University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Africa Focus

Page View

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

Chapter 4. Which discusses the Kingdom of Borçalo, where Jalofos and Barbacins live; and all else in this district. [translated text],   pp. 30-40 and 41

Page 38

16.       There arc certain wild fruits, such as sibi-r~o, from which they
make wine, and there are jujube apples. And there is another fruit,
the size of a large apple, of a grey colour, called tambacumba. It
has a very pleasant smell, but a bad taste, being bitter; its stones
cEa be used (instead of) almonds, because they can be broken and the
kernel taken out, which is good (to eat). Tamarinds are available
and good senna, but the blacks superstitiously will not eat it,
saying that if anyone eats it his mother will die. They use the roots
of senna for illnesses of the stomach. Carob beans grow there and
some large trees which produce gourds full of a very white flour which
is faintly bitter; and the seeds of the gourd are black. The trees
which produce them are very large, very high and very broad, (bete 1-their
wood is soft.  Other very large and high trees are called  4      : they
have no fruits but produce small, elongated gourds full of cotton, the
colour of (raw) silk. This cotton is soft and when mixed with the true
cotton can be spun and made into striped cloths which seem like silk.
These trees have a soft wood. From it the blacks make their boats,
called 'canoes', in which they can carry more than one hundred warriors
and can travel from one river to another along the coast, by raising
sails. In this country they do not make canoes the size of those in
the Gambia River and Rio Grande, or those used by the Bijagos, since
neither the Jalofos nor the Barbacins make war by sea.
17.       Male blacks are circumcised at the age of fifteen or older,
because uncircumcised they cannot marry or have any connection with
women, and this is the reason they are circumcised. When they have
been circumcised, no-one may see them uutil they are healed, apart
from the surgeon who is employed to carry out the operation. They are
kept in a wood near the place where they live, and food is brought
there for then: by young girls, who do not see the boys, since they
leave the food they bring in a special place, The boys come there


Go up to Top of Page