The Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius developed the first systematic collection of maps bound in a book form which could properly be called an atlas. His Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theater of the World) was first published in 1570 and it set the standard for future atlases. Ortelius’ elegant map of Asia breaks with the Ptolemaic tradition and includes information from many mapmakers from across Europe. In the Bengal area we see the port cities of Satiga (Satgaon) and Bengala (Chittagong) which were frequented by Portuguese ships, but now more towns appear in the interior.
In the northeast of Bengal is the town of Chirote. This is Sylhet, which at this time was a frontier town of pre-Mughal Bengal. The ancient Sanskrit name of the Sylhet region was Srihatta which was divided into small kingdoms. In 1303 this region was annexed to the Bengal Sultanate. In surviving Persian manuscripts from the sixteenth century, like the encyclopedia Haft Iqlim by Persian geographer Amin Razi , Sylhet is named as Srihat. In early European maps it is named Sirote/Chirote. In the local Bengali dialect it is Silhat/Silhot, and in the colonial anglicized version it becomes Silhet/Sylhet.
Chakaria is a nondescript small town in Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. An infamous incident involving the Portuguese occurred here in 1528.This event was chronicled by Portuguese historians and since then Chocoria has appeared in most early maps of the region. Martim Affonso de Mello was leading a fleet of Portuguese ships in the Bay of Bengal when he was caught in a cyclone. He was shipwrecked off the coast of Arakan and somehow staggered into the town of Chakaria. Here he was promptly imprisoned by the local chieftain Khuda Baksh Khan (Port. Codavascam). The Khan promised to release him if his group helped him fight a neighboring chief. The Portuguese captain agreed. The battle was fought and won. However the Khan reneged on his promise and put them back into prison and held them for ransom. There was an attempted escape but the escapees were apprehended. In the melee a group of Hindu zealots abducted Affonso de Mello’s young nephew and executed him in a ritual sacrifice. The Portuguese group was later released after payment of a large ransom.
The city of Maarazia is mentioned in the travel account of the Venetian traveler Nicolo de Conti. He describes an opulent city where there was an abundance of gold, silver, pearls, precious stones and aloe wood. This city appears to be in West Bengal but has not been definitely identified
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