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

Chapter 13: The Biafar heathen,   pp. 1-6 ff.

Page 3

inclinations, and are white and of a reasonable stature. Yet there aI|
differences between places, so that those who live further North are,Iat
generally speaking, larger in body and fairer in complexion, although
skills and the circumstances of life they are more rustic and less
spirited.  In just the same way there is diversity among the men livi,
in the torrid zone, since in some parts the people are~ very black and
others white - which philosophers find hard to explain.   We can sum t
up by asserting with complete conviction that the earth's temperate zdlL
is healthiest, followed by the torrid zone.   But, to go into details, W
can point to places within /f.42v/ these zones and even places on the
same parallel of latitude - that is, points in the heavens corresponds||
to certain terresti-al planes - some of which are healthy enough, while
others are very prejudicial to health-and particularly so at one seasoIktu(
of the year.  Taking Serra Leoa as an instance, the latter is the caseIL
at the Port of St John the Evangelist, commonly called Mitombo, as daily
experience shows.
This is not due to the influences of the heavens through the zoneljL
in which they lie. But it arises from accessory causes modifying these,
such as the fact that certain places are near lagoons - whose evaporate
is very harmful and causes sudden death or dangerous illnesses - or ar1
either exposed to unhealthy winds on one side or else are blocked off by
forest from healthy and refreshing winds.   Or they may have unsatis-
factory drinking water, or be very remotely located in the interior.
Also ill-health may arise from eating fruits not in perfect condition,
either because of excessive humidity which has delayed ripening or
because of excessive heat which brings them on too early, and this is
very prejudicial to health. If we consider lands in relation to the
health of the individual, we can say that generally a person is most
healthy where he was born, and this is why those sick with lingering
diseases which fail to respond to physical remedies are as a rule
ordered by their doctors to return to their native land. And so to
conclude, we will say that the land is most healthy which is moderately|
humid and lies near the sea;   is open to winds which in that place are Il41
healthy yet is protected against harmful ones; has a good supply of
water but n; lagoon nearby, and is neither very hilly and mountainous
nor very flat, yet has a few hills.   It clearly follows that, merely in
terms of possessing such features, the most favorable and healthy land
is that of our Biafar heathen, to which the particular requirements we
have pointed out all apply.


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