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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 2: About the character of the heathen that live in this province, so various in name and language,   pp. 1-11

Page 1


Chapter 2
About the character of the heathen that live in this Province, so
various in name and language.
Given that the name of this entire Province comes from the name
of the territory under discussion, let us now deal in the first
instance with its heathen population, and after that, with the
immediately neighbouring heathen. Both are so (firmly-rooted in their
homeland and possess such ancient traditions) that we know nothing
about their origins, other than their presence here since antiquity.
All of them (have a way of life so characteristic of the land) that
we have no reason to believe or state that they sprang from some
migratory nation. Those who live in the Serra itself are called
Bangues, taking their name from its river Csic]    because Bangue
means Inative or inhabitant of the rock'. The river that circles th',
Serra on the South takes its name from the people: the better
informed and older inhabitants call it Rio Bangue, that is, 'river
which girdles a rock or range of hills'. The area of the Serra is
inhabited by this nation of savages, and in its flatter and grassy
parts, which are extensive in the South, there exists even today at
least one village which has never been discovered, and which the
military power of the Manes has not yet reached. (a) From there the
natives at times make their way along a most secret path or trail, in
order to find out what is happening in another village, which is built
beside the watering-place of the Serra, and is called Pinto, because
foreigners paint (Port. pinta) and carve their names on its rocks
and trees.  The present ruler +er,..-v) is Camalatesgo, who is
descended from a native family there. The fearful respect these
savages have for the conquering (Manes) has made them so careful and
cunning that, in order to conceal the path to their secret villages,
they walk it backwards, (b) thus imitating the ruse attributed in
Livy's History to Cacus when he stole the oxen. Since they lack the
commercial intercourse which the inhabitants of Pinto have only too
frequently with all sorts of foreigners, we believe that they wear
nothing but the skins of the animals they hunt, which abound in the
(a) See Chapter 15, 'On the Manes'.
(b) Or all or some of them walk over the rocks in order to leave no


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