Dialog of a Veteran Soldier

Volume E


Fraud, scandal, theft of royal funds, official graft, and cover-ups: these are the subjects of the 1612 exposé written by Diogo do Couto in his Dialog of a Veteran Soldier. Couto revealed too much and as a result, this work had to wait more than 175 years until its first publication in 1790. This classic of overseas Portuguese history is a well-known source cited by historians of Portuguese Asia, yet it has remained beyond the reach of a larger audience until this translation—its first into any other language. Couto was never rewarded with any of the prized positions that viceroys and governors (according to him) showered on their underlings. This Dialog is his bitter response. In it, we can see the workings of official and informal administration of Portuguese Asia as well as the numerous remedies Couto suggests to correct these abuses.

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