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

Introduction [with maps],   pp. 1-12 ff.


Page 1

I N T R 0 D U C T I 0 N_
The present edition
This is a makeshift version of an edition of Andre' Alvares de
Almada's Tratado breve dos Rios de Guine do Cabo Verde (c.1595) planned
by Avelino Teixeira da Mota but incomplete when he died in 1982. It
consists of an English translation of the Portuguese text, and extensive
annotation on the Senegambia and Sierra Leone sections of the account.
The circumstances in which the work was planned I have described in a
note in History in Africa (1982); and Teixeira da Mota gave an account
of his long initial preparations for the series of editions of Portuguese
texts on Guinea he planned, in his introduction to the first volume of
the series, the tri-lingual edition of Donelha's Relagao, published in 1977.
To the Almada edition Teixeira da Mota would have contributed annotation
on the central section of the coast (Casamanse-Cape Verga), as well as a
learned introduction on Alvares de Almada and the manuscripts and editions
of his account. Now all we have on the subject of Almada from this
outstanding and greatly respected Portuguese scholar is a sketch of
Almada's life and achievement in a 1970 article, and a few pages of
analysis of Almada's account in the course of the introduction to the
Donelha edition. I quote from these below.
It was intended that, like the Donelha edition, the Almada edition should
present the Portuguese text and, in separate volumes, translation and
annotation in English, and translation and annotation in French. It is
hoped that it will eventually prove possible for such an edition to be
completed and that it can be published by the Centro de Estudos de
Cartografia Antiga in Lisbon, the organisation of which Teixeira da Mota
was director and under whose flag he published; and I am indebted to
the present Director, Professor Luis de Albuquerque, for the sympathetic
discussions he has had with me on the matter. However, it seemed wrong
to deny scholars, for a further period of years, material which has been
ready since 1975. Hence this interim and makeshift version. An incomplete
edition, it has also been reproduced by the cheapest methods and has many
consequent defects as a piece of reading matter. But it should still
prove of some use to those scholars researching on the earlier history
of the western Guinea coast into whose hands it falls.


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