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

Introduction [with maps],   pp. 1-12 ff.


Page 5

until the nineteenth century. Almada's ethnographic information was thus
a revelation to contemporaries, even in the dredged-up form in which it
appeared in the Jesuit publication. Moreover, the Jesuit publication was
soon available, so that by 1625 a summary of the summary, translated from
Latin, appeared even in English (in Purchas). The Jesuits did not name
the author of the ethnographic material, and Andre Alvares de Almada was
forgotten for some centuries. But the ethnographic information from his
account, transmitted via Guerreira, echoes through almost all the writings
on West Africa between 1605 and 1800, for instance, the compilations in
French of Davity (1660), in Dutch of Dapper (1668), in English of Barbot
(1732). Failure to sort out the Almada borrowings embedded in very much
later sources, so that information on the sixteenth century is uncritically
applied to the seventeenth, eighteenth or even nineteenth century, has
been a regrettable feature of much of the recent historiography of West
Africa.


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