Mateus the Armenian

Mateus (Portuguese for Matthew) is also known as Matthew the Armenian. He was an Ethiopian ambassador sent by the Regent Queen Eleni of Ethiopia to king Manuel I of Portugal and the Pope in Rome, in search of a coalition to help with the increasing threat faced from the growing Ottoman influence in the region.  He was sent to the Portuguese in India, transporting a pious letter from Eleni to king Manuel I of Portugal and a piece of the True Cross. He traveled with his wife, brother-in-law, and servants.Mateus arrived in Goa in 1512, travelling to Portugal in 1514 and returning with a Portuguese ambassador, Francisco Álvares. The Portuguese only understood the nature of his mission after they arrived in Ethiopia in 1520 and shortly after Mateus’ death, a fact that greatly complicated things in general.

 

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