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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 [8]

The notes to the text
Teixeira da Mota contributed to the edition of Donelha the notes on
the Senegambian section of the account. But he felt that his own
knowledge of the area and its history was insufficient to enable him
to deal adequately with the much fuller information on it in Almada's
account. He therefore approached the recognised authority on the Portuguese
contact period of Senegal history, and invited M. Jean Boulegue of the
Centre des Recherches Africaines of the University of Paris to contribute
the notes. M. Boulegue, who had himself long considered preparing an
edition of Almada, accepted the invitation and in 1980 sent notes (in
French) to Teixeira da Mota. In 1982, unable to find the notes among
Teixeira da Mota's papers, I contacted M. Boulcgue, who most kindly sent
me a copy; and I am now extremely indebted to him that he should also
have agreed to allow his notes to be included in this interim edition.
Like my notes, they are in early-draft form.
My own notes on the Cape Verga - Sierra Leone section of the coast
were prepared between 1971 and 1975, as indicated in the Donelha volume
(p.185). The reader is warned that since the early 1970s they have only
been revised at one or two points and that in general they do not take
account of post-1975 publications, including my own. However I cannot
say that I have significantly revised my views on the vast majority of
the topics in the intervening years. The Almada notes have the advantage
over the Donelha notes that by 1975 I had translated not only Almada but
also the unpublished account by Father Manuel %lvares S.J.. Although
there was still some other Jesuit material I had not,yet translated and
fully digested, and although there are parts of the Alvares manuscript
which I still find difficult to understand and learn from, nevertheless
the Almada notes fulfil the promise I gave in the Donelha volume, that
they would pay particular attention to the topic of the Mane invasions.
My Almada notes extend a little further North than did my Donelha
notes, since they deal with the Nalus (on the border of the former
colony of Portuguese Guinea). I therefore trespassed somewhat on the
section of the coast Teixeira da Mota had allocated himself (my excuse
was that the English sources deriving from Freetown of the 1790s
evidenced as far Notth), and he was less than happy about this, pointing
out that he had assembled some Nalu oral material which he had proposed
to use. Of course I suggested that he incorporate it in the notes
and probably he would have done so. It will be of interest to see if
this material emerges among his papers which are now being thoroughly
catalogued by the Centro de Estudos de Cartorrafia Antiqa.


 


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