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

Chapter 3. Which discusses the Kingdom of Ale Embiçane (of the) Barbacins, which is next to the Jalofos, and its customs, which are like those (of the Jalofos). [translated text],   pp. 27-29


Page 28

28.
countryside is widely covered with very thick forest and bush, in which
he lurks and from which he attacks his enemies. IHis war plans are never
discovered or made known. When he decides to make war, he first takes
council with those whom he calls together for this purpose. Together
they go into a wood near his palace, and there they make a round hole in
the ground about three hand-spans deep, and all the members of the council
place themselves around the hole, with their heads lowered and their eyes
on it. In this position all of them discuss whether to make war or not,
and after examining all the facts and deciding what they, must do, they
fill in the hole, and the king says: 'The earth will not reveal (our
decision), for it lies buried in it.' The councillors are so fearful of
revealing what occurred that nothing ever becomes known. Hence the king
never attempts an enterprise in which he does not succeed, altihough ho
has little might, and possesses at the most 40 leagues of territory.
5.       To this land of the Darbacins and Jalofos there used to come many
trading vessels belonging to the inhabitants of Cape Verde Island, in
order to buy slaves and large quantities of black and white cloth, wax,
and ivory. But today this trade has been abandoned because of the French
and English. The merchandise brought here consists of horses, wi~ne, white
and coloured cloth from India, red cloths in large and smal] sizes, scarlet
fabric, Breton cloth, large white hats with silk or woollen cords, red and
yellow thread from Flanders, small artificial pearls, small Venetian beads,
Indian beads, Indian gems, cano de pata and other round beads of the size
of a large nut called among these people quepo, some tin and copper,
double-real coins - which are circulated as testoons - and some worked
silver and gold, worked in the local way. The Barbacins, alth.nc-h they
speak a different language from the Jalofos - but they understand each
other because their lands are neighbouring and thcy communicate with each
other -, are not different in other matters (for instance,) in their
clothes and weapons.


 


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