University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Africa Focus

Page View

Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 4: The town of Cacheu, a place of treasure, and the condition of its population,   pp. 1-8

Page 6

of souls, and who was here on visitation on behalf of the Bishop of
Santiago, D. Pedro Brandao. The cause of this warfare was the ill-
treatment and the affronts continually afflicted by the king and the
other heathen on those of our people who for the purpose of trading in
the interior used to live there, within a gunshot of the town (?) (g)
Because of this they decided to move away gradually, first seeking and
obtaining permission from the king, on the pretext that they were going
to build combetes in which to store goods from Portugal and to help the
captains in making up their ledgers.   These poor fbllows invented all
this, in order to see if they could find in the Lord la present help in
troubles', for in those days their troubles were great, taking the form
of assaults on them on the highways and various other insults from the
heathen gentry who, simply because they had crushed a few stalks of their
rice when this first appeared above-ground, snatched their hats and some-
times their cloaks. And when our people were incensed by this pointless
behaviour and raised a complaint, they used to beat them with sticks.
Divine justice comes slowly but surely. The Lord recollected the
affliction of His people, who are scattered over these parts more because
of their hatred of material poverty and other limitations on an honourable
existence than by any desire for the abominable company of the heathen.
All of them recognise the Saviourts name and fight under the royal standard
of the Cross.  They are not lanjados : this epithet of the backwoods does
not apply to them. The Good Jesus shed His blood for them and He inspired
His soldiers against the army of the enemy when it came marching against
them on the orders of the king. Pagan soldiers to the number of 1,200 or
even 1,500, followed their general, Sampessao, who today i-. the king. The
battle had already begun in the hearts of the savages, for they had been
incited to war solely by the greed of the king and the claims he made.
This was demonstrated by the embassy he sent to the Portuguese, whose only
point of discussion was that they should return to the customary trading
places further inland. A heart insulted will to nothing defer. Remembering
what they had suffered, our men, 50 whites with. 200 servants, prepared for
battle and struck at the enemy. They fought so valiantly over the space
of six hours that little by little they got the better of the savages,
putting some of them to flight while others were severely wounded and 20
(g)  Frei Cipriano encouraged the soldiers in this battle, and it is said
that he fired a gun, and that with his skill as a captain of both
church and state he was of great assistance.
(h) One night our men made a fire as they broke the defences, and by its
light they were able to strike all the enemy with their arrows.


Go up to Top of Page