Pedro Páez Jaramillo or Pêro Pais (1564 - May 25, 1622) was a Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia. He was the first European who saw and described the source of the Blue Nile. He was born in Olmeda de las Cebollas (now Olmeda de las Fuentes, near Madrid) only sixteen years before the union of the Spanish and the Portuguese crowns (1580-1640). That union would determine the span of Páez's missionary activity.
Páez studied at Coimbra and, sent from Goa to Ethiopia as a missionary in 1589, he was held captive in Yemen for seven years, from 1590 to 1596, where he used his time to learn Arabic. During this period he had to travel through the Hadramaut and Rub'al Khali deserts, and tasted Mokha's coffee; being most probably the first European to undergo such experiences.
He finally arrived at Massawa in 1603, and made his way to Fremona, which was the Jesuit base in that land. Unlike his predecessor, Andre de Oviedo, Paul Henze describes him as "gentle, learned, considerate of the feelings of others". When summoned to the court of the young negusä nägäst Za Dengel, his knowledge of Amharic and Ge'ez, as well as his knowledge of Ethiopian customs impressed the sovereign so much that Za Dengel decided to convert from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church to Catholicism -- although Páez warned him not to announce his declaration too quickly. However, when Za Dengel proclaimed changes in the observance of the Sabbath, Páez retired to Fremona, and waited out the ensuing civil war that ended with the emperor's death.
This caution benefited Páez when Susenyos assumed the throne in 1607. Susenyos invited him to his court, where the two became friends. Susenyos made a grant of land to Páez on the peninsula of Gorgora on the north side of Lake Tana, where he built a new center for his fellow Jesuits, starting with a stone church, which was dedicated 16 January 1621.
Paez is believed to be the first European to reach the source of the Blue Nile; doing so on April 21 1618. . He was very aware of the geographical and historical significance of his acomplishment, as he wrote: I must confess that I was glad about seeing what so much yearned to King Cyrus, the Great Alexander and Julius Cesar
Eventually Páez also converted Susenyos to Catholicism shortly before his own death in 1622. Some of the Catholic churches he designed are still standing, most importantly at Bahir Dar and Gorgora, and influenced Ethiopian architecture for the rest of that century.
Páez's account of Ethiopia, História da Ethiópia in 1620, has been printed as Volumes II and III of Beccari's Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores occidentales Inedtii (Rome, 1905-17). His work was published in 1945 at Porto in a new edition by Sanceau, Feio and Teixeira, Pêro Pais: História da Etiópia.
In addition to translating the Roman Catechism into Ge'ez, Páez is believed to be the author of the treatise De Abyssinorum erroribus. Páez's writings are one of the few works in Portuguese about Ethiopia that have not been translated into English.