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Mota, A. Teixeira da (Avelino Teixeira); Hair, P. E. H. (Paul Edward Hedley) / Jesuit documents on the Guinea of Cape Verde and the Cape Verde Islands, 1585-1617: in English translation

24,   pp. [unnumbered]-4 ff.

Page 12

In order to abolish this rite, the king called a council
resembling a cortes, and in it he made a law prohibiting the practice As
of the rite throughout the kingdom.   Anyone who knows about Guinea and
how deep-rooted among its kingdoms is this cruel practice, on the
pretext of it being a matter of honour, will recognise how important
it is that this king reached this decision.   In consequence he was
congratulated and respected by the Portuguese, (who expressed) the
maximum extent of admiration.
As well as the king of Guinala and the king of Bisege, the king
of Bigoba, a neighbour of the king of Guinala, also sought Holy Baptism
most insistently. Each of these kings has other kings under him, as
follows.  The king of Bisege has five kings subject to him, the king
of Bigoba has three, the king of Guinala has seven. All (three
principal ? ) kings have written to His Majesty, each separately.
The circumstances which led the kings to seek Holy Baptism were
both the exposition of our Holy Faith which they received from Father
Baltesar Barreira and the Portuguese living in the land, and also the
immediate plight they are in, from the activities of a nation of blacks
called Bijagos. The Bijagos have been on the rampage in this area for
some years, and have been carrying out a very cruel form of warfare
against the neighbouring kings, inasmuch as they totally burn or
devastate whatever places they penetrate to. With savage ferocity they
kill or capture as many people as they can, and they endeavour both to
lay hands on and wipe out the Portuguese (there), and to drive them
away from the whole of Guinea. So all three kings and other neighbourin&
/f.82v/ rulers have joined together and have besought the Dadres to
agree that one of the padres should come to Portugal in the name of
them all, and should bring a son of one of the kings as an envoy.
Throwing themselves at His Majesty's feet, they beseech him to have
mercy on them and kindly to send assistance against their enemies, in
order that once they are free from them they can become Christians,
together with all their vassals, and remain under His Majesty's
protection.  That the sons of these kings should come here did not,
for good reasons, seem necessary to the padres, since this would save
His Majesty expense; but all consider it necessary that a brother of
the Society should bring these letters and messages.
The assistance which they reckon to be adequate would be one of
up to 500 men.


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