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

Chapter 10. Which discusses the Bijagos and their customs. [translated text],   pp. 96-101


Page 96

Wl~h dliscv~ses  T-1   s ~ii tharlcntons
1.       The river we have been discussing is called the iio Grande.
Its entrance boDins at the Little Islands, a land of the Buramos.
which has been already discussed. To the South stretch certain
islands called the Islands of the Bijagos. Some of these are inhabited
and somei are not. They are freshened by many streams, and are covered
with thick forest, in which there are ruany garne-birds and game-animals
of all kinds, as on the mainland. These are the islands: Roxa (Purple),
Bonabo, Orango, Xoga, Farangue, Uno, Beautiful, Curete, Carraxa, Grand
Camona, mlidway, Horses' Island, Cotton-Tree, Wilting, the Islet of
Parrots, Henst Island, and Matambole Island.   The last-named is attaches
to the mainland of the Beafares on the fast side and is known as Slaves'
Island.
2.       These islands stretch across the sea between the Little Isles and
the land of the Beafares, as already said.   All are ruled by the Bkjagos
except Hens' Island, lying opposite Bulama Point in the land of the
Beafares.  The Beafares inhabit this one island, and it has a king of
its own who is friendly with the Btjagos, though if they meet at sea
they fight. The Btjagos have their home in these islands, which some
call the Islands of Boao and others the Islands of the Infante.   It
seems that these islands in former times must have been (part of) the
mainland, and that they and the land of the Buramos and Beafares must
have been all one.  But then the sea cut them off, producing as many
islands as there are now. And they lost the language they formerly had,
and acquired the one they have today.
3.       The Btjago blacks are very warlike, and they are continually at
wear, making assaults on the lands of the Buramos and the Beafares.
Such is their way of life that if those from one island beat those from
anotherQ when at sea, they fight, though the combatants may well be
father and son. There is no king among them, they only have nobles


 


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