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

Chapter 19. About the richness of this land. [translated text],   pp. 44-46 and 47 ff.


Page 45

45.
with him. He told 1 se that it would better serve His Majesty if I
stayed on the island and if this business of the Serra was not discussed
further at that time, for if it was pursued the island might be desertedO
3.       Today this very excellent land is at our doors, this land where
nothing lacks, this land which one can reach from Lisbon in fifteen or
twenty days, with the bread and water still fresh.   (Yet) it is almost
abandoned by our people; the reason being that, because of the continua
activities of the French and the E&glish, ships are not being fitted
out
in Santiago Island to go there.   And it seems to me that, with everythto
getting worse, they will go less and less to these parts. One particular
aspect pains me greatly. Having this place on our doorstep, we leave ito
in order to seek out aore doubtful and more troublesome enterprises.
4.       If we settled the Serra, it could not fail to be of much value and
profit to His Majesty's Treasury, since a trade as large as that of
Brazil is conducted in it; since the voyage there takes little time eithk
way, and it could be guarded and defended from foreigners; and since from
there it would be possible to extend the trade to the Malagueta Coast.
But today I only see laws directed against ourselves,for we are forbidden
to go to the Malagueta Coast or further than the Serra, under penalty 0 ^
losing ship and goods and other criminal punishments. Hence, we are
withdrawing out support from our vassals and native (allies), and the
lands remnin unsubdued and unpacified.   And furthermore (these lands) a*
(instead) conquered by our enemies, the French and the SEglish, who,
disregarding the laws and the penalties Bqr impo seoare the ones who    
4
to these parts and draw great profit from them. Why may the vassals of
His Majesty not do what these enemies do?   We are perfectly capable of
travelling to the Malagueta Coast and conducting trade there, and frem
what we bring back we could pay dues to His Majesty's Treasury. And why
may we not do the same in the Senegal River, where our enmies now
obtain awe trade than we do? It pains me to see the present mituotieii.
:S


 


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