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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 31

31.


and how many men are available for war. In order to assemble these men,
he has only to tell the governors-general what must be done, and they
immediately pass it on post-haste to the governors.  (Thus) there can be
no mistake about the day on which each has to assemble with his men, or
about the place of assembly. In this way, with very little trouble the
king assembles a large army, (made up) of cavalry as well as of infantry,
for there are many horses in the land which come there by way of the
Fulos and Moors. The people of the land wear the same clothes and carry
the same weapons in war-time as in peace-time.
3.       For our people it is the safest country on this coast, safer than
any other in Guinea. The kIngs take a delight in repeating that among
their own people they are called 'the Father of the Whites', and that
no-one harms or offends whites in their land. So much so that when
a ruler of this kingdom was dying, a king called Lagatir Balhana, who was
a great friend of ours and a great war-captain, as soon as he realised
from his symptoms that he was suffering from a fatal illness, he called
to him the cousin who was to succeed him in the kingdom at his death.
Anm when this man - who was caUled Bonmim - came before him, he said
these words to him: 'I fully realise that I am going to die of this
disease, there can be no doubt abo3t mit, and that you will succeed by
right to the kingdom.  I hereby declare that I hand it over to you
peacefully.  (Now) I will give you some advice, indeed I beseech you,
that you treat my whites well, as I and other kings of this kingdom have
always treated them. When you become king you must accept the same
responsibility for them as we did, since they are 'sons of God' and
do no ill. Be warned that if you do not do what I tell you, it will be
necessary for me to return here again to bring you to account.' The
king died of the illness: the ma to whom he had confided our people
succeeded, and is still alive today. Either out of fear lest the dead
king should return and appear to him, or because it has been the custom
for the rulers of this kingdom to treat our people well, this king treats


 


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