. 50.

Page 56. The shipwreck, with Hans Staden reaching shore on a kind of raft. This woodcut (compare with that at p. 65) gives an excellent idea of the country described in the book. On the mainland is Brikioka (Bertioga), and adjoining, in Santos harbour, are the islands of San Vincente and Santo Amaro. To the right is the harbour of Itanhaen, where the shipwrecked sailors were cared for.

Page 63. Hans is captured on the island of Santo Amaro. An Ingenio (p. 62) is shown on the mainland. Below is Hans praying in the boat.

Page 65. The attempted recapture. Hans is seen in a boat holding a gun. At the extreme corner of the island of Santo Amaro is the bulwark in which Hans Staden was stationed. The legend reads: "The bulwark in which I, H.S., was." This woodcut should be compared with the sketch map at p. 58.

Page 67. Hans lying on the ground praying.

Page 68. Hans beseeching God to drive away the storm.



Page 72. Inside the settlement at Uwattibi (Ubatúba). Hans is being shaved.

Page 73. Hans with head-dress and rattles beating time while the women dance.

Page 80. Hans with his legs tied together. By him is the king's son wearing the Enduap (p. 144).

Page 82. The attack on the settlement.

Page 83. Hans praying while the angry moon looks down on the huts. His prayer is written above his head: "O Lord God, rescue me from this danger and bring it to a peaceful end." This woodcut is interesting as it shows the savages smoking. There is no reference to this custom in the text, but other travellers speak of it. See, e.g., Purchas (reprint), XVI, pp. 425-6.

Page 87. Hans preparing to lay hands on the sick. The victims of the pestilence are being buried in holes by the huts.

Page 96. Hans in the boat speaking with the crew of the Portuguese ship.

Page 100. This shows Hans attempting to bleed the sick slave, the slave being dispatched with the club, and his body being cut up.

Page 102. Hans escapes to the French ship, but is repulsed.

Page 106. The camp at Boywassu Kange.

Page 107. The fight with the Tupinikin.

Page 108. The fate of the prisoners.

Page 111. The other prisoners are paraded in the camp.

Page 113. The miracle of the cross. Women with their children on their backs.

Page 115. The fishing expedition. Hans is seen praying. The storm is shown in the background.

Page 121. The fight in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro.

Page 122. The homeward voyage.

Page 127. Two chiefs, one with the sacrificial club, the other wearing head-dress and the Enduap (p. 144).

Page 132. The huts and stockade, with heads on the entrance-posts.

Page 133. Making fire.

Page 134. A hammock.

Page 135. Fishing.

Page 138. This is identical with the woodcut on p. 113.

Page 141. Preparing the drink.

Page 143. Lipstones.

Page 144. The ornament of ostrich plumes, called Enduap.



Page 148. Pots, and the rattle called Tammaraka.

Page 155. This is identical with the woodcut on p. 72.

Page 156. See woodcut on p. 73.

Page 157. The sacrificial club, called Iwera Pemme.

Page 158. Preparations for a cannibal feast.

Page 159. (a) The victim being painted; (b) the club hanging in the hut (p. 157).

Page 160. The victim drinking with his captors.

Page 161. The victim tied with the rope Mussurana (p. 156).

Pages 162, 163. These woodcuts need no comment.

Page 164. A wart-hog.

Page 165. An opossum.


Hans Staden

The True History



VERY little is known about Hans Staden except the story of his voyages and captivity among the Tupi Indians of Brazil. He was born at Homberg in Hesse, where his parents had settled, and later when he returned from the New World he was living at Wolfhagen, not far from Cassel. Of his youth nothing is reported. He appears to have had some kind of education, after which he was trained as a gunner, and when still a young man, with the call of the New World upon him, he sailed early in 1547 from Holland for Lisbon in the hope of finding employment in one of the Portuguese ships sailing for America. Lisbon at that time had a German colony of its own, for the Welsers and Fuggers had their factors there, and Germans were freely recruited through the great commercial factory at Antwerp to serve as gunners in the Portuguese ships. Staden found a German inn at Lisbon where he lodged and where he must have encountered many of his countrymen, but when he arrived the King's ships had left. His host, however, procured him employment in a vessel which was about to depart, carrying a cargo of convicts to Brazil, and some time in June 1547 he set sail. The captain had been ordered to seize any ships which were poaching on the Portuguese preserves off the African coast, and to attack French interlopers in Brazil, and after taking a prize and



encountering heavy weather they reached Pernambuco on January 28, 1548. Staden's first five chapters describe his voyage out, his adventures in the neighbourhood of Pernambuco, and his return to Europe. The rest of his book is taken up with the account of his second voyage, his captivity among the savages, and his final escape.

Brazil had been discovered in 1500 by Vincent Pinzon, who landed on the coast near Cape St. Augustin in the State of Pernambuco and took possession in the name of the Spanish crown. Subsequently it appeared that the country was within the Portuguese limits of demarcation agreed to by the Treaty of Tordesillas, and the Portuguese lost no time in exploring the new territory. Preoccupied, however, with maintaining themselves in India and the Far East, they did little for thirty years towards establishing themselves in Brazil. A few ships traded there with the natives, or set down criminals, but it was not until 1531 that anything like a serious effort was made at colonization. Hereditary Captaincies were then set up at several points along the coast, and by 1549 the whole colony was governed direst from Bahia. Duarte Coelho Pereira had been established at Pernambuco with his wife and children and kinsmen, and for some years peace and prosperity attended their efforts, but in 1548 war broke out with the natives, and when Hans Staden arrived he found himself in the thick of the fighting. The natives had besieged the Portuguese settlement of Garasu. Coelho could not spare any men, as he was expecting to be attacked himself, but he detailed the new-comers to assist the beleaguered settlers, and Hans Staden went off with forty men in a boat to their relief. He gives an interesting account of the methods adopted by the garrison, which consisted of some ninety men, to withstand a large besieging force estimated, with



considerable exaggeration, at eight thousand men, and after a fruitless attempt by the attackers to cut off the food supplies and smoke out a food party with the fumes of burning pepper, the natives withdrew, and terms were arranged between them and the Portuguese. Hans Staden then sailed again for Portugal, where he arrived in October 1548 after an absence of sixteen months. There seems little doubt that by this time he had acquired a good working knowledge of Portuguese.

When Hans Staden returned to Europe men's minds were full of the conquest of Peru and aflame with the promise of untold wealth. An expedition was setting out from Seville for Rio de la Plata under Don Diego de Senabria, and Staden with a host of other adventurers joined the ships. The fleet, which consisted of three ships, set sail at Easter 1549, but the expedition was unfortunate from the first. The vessels encountered severe weather and were separated off the coast of Guinea, and the boat which carried Staden was delayed by contrary winds for four months. Finally, when they had been six months at sea, land was sighted, and after narrowly escaping destruction off the rocky coast of Paranagua, the ship found refuge in a harbour where it was hailed by a boat full of natives, in which were two Portuguese settlers who gave the captain his bearings. It had been agreed that if the ships were separated during the voyage they should meet at the island of Santa Catharina, where Senabria had been instructed to found a colony in close proximity to the Portuguese settlement at San Vincente, and when the wind was favourable the captain sailed southwards in search of it. The wind changed, however, and he was forced to seek shelter in another harbour which he could not identify, but which turned out eventually to be the very haven he was seeking. Here, after three weeks, he was joined



by the second ship, but the third vessel was never heard of again. The crews now began to collect provisions for their voyage to Rio de la Plata, but one day a terrible calamity befell them, for the larger ship was lost in the harbour, and they were left with one ship only which was too small to attempt the voyage. For two years the survivors were forced to remain, cut off from the outside world, and supplied with food by the natives for so long only as they had hooks and knives to give them. After the supplies had given out they subsisted as best they could upon lizards, field-rats, and shell-fish, and whatever else they could catch. Finally the crews separated into two parties, one party setting off by land for Asuncion, where there was a Spanish colony, a journey which they could not expel to accomplish in less than six months, while certain of the others sailed with the ship to the Portuguese colony at San Vincente to see if a larger vessel could be freighted to complete the voyage to Rio de la Plata. Of the land party some survivors reached their destination after many hardships and dangers, but Hans Staden and his companions in the ship encountered fog and storms, and were finally shipwrecked and cast away on a desolate coast which no one could identify. Luckily a Frenchman who was running to and fro to warm himself espied some huts behind the trees. This turned out to be a Portuguese settlement, and the castaways were relieved to find that they were only two leagues from San Vincente. A ship was sent to fetch those who had remained behind, and when the men had recovered from their hardships they set to work to maintain themselves as best they could.

San Vincente, where they found themselves, was situated on an island of that name formed by an inland tidal channel, sometimes called the Santos river, on which the city and seaport of Santos now stands.



It was the first Portuguese colony in Brazil, and at that time, and until 1710, the principal harbour of the Captaincy. To the east of San Vincente was another island called Santo Amaro, and on the mainland and protecting one of the channels, was a fort known as Brikioka (Bertioga), which was manned by the offspring of a Portuguese exile named De Praga, who lived there with a large tribe of his children. The Portuguese were friendly with the Tupinikin, a tribe inhabiting the neighbouring country, but were in deadly enmity with the Tupinambá to the north, from whom they were in constant danger of attack. It had been decided to erect another fort on the island of Santo Amaro opposite Bertioga, but this had been left unfinished since no one could be found to serve there. The Portuguese, learning that Hans Staden was a gunner, offered him a good salary and a promise of royal favour if he would take charge of the place, which he agreed to do for four months, by which time Thomé de Souza, the first governor-general of Brazil, was expected to arrive. Hans Staden took possession and with three companions guarded the fort safely until de Souza landed. He was then persuaded to continue his employment for two years more, after which he was to be sent home on the first ship returning to Europe. One day, while he was out hunting, he was surrounded and captured by the hostile Tupinambá, and it is with this episode and its consequences that the main portion of his book is concerned.

It is a moving and exciting story. The Tupinambá regarded the Portuguese as their bitterest enemies, fit only when caught to be cooked and eaten. They complained that the Portuguese, when they arrived to trade, had induced the natives to enter their ships and had then seized and enslaved them, or had sold them to their enemies. Hans Staden was carried



off to their settlement at Ubatuba, to the south of San Vincente, his eyebrows were shaved off with a piece of glass, and soon his beard disappeared as well, and it was obvious that he was to be killed and eaten. He seems during his two years of enforced idleness in the harbour of Santa Catharina to have learnt the Tupi language, and he protested indignantly that he was not a Portuguese at all, but a German, and an ally of the French who were the friends of his captors. The savages replied with some point that he had been taken from a Portuguese settlement, and, as one of the chiefs remarked afterwards, the dory was an old one, for he himself had caught and eaten five Portuguese, all of whom had protested that they were Frenchmen and yet they lied. One faint hope remained. There was a French trader in the neighbourhood who was brought in to determine the prisoner's nationality. He addressed Hans Staden in French, which the latter did not understand, and forthwith, without further enquiry or delay, abandoned the wretched man to his fate, telling the savages that he was indeed a Portuguese, their enemy and his, and that the sooner he was eaten the better. We next see the prisoner hopping with his legs tied together in and out of the huts, while his tormentors felt his flesh and quarrelled as to who had the best right to the fattest bits. Hans Staden sang a hymn and prepared for death, but was saved for the moment by a timely attack of tooth-ache which prevented him from eating, and he grew thin.

It was at this stage that some doubts as to his nationality began to dawn upon his captors. The colour of his beard (which was red) had already attracted remark, since the Portuguese had mostly black beards, and the savages could not run the risk of eating a Frenchman or even an ally of the French. Then, by a lucky chance, one of his masters fell sick



while he was away on an expedition, and sickness seized the whole of his party. There had already been some talk about the man in the moon looking down angrily upon the savages' huts, and now the sick chief sent a messenger to ask the prisoner to tell his God to make him well again. No one can blame Hans Staden for making the most of his opportunities, and he played his cards with caution and skill. He replied that his God was indeed wrath with the chief and his people because they had called him a Portuguese and had threatened to eat him. Nevertheless, he went about laying his hands on the sick, and although his ministrations were not wholly successful, for many of the sufferers died, yet the chief recovered, and Hans Staden's stock began to rise. They told him their dreams. One chief, who on an earlier occasion had partaken so freely of roasted Portuguese that his digestion was permanently impaired, was much perturbed at his terrible nightmares and vowed that he would never touch Portuguese flesh again. Even Hans Staden's great enemy, a chief named Alkindar, on promising to mend his ways, was cured of eye-ache. Then the French trader returned collecting feathers and pepper, and he so far repented of his previous conduct as to tell the savages that Hans was indeed an ally of his people and that they had better let him go. But the Tupinambá were not going to part with their prophet, and the Frenchman departed alone.

It is doubtful if Hans Staden was ever again in danger of death, but he was to witness a good deal of cannibalism. The reader can follow the gruesome details for himself, but the rites and ceremonies observed in connection with the slaying and eating are curious and interesting. The victim was painted and adorned with feathers and his eyebrows were shaved. For a time at least he was well treated. He



received a hut and furniture and was provided with a wife. Meanwhile his captors visited him frequently and examined him to see which of his limbs and joints they proposed to claim. His children were reared and might or might not suffer the same fate as the father. When all was ready invitations were sent out to the neighbouring tribes to partake of the feast. The club with which the victim was to be dispatched was adorned with tassels and smeared with pounded egg-shells and then religiously secluded. The executioner painted himself grey with ashes and adorned his body with feathers, and after he had dispatched the prisoner (who was expected to show complete indifference to his fate), blood was drawn from the slayer's arm, and he was forced to retire to his hut for a time and lie in his hammock, amusing himself with a miniature bow and arrow to keep his eye in, this practice of seclusion and purification being intended doubtless to protest him from the angry ghosts of his victim. These rites and ceremonies, having been described by an eye-witness, are extremely valuable. Unfortunately the writer has added a wealth of detail which is merely sickening. He was determined that not a fraction of the horrors he had escaped should be lost on his readers.

Although Hans Staden was to some extent now an honoured guest among the Tupinambá, he was not to regain his liberty for a considerable period. A bitter disappointment awaited him, for a French ship which arrived to trade for pepper, monkeys and parrots refused to take him away for fear of offending the savages. The crew did not even give him a shirt to cover his nakedness. In his desperation Hans Staden made his one dash for liberty. He fled from his keepers and swam out to the boat, but the Frenchmen refused to take him in, and he was forced to swim back to the shore. Later he expressed the



hope that God would forgive these men, but it is clear that he could not bring himself to do so, and on learning that the ship must have foundered on the return voyage he remarks only that such cruelty and want of pity could not go unpunished. When the next French ship arrived, however, he found himself among friends. By means of a clever ruse he contrived to be taken on board, and finally, amidst the lamentations of his captors, in whose hands he had remained for nearly a year, he commenced his homeward voyage. His perils were not yet over, for he was severely wounded in a skirmish with a Portuguese vessel in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro, but finally on February 20, 1555, he landed safely at Honfleur. From Honfleur he travelled to Dieppe, returning to Germany by way of London and Antwerp. Of his subsequent life nothing of importance is known, but he must have settled down almost at once to write his history.

The book appeared at Marburg early in 1557, a small quarto volume adorned with woodcuts which must have been executed under the author's personal supervision. It was one of the earliest accounts of the New World and Brazil to appear in German, and its success seems to have been immediate. A second Marburg edition appeared in a few months, and two further editions were printed at Frankfurt, both dated 1557. It was frequently reprinted, and was translated into Latin, French and Dutch. A Portuguese version appeared in 1892, and there is no indication even now of any falling off in the general interest concerning Hans Staden and his adventures. How the book came to be written is by no means clear. It has been suggested that Staden was not sufficiently educated to write it himself, and that he must have compiled it under the direction of Dr. Dryander, the Marburg professor, who wrote the long-winded and



tedious introduction, but I do not believe it. Dryander certainly looked through the book, and probably corrected it here and there, but one has only to compare the introduction with the narrative to realize that if the learned Doctor's heavy hand had rested on Hans Staden's work its whole character would have been changed. Moreover, Hans Staden was in no sense a dullard. He learnt Portuguese and probably Spanish. He picked up the Tupi language and spoke it apparently with considerable fluency, and I see no reason why he could not have described his adventures in the very simple language which is one of the charms of his book. It would be difficult to see how a work of this description could be better arranged. In the first place we have a straightforward narrative of the author's personal adventures and misfortunes, written briefly and without any straining after effect. In the second part we have a treatise on the customs of the Tupinambá, their polity, trade, religion, manufactures and warlike undertakings, and of the flora and fauna of the country. This survey is the result of sustained and penetrating observation, and subsequent accounts have added little to the information given in it. Particularly interesting are the chapters devoted to the marriage ceremonies, government and laws, the personal adornment and religious observances of the people. Their gods were hollow gourds or pumpkins filled with stones, which when rattled were used for purposes of divination. In Chapter XXII, Part II there is a striking account of the blessing or bewitching of these rattles by the wise men who, in return for presents, imprisoned spirits in them with power to predict future events. The prisoner saw through the imposture at once, but to a simple unsuspecting audience it must have been a solemn and mysterious ceremony. Chapter XXIII, Part II contains an interesting description of the methods adopted



to keep up the supply of cunning women, and in Chapter XV, Part II there is an early reference to the tradition of the visit of St. Thomas the Apostle to America. Hans Staden does not tell the whole story, but when he enquired why the men had their heads shaved like monks, he was told of a mysterious personage who had visited them in times past, working miracles among the people and teaching them many strange things including the use of the tonsure. An unexpected mention occurs in Chapter XXXIII, Part I, of the weeping welcome concerning which there is much in the accounts of early travellers, and which has attracted a good deal of attention in modern times (see Der Tränengruss der Indianer, by G. Friederici, Leipzig, 1907). The book in fact is full of odds and ends of information which give it a special value, quite apart from the story of the author's remarkable experiences and escapes.

Throughout his narrative Hans Staden shows himself as a curious mixture of simplicity and shrewdness. He was a very pious Lutheran and was ready to see the hand of God stretched out for his special safety in every disturbance of nature. The stories of the angry moon in Part I, Chapter XXX: of the miraculous cures (Chapter XXXIV): of the Cross in Chapter XLVI: of the thunderstorm in Chapter XLVII, are all regarded as the inevitable and immediate response to his prayers. He seemed to take the view that Hans Staden's perilous situation had been at last reported in the proper quarter and was now being satisfactorily dealt with. Up to a certain point the careful reader is conscious of an undercurrent of pained surprise, as if the unfortunate victim of fate was asking himself how in a world now purged of heresies such things could be allowed to happen to any pious Lutheran, and that a good deal was due to him if his contract with his Maker was to be honourably fulfilled. Once



he was conscious that God was on his side he was a little inclined to be presumptuous and self-centred. He was convinced, when asked to heal the sick, that his prayers would be answered, but he was seriously perturbed how to act, since he could not decide whether it would be more to his interest to let the sufferers die or live. We could wish that one or two episodes, particularly the episode in Chapter XXXIX, where a slave who had lied about him was killed and eaten, had been related in a different spirit, but it was part of the author's belief that all who wronged him should suffer both in this world and the next, and we must be careful not to judge him unfairly. It is certain that he had to face trials and dangers which would have tried the courage of many braver and more imaginative men. He was not a coward, and he really seems to have been more terrified of being eaten than of being killed. In any case we must remember that he willingly undertook the defence of the fort at Santo Amaro, which no Portuguese gunner would face, that he acquitted himself with distinction in action, and that when his captors had taken some Christian prisoners he remained by them to comfort and help them to meet their end, at a time when, apparently, he could have escaped quite easily.

The truth of Hans Staden's story does not seem ever to have been seriously questioned, although he obviously expected to be classed among the lying travellers. He is careful in his concluding address to the reader—a most convincing document—to mention the names of all Europeans with whom he came into contact, so that sceptics could check his statements. The learned Dryander, his sponsor, was a well-known man in his day, and he and the Landgrave of Hesse seem to have gone thoroughly into the matter, and to have cross-examined the traveller again and again without shaking him.



Moreover, the sources from which even a practised writer could have compiled such a book were very few. Many of Hans Staden's statements are confirmed, in some cases strikingly confirmed, by the French missionary, Jean de Léry, who was actually in Brazil while Hans Staden was writing his book. De Léry accompanied the Huguenot expedition sent out by Coligny. He remained from 1556 to 1558 among the natives and had special opportunities for studying the Tupinambá, whose habits, appearance and language are fully described in his Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil, dite Amerique, published in 1578. It has been stated again and again by Hans Staden's German editors that de Léry, when he met with Staden's book, was so impressed by it that he remarked that he and the German traveller might have compared notes before putting pen to paper. I have searched for the authority for this statement, but I cannot find it. All I can say is that it is hallowed by continued repetition. Nor is it of much importance. The fact is that in every page of his book Hans Staden stands out as his own witness for truth. That he saw what he tells us he saw, and suffered the vicissitudes which he describes, cannot, I think, be doubted by anyone who has read his narrative with attention.

It is interesting to know that H. J. Winckelmann, who published his work Der Americanischen Neuen Welt Beschreibung in 1664, while engaged among the archives at Cassel, discovered thirty-four of the original wood blocks used by Hans Staden and used them again, although he does not seem to have known of the existence of the various editions of Staden's book which were issued in 1557. Winckelmann also printed a portrait of the traveller, which presents him as a long-bearded, solemn-looking elderly man clasping a book in his left hand, but I do not reproduce it,



since a portrait produced for the first time a century after the sitter lived is open to a good deal of suspicion. It can be found at p. 3 of the facsimile reprint of Staden's book issued by the Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie and Urgeschichte, published at Frankfurt-a.-M. in 1927.




THE full title of Hans Staden's book is as follows:






There were three reprints in 1557. For these and the subsequent history of the book see Viktor Hantzsch, Deutsche Reisende des 16. Jahrhunderts (in Leipziger Studien aus dem Gebiet der Geschichte, Bd. I), Leipzig, 1895, pp. 57-59; Hans Staden. Warhaftige Historia (Faksimile-Wiedergabe nach der Erstausgabe, mit einer Begleitschrift von



Richard N. Wegner), Frankfurt-a.-M., 1927, pp. 19-24. This facsimile was published by the Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie, und Urgeschichte. A short bibliography is appended to the Hakluyt Society's translation issued in 1874. There is an excellent reprint of the Frankfurt edition of 1557 in vol. xlvii of the Bibliothek des Litterarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, 1859, edited by Dr. Karl Klüpfel. Of the early translations we may note a Flemish version printed at Antwerp in 1558. There seems to have been a French translation in 1559, but no copy appears to have survived. Adam Lonicer turned it into Latin for De Bry's collection of voyages in 1593. A Dutch translation appeared in 1563 at Amsterdam which has been frequently reprinted. A new French version was printed in Ternaux-Compans, Voyages, relations et mémoires originaux pour servir a l'histoire de la découverte de l'Amerique, Paris, 1837, vol. 3. The Hakluyt Society, as we have seen, printed an English translation of the work in 1874 by Albert Tootal, with introduction and notes by Sir Richard F. Burton. A Portuguese translation appeared in 1892 at Rio de Janeiro.

Hans Staden has received a good deal of study in Germany in recent years. The following works may be noted: Karl Klüpfel's note at the end of the reprint by the Stuttgart Litt. Verein in 1859; Hantzsch, Deutsche Reisende des 16. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1895, p. 57; Julius Pistor, Hans Staden von Homberg und sein Reisebuch (Festschrift der Deutschen Anthropologischen Gesellschaft zur 26. allgemeinen Versammlung zu Cassel), Cassel, 1895, pp. 1-18; Klaudius Bode, Die Tupistämme und ihre Sprache in der Capitania S. Vincente (São Paulo) (published in Korrespondenzblatt der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte, Band 69, Nos. 5/8, pp. 51-58), Brunswick, 1918. Dr.



Richard N. Wegner's Begleitschrift to the facsimile reprint issued at Frankfurt-a.-M. in 1927, referred to above, brings together all that is known about Hans Staden and his book, and contains an interesting survey of the earlier and later literature of discovery. Southey in his History of Brazil, London, 1810, devotes a whole chapter (ch. vii) to Hans Staden. There is an interesting notice of Staden in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. 35.

It seems to have escaped the notice of Hans Staden's editors that his book was well known to Purchas. In the volume (reprint, vol. xvii, p. 56) containing the extracts translated from another German traveller in Brazil of about the same period, Ulrich Schmidel, whom Purchas elects for the most part to call Hulderike Schnirdel, the editor has added the following note: "I had thought here to have added the Voyages of Johannes Stadius (another German which served the Portugals in Brasill about Schmidel's later time) published in Theodore de Bry; and had the same by me translated. But contayning little light for the Countrie and People, and relating in manner onely his owne Tragedies, in his taking by the Savages, and often perils of being eaten by them, as some of his friends were before his face, with other like Savage arguments wherewith wee have glutted you alreadie: I being alreadie too voluminous, have omitted the same and hasten to other Relations."

While taking exception to Purchas's views concerning the general interest and value of Hans Staden's travels, we must indeed regret the loss of a 17th-century version of the book, rendered, we may be sure, with all the raciness and style which characterizes every page of "Purchas, His Pilgrimes." To be able to describe the roasting and eating of human beings as a "Savage argument" is a luxury denied to the translator of today.

1 7   C









To the Serene and Highborn Prince and Lord, Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Catzenelnbogen, Dietz, Ziegenhain and Nidda etc., my gracious Prince and Master.1

Mercy and peace in Christ Jesus our Saviour. Most gracious Prince and Lord. The holy King and Prophet David speaks in the hundred and seventh Psalm:

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters:

These see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.

For he commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are fill.

Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

So do I thank the Almighty Creator of the Heavens, the Earth and the Seas, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, who showed mercy and pity to me among



the savage peoples of Brazil called Tupin Imba, eaters of men's flesh, who took me captive and whose prisoner I was for nine months amidst many dangers, and who delivered me in safety through their Holy Trinity by means wholly unlooked for and most wonderful. I thank God also that now, after so much misery and danger, I am once again after many years in these dominions, my beloved home, where I hasten dutifully to give an account of my travels and voyages, which I have described as briefly as may be. I trust that your Highness may be pleased to have read aloud at your leisure the story of my adventures by land and sea, if only on account of God's wonderful mercies vouchsafed to me in my distress. And lest your Highness should think that I have reported untrue things, I venture to offer your Highness at the same time a sponsor for my veracity. To God alone and all in all be the glory. I commend myself to your Highness in all humility.

Dated at Wolfhagen, the twentieth day of June, Anno Domini, Fifteen Hundred and Fifty-Six.

Your Highness's subject Hans Staden of Homberg in Hesse, now a burgher of Wolfhagen.




To the noble Lord, the Lord Philip Count of Nassau and Saarbrücken etc. his gracious Master, D. Dryander2 sends greeting and the expression of his duty.

Hans Staden, who now offers this history in print, has asked me to read his work, to revise it and where necessary to correct it. I have complied with his request for various reasons. Firstly, I have known his father for upwards of fifty years, for he and I were born and taught in the same town, namely Wetter. Both in his home and in Homberg in Hesse, where he now lives, he is looked up to as an upright, pious and worthy man and not unversed in the arts. As the proverb says: "The apple tastes of the tree." It is to be expected, therefore, that the son of so worthy a man should resemble his father in virtue and piety.

Further, I approached the labour of revising this book with all the more pleasure and satisfaction, since I delight in matters appertaining to mathematics, such as cosmography, that is the measuring and description of countries, towns and highways, of which much will be found in these pages. I employ myself the more willingly in such matters when I know that the writer relates and discloses, in truth and honesty, only such things as have befallen him. I believe that Hans Staden has faithfully reported his history and adventures from his own experiences and not from the accounts of others, that he has no intent to deceive, and that he desires no reward or worldly renown, but only the glory of God, in humble praise and thankfulness for his escapes. This is indeed the chief



purpose of the work, that men may see how mercifully and against all hope the Lord God delivered Hans Staden, who called upon him, out of so many and great dangers; how he rescued him from the savage people in whose power he lay for nine months in daily and hourly expectation that he would be killed and eaten, and how he restored him in safety to his father-land in Hesse.

For these unspeakable mercies he desires, as far as in him lies, to give thanks to God and, praising him, to make his blessings known to all men, and in the laborious ordering of this work to relate in detail his journeys and the chances which befell him during his absence of nine years from his country. All this he relates simply and without ornament or great words or arguments, a fact which impresses me with the truth of what he describes. I do not see what advantage he could obtain by lying, even if he preferred falsehood to the truth.

In addition, he is now settled with his parents in this country. He does not wander from place to place, gipsy-like, a practice common among vagabonds and liars in general, and he must therefore expect to encounter other travellers on their return from the same islands who could convict him of falsehood if he were lying. This fact is also a convincing argument to me that his history is truthfully related, that he is careful to indicate the time, country and place of his meeting with Heliodorus, son of the learned and widely-famed Eoban of Hesse3 who has now been long absent on a voyage of discovery in foreign parts and was believed by all of us to be dead. This Heliodorus was with Hans Staden in the country of the savages and observed his misfortune when he was taken and carried away. This same Heliodorus, I say, may return sooner or later to his home (as is indeed to be hoped), and if Hans Staden's history is a



false and lying history, he will be able to put him to shame and denounce him as a worthless person.

I will now leave the weighty arguments and conjectures which support Hans Staden's integrity and consider briefly why it is that histories of this kind receive generally so little credit and applause.

In the first place, land travellers with their boundless falsehoods and reports of vain and imagined things have so wrought that honest and worthy people returning from foreign countries are now hardly believed. For it is commonly said: he who desires to lie, let him lie concerning far off things and places, since few travel into distant parts, and a man will sooner credit what he hears than undertake the labour of finding out the truth for himself.

But let it not be assumed that truth is to be silenced by falsehood. It is to be noted that many matters appear to the common people to be incredible, yet when they are disclosed to men of understanding and thoroughly tested they are found to be known and proved, and to be in themselves worthy of credence.

This fact is clear if we take two examples from astronomy. We who live in Germany or in adjacent countries know by long experience the duration of winter and summer as well as of the two other seasons, autumn and spring. Item, how long is the longest summer day and how short the shortest day of winter; also in the same manner the duration of the nights.

When it is reported, therefore, that somewhere in the world the sun does not set for half a year, that the longest: day and the longest night endure each for six months, that is half a year; further, that in certain places the quatuor tempora or four seasons are duplicated, and two winters and two summers succeed each other in the course of the same year; likewise, that the sun and the stars, how small soever they appear to us, yet is the smallest star in the heavens greater



than the whole earth, nor can their number be measured:—when the common people hear these things they condemn them as impossible and not to be believed. Yet these are matters within the knowledge of astronomers, and no one skilled in science can doubt that they are true.

It does not follow, then, that these things are false because the common people think them so. Nevertheless, the science of astronomy would stand low indeed if persons who profess that science could not foretell the times of the eclipses and when and for how long the sun and moon shall be darkened. These happenings have been foretold hundreds of years in advance, and men have found them to be correct. Yet some will say: "Who has traversed the heavens and measured them and beheld these things?" To this I make answer that the experience of every day confirms the evidence of the learned, as clearly as I can demonstrate that two and three make five. Facts and scientific demonstrations have established that it is possible to measure and calculate the situation of the moon, the distance of the planets, and the height of the starry heavens, the size and circumference of the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies, and with the aid of astronomy and geometry to establish the distance, circumference, breadth and length of the earth itself. Yet these matters are hidden from the common mind and are generally believed to be impossible. The ignorance of the ordinary man may be attributed to the fact that he has no knowledge of philosophy, but that learned and scientific persons should doubt of matters so definitely established is both shameful and dangerous, for the common man looks up to the learned and observes their dissensions, remarking: "If these things were true, so and so would not have disputed them." Ergo, etc.

St. Augustine and Lactantius Firmianus (two most



holy and learned men as well in theology as in the arts) doubted the existence of the antipodes. They denied that men could inhabit the opposite sides of the earth and exist beneath us, walking with their feet uppermost and their heads hanging down towards the skies without falling off. This may indeed sound strange, but learned men questioned it, and it has been found to be true in the face of the denial by the holy and learned authors I have named. For it follows that those who live ex diametro per centrum terræ must be antipodal, for omne versus cœlum vergens, ubicunque locorum sursum est. Nor is it necessary for us to travel downwards unto the New World to seek the antipodes because they are here in the upper half of the globe. For if we consider together and compare the uttermost countries of the West, namely Spain and Cape Finisterre, with the East, where lie the Indies, we find that these opposing peoples and inhabitants of the earth are in their way antipodes.

Certain pious theologians maintain from this that the words of the mother of the sons of Zebedee have been fulfilled, when she desired of the Lord Jesus that her two sons might sit the one on his right hand and the other on his left. This, they say, has been fulfilled in that St. James lies buried at Compostella, at the end of the earth, which is called Finisterre, where he is held in honour, and the other apostle rests in India towards the rising of the sun. The antipodes have existed, therefore, from ancient times, and although in the days of St. Augustine the New World of America had not been discovered beneath the globe, yet in this way the antipodes were always in being. Other theologians, and among them Nicholas Lyra4 (who has otherwise always been regarded as an excellent scholar), have insisted that since the globe lies or swims as to one half thereof in water, and since the part which we inhabit projects above the waters, so



the lower hemisphere beneath us is buried deep down in the sea and is without life. But all this is contrary to the science of cosmography, for the many voyages of the Spaniards and Portuguese have established the exact opposite, that the globe is everywhere inhabited, yea, even the Torrid Zone which our forefathers, and indeed all writers of old, would not allow. Our daily supplies of spice, sugar, pearls and similar commodities are brought to us from these countries. I have been at pains to explain the paradox of the antipodes and the measurement of the heavens in order to support my argument. There are many other matters which I could bring forward at length if I desired my introduction to be tedious to you.

These and similar arguments may be read in the book written by the worthy and learned Magister Caspar Goldtworm,5 your Highness's diligent superintendent and chaplain at Weilburg, which book is divided into six parts and treats of miracles, wonders, and paradoxes of former and present times, and which will shortly be printed. To this work, and to many others dealing with such matters, such as Libri Galeotti, de rebus vulgo incredibilibus,6 I refer the friendly reader who desires further instruction and understanding.

Let it be made clear that matters which are strange and ridiculous to the common mind must not straightway be condemned as lies. The island people described in this book go naked; they have no domestic beasts for food, none of those things, in fact, which are common to us for the support of the body, such as clothes, beds, horses, pigs or cows, not even wine and beer, but they contrive to maintain themselves in their own way.


Now in order that this introduction may have an end I will briefly explain why it is that Hans Staden



has been moved to complete and print the story of his two voyages. Some may take it amiss, as if the writer desired his own glory or to make a great name for himself. I know that this is not so and that his disposition, as appears from several indications in the history itself, is very different.

Such was his misery and so great his adversity, and so constantly was his life in peril and the victim himself without hope, that he had abandoned all expectation of gaining his liberty, or of seeing his home again. Yet God, in whom he trusted and upon whom he called, did not leave him helpless in the hands of his enemies, but was moved also by his prayers to manifest himself to the heathen, that they might see and know that the only true God, mighty and all-powerful, was at hand. To the prayers of the faithful there is neither limit nor restraint, and it pleased God through Hans Staden to show his mighty works among the heathen. This, in truth, cannot be denied.

It is known also to all men that sorrow, care, misfortune and sickness turn men's thoughts towards God: then do they cry to him in their despair. Some hitherto among the papists invoke this saint or that holy one, vowing pilgrimages or offerings that they may be saved from their perils. These vows are commonly well kept, except among such as seek to deceive the saints with empty promises. Erasmus Roterodamus in his colloquy on Shipwrecks writes of one who cried in the ship to St. Christopher, whose image, standing some ten ells high like a great Polyphemus, may be seen in Paris, and vowed that if he came safely to land he would offer the saint a wax taper as great as the image itself. His companion who sat by him, knowing his poverty, upbraided him for his false vow, declaring that if he sold all his worldly goods he could not even then buy sufficient wax to make so great a taper. The other made answer, speaking softly lest the saint should hear



him: "If he delivers me from this, he will not get so much as a farthing candle from me."

Another dory concerns a knight, who was also in danger of shipwreck, and it is as follows. This knight, when he saw that the ship was about to founder, called to St. Nicholas and vowed that if he would save him in his need he would offer him his sword or his page. His squire thereupon reproached him and asked him how he would ride abroad if he did this. "Hold thy peace," said the knight under his breath, led the saint might hear, "let him only save me, and I shall not give him even the tail of my horse." So did these two make their plans to deceive their patron saints, intending to forget speedily the benefits vouchsafed to them.

Led Hans Staden should be regarded as a man ready to forget his mercies now that God has succoured him, he desires in printing his history to give honour and praise to God alone, and in all Christian humility to make known to men the mercies vouchsafed to him. If this were not his intention (which is indeed both honourable and fitting), he would surely have spared himself the labour and time, to say nothing of the charges of printing this work and cutting the blocks, which alone have been considerable.

Since this history has been inscribed by the author to the Serene and Noble Prince and Lord, the Lord Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Catzenelnbogen, Dietz, Ziegenhain and Nidda, his Prince and gracious Master, in whose name it has been published, and since the author has long before been interrogated in my presence and in the presence of many others by his Highness, our gracious Lord, and examined closely in all matters touching his voyages and captivity (all which I have many times dutifully reported to your Highness and to other Lords), and knowing your Highness to be a great lover of such things, and of all



that appertains to astronomy and cosmography, I have therefore addressed my preface to your Highness, begging that it may suffice until such time as I am able to publish in your Highness's name something more weighty.

I subscribe myself in all humility.

Dated at Marburg on St. Thomas's Day in the year MDLVI.




1. Of the two voyages which Hans Staden undertook in eight and a half years.7 The first journey was from Portugal, the second from Spain to the New World of America.

2. In what manner he was carried to the country of the savage people Toppinikin (who are subject to the King of Portugal), where he was employed as a gunner against the enemy; and how at last he was captured by the enemy and carried away and remained for nine and a half months a prisoner with them in danger of being killed and devoured.

3. How God in merciful and wonderful manner delivered him from his enemies and restored him to his fatherland.


All which is now related in print to the honour and glory of God and in thankfulness for his wondrous mercies.





1 Philip I, the Magnanimous, of Hesse was born in 1504 and died in 1567. He was the founder of the University of Marburg.

2 Dryander, or Eichmann, one of the most famous of German anatomists, was born at Wetterau, studied medicine at Bourges and Paris, and about 1533 was practising as a doctor at Mainz. In 1535 he settled at Marburg where he taught as Professor for twenty-four years with great success until his death in 1560. He was eight times Rector of the University, whose affairs he administered with an experienced and practical hand. Dryander was a keen student of astronomy and delighted in everything relating to travel and discovery. See H. Hermelink and S. A. Kaehler, Die Philipps-Universität zu Marburg (1527-1927). Fünf Kapitel aus ihrer Geschichte. Marburg, 1927, p. 139 ff.

3 This was Helius Eobanus Hessus, humanist, born 6 January 1488 at Bochendorf in Hesse. He died 6 October 1540 at Marburg. His son Heliodorus, who early developed a roving disposition, was born in 1529, and in 1548 he left Europe for Brazil, where he was engaged as a clerk in a sugar plantation near San Vincente. He was lost sight of for some years. In 1565 he led a troop of "Mamelukes" and Indians to Rio de Janeiro to the assistance of Estacios de against the French, after which he seems to have remained at Rio. See G. Schwertzele, H. E. Hessus, ein Lebensbild aus der Reformatzionzeit. Halle, 1874; C. Krause, H. E. Hessus. Gotha, 1879.

4 A Franciscan who died in Paris in 1340. He cleansed the Bible of unfitting expressions.

5 Goldtworm was a Lutheran preacher. He is known as the compiler of a church calendar, but his promised book on miracles and wonders does not seem to have been printed.

6 Galeotti-Mario, astronomer, Professor at Bologna, c. 1440. He died in 1494.

7 The eight and a half years must refer to the period between Staden's first leaving home and his final return. The first voyage lasted sixteen months, from 29 April 1547, when he set out from Kampen, to 8 October 1548, when he arrived back in Lisbon (ch. v). The second voyage lasted for about six years, from the fourth day after Easter 1549 (ch. vi), to 20 February 1555, when he reached Honfleur (ch. lii).


This electronic edition scanned and edited by  July 2006