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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 7

both the Porto and Lisbon versions, which it conflates,all omissions,
additions and variants in each being signalled in footnotes. At the
end of each chapter of the translation, I give the variant passages
of evidential significance. But the other footnotes, indicating minor
variants and their provenance, have been omitted. Since I also do not
supply the Portuguese text, this arrangement has the disadvantage that
readers who consult the 1946 or 1964 texts will find that my translation
does not exactly match either of the versions, though of course the
Teixeira da Mota text is not greatly different from either version.
Teixeira da Mota prepared, in addition, a transcription of the abridged
manuscript, which was to have formed an appendix to his edition. This
I have not translated though I refer to it in my annotation. Two further
brief appendices were to supply a small amount of additional material in
the Lisbon version - a second version of the Prologue, and two long
passages (ff. 103-109 v, in another hand) dealing with the abortive
settlement of Sierra Leone and Antonio Carreira's attempted journey to
Timbuktu. The passages must be translated but are not ready for this
The Guerreiro summary was translated into many languages, as explained
below. But the only previous translation out of Portuguese of the fuller
texts appeared over a century ago. Santarem, the pioneer modern historian
of the Portuguese 'Discoveries', published in Paris a note on Almada,
and added an abridged French translation of the Tratado, prepared by the
geo-bibliographer Ternaux-Compans. Published in 1842 in a limited
edition, the work soon became rare. But (as Teixeira da Mota pointed out)
the French translation provided material which was heavily borrowed by
contemporary French geographers, to represent the ethnographic present
in Senegambia and the recently-founded French colony of Guinee. Thus the
referential use of Almada's account, though generally without his name
being cited, was brought up into the present century.
Teixeira da Mota arranged for the text he had prepared to be
translated into English by myself, and into French by Leon Bourdon.
The latter translation was prepared first, and was ready by 1970; and I
acknowledge the considerable assistance it gave me in the preparation
of the English translation. My own knowledge of Portuguese being a good
deal less than fully competent, a preliminary translation was checked by
Mrs. Maria Teresa Rogers, then Tutor in Portuguese in the Department of
Hispanic Studies, University of Liverpool; but faults in the final
translation are entirely mine. The translation was supported by a grant
from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which is here gratefully

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