Lobo, Jeronimo

Lobo, Jeronimo a noted Portuguese missionary of the Order of the Jesuits, was born at Lisbon in 1593. He was at first a professor in the Jesuits' College at Coimbra, whence he was ordered to the missions in India, and removed to Goa in 1622. In 1623 he volunteered for the mission to Abyssinia to Christianize that country, whose sovereign, by Lobo called sultan Segued, had turned Roman Catholic through the instrumentality of father Paez. who in 1603 had gone to Abyssinia (q.v.). Lobo sailed from Goa in 1624, and landed at Pate, on the coast of Mombaza, thinking to reach Abyssinia by land. He proceeded some distance from Pate to the northward among the Gallas, of whom he gives an account, but, finding it impracticable to penetrate into Abyssinia by that way, he retraced his steps to the coast, and embarked for India. In 1625 he started out again, this time in company with Mendez, the newly-appointed patriarch of Ethiopia, and other missionaries. After sailing up the Red Sea they landed at Belur, or Belal Bay (13° 14' N. lat.), on the Dancali coast, whose sheik was tributary to Abyssinia, and thence, crossing the salt plain, Lobo entered Tigre by a mountain pass, and arrived at Fremona, near Duan, where the missionary settlement was. Here he spent several years as superintendent of the missions in that kingdom. A revolt of the viceroy of Tigre, Tecla Georgis, put Lobo in great danger, for the rebels were joined by the Abyssinian priests, who hated the Roman Catholic missionaries, and indeed represented the protection given to them by the emperor Segued as the greatest cause of complaint against him. The viceroy, however, was defeated, arrested, and hanged; and Lobo, having repaired to the emperor's court, was afterwards sent by his superiors to the kingdom of Damot.

From Damot, Lobo, after some time, returned again to Tigre, where the persecution raised by the son and successor of Segued overtook him. All the Portuguese, to the number of 400, with the patriarch, a bishop, and eighteen Jesuits, were compelled to leave the country in 1634. Lobo now sailed for Europe, but on his way was shipwrecked on the coast of Natal, and some time elapsed before he arrived in Portugal, where he sought to enlist the government in behalf of his scheme, the reclamation of Abyssinia to the Romish Church. Neither here nor at the court of Rome did his plan find favor, and he left in 1640 for India, and became provincial of the Jesuits in Goa. In 1656 he returned to Lisbon, and published the narrative of his journey to Abyssinia, entitled History of Ethiopias (1659), which was afterwards translated into French by the abbe Legrand, who added a continuation of the history of the Roman Catholic missions in Abyssinia after Lobo's departure, and also an account of the expedition of Poncet, a French surgeon, who reached that country from Egypt, and a subsequent attempt made by Du Roule, who bore a sort of diplomatic character from the French court, but was murdered on his way, at Sennaar, in 1705. This is followed by several dissertations on the history, religion, government, etc., of Abyssinia. The whole was translated into English by Dr. Johnson in 1735. Lobo died at Lisbon in 1678.

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