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 Fernão Mendes Pinto

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Join date : 2010-12-22

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PostSubject: Fernão Mendes Pinto   Fernão Mendes Pinto EmptyWed Dec 22, 2010 7:59 am

Fernão Mendes Pinto (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃w̃ ˈmẽdɨʃ ˈpĩtu], Old Portuguese: Fernam Mendez Pinto) (Montemor-o-Velho, c. 1509 — Almada, Pragal, 8 July 1583) was a Portuguese explorer and writer. His exploits are known through the posthumous publication of his memoir Pilgrimage (Portuguese: Peregrinação) in 1614, an autobiographical work whose validity is nearly impossible to assess. In the course of his travels in the Middle and Far East, Pinto visited Ethiopia, the Arabian Sea, China (where he claimed to have been a forced laborer on the Great Wall), India and Japan. He claimed to have been among the first group of Europeans to visit Japan and initiate the Nanban trade period. He also claimed to have introduced the gun there in 1543. It is known that he funded the first Christian church in Japan, after befriending a Catholic missionary and founding member of the Society of Jesus later known as St Francis Xavier. At one time Pinto himself was a Jesuit, though he later left the order.
Pilgrimage shows Pinto as sharply critical of Portuguese colonialism in the Far East, recording moral and religious objections to what he perceived to be a hypocritical and greedy enterprise disguised as a religious mission. This view would later become common, but was unusual at the time.[1] The vivid tales of his wanderings over twenty years – he wrote, for example, that he was "thirteen times made captive and seventeen times sold" – were so unusual that they were mostly not believed. They gave rise to the saying "Fernão, Mentes? Minto!", a Portuguese pun on his name meaning "Fernão, do you lie? Yes, I lie!"[2].

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