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"A Long, Troublesome, and Dangerous Passage" from England to India

On February 3rd, 1615, chaplain Edward Terry set sail from the town of Gravesend in southeastern England aboard the Charles. His destination was the docks of Swally Road,  located in western India, over 10,000 miles away by sea. To reach this distant port, the Charles and five other ships had to navigate across the English Channel, down the western coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope at the continent's southern end, up the east coast past Madagascar, and through the Indian Ocean. It was a long and dangerous voyage. During the course of this 235-day journey, Terry would endure tornadoes on the open ocean, document the habits of tropical fish, and survive the dangers of naval combat.

Although Edward Terry left us this incredible story of his travels, little is known about his life. He was born in Leigh, a town in central England. He was educated in Rochester before attending Christ Church, Oxford. In 1614, he was ordained a minister and less than a year later he became a chaplain for the East India Company, an English organization that conducted trade between England and India. Upon landing in India, Terry became a chaplain for Thomas Roe, the English ambassador to the Mughal court. Terry maintained a detailed diary of his experiences in India during the coming years, which became the basis of his book, A Voyage to East-India.

The following exhibition catalogues Terry's voyage from England to India. It does not document every encounter on his journey, but instead highlights a number of encounters that give readers a glimpse into the life and times of a 17th-century Englishman. The entire journey of Edward Terry can be found in A voyage to East-India: Wherein some things are taken notice of in our passage thither, but many more in our abode there, within that rich and most spacious empire of the Great Mogol. Mix't with some parallel observations and inferences upon the storie, to profit as well as delight the reader, located in the James Ford Bell Library under the call number:  1655 Te

Throughout this exhibition, certain words of historical significance have been linked to their relevant Encyclopedia Britannica articles. In order to navigate back to this exhibition from the Encyclopedia Brittanica webpage, simply use the "back" key on your web browser.


This exhibit was created by Matt King, a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota, with assistance from Professor Katharine Gerbner and Dr. Marguerite Ragnow, curator of the James Ford Bell Library.