João de Bustamante

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Brother Joao De Bustamante (1536 – August 23, 1588), also known as the Indian Gutenberg,[citation needed] was a Spanish Coadjutor who was influential in pioneering the art of printing in India, specifically in Goa.

Contribution to the beginning of Printing in India[edit]

Bustamante was born in Valencia, Spain. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1556 and was ordained in 1564. He was later rechristened Joao Rodrigues in 1563. He was an expert printer who accompanied the printing press that reached India en route from Portugal to Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) with a batch of Jesuit missionaries. However, soon after, news reached Goa that the Abyssinian Emperor was not keen on receiving the missionaries. Around the same time, the clergy in Goa felt the need for a printing press and requested the then Governor-General to make the press available to them. Since circumstances prevented the press from leaving India, Bustamante was required to set it up. He was aided by his unnamed assistant of Indian origin and thus, printing began in India. Bustamante was among the two most important Europeans to play major roles in the history of printing in India, the other being João Gonçalves, who is credited with casting and preparing the first printing types of an Indian script- Tamil - in Goa (perfected by Father Joao da Faria in Kollam), later used by Henrique Henriques (see Printing in Tamil language).

Works printed[edit]

Among others, four books are confirmed to have been printed by Bustamante: -

  • Conclusões e outras coisas (Theses and other things) in 1556.
  • Doutrina Christa by St. Francis Xavier in 1557.
  • Confecionarios in 1557.
  • Tratado contra os erros scismaticos dos Abexins (A Tract against the Schismatic Errors of the Abyssinians) by Gonçalo Rodrigues in 1560.