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

Chapter 6. Which discusses the other features of the Gambia River. [translated text],   pp. 52-59 and 60


Page 56

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among the blacks that all those in other :'w'  want it ard buy it,
and it is carried as far as to the Moors.     cola, the blacks
give all the kinds of goods they have in t' . Vambia, that is, slaves,
black aad white cotton cloth, gold, foodstr, C; and anything else th-at
is asked for it.  Cola is worth more in the- iG.a.bia River than in any
other river of Guinea. The blacks make use  f it in the same way as
betel leaves are used in our Indies. A bl   . will travel around all
day chewing a cola nut, which is like a chL-.n iut. They suck the juice
and believe that it serves as a medicine fox the liver and the bladder.
We also employ it for the same purpose, but Che blacks nake more use of
it than we do. If they have a headache, th'; chew it and rub their
forehead with the paste.  Cola keeps from e-Lt year to another, and
even longer if required. It is wrapped in <ae large leaves of a tree
called cabopa, and placed in long baskets ce'led colecas, which carry
two thousand nuts each or a little less. Itv has pleased God that there
should be none of this fruit in Guinea exce i. in the territory of Serra
Leoa, as said above, in order that it should gain the value that it has,
for the benefit of many. If sown in other jvtrts, though it grows into
trees, they never flourish. In the Rio Granite there is one cola-tree,
and in the Rio de Sao Domingos another, and these produce cola, but in
the rest of Guinea there are none, as we have said; and these trees do
not even produce enough cola for the villages where they grow, because
the blacks are always eating cola.
10.       For 70 leagues up-stream from the entrance of this river, the
inhabitants have very large canoes in which they sometimes go to war,
such large ones that they have attacked French launches and captured
them. At the prow they have thick wooden screens which keep off
musket balls; hence they can assault boats, and they have captured some
of our ships. After 70 leagues up-stream, canoes are less in number,
and the highcr up one goes the less there are. This is for two
reasons, because the blacks are not good sailors, and because they lack


 


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