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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 10: The origins of the Manes, the fertility of the land, and the character of these heathen,   pp. 1-9

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Chapter 10                                           1
The origins of the Manes, the fertility of the land and the character of
these heathen
The whole stock of Manes originated from Mandimansa.   This is a term
in the Mandinga language, whose meaning is mansa 'King', Mandim'of lMandijmIJ
Apparently the King of Mandim takes his title from the kingdom of Mandim
only, as a king may do from his chief kingdom~a)   (But) Mandimansa is the
universal lord of all Ethiopia, according to the common tradition.    His
name is so respected that when any of his people hear it, they immediately
behave with the same reverence, though expressed in their own way, as we
do when we hear the Most Holy Name of the Son of God.    And they are even
more fervent in their reverence, though only to a mere mortal man, than we
are to the true God. Mandimansa had two brothers younger than himself,
Jalomansa and Telomansa.   With these two he shared his great empire.   To
the first brother he gave the Province of the Sousos, which has already
been discussed : he gave him a bow made of cane (as a symbol of authority)
to undertake the conquest which was entailed. As a result, the jurisdicti.;
of the first brother extended as far as Mina. To the second brother, he P
gave the land between the Gambia River and the borders of the Moors.
Mandimansa retained for himself the Mandingas, the Fulas, etc., and nany
other Provinces.   All the peoples in this land of Ethiopia today are   
subjects of the descendants of Mandimansa.
The richness of the native lands of these heathen is such that one
might spend one's days there comfortably, and the same is true of the otheji
lands which have so far been mentioned.   They have no lack of food-crops
cattle, and there are large numbers of wild beasts. In parts /f.76v/ there
are gold-mines.   One of the most famous and best-known of these is the one
at the renowned town of Tumbo Cotum. I will mention that I heard about this
one from a trader who is fond of collecting and recounting information, a
man of wide experience who is very curious to learn about the districts he
visits. He has lived a long time in Ethiopia. While he was trading in the
(a)  He says that the kings who possess salt are greater than he is,
although they are his subjects, for he eats from their hand.
The salt comes to him from Gambia, Geiba and the Sousos, etc.
Now his arrows and bow of state are said to be made of pure gold.


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