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Duarte Barbosa - Part 14 European Explorations and...

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Unformatted text preview: Part 14; European Explorations and Expansion 14.3 The Portuguese in Africa and India: Duarte Barbosa In the following selection the establishment of these commercial colonies came at a distinct price for the inhabitants of those regions. In the following selection, Duarte Barbosa (ca. 1480—1521), an agent of the Portuguese government who helped establish commercial contacts along the east African coast, gives a description of the people and products of the area and of Portuguese methods for controlling trade. Source: “The East Coast of Africa " is from The Book of Duarte Berbosa: An Account of the Countries Bop dera’ng the radian Ocean, 2 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1918, 1921). THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA DUARTE BARBOSA Sofala Going forward in the direction of India there is a river of no great size upon which up the stream is a town of the Moors [African Muslims] which they call Sofala, close to which the King our Lord [Portuguese King Manuel I] possesses a fort. These Moors have dwelt there a long time by reason of the great traffic which they carried on with the heathen of the main- land. The Moors of this place speak Arabic and have a king over them who is subject to the King our Lord. And the manner of their traffic was this: they came in small vessels named zambucos from the kingdoms of Kilwa, Mombasa, and Malindi, bringing many cotton cloths, some spotted and others white and blue; also some of silk, and many small beads, grey, red, and yellow, which things come to the said kingdoms from the great kingdom of Cambay [on the coast of northwest India] in other greater ships. And these wares the said Moors who came from Malindi and Mom- basa paid for in gold at such a price that those merchants departed well pleased. . . . Kilwa Going along the coast from the town of Mozambique, there is an island hard by the mainland which is called Kilwa, in which is a Moorish town with many fair houses of stone and mortar, with many windows after our fashion, very well ar- ranged in streets, with many flat roofs. The doors are of wood, well carved, with excellent joinery. Around it are streams and orchards and fruit-gardens with many channels of sweet water. It has a Moorish king over it. . . . Before the King our Lord sent out his expedition to discover India, the Moors of Sofala, Cuama, Angoya and Mozambique were all subject to the King of Kilwa, who was the most mighty king among them. And in this town was great plenty of gold, as no ships passed toward Sofala without first coming to this island. . . . This town was taken by force from its king by the Portuguese, as, moved by arrogance, he refused to obey the King our Lord. There took many prisoners and the king fled from the island, and His Highness ordered that a fort should be built there, and kept it under his rule and governance. . . . Mombasa Further on, an advance along the coast toward India, there is an isle hard by the mainland, on which is a town called Mombasa. . . . This Mombasa is a land very full of food. Here are found many very fine sheep with round tails, cows and other cattle in great plenty, and many fowls, all of which are exceedingly fat. There is much millet and rice, sweet and bitter oranges, lemons, pomegranates, Indian figs, vegetables of diverse kinds, and much sweet water. The men are often times at war . . . but at peace with those of the mainland, and they carry on trade with them, obtaining great amounts of honey, wax, and ivory. The king of this city refused to obey the commands of the King our Lord, and through this arrogance he lost it, and our Portuguese took it from him by force. He fled away, and they slew many of his people and also took captive many, both men and women, in such sort that it was left ruined and plundered and burned. Of gold and silver great booty was taken here, bangles, bracelets, earrings and gold beads, also great store of copper with other rich wares in great quantity, and the town was left in ruins. 329 ...
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