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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 famous islands of the Bijagos heathen, the fertility of their soil, and the character and industry of their inhabitants,   pp. 1-6

Page 4

When this ceremony is over they go to their houses to rest, eat and
drink, and dance.  The next day they divide and share the booty, forming
it into three parts.  The owner of the canoe who provided the necessary
victuals for the voyages takes one part, the war-captain who killed the
cows takes another, and the last part goes to the men who organised and
carried out the seizure of prizes during the action (?). These Bijagos
are so cruel that if, as they are laying hands on /f.35/ a black, two or
three of them grab him and cannot come to an agreement, then they split
him down the middle to give each a piece. . Those captives brought back 
  li L
to the land (of the Bijagos) are sold to Portuguese ships which regularly
visit their ports to trade.  But if a captive has no buyer because he is
a    -
cripple or very old, they bring him back ashore and as soon as he steps out
on the beach they apear him, once or a hundred times (as necessary), until
they kill him( h)
The normal trade of the blacks is in cows, red cloth, copper kettles,
iron, coral, cloaks, caskets and other trinkets, horses' tails  - which
they originally valued so much that they even used to giva a black for threq
of them - brass rattles and bells. Yet nowadays in this Ethiopia things ar
very different because of the many Portuguese who make a living here.   They
do this by such efforts and with such trouble to themselves that, if they
instead strove in the direction of gaining eternity, less effort would withj
doubt bring them greater and more certain profits. Consider the watches that
are necessary on a ship by day and night, the unceasing quarrels of the sailo,
during voyages, at times their desertions, the perils from pirates, and so
Let us proffer some advice (on how to behave in Guinea). Always act
with courtesy, otherwise all will be lost.  Never make a gesture which the
heathen can imagine to be derogatory. If you are disparaging, if you talk
loudly, if you are irritated, since the black is suspicious by nature he
think it is directed at him, even if you are referring to another person
another matter. In this place one must be/well-tempered clavichord : just
j 1
(g) Nowadays they generally use a canhaco on a slave who is going to escapel,
after first ascertaining that he is their own property.  If he is
jointly owned they sell him and divide the money.                      1
(h)  This is lnot common.                                               



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