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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 3: The lands peopled by the Mandingas and Sonequei,   pp. 1-12 ff.

Page 3

Although they have no respect for their guests when they are at
sea, they have much when they are on land. Their goods are regarded as
sacred, and if any happen to go missing, when the thief is found he is
made to suffer (?). Here in this place where double-dealing and deception
are not lacking there is still justice. Justice in these groups is degen-
erate, yet active and lively in carrying out the peculiar judicial forms
they have. Some of the inhabitants are iine horsemen, and in the conduct
of their households they are tirst-rate. tre upbringing ot children is
on the lines normal among the heathen. They are especially interested
in agriculture, raising stock sucn as cows, goats, etc. as mentioned
above. 'tcy are weavers, excellent blacksmiths, fishermen and wine-
tappers. To conclude, this group concedes nothing to the most skilful
in Ethiopia in their mode of acquisition of the necessities of life.
Now let us talk about the Sonequei, the native heathen. 1 we
consider them in their original form, we will find that as long as this
lasted they had no trace of any observance ox the (Moslem) sect. All
that they have today in the way of professing (Islam) has come to them
from the emigrant blood of the Mandingas, the group selected by the
devil as ministers of the poisonous sect, and as its legates and ambass-
adors throughout Ethiopia, as we shall show later, some of them adopting
trade and commerce as a means of spreading the infernal doctrines of the
unworthy prophet Mohammed. The Sonequei inhabit various lands in Guinea,
and apart from living in their native land, they mix with other wandering
nations. Burama Calama was very famous among this people. He lives
today, a cripple, in Geiba, a land of great trade, whic1h we shall discuss
in its place.     The Mandingas tried hard to persuade tlis savage to
profess the sect, telling him many fictitious things about it. The
poor wretch was so pestered that he turned against them, and he told
them to stop bothering him since he would not conform to the religion
of the Prophet when it prohibited as holy a practice as the celebration
of the mystery and passion of the Son of God and the consecration of His
precious blood; and further, that no-one could trust those who wrote to
the contrary. (Little) lacked Burama the light of the Gospel I And
according to the information given me about this heathen, because of the
great love which he showed for us Portuguese, he also showed considerable
affection towards our holy faith. Hence this heathen only practiced
idolatry. (not Islam), and he believed in sticks and stones and in those
other things mentioned (elsewhere) in this account. It is not necessary
to detail these at each stage, inasmuch as the superstitious practices
are all much the same, and the inquisitive reader can learn about them


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