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

Chapter 12. Which discusses everything else in the land of the Beafares. [translated text],   pp. 115-122 and 123


Page 115

115.


hatiter 12
Which discusses cverytir   -14se in the land of the Beafares
1,       The Beafares do not have their houses grouped in villages like other
nations, but keep them some distance apart from each other. They build
them f different size4 according to their means. In these houses, in
any place they build them, all those who are related live together,
recognisinxg the authority of the oldest male and obeying him. This is.
the reason why, when judicial decisions by their laws condemn old men in
certain cases to lose their goods and their liberty, the whole family is
enslaved. (Families) live, separated from each other, in houses of clay
and wattle covered with thatch, and they call the houses apolonias: the
term corresponds to that of 'farm' among us here. Some of these
residences, which belong to noblest are large and contain many buildings.
Most of these, or (perhaps) all of them, are built beside very big trees
called Dolois in whose shade the nobles hold courts and councils.
2.       The land belongs to certain nobles, to whom dues are-,paid on the
crops produced, as tithes are with us. But the common people neither own
nor inherit land, (its use) being common to all.   Each person plants crops
according to his capacity. At the season when the natural produce from
ftrees (and bushes) is harvested, no person can gather the produce until
all do so together, on the orders of the lord of the land. This especially
applies to a crop called         . Should anyone gather it before the
general order, he is enslaved for this offence and sold.
3.       The Beafares respect the laws established among them. One of these
concerns adultery, and is that any man speaking to the wife of a king on
this subjent is as guilty as if he had actually committed the offence; but
that as regards the wife of a noble, (he is guilty only) if he embraces her
in a suggestive way, and as regards the wife of a plebeian (only) if he
couples with her. Despite this law, wives are very licentious, since if


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