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Nicolò Manucci

Other names: Nicolao


A writer, traveller, and physician, Manucci was the son of Pasqualino Manucci, a spice grinder, and of Rosa Bellini (siblings: Andrea, Angela, Franceschina, Pierina). At the age of fourteen, he went to live with an uncle in Corfu, and later, he joined the crew of an English ship bound for Smyrna and was almost thrown overboard by the captain had it not been for the intervention of Henry Bard, Viscount Bellomont whom he befriended and travelled with. They arrived in Qazvīn, Persia, in 1654, and then in Isfahan where they stayed until 1655, and they finally landed in India in 1656. Manucci was employed at the Mughal court in 1656 after Bellomont's death and he later joined the Mughal army as a gunner. After the Mughal war of succession of 1656 he fled with the soldiers of Prince Dārā Shikōh and took refuge at Bhakkar. He was later pardoned along with the other Europeans who had supported Prince Dārā Shikōh and was offered a position in the army, but he declined. In 1670 he took up medicine at Lahore, then later, near Bombay, with some success but by 1676, his venture failed. The following year he returned to the Mughal court in Delhi as the physician of Prince Shah Alam. In 1683 he left for Goa and was called upon as physician by the Sultan of Golconda. In 1686 he married Elizabeth Hartley (†1706, daughter of Christopher Hartley and Aguida Pereyra). Manucci played a part in preventing the assault on the English enclave at the Deccan by the Mughal Emperor in 1703. He composed a number of works including Storia do Mogor or Mogul India.

Place of birth: Venice
Place of death: Monte Grande, near Pondichéry




1. Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, vol. 69. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2007.


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