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Almada, André Alvares d', fl. 1594, et al. / Brief treatise on the rivers of Guinea
Part I (1984)

Chapter 6. Which discusses the other features of the Gambia River. [translated text],   pp. 52-59 and 60


Page 52

52.
pzjt (' r 6
Thii'h discusscs the other fC'etures of tVe C 'l¾ii Jeiver
At the entrance to this river, the land on each side is flat but
completely covered with a thick forest of mangroves, trees so tall and
so thick that if their wood were not so heavy they could provide inasts
for ships of large tonnage.   And there are other trees which have a
very good and hard wood, in colour apricot or red, called there
ch-vrcoao1-tood.  The a-iagroves extend (inland) to the tidal limit of
salt water, and there they stop. Meadows called lalas are then
revealed. The most beautiful are on the North side, where fine fields
of sugar-cane could be established, and these might be watered by the
river itself rising and falling, although (in fact) there is no
shortage of water here since it rains a great deal. At the point where
the meadows are revealed, at ? place called Balangar, some rising
ground emerges which continues up-stream alongside the meadows and acts
as a wall around them. This higher ground extends more than 100
leagues up-stream, and the further it goes the higher it gets. It
stands less than one quarter of a league from the river. All this is
on the North side. On the South side there are some rounded hills, but
they are not continuous, nor do they border the river as on the North.
The river is navigable for more than 160 leagues, and what stops
navigation further is a narrow stretch with a rock over which the water
falls from a height. The blacks say that if a boat was built beyond
this, it might well be able to proceed up-stream many leagues further.
The rising and falling tide reaches as far as the foot of the rock over
which the water falls, and when it is nigh tide at the bar of the river
it is low tide in all the upper part. From the land~the flowing of the
tide in and out can barely be observed; it can only be detected during
the periocd of time when the ship turns (on its anchor). The tide rises
so high with the rains and the water coming down from the hills that
slyps cariaot stay at the IPa3it Place for Goild between the middlo of
June and December.


 


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