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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 5: The trade of this port and the characters of the settlers there and of the heathen who surround them,   pp. 1-8


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Chapter 5
The trade of this port and the characters of the settlers there and of
the heathen who surround them
As there is no other (official) trading station in this (part of)
Ethiopia, it is patent how important its trade is.   It was first located
three leagues up-river from Cacheu, at a place called Porto de S.Domingos
or Rio de S.Domingos.   Here there used to be the best trade of these
parts, on account of the abundance of staple foodstuffs and of various
other commodities, this abundance bringing about its growth and expansion.
The trade in the various goods brought there by the Portuguese was
considerable.   The extent of its prosperity cannot be exactly assessed
(now) but a fruit which is no longer available seems more tasty.    In this
prosperity lay the origin and the occasion of its great ills, as commonly
happens when prosperity is possessed by those who lack understanding, in
which case prosperity only serves to bring to great ruin a nobler state,
that of being in grace and fellowship with the Good Jesus. With prosperity
the heathen grew stronger, they became'more confident and began to kick
out, they lost all sense of respect and showed none to their guests.
Malice affected the majority, malice which always plunges its roots deep
when once tolerated and when once it finds itself feared. The ignorant
heathen turned into malicious lascarims, thieves who robbed almost every
night.  Not only in secret but even in public they showed little courtesy
in deeds and words. Vice had never flourished to such an extent. Yet no
vice can be so strong that another more powerful one cannoL be found to
overtake it. Vice, wretchedly sombre, makes all melancholy and without
joy. But even with savages, God raises lilies among the thorns. Such was
Massatamba, whom we have mentioned. He helped by first giving the Banhus
advice and warning about the necessity of providing good treatment for
those foreign guests to whom he recognised a great obligation.    And to
punish the Banhus for not complying when they heard what he asked them,
he marched against them with a large army and burned Buguendo, this being
the name of the place where our factory was sited, otherwise Rio de
S.Domingos, the name given it by the Portuguese; /f.18v/ and he killed
and captured many of them. In response to this dire event, the factory
was transferred from there to Cacheu.
The river is about one mile wide and forms Porto dal Haus, a port
for ships and other vessels trading in Guinea, such as sloops and launches,
both those belonging to this port and those coming from Santiago Island.
Between six and eight vessels come here in order to buy slaves for the


 


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