Café Dissensus, February 15, 2016.
Four Hundred Years of a Letter: Calicut-English Relations
Exactly 400 years ago, on the 10th March of 1616, King Zamorin of Calicut wrote his first letter to King James I of Great Britain, France and Ireland.
In the letter, he wrote:“I do hereby faithfully promise to be and continue a friend to the English, and my successors after me. […] I also will endeavour, with the aid of the English to take in the fort and town of Cochin, belonging formerly to my crown and kingdom, and then to deliver it into the possession of the English as their own proper land and possessions, provided that the charges of the surprise thereof be equally borne, the one half by myself, the other half by the English nation, and the benefits of the spoil thereof, in whatsoever quality, the one half to belong to me and the other half to the English nation; the Samorin to have thenceforward no right, title or interest in the town, fortress, precincts or appurtenances of Cochin at all.”
Once we read this letter in 2016, we cannot help but notice a few ironies it presents in a historical lens.