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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Chapter 8: The renowned Island of Bussis, the character and organisation of its people, the richness of the land, and the royal state of its great king,   pp. 1-9


Page 6

whether for treating his outer person or his interior, all the best things
coming from Spain are, as it were, addressed to him, since all fall into
his hands, and this on account of the barbarian's reputation for liberality
- furniture, trinkets, fine objects in gold and silver.    He has no cause
to
envy those who fare most sumptuously in Europe, for he possesses tapestries,
decorations in leather, carpets, a fine wardrobe. As for weapons, apart
from the cannon given him by his admirer, he has muskets, swords, and
daggers, in brief, a complete armoury, and he has no shortage of gunpowder.
-There is no end to what might be told concerning this disciple and precious
friend of the enemy of the spiritual edifice of the church militant, this
a intimate friend of the French scum, whose favour in return nourished him.
Does he lack perfumes and scented waters ? The houses of God may lack
them, but not the house of the sensuous King of Bussis. Does he lack.a
vessel to trade by sea ? He has his own, and, in this vessel there travels,
in (the name of his) benefactor, the king's jagarefe, a very dignified
officer and the second in the kingdom after the king, named D. Andre'. This
man visits the whites in Cacheo, together with some of his sons who are
also Christians and who go in their own boats.   The jagarefe is such a
distinguished Christian that, to fulfil his obligations to the church, he
goes to Our Lady of Victory in the king's launch; and he is so good-natured
and so much our friend that his great charity has earned him the name among
-the whites of 'Father', and so they now all call him 'Father Andre'. It
is
this gentleman who rules the household and family of the king; and he does
so in consultation with the elders.   A white man travels in the vessel with
him.  However D.Andre' is not as attached to the King of Bussis as he is
to
the King of Glory, for he would very much like to find himself liberated
from the evil tyrant in order to have more freedom to undertake the service
of the Lord and to pursue the true interests of his soul.
The king has his own house, in which he sleeps, and this is a very
large one, like the best-situated ones in Cacheu. /f.32/ The house with
bars (around it) corresponds to a combete, and acts as one, for in it he
keeps all his treasure. The house by the gate is for the cannon. The keys
are held by his three eunuchs, who serve the king at table, ard who occupy
the same house as he does when he retires. They alone have the privilege
of speaking to his wives, hence everything runs smoothly in his household.
As instructed to behave by the king's faithful friends, his major-domo, a
man named M.P. Oliveira, decided to improve on his standing with the king,
by presenting him with an object which the savage had no previous knowledge
of, an object he had admired at Lisbon and for which he had offered 18,000
reis. This object was an exotic writing-desk from China. He would have


 


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