The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670: A Documentary History

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The Portuguese in West Africa, 1415-1670, brings together a collection of documents the majority in new English translation - that illustrate aspects of the encounters between the Portuguese and the peoples of north and west Africa. This period witnessed the diaspora of the Sephardic Jews, the emigration of Portuguese to west Africa and the islands, and the beginnings of the black diaspora associated with the slave trade. The documents show how the Portuguese tried to understand the societies with which they came into contact, and to reconcile their experience with the myths and legends inherited from classical and medieval learning. They also show how Africans reacted to the coming of Europeans, adapting Christian ideas to local beliefs and making use of exotic imports and European technologies. The documents also describe the evolution of the black Portuguese communities in Guinea and the islands, as well as the slave trade and the way that it was organized, understood, and justified.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Newitt's Portuguese in West Africa is clearly the best of the recent collections of documents in English about the Portuguese presence in the early modern world. Instructors seeking to include materials about Europe's encounter with Africa before the eighteenth century will find coherent sets of readings here, as well as just enough context to frame effective discussions. And specialists in the history of Anglophone or Francophone Africa should also benefit from the readings on the Portuguese presence in Northwest and West Africa, along with useful bibliographic references." - H-Net

"Given the great importance of the Portugese as sources for the early history of West Africa, it has been a shame that it is impossible to provide students with good translations of the best primary sources. Malyn Newett has now attempted to do this, in a well produced and translated selection of original sources on the Portuguese sources in West and West Central Africa....On the whole, this book is a useful teaching tool and likely to be useful for a long time to come." - John K. Thornton, Boston University, International Journal of African Historical Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521159142
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Malyn Newitt is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at King's College London. He is the author or editor of twelve books on Portuguese colonial history, including A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, as well as multiple journal articles.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps ix

Preface xi

Introduction 1

1 The Portuguese in Morocco 25

Doc. 1 The Portuguese celebrate Mass in the mosque in Ceuta, 1415 25

Doc. 2 Christians and Moors - single combat in the struggle to control Ceuta during the Moroccan wars 28

Doc. 3 The Moors of Massa recognize Portuguese overlordship 31

Doc. 4 Letter Patent of Dom Manuel to the Jews of Safi, 1509 35

Doc. 5 Letter of João de Meneses to Dom Manuel on the state of Azamour, 1514 37

Doc. 6 The Portuguese of Azamour raid the Bedouins, 1519 40

2 The early voyages to west Africa 43

Doc. 7 Prince Henry 'the Navigator' is remembered 43

Doc. 8 Slave raiding on the Sahara coast, 1445 44

Doc. 9 The Portuguese run into opposition, 1446 47

Doc. 10 Duarte Pacheco Pereira tries to come to terms with 'difference' 51

3 The Atlantic Islands 55

Doc. 11 Madeira and the Canary Islands in the fifteenth century 55

Doc. 12 How to survive tropical heat and disease 60

Doc. 13 Sugar and slaves 61

Doc. 14 Hunting escaped slaves in São Tomé 63

Doc. 15 New Christians have poisoned the bishop of São Tomé 65

4 The Upper Guinea Coast and Sierra Leone 67

Doc. 16 Cadamosto meets Budomel 67

Doc. 17 Markets and dances: Africa responds to Europe 71

Doc. 18 The Wolof kingdom at the end of the fifteenth century 74

Doc. 19 Relations between the coastal peoples of Upper Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands 78

Doc. 20 Trade and piracy on the Senegal coast 82

Doc. 21 The slave trade and royal luxury in the land of the Bussis 85

5 Elmina and Benin 90

Doc. 22 The foundation of the castle and city of São Jorge da Mina, 1482 90

Doc. 23 The importance of reaching an accommodation with the private traders 96

Doc. 24 Christianity and the Obas of Benin 97

6 Discovery of the Kingdom of Kongo 100

Doc. 25 The Manisonyo embraces Christianity, 1491 100

Doc. 26 The arrival of the Portuguese embassy at the Kongo Court, 1491 103

Doc. 27 The king of Kongo is baptized and goes to war, 1491 106

Doc. 28 The province of Mbata and its relations with the Portuguese and the Kongo king 108

Doc. 29 The accession of Dom Afonso I of Kongo 111

Doc. 30 Relations between Kongo and the Portuguese of São Tomé 116

7 Angola, Paulo Dias and the founding of Luanda 121

Doc. 31 Early relations with Angola 121

Doc. 32 Donation charter to Paulo Dias de Novais, 1571 123

Doc. 33 Warfare in the Kongo and Angola 136

Doc. 34 The escape of Paulo Dias from Angola and the founding of Luanda 142

8 The slave trade 148

Doc. 35 The arrival of slaves from west Africa in Lagos, 1444 148

Doc. 36 The slave trade is good for the Kongo 151

Doc. 37 The slave trade from west Africa to the Cape Verde Islands in the sixteenth century 153

Doc. 38 The slave trade in the Cape Verde Islands, 1594 155

9 Conflict in the kingdom of Kongo in the 1560s 159

Doc. 39 Christianity and a disputed succession in the kingdom of Kongo 159

Doc. 40 The Jaga invasions 162

10 Christianity in the Kongo 167

Doc. 41 Support sought from Portugal to maintain the true faith 167

Doc. 42 Noble Kongolese youths are sent to Portugal and Rome to be educated, 1539 169

Doc. 43 Report of the visit ad limina of Francisco de Villanova, bishop of São Tomé, 1597 171

Doc. 44 Maleficium and its forms 174

11 The Angolan wars 178

Doc. 45 Conflict between the Portuguese and Kongo in the early seventeenth century 178

Doc. 46 The life of Dom Pedro II Afonso 181

Doc. 47 An Essex man in the Angolan wars 183

Doc. 48 War in the reed beds - Angola after the expulsion of the Dutch 186

Doc. 49 Account of the battle of Mbwila, 1665 192

Doc. 50 Portuguese defeat in Sonyo in 1670 200

12 People and places 205

Doc. 51 The town of Cacheu in the early seventeenth century 205

Doc. 52 São Salvador, capital of the kingdom of Kongo 209

Doc. 53 The Court of the kings of Kongo 211

Doc. 54 Losses suffered by white traders 214

Doc. 55 The kingdom of Kongo in 1595 218

Doc. 56 The laws and customs of the Wolofs 226

Doc. 57 Black ants, Tangomaos and the Bagas 228

Glossary 231

Bibliography 235

Index 239

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