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 5. Which discusses the Kingdom of Gambia, otherwise called the Kingdom of Cantor, which is the Kingdom of the Mandingas, and of great extent. [translated text],   pp. 42-51

Page 48

They carry it this way because they .o through many kiangdoms ead spend
many days on the road, and are often robbed, despite the fact that the
caravans take with theem officers and Yuards. Depending on its worth a
caravan may have one thousand archers, or more, or less. Copper brace-
lets are the merchandise they chiefly buy with the gold. It seems to
me that (our) trading in these bracelets brings (us) no profit, or if
there is any profit it cannot be much, since one pound of gold buys
144,0 bracelets. (However,) there is much profit with other goods,
caino de_2atj - an elongated precious stone which comes from India -,
brandil, paper, and all the other goods mentioned earlier, except horses
and wine - for these merchants do not drink wine. And also barberts
bVasis, and s -a-  kettles of one pound 4e .:.reigit h i  _ _
13.      I myself took part in this trade in 1578. Because some people
wondered whether the merchants had come by order of the Turk, to obtain
copper to be made into guns, I carefully inquired of the gold merchants
where they were going to get the gold and why the people there wanted
14.      Thus I learned with certainty that the bracelets are used only as
ornaments and adornment by the people (of the gold region). They wear
them on their arms and legs, and value them as much as, and even more
than, we value bracelets of gold. They do not use gold because they
value it little, having so much of it in their lands. Without
exception, (all) this gold and the gold which comes to Tuibocutum comes
from the hills of Sofala. For when I spoke to Anhadalen, the leader of
the caravan, and asked him exactly where he was going and w'here he was
taking the bracelets, he told me it was to the Cafres (iKaffirs), usi"'
the actual term. W1hen I asked him why they wanted them, he told me it
was to wear on their ai ts and legs. 'When I asked them    i7  ho" mch
they gave him for each bracelet, he replied that he would not tell me
that, since they were not such dull-witted merchants as to fail to make
high profits on goods which they carried so far, for thsey spend 11any
days on the road and passa ~3.ough mny' lands, at Lgeat risk to thcen


Go up to Top of Page