RECORDS OF SOUTH EASTERN AFRICA by George McCall Theal (9 vols.)
Collected in Various
Libraries and Archive Departments in
Published for the
Government of the
Vol. 3, Pages 202-253
[English translation of the foregoing]
ACCOUNT OF THE JOURNEY MADE BY FATHERS OF THE COMPANY OF JESUS WITH FRANCISCO BARRETO IN THE CONQUEST OF MONOMOTAPA IN THE YEAR 1569.
By Father Monclaro, of the said Company.
Of the intention of the king Dom Sebastian in this conquest.
From what I could gather when I was in Almeirim preparing to come with Francisco Barreto,
and afterwards in those parts from the orders and letters of his Majesty, his
intention was to fulfil the obligation by which he
and the kings his predecessors had bound themselves to the sovereign pontiffs
to cause the gospel to be promulgated, by whose authority they have justly and
righteously acquired possession of these conquests and their commerce.
Secondly, to aid in meeting the ordinary large expenses of his kingdom and of
Everything was decided in the kingdom, in a council of conscience, by learned persons of approved lives, whose articles we carried with us as a guide according to which, in order to acquire a just title to the lands that might be gained, the conquest was to be made. For this purpose the king thought it would be well to send four fathers of the Company, which he did.
Of the difficulties which beset the commencement of this journey.
Although the decisions of our Lord are so hidden from us that He only makes known what He chooses, and we comprehend no more than what he is pleased to manifest to us by revealing many matters to his servants, besides what he has revealed and declared to his church in the holy scriptures, there are nevertheless always events by comparing the beginnings and endings of which we are enabled to cast the eyes of our understanding upon some issues. And if in any case this can be asserted with reason, it is in the circumstances which attended the commencement of this journey.
When his Majesty had decided to send Francisco Barreto upon this conquest, induced by the reasons above stated, many of the members of his council endeavoured to prevent it, and the motives they urged were so forcible that they moved our lady the queen to come from Lisbon to Almeirim at a time of heavy rains to dissuade the king, her grandson, from this purpose. I well believe that her only motive in this was a zeal for conversion, and a most Christian desire to see him govern well in everything, especially at the beginning of his reign; but the king brought forward so many good reasons that she consented to the expedition. And when the fathers went to take leave of her, she gave them several objects of devotion from her chamber for the monomotapa in case he should be converted, among which was an Ecce Homo as big as the quarter of a sheet of paper of the largest size, of a very strange fashion and material. It was made of birds' feathers so fine in colour and so skilfully set that they depicted the image of Christ in that suffering, very naturally. This picture was sent as a great present to his Majesty from the Spanish Indies. There was also a crucifix of ivory, of medium size, very well carved.
The next obstacle was that while his Majesty was in Almeirim intelligence was received that a large fleet of
Lutherans had proceeded against the islands. Upon which the king came post
The fleet began to make ready in the
We set sail with great sound of trumpets and other warlike instruments, with which it is usual to take leave, and while saluting the churches of the saints which were visible from the sea as we passed by them, it happened that in saluting our Lady of Help a cannon burst, and one of the pieces struck the hat of Francisco Barreto and another the main brace, passing among the people without injuring any. Nearing the Cachopos the wind shifted until it was right against us, and we drifted with the ebbing tide, and could not turn after we had cast anchor. With the rising tide and the wind astern we returned to the port of Belem, where we remained eighteen days with a contrary wind, during which time the king came to Lisbon as has been stated, and we ran the risk of remaining on account of the reports of the Lutheran armada.
On the 10th of April of the said year, it being already late in the season, we set sail with a wind from the land, which lasted two days, but was so gentle that it only served us to reach Valdas Egoas. Here one night we were overtaken by a heavy storm, which drove one of the small ships of our squadron ashore, with a broken mast and other damages, of which ship Lourenco de Carvalho was captain, and it did not accompany the expedition farther. The other ship, commanded by Vasco Fernandes Homem, withstood the weather better, and accompanied us as far as the equator.
Of what bef ell us
in our voyage as far as
We were seventy-seven days in reaching the equator,
where a thunderstorm overtook us. Here we frequently saw flying fish, which are
as numerous as large flocks of birds, and fly a great space in the air. They
are preyed upon by large fish which follow them constantly under water. These
fish are called albacores. They are very swift, and however fast the ship goes
with all her sails full of wind, they follow her. and this during the whole
voyage, except at the
Among many species of birds, there is one which is greatly persecuted by the others, and when they have made it drop its excrement they let it alone while they eat it, fighting in the air among themselves to get it first, and then they return to pursue the poor bird, and never leave it till they have made it drop its excrement again. This is common, and I saw it several times, but I cannot believe that this is the ordinary food of those birds, but rather that it must have some great virtue which causes them to seek it with such avidity.
Near the coast of
On the 4th of August we got sight of the bay. Two
galleons which in past years had been sent there to guard the coast, thinking
we were French or English, came out, but recognising
us, we proceeded in company, and disembarked at the port of All Saints, where
we remained six months. There we had intelligence of a great plague in
After setting out we passed the
At this time we began to catch fish, and some days took more than a hundred albacores. There was also a great fishing for sharks, a very ugly fish like a large sea-lamprey, with three rows of teeth, very greedy, and easy to catch. One soldier caught more than a hundred to his own share. In the stomach of one which was cut open they found a pewter plate, a gimlet, and a shoe. It happened that a ham which lay with others in the sun fell overboard, and a shark came immediately and swallowed it. The owner arranged with a soldier, who caught the shark with the ham in its stomach, still fresh and entire. The owner gave it to the soldier when he saw it, through abhorrence of the shark, and the soldier and his companions ate it without the least disgust.
With these pastimes we reached the
On reaching the
Pedro Barreto, nephew of
Francisco Barreto, hearing of his uncle's departure,
would not finish his term as captain of Sofala, but
embarked for the kingdom in the ships which had put in, and died upon the
voyage, leaving by his death a large sum of money to the brotherhood of Misericordia of Lisbon. And in
Here we remained a year and a half without Francisco
Barreto proceeding on the expedition, and in that
year George de Mendoca passed that way as chief
captain of the Indian trade. After a year Francisco Barreto
told me that he repented not having gone on with the expedition, as we advised
him, for then he had money, his people were healthy and willing, and there
still remained some provisions from the kingdom, namely more than six hundred
quintals of biscuit, with powder, ammunition, and boats. We asked the chief
captain to proceed in the meantime to the islands of Comoro, and to conquer
them for the crown, because they would be very advantageous, and to build a
fortress there and put a strong garrison in it. These islands are eighty
After our departure there arrived a caravel which we
had left behind in
After this intelligence had arrived Francisco Barreto left for the coast with the greater number of the
people in a small vessel and some pangayos, and came
to the city of Kilwa, where we had arrived a month
before. The coast from
Of the city of
The king of Kilwa is a
Moor, as are all his subjects, and, as I was informed, was once the principal
and greatest king here, because his possessions extended to Sofala
before the Portuguese came to
The city was formerly very large and prosperous, the houses were all of stone and lime with tiled roofs, but it was twice destroyed by our people because of the treachery of its inhabitants.
I saw some Saracens with bows where they say (obscure) they weigh there the gold which comes from Sofala to the harbours. These Moors have some commerce with the islands of Comoro, and in the interior in ivory, which they buy from the Kaffirs to sell to the Portuguese who are always in those parts, or to the factor of the captain of the said coast, whence there come also quantities of honey and wax. Here we were received and well treated by the Moors, who fearing we would attack the country deserted it, so that we traversed it at will. Twenty days later Francisco Barreto arrived with the other fleet of Pangayos, and remained here eight days longer, holding conferences with the king, who was black, and the prince, who was blind of one eye.
We left in the pangayos, the ship being useless, as the coast is studded with shoals. These vessels are sewn with cocoa-nut fibre, and have not a single nail in them ; the sails are of mats or plaited palm leaves; and they are very safe. They are the only vessels which can be used there, for even if they strike upon the shoals they run no risk, unless the waves are strong enough to shatter them, because they have two forks upon which the vessel is left supported when the tide goes down, like a cripple on crutches. They sail so near the wind that they seem to go against it.
In these vessels we went along the coast, and reached an island called Monfia, which is subject to the king of Kilwa. It has an abundance of tar, which is extracted from the trees, and a quantity of cocoa-nut fibre, obtained from the numerous palm groves. It is very cool and pleasant. It has a Moorish chief, and a factor of the captain of the coast to conduct the trade in tar and cocoa-nut fibre.
After we had been here two or three days, we went to
another island which has a king of its own, larger than Monfia,
The soil is very rich, and if the town was in a different place it would be healthy, but its site is sickly. It has a great quantity of wood, and a forest of trees so high and thickly set that we travelled through it more than two leagues during which for the most part we did not see the sun. Here I saw for the first time the areca-nut trees, which are shady Indian trees much esteemed for their fruit, which is eaten with the betel that twines about the trees like ivy. They resemble palm-trees, but are more shady ; they grow along a stream of water. The trees are the best and yield the most beautiful timber I have ever seen.
There is much to be obtained here with which
Before reaching this island, from the pangayo in which I was, I saw a fish about three ells in length and four palms in thickness, which at the back appeared like a large sole. All the sailors said that this was a mermaid, and exactly resembled a woman in front. They find many of these, and catch them, and relate many wonders of nature concerning them. I set this down, so that any who shall hear sirens spoken of may understand that there are no others in all the sea navigated by the Portuguese, and it is certain that it was this fish which gave rise to the fables about this coast.
Thence we went to Melinde, which is also a Moorish city, in a very ruinous condition, for the sea has encroached upon almost every part of it, but what remains standing shows that it must have been very noble in ancient times, as is related in the histories of India. The Moors here are very friendly with the
Portuguese, and in features and appearance in no way differ from ourselves. Many of them speak Portuguese very well, our principal trade with them being carried on here, and it being the residence of the captain.
These Moors have as neighbours in the interior a race of Kaffirs different from all the others of the coast. They are called Moceguejos, and the name alone declares their barbarity. They have neither holy days, cultivated lands, nor houses; they live in the fields or woods, and cover their heads with stinking clay, the smell being caused by its being mixed with different oils, and to them it is very delicious. They have large numbers of cattle, and subsist upon their blood and milk mixed together, which they eat raw, and they have no other ordinary food, according to report they bleed the oxen on alternate days. They are very warlike, and it is said that their habit in warfare is to cut off foreskins and swallow them, afterwards casting them up out of their mouths when they appear before the king, that he may make them knights. Their dress consists of the skins of animals, and they have many other very barbarous customs. The Moors here are much molested by these Kaffirs, and to prevent them from spoiling their crops and making war upon them, they buy them off with cloth and other things, but their usual dress is made of skins, as I have said.
Here in Melinde, a quarter of a league from the city, along the sea-shore, they showed me a large stretch of sand, beyond which towards the interior, about a musket-shot away, they say, and it is true, that there is a great and mighty river, which penetrates far into the interior, and, as they report, reaches the country of Prester John. A nobleman named Joao Freyre prepared some boats at Melinde to go and explore this great river, but the Moors killed him with poison before he could effect his purpose. They say the river flows through great plains where horses, oxen, and other cattle graze; and recount other advantages which would result from the discovery of Prester John, which might be done at a small cost, by guarding against the Moors.
From Melinde we went to Cambo, which is a large city, with several fine edifices,
and is situated on the shore of a strait which runs between it and an island.
It has a very good port, and large trading ships sewn with cocoa-nut fibre. The country is sterile and sandy, and is part of the
mainland. A queen governs here, who is very friendly to the Portuguese, so much
so that she exposed herself to great danger for their sake. Certain Turkish
galleys and other vessels came into her port, and hearing that there were some
Portuguese in the place, demanded them; but she refused to give them up, and
rather provided for their safety and concealed them. The Turks thereupon worked
great havoc in her country, and carried her as a captive to their fleet, with
other Moorish women; but she, being upon the poop of a galley at night, threw
herself into the sea, and escaped by swimming. And because she had endured this
for us, our late king, now with God, commanded that she and her affairs should
be cared for by all his realm of
Here I saw for the first time some trees common in India, which throw out roots from above towards the ground, and so multiply very much; it was wonderful to see some already fixed in the earth, some just taking root, and others growing downwards. They are so grasping and covetous that they would overgrow everything if they were not relieved of many roots.
Thence we went to Pate,
which was our principal destination, with intention to destroy it because of
the harm which is done there to the Portuguese. It is about twelve leagues
distant from the city of
When we arrived we found the country deserted by all
but the king and principal Moors, who begged for mercy, which was readily
granted upon their paying the soldiers twelve thousand cruzados,
partly in money and partly in cloths and provisions. These Moors are very
proud, and the worst enemies we have upon that coast, and so they proved
themselves after we had left for
We were here nearly twenty days, until we returned
Of the manner in which we reached
During this sojourn in
Thus in November 1572 we set out upon our expedition, in nearly twenty small vessels, a caravel, and a small galleon used in the trade to Cape Correntes, which being a lofty ship steered a straight course for the river of Cuama at the mouth of ----. The small vessels proceeded along the shore, putting in at many ports, the first of which was the islands of Angoxa.
These islands are peopled by Moors and Kaffirs
intermixed, the lands are low lying, and very marshy and unhealthy. There is a
great abundance of cocoa-nut fibre, from the large
number of palm trees,
of which they make very fine mats. They catch turtles here, from the shells of
which they make very pretty coffers and boxes. This coast is well provided with
hens and capons, which are the best meat they have in these parts, though we
generally found the hens tasteless. There are no cows except on the coast of
We remained here three days, and afterwards put in at some other islands three leagues farther on, because of a contrary wind, and remained there eight days. Opposite the place where we put in was the mainland, where there were many apes as big as large greyhounds, and when the tide was low they came to the shore to gather shell fish, crabs, and other things, with their usual caperings and antics. The soldiers derived amusement from them, and from a man in the fleet who, having been on these shores in former years, landed, and was pursued by the apes till he took refuge in the boat.
After this we reached the shoal, and were scattered by the weather, any wind being sufficient to raise huge waves and make the navigation perilous. South-easters are the most usual, and are contrary here. We therefore put into a river called Quizimguo. Ruy Nunes Barreto and Vasco Fernandes Homem were in their vessels ten leagues in advance, and put into this river first. It is a large river, with a good port and bay. The land is very marshy, and water is scarce; there were only some pits near the shore made by the sailors, from which we drank. The people came to our boats with fish, figs, and other produce.
The higher the rank of the negroes here, the more red ochre mixed with oil they put upon their heads to make them look like figures from hell, and they use many other stinking things, which smell sweetly to them. Their lips are all pierced, and they thrust pieces of copper and pewter through the holes, so that their lips being dragged down by the weight, they are always slobbering. Their teeth are filed. They are very barbarous, and are called Machijas, not Machuas. They are girded round the loins with pieces of cloth which are given to them by the Portuguese who resort to these rivers to trade for ivory, some kinds of provisions, and ambergris, which is often found on this coast. These negroes have no form of worship, they are great sorcerers, very treacherous, and great thieves. They are also both weak and malicious, characters which invariably go together, not only in the nature of man, but also in that of brute beasts, from which the paradox is verified that every weak character is malicious in cunning.
The ordinary food of these people is millet, rice, and many seeds of wild fruits, because on account of the climate they cannot cultivate from seeds of ripe fruit, as is our custom; and those seeds which they have are very strange to us who live in Europe, but it is said that though we are not used to them, when we are in those parts we find them more delicious than those to which we have been accustomed. Though there are animals in the country which serve for food, such as hens, goats, sheep, different kinds of game, and many tame fowls and wild birds, they make more use of fish, which they eat raw, and which is very abundant, both of such kinds as are found upon our coast of Portugal and of other kinds very strange to us. There is no king upon this coast, except those who are called fumos, who are the chiefs of the country, some great and some petty, and always at war among themselves. There are some half-caste Moors among them, and the whole of the coast is infested by this infernal race.
The villages are of very small straw huts. The men carry bows and arrows with iron heads very well made, they have very good assagais, but are only skilful in manufacturing arms of this kind. They have no manner or form of justice, and this is universal among all these barbarians, thus they slay lightly and for small causes. From this it follows that they are most barbarous, which is the general case through all the realms of Monomotapa. They have no priesthood, nor ceremonies, nor any form of doctrine, nor do they strive after any. Even in mechanical arts they have no skill. In short they are such a barbarous nation that many of their neighbours, who are woolly-haired negroes, have more policy and better skill in mechanical arts than they have.
These people deserve nothing better, for they dwell
in a fertile country, where there are many animals which might be reared for
their wool, watered fields to grow flax, and suitable places to sow all the
cotton they could require, and yet they live in their brutish sloth, generally
dressed in raw skins, and he who wears them prepared is very elegant. These
garments are so short that they cover but a small part of their bodies, and it
causes shame to see them go about without the pieces of cloth worn by the
nobles, which come from
Before reaching this river we went to another called Mafuta, which is near Quilimane.
Afterwards, we reached Quilimane at the end of November. For the better understanding of what I have to relate concerning this great river of Cuama, it is to be observed that as far as I could gather it enters the sea by seven or eight mouths, of which the first and last are navigable to the body of the river in the interior, where they unite. The first, which is called Quilimane, is only navigable for six months, when there is sufficient water during the winter, and this arm has the least depth. The last mouth, which is Luabo, and which has the greatest quantity of water, is navigable all the year.
At this river we found two or three married
Portuguese settlers, who formerly dwelt at Sofala. We
also found a negro, the chief or fumo of the land,
who was more than a hundred years old, and was called Mongalo.
This man remembered the time when Vasco da Gama came to the mouth of the river, and related that he
had with him two ships, of which he burnt one and put the other on shore to
careen it. According to him, they called this river the
Of the great river Cuama.
The latitude of the river Cuama taken at the mouth of Luabo is about 17 1/2° S. The direction of the stream is from north-west to south-east. The country through which it flows is a level plain for nearly a hundred leagues inland. The inhabitants are Kaffirs, chiefly Macuas, but not so hideous and barbarous in their customs as those upon the sea-shore. Their teeth are filed, but their lips are not pierced. They wear their hair done up in a kind of horn. Their trade with our people along this river consists of a little ivory, but mostly of provisions. This river is all divided among fumos, and there is no great chief to whom they pay tribute, but they live as in a republic, as will be more fully explained hereafter. The sea does not enter this river more than ten or twelve leagues, because of the strength of its current. There is sufficient fish of many kinds, but it is unwholesome. Thirty leagues upward the two principal mouths, Quilimane and
Luabo, unite, the others flow from these two arms, in which they rise.
There are many hippopotami in this river, very hideous and badly proportioned animals; their heads are like a horse's, but much larger. I have often seen them raise their necks out of the water, and open their mouths so wide that a man of medium stature might have stood upright in the aperture of their jaws. I have seen them also on shore, and their tails and buttocks are like those of a clipped mule; their legs are short and their footprints like stars or silver stamps. They have manes and forelocks like a horse, short ears, and all have stars on their foreheads. In the breeding time they are very dangerous, and pursue the luzios and canoes, and sometimes kill some of the people when they overtake or meet these vessels. They feed on shore at night, and seek the plains which have most grass, at which time they make a great noise with their neighing.
Francisco Barreto fired at one with his arquebuss in the breeding time, and struck it on the head. We heard from our boat the sound of the ball when it struck, and, as others say, it bounded off without doing much damage. The animal was stunned, but made several dives, and came up farther down the river alive and unhurt, though stunned. When they rush from the land to the river their course is very furious, and they unheedingly overthrow and break everything they meet, even good sized trees. Up the river there are many well beaten tracks which. they have made along the watercourses of the country, and they are not found except in the valleys of rivers or on islets.
There are also many large alligators, with such big
shells (sic) that a good-sized breastplate can be made of them, and it is not a
bad weapon of defence. I saw one which nothing could
pierce, which a young man found near the river when we entered that country,
and he made a good breastplate of it. They have large fins on their tails, with
which they help themselves when they seize anything. Their chief strength is
shown in the water. They have short legs and nails, and leave a foot print like
a lion. The liver of these animals is the most deadly poison known as yet in
these parts. These alligators are common in the whole of Kaffraria,
and also in the
One incident I cannot refrain from relating. Going up the river with Francisco Barreto, we put in at a wide and shady cove, and having landed some Kaffirs came to speak to us, who related that three or four days previously there had been a fierce combat in that place between a lion and an alligator. The lion was pursuing a wild buffalo-cow to kill it, which wearied by its flight stopped to drink on the bank of the river, where a huge alligator seized its muzzle, but as it was very large could not succeed in dragging it into the water. The lion came upon the scent of the buffalo, and found it struggling with the alligator, which was holding fast to it. He gave it such a blow upon the buttock with his forepaw that it sent both alligator and buffalo some distance from the river, the alligator being killed by a blow which tore it open. This was seen by some Kaffirs, and I saw the footprints of the lion, and the mark of the forepaw from the extremity of the last nail was more than a good span in length, and the marks of the nails were long and curved, which showed their size, and they were still quite fresh. The Kaffirs ate the flesh of the alligator, and the lion sated himself with the buffalo.
One Jeronimo Dalmeida, a Portuguese soldier who was fifteen years in those parts, says of these alligators that he saw one dead in the river, which was sixty feet in length and ten in width, according to his measurement. The emperor of Monomotapa is so cruel that when he wishes to judge a cause he commands the accused to swim across the river, and if he succeeds in doing so without being devoured by the alligators he is held guiltless, but if not he is devoured, and that is his punishment.
We proceeded up this river during sixteen days, and when the wind failed we were towed along. A canoe went first with a cable many fathoms in length and an anchor or large grapnel, this canoe was rowed as far as the cable would permit, when the anchor was dropped, those in our vessel then hauled on the cable until we reached the other end, when we cast anchor, and the canoe went on again. In this manner, and also by towing, we made the greater part of the journey. This river is very pleasant, on account of the many islands which it forms, of which the two principal, before reaching Sena, are Caija and Inhangoma. Caija
is about twelve leagues long, and has a large village with its fumo, governing itself. The other island, Inhangoma, two leagues before reaching Sena, is five leagues in length, and the width of this and the other is about two leagues, or three in parts. It also has its village with its fumo and rulers.
The navigation of this river was very cheerful, we
had abundant provisions in hens, capons, and fish from the river, as we carried
nets for the purpose. The land along the river as far as Sena,
which is sixty leagues, is the most fertile I have ever seen, except the flat
Francisco Barreto reached Sena, which is a small village of straw huts in a thicket, in the year 1572, on the feast of our Lady of ----. The country is ruled by a Moor, the son of Mopango, a great chief, but a vassal of Monomotapa, who succeeded to the kingdom while we were there, through the death of his father. He often came to Sena for love of the wine and cloths which the Portuguese gave him. Here our people disembarked, a select and well equipped company, more in the humour to fight Turks or other skilled soldiers than Kaffirs. In all they numbered more than seven hundred arquebusiers, with many good officers, and soldiers of long experience in war. The Kaffir chief accompanied Francisco Barreto with great courtesy.
In Sena the Moors began to wish to kill the Portuguese secretly with poison. There came large oxen from the interior, so handsome and tame that those of this kingdom cannot excel them, and these were bought in the interior for beasts of burden and provision for the soldiers. But the Moors sent in the mornings and put poison on the grass used for their pasture, and made the governor believe that when any died it was from the effect of a certain noxious herb which grew in the country. They also made the inhabitants believe this, to the end that there might be no cattle in that country, and that it might not be occupied by our people; and even to this day those in Sofala live in this error. The oxen died suddenly, though fine and in good condition, and were given to the soldiers for food. When I saw this I always suspected the cause, and maintained that it was poison, so that the governor was vexed and cast black looks upon me when I spoke to him about it.
At this time the horses arrived from
It happened that there was a very fine large stallion among the horses, which, having been poisoned in the morning, while it was being led out to drink fell upon the way and cast up some yellow matter with all the symptoms of poisoning, Seeing this, the steward of Francisco Barreto, whom I had persuaded to believe that all had died of poison, fell upon the groom with a cudgel, saying that he would hang him unless he spoke the truth. He brought the intelligence to the governor, who was almost forced to give him leave to put the groom to the torture. While they were setting about it, the groom bade them desist, saying that he would speak the truth, and he made known the whole plot of the Moors; and the governor, convinced at last, ordered them to be arrested.
All the deaths among our people were not caused by poison, but some were due to sickness, bad provisions, and scarcity of food, for the land only yields a little millet and meixoeira, which is like the hemp-seed of Portugal, resembling that which is given to birds and which the negresses sell to children in Lisbon, like sesame, and a few vegetables. There is another kind of grain, which they call nachenim, and the negroes murume, which resembles mustard seed. They grind this by hand, by rubbing it between two stones, and of the flour they form a paste which they eat. Of this also they make their wine, and it is more plentiful than any other. All this time, however, the soldiers had not sufficient of it to satisfy them, and it seems to me that this grain is in substance like the panic that is grown between Douro and Minho, but that this is an inferior kind of food. The cause of the scarcity of millet is the love the locusts have for it, and it is commonly current among the Moors, Kaffirs, and old Portuguese settlers, that there were never any locusts in this country until after the death of Father Dom Goncalo, and I have heard all of them openly confess as much.
As to the introduction of Christianity, there is very little hope, for the people do not understand what it is to be a Christian. They are so wrapped up in their own customs and the pleasures of the flesh, that they know nothing of the soul, which they cannot see, and they think that to be a Christian has nothing to do with the next life, but simply means to be a friend of the Portuguese. They all have many wives, and beyond this vice they think it an honour to him who has the most. Lastly they are thieves, with neither faith nor truth, and therefore they will not trust even their own children; they are extremely ungrateful, and if anything is given to them they think it is from fear, or because it is their fate and must necessarily come to them. Therefore I conclude that this land is a sepulchre for Portuguese.
Your Majesty may draw a revenue from this country by leasing the river, the profit of which will increase greatly from the trade in squares of calico which is now beginning, gold will be current as it has ever been in large quantities, and orders may be given to regulate the commerce. For this purpose I say it should be leased, because the officials now draw all the profit; but if the trade is not carried on by Your Majesty, but by a lessee, something will be saved, and not so little but that the whole of this government
may yield in gold, ivory, ambergris, which is found
on the coast of
Of this river we have explored about one hundred and forty-leagues, and the proof of its size is that though no tributary runs into it below Sena except a small one along a mountain which is called Chire, and above near Mongas another, and with so many and such large sandbanks as to form islands, the volume of water is so great that opposite Sena and in other places it is nearly half a league wide and keeled boats go up it sixty leagues, and in the winter could continue for the whole distance which is yet discovered, were it not for the violent current. The water of this river is very pleasant to the taste, but they say it is unhealthy. I drank it more than two years, and always found it very good.
We heard from the Moors and Kaffirs that about a hundred leagues above Sena, a little more or less according to their account of the distance, there was a very large river of which this Cuama is an arm, and that it was so wide that the opposite shore was not visible, that it was full of many large islands, and that the Moors go up it to collect ivory. We conjectured from this that it must be the river which flows to Cape Delgado, or to Kilwa, which, in the interior, as they informed us on the coast of Melinde, is very large, as that of Melinde which, it is said, goes to Prester John or near his country, may be believed to be so large, though at the mouth, where it enters the sea, it looks like a brook, going under the shore, and passing near it, as has been stated elsewhere. They reported many other things of this river, which I do not believe, for as it flows from the north-west to the east-north-east this other larger river cannot be that which goes to Prester John, or to which his people resort, as some say, for that kingdom is opposite the Red sea, which is distant from this Monomotapa, as may be seen, more than eight hundred leagues, or nearly a thousand.
Up the river of Cuama silver mines are being discovered, of which reports have already been received, as will also be received of others which are as distant as Tete, a place where the Portuguese
formerly traded, which is a hundred and twenty leagues up the river.
Of the Customs of the Kaffirs, and of the Country, Mines, Commerce, and other matters.
Although I have already said something of this barbarous people, I think it well to devote a chapter in itself to their customs and principal affairs, according to what I have seen myself or learned upon trustworthy information. The greater part of this Kaffraria is governed by fumos and petty rulers, and though it has powerful kings whom it obeys, it has nevertheless these fumos and headmen by whom the people are governed. The fumos near Sena are Kaffirs, natives of the country, and very often the lowest are elected to this dignity. Most of them are forced against their will to accept the office, for when one has cows, millet, or naqueny which he can give them and spend, they elect him fumo, and his dignity lasts as long as he has anything to spend. When they have eaten up his property, they cast him out of the office, and pre-eminence is the most that they give him.
When an outsider has to speak to these fumos, he can only do so through others, and the word is passed through three or four before it reaches the fumo, even though he understands it. All are on mats in his presence, and he alone is seated on. a quite, which is a sort of small three-legged stool, and before they speak to him they clap their hands a little. They have great ceremonies among themselves, and no council is held without the fumo, who is often kept rather for ceremony than for any substantial obedience shown to him. The sons of these fumos are held in honour among them, though few care for a dignity which entails such loss, but they are forced to take it by those who bestow it on them.
Over these is the Monomotapa, who is like a king, both in the obedience rendered to him and in the mode of succession, because his eldest son inherits. He is very powerful, and has many leagues of territory and kings and great lords for his vassals. Of these, one is the fumo Pango, who also governs as a king, and they say that he can bring more than seventy thousand men into the field.
He has also for vassal the
king of Butoa, where they say there is a great
quantity of gold, and his territory is situated in the direction of the
The king of Manica is also his vassal. He is less powerful in land, his kingdom extending only twenty or thirty leagues. It is full of mountain ranges, and therefore very strong and difficult of conquest, even by the forces of the Monomotapa. They say that it contains much gold, and when the country is at peace the Portuguese go and trade there, both from Sofala and from Sena. There is a great scarcity of provisions in the country The Kaffirs there make much use of poison: the king is half a Moor and half a wizard, and they have learned its use from those wicked people.
The Mongazes are also vassals of the Monomotapa, and pay tribute to him. There are also many other lords in the interior who are subject to him, of whom I had no special information.
There is no method or form of justice among them. They who have most are most powerful with princes whom they can bribe, and these order people to be stabbed with assagais and killed according to their will, because as they lack any form of worship or knowledge of God they lack everything else. Portuguese who have been there have related to me that they have been often chosen as judges in quarrels which had arisen among them, and even though they gave sentence against one, he who was condemned was quite satisfied, because he thought they had acted according to reason and justice, and this did not prevent him from choosing them as judges again in any other difference he might have.
They are generally warlike, and are nearly always at variance among themselves. They fight in the open field, and not under cover or in secret ambush, and they do not attack during the night, but after early dawn. They use bows and arrows and some assagais. Most of them carry daggers in their belts two spans in length, with wooden hilts. They carry also a simbo, which is a short piece of wood with a knob at the end, and this is the last weapon they throw in battle. They have their banners and ensigns with various imitations of oxen, elephants, and other animals, all figures made of straw covered with cloth, and by these ensigns they know the different captains and lords with their people in war. They send and receive their embassies by word of mouth, and these relate to the king the least incident that occurs from the time of their departure until their return, spending many hours in these narratives, and if they forget anything their companions remind them of it. They make only short expeditions into a country, and they say the longest lasts three days, because the scarcity of provisions is such that even eating all kinds of rubbish, no company, however small, can subsist in the field more than the said three days, and even so they leave nothing green.
Generally they are all dressed in pieces of cotton cloth, but are poorly covered. These cloths are made on the other side of the river [Zambesi], and are woven on low looms, very slowly. I saw some at work near Sena. These cloths are called machiras, and are about two varas and a half long and one and a half wide. They gird these machiras round their bodies and cross them over the breast, and the rest of the body is uncovered.
They wear horns in their hair by way of finery, which are made of their own locks strangely twisted. These horns are in general use in all Kaffraria, and they shelter the head very well. They make one in the middle of the head, to which their hair is gathered up in very good order. They first cause their hair to grow long, by fastening pieces of copper or pewter to the ends of the locks, that the weight may stretch them, and thus they go with their heads covered with these little weights. When it has grown long, they take up some hair in the middle to make the largest horn, and fasten it with a kind of grass, braiding it in very neatly for a space and bringing it to a point where they leave a tuft unbraided. When this is done they make other little horns in good order, and these are very curious
The women wear upon their arms and legs many bracelets of copper drawn very fine, and gold is also drawn very fine, and then made into bracelets. The monomotapa sent eight of these to Francisco Barreto, as I will relate further on.
They have many wives, and the higher their rank the greater number they have. They say the monomotapa has more than three thousand, and besides those at his court he has a great number on a farm, where they dig, sow, and do everything with their own hands, like the Galagas of Spain. He goes there and spends as much time with them as he likes, and once when he returned with a headache they say he ordered more than four hundred to be put to death, asserting that they had cast spells upon him. Among these wives there is always one who is the principal, and whose sons inherit. They are very credulous, variable, and inconstant. It happened while I was there that the king of the Manicas died, and many of his wives killed themselves, saying that they must go and serve him in the other world. This I heard only from a negro who partakes a good deal of the Moor, and thus it came about that these women killed themselves with the pretext of a future life, for most of the Kaffirs think they have nothing to do but live and die, though some of them call God Mulungo, but confusedly and in darkness and obscurity.
They are generally all very
miserly and ungrateful. If anything is given to them they think it was fated
to come to their hands, and was already theirs. They call this nacibo, a custom which is almost as common in those parts
The general food in Kaffraria is a paste of millet badly ground or pounded in
their mortars, which are like the large mortars I have sometimes seen in
They eat the hens cut open
along the back, without plucking or disemboweling them, and thus opened they
place them on embers, and eat them without doing more than clean the ashes off
the feathers. They roast sheep whole, skin and all, and eat them in this way,
and capons in the same manner, of which there are many, and they are very good.
There are but few fruits, and the best are some which resemble plums; they have
no stone, but only small kernels or little seeds. They are called sangomas, are much better than those of
Since they have inhabited this country, which must have been thousands of years, they have never used or invented any other articles of food than these, or varied their dress or customs, or raised a stone upon a stone to build a house or wall. Their only houses are small straw huts plastered with clay, resembling round dove-cotes. The land is sterile for the most part, but its sterility does not equal their sloth, for even on the well watered plains, which they call antevaras, they sow very little, and if there is one among them who is more diligent and a better husbandman, and therefore reaps a fresh crop of millet and has a larger store of provisions, they immediately falsely accuse him of all kinds of crimes, as an excuse to take it from him and eat it, saying why should he have more millet than another, never attributing it to his greater industry and diligence; and very often they kill him and eat all his provisions. It is the same with cattle, and this is the cause of the scarcity. They are not provident, but quickly waste and consume the new crops in feasts and drinking.
They do not make use of any kind of animal for labour, and therefore many came to Sena, where we were, and showed much surprise and laughed heartily when they saw the oxen at the plough or drawing carts full of stones for the fort. They dig the earth with small hoes, and in the furrows and little trenches they throw the millet or other seed they are to sow and cover it lightly with earth; and it yields a good crop. I thought that if they were to dig deeper the crop would be better, but those of the country said it was not so, though they could assign no cause. It occurred to me that the earth deeper down is very dry, and if the grain is sown deep it dries up and dies, but the surface is penetrated by the dews, which are very heavy, and the moisture reaches the grain there and benefits it, because the rain only lasts a little while, and the heat is very great. From this may be gathered what the soil and climate are like, and how great the drought, as we experienced.
There is abundance of game
in the thickets: rabbits and partridges like those of
There are many gazelles and stags like large deer with no horns.
There is a great variety of birds, many of a very strange kind, some are the same colour as the people of the country, others are decked with cheerful colours, such as green and red. There are some pelicans, the down upon whose breasts and stomachs is soft as Braganza velvet; they are of the size of geese, and white, but their beaks are so large that when they are open the space between the upper and lower extremities measures a covado. There are others whose skins resemble those of pelicans ; they are all white, with very long red legs. They are as long as a man, if measured from the beak to the feet. There are some crows which seem to have been unknown to Aristotle and Porphyry, because if they say nigredo corvi est inseparabilis, it may also be said albedo corvi est separabilis, for their necks and breasts are white as snow.
There are other birds, which when they wish to breed, the male plucks out the feathers of the female so that she cannot fly, but is forced to remain in the nest upon the eggs, where he brings her food every day until the little birds grow big, and as their feathers grow the mother’s feathers grow also, until she is able to leave the nest and take flight at the same time as the young birds; and in this way they breed and are preserved. I saw some which have such a large crop that it can hold a good peck of grain; they have large beaks, feet, and wings, and a small tail, and discharge a sort of white humour like urine; they eat bones and meat, and their bodies are the size of a peacock.
The land is generally
pleasant, at least along the river. The foliage of the forest is not varied,
and is always the colour of olive trees. There are few
trees except in the valleys, and for the most part they are without fruit. There are many wild palms, but they do not
make use of them as in
There are very large elephants. As we were travelling through the country some Kaffirs came to me and showed me a large tree round which many soldiers were gathered, whom they had also summoned. I saw a branch at the top which was broken, and it was covered with elephant’s hair, where the animal had scratched itself against the tree and had left these traces. The height was that of a lance twenty-five palms in length, and it seemed to me higher; and there were the footprints of the elephant and the hairs. This is not surprising, for I have seen an elephant’s tusk which weighed nearly ? quintals, from which one may judge of its size.
There are not so many
snakes in the country as in
These are the customs of the Kaffirs. Their sorceries are many, and of many kinds, by which the devil deceives them, and if they have any form of worship it is rendered to the devil by these spells. These people are very unfit for baptism, and even those who are brought up amongst us and made Christians leave us every day and return to their own people, for they value their own customs very highly; and, as I have said, they easily turn Christian and easily leave Christianity, because they do not understand the meaning of it.
The gold mines are near the monomotapa, and within his dominions. There are many of them, and he gave some to several Portuguese who were there, but because the expense of extracting the gold was so great, and so little was taken out every day, they would not have them, for commerce is more profitable. The negroes dig the earth, and make high and deep trenches, in which the ground sometimes falls upon them and kills them. When the monomotapa wants gold he sends a cow to those of his people who are to dig, and it is divided among them according to their labour and the number of days they are required to work; each one extracts at the most a cruzado or a cruzado and a half a day. If they find a large piece of gold they hide it that it may not be discovered, and the mine is ordered to be closed, as they say has sometimes been done, after laying charms that no one may be able to dig there again. In this there is something strange, the reason of which is unknown, as they have a great love of gold, and make different things of it which they wear round their necks like beads, and also use it in trading for cloth.
The country is very difficult to conquer, as we experienced. The larger the force the greater would be the difficulty of finding sustenance, and a small force could do nothing except by commerce, which is very flourishing, especially the trade in machiras, of which I shall say that this might be a means of winning many souls in these parts, as we see that our Lord opened the commerce with India in order to spread his holy faith there.
to the eastward, which is the other side of the river, along it and in the
interior there is much cotton, and of it the inhabitants weave the cloth for
the machiras, which are very plentiful in all that
province; and that country is called Bororo. The
beads for which these machiras are bartered are
bought in Chaul, generally at fifty pardaos a bar, each bar containing four quintals. This bar, however, in Sena, with the expenses, may be worth one hundred cruzados, which is the highest rate at which it can be
estimated. There of one bar of beads they make a thousand to a thousand four hundred
Besides this article of trade there is another in the black cloth called Bertangil, for which, and mixed beads, there is a large sale. The reason why they want this cloth is to unravel it, and with the threads full of beads with clever artifice to make rich pieces after their fashion, and cloths to wear, worked in different patterns according to the colour of the beads; and they also make of it twisted cords like hat cords, which they wear round their necks instead of necklaces.
We received a sample of
five or six small bars of silver from the silver mines, after our arrival in
The existence of this
When we arrived there the land began at once to yield what it has, namely much sickness. During the time we remained there, which was nearly a year, more than a hundred persons died, and this before we advanced into the country; and the greater number of the people fell sick. Ruy Nunes Barreto fell ill of poison, which was given him by the Moors, of which he died, for it is their custom to administer it, and thus to continue secretly killing our people. And though Francisco Barreto had an order to eject the Moors, as he made known to the monomotapa, because of the feigned honours they rendered him at his coming and ever after, he did not put it in force, not considering the evil they did him in secret.
But at last, when he became aware of their treachery, Francisco Barreto immediately sent his captains and their men to arrest the Moors, who lived in houses apart from the town and on the other side of the river, at a distance of one or two leagues, which the soldiers did very willingly, for besides being revenged on the Moors, most of the gold which they had fell to their share, of which more than fifteen thousand miticals went to the king. They arrested seventeen of the principal men, among whom was the sheik and one of the plotters of the death of Father Dom Goncalo. Those were condemned and put to death by strange inventions. Some were impaled alive; some were tied to the tops of trees, forcibly brought together, and then set free, by which means they were torn asunder; others were opened up the back with hatchets; some were killed by mortars, in order to strike terror into the natives; and others were delivered to the soldiers, who wreaked their wrath upon them with arquebusses.
Francisco Barreto sent an embassy and rich presents to the monomotapa by a Portuguese inhabitant of Sena, who had already been at his court, which they call Zimbaoe, distant two hundred and fifty leagues from Sena, where are the mines of Masapa from which they often come to trade in Sena. The ambassador set out, and died on the way, being drowned in the river in a canoe. The message sent by him was that we had arrived, and that the governor wished to treat with his highness of matters of importance and of great advantage to himself and all his people, on behalf of the most great, high, and mighty Dom Sebastiao, king of Portugal and of the sea, and of India, his master, and to that end he sent to him to treat of peace and friendship, and that the men he had with him were to clear the briars from the roads and open them for the commerce of our people with his lands, and that in order to send an embassy he asked for an ambassador, which they call mutume.
Seeing (as I have said)
that the ambassador delayed so long, Francisco Barreto
resolved to proceed on the expedition at the end of July 1572, and we marched
along the river, upon which we had more than twenty boats laden with
provisions, merchandise, and ammunition. On
land with our company we had twenty-five waggons
drawn by oxen of the country, as big as the large oxen of
The governor made Vasco Fernandes Homem colonel, and
divided the company into four bands, the principal one of which he had given to
his son, and upon his death took it himself: it consisted of fully two hundred arquebusiers.
Another band was commanded by Antonio de Mello, a young nobleman, son of
a judge, and consisted of about a hundred and fifty men. The third, of the same
number, was commanded by Thome de Sousa, a nobleman of the house of Braganza
and commander of the order of Christ. The fourth by Jeronimo
d’Aguiar, son of a judge of
Besides these four companies, Francisco Barreto formed another, which was composed of about eighty Canarins and natives of the country with whom were sixty Portuguese, which he gave to Jeronimo de Andrada, who was there as captain of the river. The total number of soldiers was about six hundred and fifty trained men. All these bands had their officers to command them, veteran soldiers well skilled in warfare.
We began our journey, keeping along the river; we travelled slowly, about a league and a half a day, always keeping in our ranks, with a vanguard and rearguard, which the captains took in turn day by day, and thus when the governor went first the colonel kept in the rear, and so on. On the river was the fleet of boats with many sick ; and when a soldier fell ill he was embarked wherever we met the boats, for sometimes we were several days without seeing them, on account of the windings of the river and the evenness of the ground. Generally, however, we all encamped together on the bank of the river. At night we had watches and rounds, and many times the colonel and the governor visited them and chastised the negligent.
We had many false alarms from the Kaffirs as we went on, for these people are the Mongazes, feared for more than a hundred and fifty leagues on both sides of the river, and more cruel and dreaded than the Turks in Italy. Francisco Barreto rode a horse which was one of those that escaped the poison at Sena, always clad in a thick coat of mail, attending on every side to the good order of the camp. Besides all these, there were more than two thousand slaves with the baggage, but the waggons were an incumbrance, because they travelled so slowly that it took us a month to cross the fifty leagues between Sena and the gates of Mongaz.
On arriving there, as our intention was to destroy the Mongazes, in order to leave the river and enter their lands, it was necessary to place the sick, who numbered more than eighty, upon a little island, one of the principal men, named Ruy de Mello, a native of Evora, remaining as their guardian and captain, he being also sick and wounded by some wild buffaloes which he met when he was alone on horseback. We were near the lands of Mongaz, without entering them, for eight days, resting from the fatigue of the journey and arranging for the safety of those who were to remain on the island.
The Mongazes are a people governed by fumos in the style of a republic, but the dignity of these rulers lasts longer than that of the others in these parts, and they are almost like lords of the land. There was a time when they only possessed thirty leagues, but they went forth to conquest down the river, moved thereto, as they say, by a Portuguese who summoned some of them to revenge himself upon certain people on the other side of the river, whom they destroyed and robbed; and encouraged by their victory and spoils, they continued their conquests and robberies, and persevered in them for twenty years successfully, and have now conquered nearly two hundred leagues. They are very warlike and great thieves and highwaymen, and from the cruelty with which they treat those they have conquered they are greatly feared on every side.
They killed and robbed many Portuguese, and our people who were in those parts revenged themselves upon them, twenty of them coming down the river from Tete landed and killed some of them, and burned I know not how many villages. The negroes, to revenge themselves, went to Tete - which was deserted by our people, they having gone to obtain merchandise from the vessel which was at Sena - and attacked the Christian female slaves and children, killing about seventy persons. This happened a year or two before our arrival, and for these and other evils they had wrought it was very important not to leave these enemies so close behind us without subduing them.
A Kaffir chief on the side of Bororo, opposite the lands of the Mongazes, who is called Chombe, has about thirty leagues of territory along the river and about thirty thousand subjects. He is not a fumo, but an absolute lord, and is our great friend. This man came to see Francisco Barreto opposite his territory and close to that of the Mongazes, and gave him two hundred Kaffirs to carry the baggage and guide us into the interior. He wished to become a Christian, but because of his many wives and other customs which it would have been most difficult to turn him from, and because the land was not at peace, this wish was not attended to.
When we were ready to leave the river and enter the country, and had made the best arrangements we could for the sick upon the island, we set out upon our journey, with the additional number of Kaffirs and about five hundred Portuguese. As we penetrated the country the people began to fall sick, as many did every day, and after two days’ journey, in which we had travelled about four leagues, it became necessary to send thirty sick, with horsemen and soldiers as their guard, back to the island.
Having entered the lands of that dominion, we encamped along a river, where we had good water, and dug trenches in the camp, which was in a very damp place. This was the cause that afterwards many fell ill and died of dysentery. The next day we crossed the same river, with very little water, between two high mountains, and on the sand we found many strokes, and knots tied in the reeds like the snares which are set to catch little birds. The negroes who guided us explained that the strokes were a piece of bravado on the part of the Mongazes, meaning that if we went forward they would bind us, as they had tied knots in those reeds.
When we had crossed the river, which was about half an hour after midday, because of the extreme slowness of the waggons upon the road, we caught sight of a few men who were within two musket shots of us, raising a greal cloud of dust, whirling sticks with buffalo tails attached to them, which they carried in their hands, and making other demonstrations as of men who were waiting us in the field. The horsemen pursued them and put them to flight, and it would seem that they were spies.
Upon the sand, along the bank of the river, we encamped, much against the will of the majority of the soldiers, who were more desirous of fighting than wise in the choice of a fitting time and occasion, which was well known to the captain and governor who led us, who in this and all other murmurings knew how to dissemble. I mention this, because that night there was much disturbance in the camp and displeasure because the Kaffirs had not been attacked the day before, as it was feared that they would flee and there would be no foe to meet, though the contrary proved the case, as was seen the next morning.
Of how we fought the Mongazes and the victories which our Lord gave us over them, and how we conquered their lands.
The next day at dawn we began our march in good order, the horsemen with some negroes acting as scouts, and the companies going two before the waggons, two on the sides, and one behind, with parties of arquebusiers thrown out, so that the baggage was in the middle. Francisco Barreto led the van that day, and I went before with a crucifix, which I raised as a standard after we had sight of the enemy. Here also went the royal standard and two pieces of artillery, namely a swivel falcon and a demi-cannon, which were of use that day.
We had sight of the enemy on a level plain, although in many parts it was covered with grass and tall reeds. They seemed to be about ten or twelve thousand men. Their light parties were drawn up on either wing, and the heaviest force in the middle ; and they threw out companies of slaves on either side, and had many in ambush, who were so well concealed that when they began to discharge their arrows they fell close to the royal standard, but as the wind was against them they came with less force. Against these skirmishers two squadrons of soldiers advanced, who put them to flight with their arquebusses.
Meanwhile the main divisions were drawing near, and when they had approached within range of our guns, both pieces were fired among them, killing fifteen or sixteen, and at the same time our horsemen with some soldiers and all our slaves attacked them with loud cries, and put them to flight. Before the battle Chombe’s negroes who were with us, when they saw so many Mongazes together, being accustomed in their own country to fear a single one, placed themselves where they could easily flee when they saw us vanquished, which they looked upon as certain, as they saw we had no bows and arrows like our enemies, and only pieces of wood upon our shoulders, as they called the arquebusses, not knowing what those pieces of wood contained. But when they saw the enemy put to flight they were somewhat reassured.
Near the field of battle was the kraal of a chief, a great warrior, named Capote, who guarded the entrance of the lands of the Mongazes and made great efforts in defence of his village. The guides were leading us to the said village, as we had decided to camp there, because there was water, though very bad. As we were entering it in the same order, the Kaffirs returned to defend it, attacking us in the rear, and as this was the post of the company that contained the fewest Portuguese, I went there with a crucifix, by the governor’s leave, to encourage them in the fight, which the enemy sustained very vigorously, attacking our people and darkening the air with arrows. They advanced in the form of a crescent, and almost surrounded us on every side. The colonel ordered no one to fire till they drew nearer, that having closed in we might attack them with heavier loss; and this enabled them to wound more than twenty-five of our men, though not dangerously.
It was noticed that wherever I was with the crucifix, although the arrows were numerous, no one was wounded by them within ten or twelve paces of it; and looking up in some fear of the arrows I observed that though many seemed falling on my head, the Lord whose image I carried in my hands diverted them, so that they left as it were an open space, within which no one was wounded, although I was in the front, and they came with great force, the wind being now in their favour.
The discharge of the largest gun was attended by an accident. It was loaded, and just as the gunner had finished ramming the charge, a soldier fired his arquebuss over the priming, which took light from the falling sparks, and carried away the arms of a Portuguese waggoner and wounded him in many parts of the body with the pieces of rock with which it was charged as well as the ball, and also took off the tips of two fingers from the gunner’s right hand.
When this gun was discharged, our people fell upon the enemy, firing all the arquebusses and attacking them with great fury. They found a company of them in a thick wood, where they killed many of them and captured four of their standards, one of which was the figure of an ox at the end of a stick, one of an elephant, both stuffed with straw, and the others were like Indian hats. The chief Capote was also killed here. Another man was wounded by an arrow in the groin, and died in a few hours. The two Portuguese were both confessed, and were the only ones killed, and none of the wounded died.
After this victory we encamped in a village at midday, and the negroes of Chombe now recovered from their fear, which even during the second battle was so great that they remained among the female slaves and the baggage, bewailing their lives, for it seemed to them that they could not possibly escape, as they saw us surrounded on every side. The negresses consoled them, hiding them under the waggons from the arrows and telling them not to be afraid, because the Mozungues, which is the name they give the Portuguese, were firm on the ground, and would run forward and not back, and that all the army must die before the enemy could kill them, and thus they kept them quiet during the battle.
Before we entered the village the slaves went there to look for some provisions which had been concealed, and they found a little millet, nacheni, and mexoeira, and afterwards they set fire to the village. Then we encamped there, overcome with the heat, which was intense. There were very few trees, and the ground was burnt to a cinder. We remained there that day and the next, resting and tending the wounded. Many of our people began to fall sick, and many died, principally of dysentery.
After three days, at dawn in the morning we made ready to set out, and were just leaving when there came like a great dust storm with loud clamour the army of Kaffraria and Mongazes, reinforced with a number which was said to be sixteen thousand men, and with greater intrepidity and noise of drums, and more confident of victory, for they had with them a wizard who by the spells he carried in a gourd, which I afterwards saw, had persuaded them that he would deliver us all into their hands, and that our nafutes, which are the arquebusses, would be of no use. As sure of victory, he made them bring many ropes made of the bark of trees, which afterwards served the soldiers as very good match for their arquebusses. These were intended to bind us with, and their war cry was Funga Muzungo! which signifies bind the white man.
Not to delay too long upon this matter, which has not much bearing on the subject, they attacked us four times that morning, and each time we repulsed them with heavy loss. They tried to break our ranks in eight different places. The smoke was so great from the arquebusses and artillery, for beside the guns before mentioned six small pieces which were in the waggons were also used, of which Francisco Barreto made himself the gunner, that the air was obscured so that we could not see each other, and this was increased as the battle took place in a valley, and there was no wind. At this the enemy was astonished, saying that we were great wizards, since we could turn day into night.
As we afterwards heard from them we killed more than four thousand Kaffirs in these engagements, and many were wounded and maimed, who afterwards died. Among these was the wizard, a musket making him drop his gourd of spells upon the ground, with the loss of his jaw-bone. They made signs that they wished for peace, and sent their envoys for this purpose, who were astonished to see Francisco Barreto seated in a chair in time of war. He showed them small ceremony, ordering them to come to him where he sat reviewing his men, which he did well, like a good captain skilled in warfare. He granted them peace, on condition that they should send their ambassadors to the village which was before us, or otherwise we would set fire to everything ; and they fulfilled this condition, as will be afterwards related.
Of the peace which we concluded with the Mongazes, and how we could not traverse all their country because of the sickness and mortality amongst us.
It was after when the last battle was ended, and therefore it was necessary to wait that day and rest. The next day we went to a village called Terr, where there came two of the chief Kaffirs with a present of cows and sheep, a pingo of gold which weighed about forty cruzados and was like a rosary of beads, some pellets of gold, certain cotton cloths, and two large tusks of ivory. They came to ask leave for the ambassadors to open their mouths and speak, who were to go the next day to a village farther on, where we were to encamp. Having obtained permission they withdrew, and the next day at the appointed place there came to us twelve Kaffirs of great authority, with horns upon their heads, who brought fifty cows and as many sheep as a present, and begged that we would not destroy their country, and thenceforward they would be our friends and vassals. Francisco Barreto dismissed them, giving them hoes, which is a sign of peace, which was to be finally concluded in their great musinda, that is their principal village, and where we were resolved to go.
These Kaffirs related many curious things which happened to them during the battle, from the effects of the bullets from the arquebusses, and they made great show of surprise at the medicine which could strike down a Kaffir while he was talking to another, at others finding themselves without hands, others without fingers, and others falling to the ground with their heads and bodies in convulsions, and they wondered what pain and evil it was which came to them from that medicine. All this because they saw no arrows nor balls in the bodies of the dead, and they said we were great magicians, and nothing could stand against us. They informed us that there were many maimed in the war. We asked them if the two brothers f'umos of the country were among them, and they replied that they were not, but we heard from other sources that they were present, though they wished to conceal it.
When these Kaffirs had gone we resolved to continue our journey to their rnuzinda. The sick increased so much that there were no Kaffirs to carry them, and of those given to us by Chombe sixty of the two hundred had fled, and the sick and wounded were more than a hundred and twenty. Every day we buried two or three, and others fell ill.
This was the reason that we could not continue the conquest of Mongaz, and besides the sick, the whole company was weak and enfeebled, and all fell ill afterwards, so that we were forced by necessity, and by the negro servants who wished to desert, to take the road to the bank of the river, above the island of the sick, from which point we had penetrated the country ten or twelve leagues in a straight line, but about twenty-five leagues by having shaped our course like a bow.
We reached the bank of the river in great want of provisions, although there was plenty of meat from the cattle presented by the negroes. Here we sent a canoe to the island for the boats to come and carry us to the side of Bororo, leaving nothing concluded with the Mongazes, who are false and without truth, as in the whole of Kaffraria. I think our loss and mortality upon this return road alone amounted to more than twenty, whom I buried, not counting those who died afterwards.
came two boats and two or three large canoes, in which, there were some
soldiers, now convalescent, of those whom we left sick upon the island. This
was at the end of September and the beginning of October of the year 1572. Here
we found letters from
all had crossed to the other side, and the sick, who were more than two
hundred, had been sent away in boats, we set out by land, after burning the waggons. On this march to Sena we
endured great hardship, not finding a single spring upon the way, the valleys
being very deep, and indeed in the whole of Kaffraria
and on the coast of
Francisco Barreto embarked, leaving in his place Vasco Fernandes, and he went to Sena in a large canoe. More than fifty persons died on the island of the sick. After this the company arrived at Sena, on the way having set fire to some villages which had rebelled against our friend Chumbo.
How we received the Ambassador of the Monomotapa.
After we had reached Sena, Francisco Barreto received intelligence of the arrival of the ambassador of the monomotapa, and of the death of our ambassador in a canoe on the river, also that a considerable quantity of gold which he had realised from the merchandise he took with him was also lost. The ambassador was old, and he had with him two hundred Kaffirs, all in good order, and ten or twelve men of rank who came in the name of the officers of the monomotapa, who have the following titles: one the king's greatest, another the king's chief wife, and another his young moagem, who is his general and captain of the gates of the kingdom. This officer is always encamped with forces in different villages round and in the district where the king resides, and it is said that his army consists of thirty thousand Kaffirs, and also that such are the titles of the officers.
embassy declared that the monomotapa wished to be a
friend of the king of
The ambassador replied that it was good, for the Mongazes were very great thieves, and that the monomotapa also intended to send an army against them, which he afterwards did, punishing them severely and burning the greater part of their country.
Barreto also said that he would send an ambassador to
the monomotapa in the name of the king of
Francisco Barreto sent to the monomotapa a valuable present of cloth and a message by the ambassador Francisco de Magalhaes, who was a nobleman and a man of honour. The second person in the embassy was named Francisco Rafaxo, who was to succeed Francisco de Magalhaes in case he died on the way, as did in fact occur; and the other was named Gaspar Borges. Francisco Rafaxo arrived with the rich cloths which he carried to the Kaffir, with which he was delighted, and well satisfied with presents which were worth more than six thousand cruzados, for Francisco Barreto did not know how to give a little, he dismissed the two Portuguese.
Francisco Barreto received from the Kaffir eight bracelets of very fine gold wire, two for each leg and two for each arm, an honour which he grants to none, and reserves for himself alone, at least as some report, but in my opinion he sent this embassy out of fear, intelligence having reached him of the defeat of the Mongazes by our people. The bracelets did not weigh ten miticals, the honour and value not being equal.
How Francisco Barreto went to
despatched the ambassador of the monomotapa,
the officers conferred with Francisco Barreto
concerning the providing for the camp, which consisted of about four hundred
and fifty men, there being a great scarcity of cloth, with which we provide
maintenance, pay the soldiers, and transact all necessary business. And as
After providing for Mozambique, and leaving there the factor Goncalo Godinho as captain, Francisco Barreto embarked again for Sena in the middle of Lent, the third of March 1573, well provided with everything, including some articles from Ormuz which were brought there. He took his son with him, and sufficient vessels to convey the merchandise. We had a very bad return passage, for with good weather it is accomplished in four or five days, and it took us nearly three months to reach Quilimane, putting into many rivers on the coast because of contrary winds.
On reaching Quilimane we received news of the death of most of the people in the camp, and that Vasco Fernandes and the fathers were very ill. Two of the captains were dead, namely Jeronimo de Aguiar and Antonio de Mello, grandson of the abbot of Pombeiro, and all the officers of the companies; and what we most regretted was the death of the chief gunner, a man of experience and skilful in making powder and other ammunition. Every day canoes arrived bringing intelligence of fresh deaths. Father Estevao Lopez wrote to me that we should not go up the river on any account, the land being very full of infection, and the air pestilential. It was a strange thing that sickness also attacked the natives, because the rains had been very heavy, and there was a great scarcity of necessary provisions.
However Francisco Barreto would not desist from going forward, for it appeared to us better to die in assisting our comrades than to live with the disgrace of having abandoned them. As they despaired of our return, there is no doubt that all would have been grieved if they had not seen us at Sena, so that we were resolved to go on. Here in Quilimane we had news of the loss of two pangayos which carried ammunition, a quantity of saltpetre, and provisions.
was already the first of May when we set off up the river. In fifteen days we
reached Sena, with a nobleman in our company named Lourenco de Brito, who arrived
Upon reaching Sena. we found some soldiers on the bank of the river, about fifty in all, with the four banners, but no captains or officers, and they themselves in such a state that they could hardly stand. Passing by the hospital we saw the sick seated in the huts, looking more like dead men than living beings, but rejoiced at our coming. They had the arquebusses on the ground, and one who was a little stronger than the rest fired them all, for the others were unable to do it. It is a strange thing that there was not one man in good health: a very different spectacle from what was witnessed on the plain of Sena when we first arrived, and no one was able to restrain tears of sorrow for such mortality, as even of the eighty men who had come with the ships of the year fifteen hundred and seventy-two, and had joined the expedition, not five remained alive. The colonel came to the bank upon a horse with men to lead it, but had a severe seizure there, so that we took him for dead. The doctor was dying at the time of our arrival, and all were in such a state that it was evident everything was at an end.
Of the death of Francisco Barreto and the succession of Vasco Fernandas.
After our arrival at Sena, Francisco Barreto began to provide for all necessities in person, giving out preserves, clothing, biscuit, and other things which we had brought, and visiting all without and within the hospital; thus some began to be convalescent. I grew better of an illness from which I had suffered on the journey, but the new comers fell sick directly, Joao da Silva being taken ill at once, with his servants and others who came with us. Francisco Barreto was seized with a fever after eating fish upon a Friday, eight days subsequent to our return. It was not so bad as to confine him to his bed, but as he was anxious, having never been ill before, he went to confession, and received the blessed sacrament in the chapel, still on his feet.
night, seven days after he was first taken ill, he was seized with colic and
deadly vomiting, but his people said it was only a kind of indisposition to
which he had been subject in
The next morning we buried him in the chapel of St. Marcal, where, as the body of the building was full of fresh corpses so that there was no room for him, it was necessary to make him a grave crossways along the altar, even this being wanting at his death to a man who had been so prosperous, and who had lived in India with such display. After the vicar had prayed for him before his interment the second letter of succession was opened (for the first contained the name of Pedro Barreto, who was already dead), in which the king appointed Vasco Fernandes Homem to succeed him, and he took his place, finding everything spent, and many debts.
We buried the body of Francisco Barreto amidst universal grief, and after his death many died rather from sorrow than sickness, among whom were fifteen or sixteen of the new comers. His son was also very ill at that time, and left for Mozambique in a dangerous condition, where he died, leaving much of his property in the king's factory, which his father had borrowed for the maintenance of the soldiers, as he had also done from many others, for which his Highness still owes a considerable sum of money.
Of the answer brought by the embassy from the monomotapa, and the council which the governor Vasco Fernandes called to consider what should be done.
When Francisco Barreto, whom may God have in His keeping, reached Sena, he found that another ambassador had been there from the monomotapa with the answer we had demanded to the different points. The substance of his reply was that he would expel the Moors at once, which he did; that he had not used the sword against Father Dom Goncalo, but it was they who had caused his death; that as to returning to the faith, when we went there he would treat with us upon the subject; and as to the mines, he would select a certain large number, which we might come and take, and he would also give us the silver mines we had heard of as being not far from Tete and the river, and of which we had seen specimens in five or six bars; that he did not wish for anything but peace and friendship with his wives (for so he called us, not in contempt, but as an honour and as a sign of affection); and that he was well aware that our people were warriors, especially after our victory over the Mongazes.
Of the Mongazes it is said he was much afraid. It would indeed be an easy matter to defeat him and take possession of his country by conquest, even though he can bring more than a hundred thousand Kaffirs into the field, were it not for the unhealthiness, scarcity of food, and natural difficulties of the country.
The Kaffir ambassador was dismissed with a present of cloth, and it is said that the monomotapa ordered him to be put to death because he did not deliver the message to his chief wife, that is to Francisco Barreto, but to him who held his place; and they are accustomed to inflict death for smaller faults. At that time Francisco Rafaxo had not returned, but he arrived a few days after the death of Francisco Barreto.
It was now time to decide what course we were to pursue. There remained only one hundred and eighty living men in the camp, according to the officer who had charge of the provisions, nor could there be more, and even these were sick, as has been said. To consider the matter nearly thirty of the principal persons assembled in the house of the governor, who proposed the subject upon which we were to decide, that is the state of the expedition and what was best to be done. There were twenty-five votes that we should go to Mozambique, and there with the assistance of the ships decide what was best for the service of God and the king, as here in Sena nothing could be done except involve his Highness in debt and lose men with whom we were so badly provided, as we were also with everything necessary for undertaking new enterprises, seeing what had occurred with the Mongazes; so that it would be foolhardy to attempt anything further.
in brief the conclusion arrived at in this council, and having so decided we
came to Mozambique, where we did not arrive without some difficulty on the
passage, all of us being in bad health. We left the fort of
the mines and the abundance of gold and silver many have written at great
length, but the sum of what is known is much less than the reports that are
 Francisco Barreto was a man of many years experience in war ; he was of the king's council and general of his galleys. He was married to Dona Beatrice de Ataide, who died two days after his departure.
The king and the members of his council chose as captain-general of this fleet
Francisco Barreto, second son of Rluy
Barreto, chief magistrate of Faro, overseer of the
revenue in the kingdom of Algarve, also captain and governor of the city of Azamor, where no cavalcade [i.e. troops of Moorish
horsemen] attacked him that he did not conquer, nor did any fail to be attacked
by him. His mother was called Dona Branca de Vilhena, daughter of Miguel de Mello, chief magistrate of Olivenca, brother of the count da
Villa, Dom Rodrigo. Francisco Barreto was a notable
cavalier, and very fortunate in war, both during the time when he was captain
of the galleys, and in the fleet which went from this kingdom to succour Pinhao, of which he was
chief captain. He had also been governor of
 The governor in such moments of peril devoutly commended himself to our Lady, to whom he had much devotion, in imitation of the great Affonso de Albuquerque, who, seeing himself in similar danger in one of the sieges of Goa, had just commended himself to our Lady when in a salvo of artillery another cannon by accident discharged a ball of iron sheathed in lead, which also struck his hat, doing no further harm than to thrust it on one side, the distance of the cannon being so small that it was not more than eight paces. These were certainly prognostics and presages of the unfortunate issue which was to attend this enterprise.
small arm of the sea divides it from the mainland, but it is very narrow, being
about the same width as the
The ship Rainha was lost this year on the coast
 There are generally some Portuguese residing in this island, though but few; they have their chapel and chaplain. From this island they have a trade with the mainland, which is about half a league distant across the arm of the sea. The trade is in cloth, beads, iron, ivory, and some ambergris. The island is very fertile, and has many thorny fruit trees, such as oranges, limes, lemons, and pineapples, which latter is a fruit resembling the pinecones of this country, but larger, and is very delicious. It is peeled before the fruit is eaten.
 I wish to make a note of this curiosity, that when persons shall at any time hear talk of sirens, they may know that they are not fabulous, as some believe, but have been found in that part of the sea, which has been many times navigated, and also at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Comorin, as 1 have seen in letters from men of great authority in those parts.
The Portuguese resort to this
It is a very large Moorish city, and a different trade is carried on, for there
are very rich silk cloths, from which the Portuguese derive great profit in the
other Moorish cities where they are not to be had, because they are only
manufactured at Pate, and are sent to the others from that place. The
Portuguese exchange iron ware, beads, and cotton cloths, which the people of
Pate do not possess, for these silks. Ships from
The pangayos and other vessels used upon this coast
have no nails of any sort, and as we have spoken several times of the cocoa-nut
fibre, this seems the proper place to note how it is
obtained. It must therefore be known that upon this coast there are many palm
groves, as numerous as the plantations of oak between
 After our arrival at Sena the governor resolved to forward a message to tlie monomotapa, to ask him to send an ambassador and to give him the message he had brought from our lord the king, and as there was no one among those of the country who dared attempt it, many of our people, especially Vasco Fernandes Homem, volunteered, and at last one Miguel Bernardes, one of the iuhabitants of the river, resolved to go and ask for this ambassador.
 Francisco Barreto resolved to rebuild the fort which he left there of wood and mud, which served him as a lodging, and within it was a chapel of St. Marcal and the warehouse of the factory.
 I am sorry that Vasco Fernandes Homem took the command when it was in such a state that it was impossible to continue the enterprise, for on his part he would have acquitted himself, though he was ill, with the spirit and zeal he aways showed in the service of his king, as is very evident, he having lost in that service his wife and such gallant and truly noble sons, especially now in Goa Pedro Homem da Silva, the fame of whose virtue and gallantry will live as long as Goa exists, for it is well known to Dom Luis d'Ataide and also Dom Antonio and the whole of India, so I need say no more.