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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 16: The arrival of the Manes in East India and how their army was routed,   pp. [unnumbered]-2


Chapter 16                 X
The arrival of the Manes in East India and how their army was routed
Desire for the precious stones and other valuables of the East induced
this barbarian army to make its way in that direction also.-' Devastating
all as they went along, they reached Mombasa, the most important fortress
belonging to the crown of Portugal, after the fortress of Mozambique. They
did great evil there, and ate a great number of Moors and Kaffirs. They
were on the point of taking the fortress, and if the Lord had not protected
it, this would without doubt have led to the East also suffering under the
harsh rule of these savages. After God, it was due to the singular prudence
of Admiral Tomade Sousa Coutinho. He had been sent by the viceroy with a
great fleet of pinnaces and galleys against the Turks, who with five ships
had come from the Straits of Suez and passed through the Red Sea, down the
coast of Arabia. Arriving by chance at Mombasa, he not only plundered the
enemy, but seized the city from the Moors. With.the aid /f.90v/ of the
King of Meli.dl, our great friend, since it was he who treated D. Vasco da
Gama with all the marks of affection when he was in course of discovering
India, as the Histories tell, with his help and with the-help of his
Mosungulos, the Portuguese attacked the Manes or Zimbos, this being the name
the Manes passed themselves off under, during this journey. The Manes
gained no advantage this time from their war-medicines, from their archery,
from their rattan shields, which are so large that they cover the whole
body, or from their eating of human flesh which inspired terror in more
cowardly hearts.
All these advantages were as nothing to the courageous spirit of our
Portuguese soldiers. They marched on the savages, they hurled themselves
on them. The blood of the enemy ran in streams. Some were mortally
wounded, others fell dead on the spot. So that they might be turned into
complete cowards, and to mock their savage grimaces, they were anointed
with their own blood, and their own flesh was pressed against their teeth,
that flesh which was more savage than the flesh of Hyrcanian tigers. Such
was the ruin of the wretched Zimbos in this place. Thus there fell on them
the hand of the Most Powerful : all of the 200,000 who had held the
fortress were killed by the Portuguese soldiers. The fortress again
became part of the patrimony of the kings of Portugal.
Now that I have mentioned the Mosungulos, I shall explain what sort of
people they are. All Kaffir-land is subject to the King of Melindi. When
the Mosungulos are young, they wear very strong helmets made of clay: they
sleep with them on their heads, and they anoint their bodies with the same
clay. The superstition of this people is striking. If they kill a man in


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