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

Chapter 9: The state of the province before the conquest,   pp. 1-6

Page 1

Chapter 9
The state of the Province before the Conquest
What has been said above makes clear the position regarding the moral
and judicial practices of the heathen.  Now let us say something about the
contraklores (the officially-licensed Portuguese traders) of the Province,
who form the particular subject of this chapter. They used to deal in the
common goods which the country provides, as can be seen from what was said
in chapter 2. They had houses here which they used as their trading-
stations,   and numerous praseiros  and they directed their shipping at
sea. The ships provided the trading-stations with goods for exchange,
such as bracelets of bronze, which today are discovered in large quantities
under the ground, where the natives used to hide them or bury them with
their dead, and (also) bracelets of copper, tin and alloy and all other
kinds of prohibited apparel. And with these goods (as imports), they not
only carried off most of the products of the country, but they obtained
a great quantity of iron from the country of the Logos where it was smelted.
In order to carry on the trade with greater security, it is said that they
built the tower    which stands on the road to this kingdom (of the Logos),
whose ruins we find today in this place. Others tell a different story,
believing that this style of fortress or castle was built to protect ti;
lives of a particular captain and his soldiers who were once shipwrecked
in these parts by a great storm.  But the truth is that no-one, not even
the oldest among (the inhabitants), can give the true history. They used
carry off slaves, which were sold at that time for small cotton cloths worth
between one and two cruzados. The procedure was this. They took two sticks
and brought them together so that one of these cloths fitted between them,
then they placed (the sticks) /f.74v/ against a slave and piled up (cloths)
until they reached his head, on which they put a better cloth. And thus
they obtained the slave..
(a) Deals with a trading-station. The oldest was Magarabomba.
Afterwards came Mitombo, the best in this Province.
(b)  As a trading-post.


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