In 1591, young Anthony Knivet sailed west from London with the fleet of English privateer Thomas Cavendish bound for the Pacific to capture Spanish ships. En route, they sacked Santos and raided sugar plantations along coastal Brazil. Forced back by brutal weather in the Strait of Magellan, Cavendish, reduced to a single vessel, abandoned 20 sick sailors, Knivet among them, on the island of São Sebastião. Found there by the Portuguese, Knivet, a lone survivor and a curiosity, became a servant to the governor in Rio de Janeiro. He subsequently labored in the coastal cane fields and sugar mills and then became an Indian slave trader and a gold prospector in the interior. Knivet also lived among native groups, including the Tamoio. His observations provide valuable insight into Portuguese colonial society and the incipient African slave trade. Back in London, after an...

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