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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Chapter 11: The numbers of the heathen, and their various names and languages,   pp. 1-4


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Chapter 11
The numbers of the heathen, and their various names and languages
The number of the Manes might be said to be well-nigh infinite. Of
those that live in this province no exact estimate can be given, because
of the intermingling between this nation and the Natives. If we limit the
estimate to the true Manes, then they are few in number, so few that it
seems that the race is on the way to extinction. Those today found in the
Province may number Z       J.
We call the Manes by various names, corresponding to the various
tribes. Some are called Queis, and these are the most noble. Others are
called Accare, others Acbaran, others again Aperme. The Queis are in
possession of (the lands of) the Boulons and Casses, with (the support of)
a whole variety of soldiers with different names, such as the Bombos,
Cubales,and Kerefos, although the family ( ? of Queis ) is itself more
limited (in extent). Except the Bombos, these all came in the party led
by Balunca or Jelonfa, /f.79v/ the father of Filamangue. Accare (family ?)
is in possession of Serra Leoa with (the support of) their Colas and
Borgos, etc.  And Bangues ... Farma ... fgarbled]7 Acbaran (family) with
their Canes, Randacousas, Taras, Tangas, and Coras, to whose family the
king belongs. Aperme is (a family) of little consequence : we do not know
of any conquered group which they brought. Tora was of this stock, since
Aperme means half-slave, half-free. These are the kinds of people who
today inhabit this Province.
As regards language, each has a very different one and they are as
varying as the races. The Queis have their own language, and so on. The
same applies to the soldiers. Apart from these commonly-used names, the
Manes bear the cruel and hateful name of Sumbas, which means 'eater of
human flesh'. If this name given to the soldiers, while they are such, is
a fitting one it is not because they eat human flesh in their native lands
where, as I have stated, there is abundance of foodstuffs. But this
practice is a military regulation, and they are most careful to observe it.
In my view, it was their most powerful weapon of war, which spread terror
and made their victory easier.  What army, however large and strong, can
fail to behave in a cowardly fashion when it learns about and witnesses
such a novel and inhumane spectacle? A Sumba would seize a baby from its
mother's breasts anr before her eyes cut its throat, then by tearing out
its guts and stuffing it with rice, and laying it in burning coals'as if
it were a pot, yes, I repeat, in burning coals, he would obtain two dishes,


 


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