At some unknown period in the past, probably many centuries before the commencement of the Christian era, people more civilised than the Bantu, but still very far from reaching the level of modern Europeans, made their appearance on the central tableland of Africa south of the Zambesi. They were Asiatics, but of what nationality is uncertain. It is indeed possible, if not probable, that they came from the great commercial city of Tyre on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea, and that in holy scripture there is an account of them. The conditions mentioned of those fleets that went down the Red sea to Ophir in the time of Solomon are perfectly applicable to voyages to the mouths of the Zambesi or to Sofala, and the articles—gold, silver, precious stones, almug trees, ivory, apes, and peacocks—with which they returned are all found in South-Eastern Africa, if by almug trees ebony or some other very hard wood is meant, by precious stones pearls, and by peacocks the bustards that to-day are called wilde pauwen (wild peacocks) by the Dutch colonists.1

Mr. J. Theodore Bent, an eminent archaeologist, who spent a portion of the year 1891 in examining the ruins of massive buildings in the country, came to the opinion, however, that the men who constructed them were probably Sabaeans from Southern Arabia.2 Be that as it may, the intruders must have come down in vessels to some part of the coast, and then gone inland, for no traces of them have been found north of the Zambesi.

They erected buildings of dressed stone without cement or mortar, some of considerable size, the ruins of which excite the wonder of all who see them. From their position and form there can be no doubt that most of the buildings were constructed as forts, by means of which the foreigners could dominate the earlier inhabitants of the country.

At least one, however, is pronounced by Mr. Bent to have been exclusively a temple, and several others appear to have been combined fortresses and places of worship. The temple at the place now termed the Great Zimbabwe, in latitude 20° 16' 30" south, longitude 31° 10' 10" east, fourteen miles from the present township of Victoria, was elliptical in form, two hundred and eighty feet in its greatest length, and was built of granite blocks dressed to about double the size of ordinary bricks. The greatest height of the wall still standing is thirtyfive feet, and its thickness varies from sixteen feet two inches to five feet. The only ornamentation consists of two courses of stone laid in oblique positions in contrary directions along a fourth part of the wall, but in some other structures courses of outer stones were laid about two inches apart for the same purpose. These ornamentations are always on the south-eastern faces of the buildings, and lines drawn from the centres of the structures through the entrances point to the sun rising or setting at the time of the solstices.

The labour required for the erection of such a building as the temple at Great Zimbabwe, or of the fortress on the hill beside it, would be enormous at the present day; what then must it have been at a time when mechanical appliances such as are now in common use were unknown ? But this was only one of a very large number of sites similarly, though not so massively, built upon over the whole extent of country between the Zambesi and Limpopo rivers.

The civilisation of the builders was not of a high order, however, for these structures were not perfectly regular in form, nor were any of the walls absolutely perpendicular or of equal thickness throughout. The architects were not sufficiently refined to appreciate mathematical correctness of shape or finish. The masonry in some of the buildings, which are believed to be the oldest, was much superior to that in others, the courses being far more regular. This shows that decadence took place, which is easily accounted for by the supposition, amounting almost to a certainty, that a mixture of blood with that of the Bantu was in progress from the outset.

A large solid tower in the temple at Great Zimbabwe, supposed to have been a phallus when perfect, and numerous stone phalli found in the ruins show the nature of at least one branch of the religion of the intruders, while from peculiarities in the buildings sidereal worship is supposed to have formed another. There is no trace of either of these systems in the religion of the Bantu now, from which circumstance it might be concluded that the blood of the Asiatic immigrants does not flow in the veins of the present inhabitants of the country, if it was not certain that ancestor worship has in another instance to be related elsewhere entirely driven out a foreign creed adopted for a time by a section of the people.

Figures of birds and other animals, rudely carved in a soap-stone which when quarried was almost as soft as moistened clay but which hardened upon exposure to the air, exhibit the extent of the knowledge possessed by these people of the art of sculpture. Smelting furnaces, an ingot mould, crucibles, fragments of soapstone bowls, bits of excellent pottery, and beads, tacks, and thin plates of gold have been found in the soil at the ruins. The thin plates or leaves of gold in little squares of uniform size were intended to overlay wood, perhaps the ceilings and ornaments of grand buildings in the ancient world, and the wedge shaped tacks were for fastening them on.

The object of the intrusion of the Asiatics was to obtain gold, and for this purpose they carried on mining operations over an immense tract of country. They were sufficiently skilful to be able to sink pits and run underground galleries along reefs, but they were obliged to cease operations when water was reached, as they had no means except buckets and human labour for keeping the excavations dry. The quantity of a reef that could be removed depended thus entirely upon its position, and where drainage was good considerable depths were reached.

With the appliances at their disposal there was only one way in which this kind of mining could be carried on profitably, for a vast amount of labour needed to be expended in bringing the gold bearing rock to the surface of the ground, there crushing it to powder, and then washing the dust to obtain less than an ounce of metal from a ton of quartz, though the value of that metal relatively to other articles must then have been very much greater than it is now. With the Bantu population reduced to a condition of slavery, the men employed in extracting and crushing ore and the women in raising food, it was possible to make gold mining profitable, and it may be taken for certain that this was the condition of things in those far-off times in the territory called Eastern Rhodesia to-day.

As little as possible was left by the enterprising immigrants to chance. Dry seasons were guarded against by a system of irrigation pronounced by competent authorities from its remains to have been almost as perfect as could be devised at the present day, so that abundance of grain could always be relied upon, for here, as everywhere else in the country, only water was needed to make the soil as productive as any in the world. At first sight it might seem that to conserve it nothing more was necessary than to construct dams across the courses of streams, but so violent were the floods in the rainy season that unless the dams were immensely strong they would certainly be swept away. Under such circumstances artificial reservoirs were requisite, into which water could be led when the streams were full, and from which it could be drawn into furrows for irrigating purposes when dry weather set in. Such reservoirs required skill and much labour to construct and afterwards to preserve in order. This part of Africa must therefore have presented a scene of industry in building, mining, and cultivation of the soil that is not easy to picture by those who know it at the beginning of the twentieth century of the Christian era. It is possible, however, that the whole of the vast territory from the Zambesi to the Limpopo was not occupied at the same time, but that sections of it were successively brought under the dominion of the Asiatic rulers.

How long a connection was kept open between the country from which the strangers came and that into which they had made their way there are no means of determining, but from the vast extent of their building and mining operations it seems likely to have extended over many centuries. From the first the intruders, being unaccompanied by females of their own race, would have taken to themselves harems of native women, and thus gradually a considerable class of mixed breeds must have arisen. These, as in all such cases, would have been lower in intellect, enterprise, and morality than their fathers, but they would have been unable to form a perfectly separate caste, because connection with one or other of the races from which they sprang was needed to create a balance of blood on one side, without which they must have died out. Half-breeds of negroes and Europeans or negroes and Asiatics are incapable of producing offspring among themselves alone for many generations. The males most likely would ally themselves with the Bantu, and the females with the ruling people, as is usual at present under similar conditions farther north on the coast. At last something occurred to prevent the arrival of any more foreigners, communication by sea with the country they had come from ceased, and then a complete fusion of blood between those in South Africa and the Bantu took place. This is of course largely conjectural, but everything that can be observed in connection with the subject points in that direction.

Gold mining was not carried on to any large extent after the cessation of intercourse with the country from which the promoters of it had come, but the art was never entirely lost, and quartz crushing continued on a small scale down to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Far the greater portion of the valuable metal obtained during the traditional and historical period, however, has been obtained from alluvial washing. When the massive buildings were abandoned, material accumulated within their walls, in which at length great trees sprang up and helped to complete the ruin. The pits by which the mines were reached became filled, and the irrigation works were all but completely obliterated. The Bantu, though improved by the mixture of foreign blood, when left to themselves without control or guidance reverted to their normal condition.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, when South-Eastern Africa was first visited by the Portuguese, all traditions concerning the ancient builders and miners had died out, and other Asiatics who had arrived at a much later period were in possession of the trade of the country, though not of its soil, or of dominion over its inhabitants. From the Moors, as they termed these people, the Portuguese learned of the existence of extensive ruins inland, which they do not appear at any time to have visited themselves, for the descriptions given by their writers are very far from being correct. Thus the temple at Great Zimbabwe, according to their accounts, was a square building, not circular as it really is, and they stated that there was an inscription over one of its doors which no Arabic scholar could decipher, whereas not only is there no such inscription now, but no indication of a stone having been removed on which one could have been displayed at any time.

The Asiatics who were found trading and occupying various stations along the coast were Arabs and Persians, and as they possessed a literature and preserved records of their original settlements and subsequent transactions, the Portuguese writers into whose hands these records came were able to give a very clear account, not only of their condition in the early years of the sixteenth century, but of their previous history and dealings with the Bantu inhabitants. That history was as follows:-

A certain man named Zaide, greatgrandson of Ali, nephew and son-in-law of Mohamed, maintained religious opinions that were not in accordance with the koran as interpreted by the Arabian teachers, and was therefore banished from his home. With his adherents, who from him were termed the Emozaidi, he passed over to the African coast, and formed some temporary settlements of no great importance along it. These people were of a roving disposition, and gradually moved southward, avoiding conflicts with the natives but incorporating many of them, until in course of time they became hardly distinguishable from Africans except by the profession of a form of the Mohamedan creed and a somewhat higher way of living. The trading instinct of the Arabs led them, however, to carry on a petty commerce in gold and probably in other productions of the country. How far south the Emozaidi eventually wandered cannot be ascertained with precision, but some of them appear to have reached the equator before the next stream of immigration set in.

This was from Central Arabia, and consisted of a number of families driven out by the oppression of a neighbouring sheik. In three vessels they crossed over to the African coast, and founded first the town of Magadosho, and subsequently that of Brava, both not far north of the equator. In time Magadosho became a place of importance, various subordinate settlements were made to the southward, and its trade grew to large proportions. The Emozaidi, who were regarded as heretics by these later immigrants, would not submit to their authority, and were driven inland and forced into still closer connection than before with the natives of Africa. They became the wandering traders of the interior, the people who collected the products of the country and conveyed them to the coast for sale.

A vessel belonging to Magadosho, having been driven from her course by a storm, put into the port of Sofala, where her crew learned that gold was to be obtained in trade. This led to a small settlement of Arabs at that place, and to a knowledge of the coast as far as Cape Correntes.

Rather more than seventy years elapsed after the founding of Magadosho and Brava when, towards the close of the fourth century of the Mohamedan era, that is about the time of the Norman conquest of England, another band of strangers settled on the East African seaboard. A ruler of Shiraz in Persia died, leaving seven sons, one of whom, named Ali, was despised by his brothers on account of his mother having been an Abyssinian slave. He was a man of energy and ability, however, so to avoid insult and wrong he resolved to remove to some distant land. With his family and a few followers he embarked in two vessels at the island of Ormuz, and sailed to Magadosho. The Persians and the Arabs were alike followers of the creed of Mohamed, and professed to hold the koran as their guide, but they formed rival sects, and at that time regarded each other with great bitterness. Ali could not settle at or near Magadosho therefore, so he steered down the coast in search of a place where he could build a town of his own, free of the control of every one else.

Such a place he found at Kilwa, the Quiloa of the Portuguese. The island was occupied by blacks, but they were willing to sell their right to it, which Ali purchased for a quantity of cloth, when they removed to the mainland. He then formed a settlement, and constructed fortifications sufficiently strong for defence against the African natives and the Arabs higher up the coast who were unfriendly towards him. Whether the island had a name before is not known: he called it Kilwa. Admirably situated for commerce, the settlement attracted immigrants and grew rapidly, so that even in Ali's lifetime it was able to send out a colony to occupy the island of Mafia not far to the northward. Successively different settlements were formed or those founded by the Arabs were conquered, until in course of time Kilwa, notwithstanding various civil wars, became not only the most important commercial station, but the ruling town on the East African coast.

At first the houses were built of wood and clay, but these were afterwards replaced by others of stone and mortar, with flat roofs or terraces which could be used for the same purposes as stoeps in the Cape Colony in our day. The streets between the rows of houses were very narrow, mere alleys in fact, but in the outskirts were large gardens planted with various kinds of vegetables, in which grew also palms and different trees of the orange species. In front of the town, close to the harbour, was the residence of the ruler, which was built to serve also as a fortress, and was ornamented with towers and turrets. The mosques were adorned with minarets, so that, as looked upon from the sea, Kilwa presented the appearance of a beautiful and stately eastern town.

There were now three distinct communities of Asiatic origin on the East African coast: the Emozaidi, deemed by both the others to be heretics, the orthodox Arabs, holding one form of the Mohamedan faith, and the Persians, holding another. They were all at variance, and strife between them was constant. This is the key to their easy conquest by the Portuguese in later times. They termed the Bantu inhabitants of the mainland Kaffirs, that is infidels, an epithet adopted by modern Europeans and still in use. None of them, however, scrupled to take women of that race into their harems, and thus at all their settlements the number of mixed breeds was large. At the commencement of the sixteenth century the majority of those who called themselves Arabs, including the descendants of the Persian immigrants, were undistinguishable in colour and features from the ordinary Bantu. It followed that while those in whom the Asiatic blood was predominant were strict Mohamedans, the others were almost indifferent in matters concerning that religion.

Sofala was wrested from Magadosho by the people of Kilwa in the time of Soleiman, ninth successor of Ali, and with it a trade in ivory and gold was secured which greatly enriched the conquerors and enabled them to extend their power. In the zenith of its prosperity Kilwa was mistress of Melinde and Sofala on the mainland, the islands of Mombasa, Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia, Comoro, Mozambique, and many others of less note, various stations on the coast of Madagascar, and numerous small trading posts along the African shore as far south as Cape Correntes, beyond which no vessel in those times ever passed. But owing to internal strife and perpetual feuds among the different communities, all of these places except Mozambique were lost before the beginning of the sixteenth century, and each of the others had become a petty but sovereign state. The forty-third ruler of Kilwa after Ali was named Abraham,3 and it was he who held the government when the Portuguese arrived on the coast. He did not rule, however, by right of descent, but had seized the supreme authority under pretence of keeping it in trust for an absent heir. On this account he was conceded no higher title than that of Emir. When he thus usurped the administration of Kilwa a man named Isuf4 was governor of Sofala, having received that appointment many years before. This Isuf was held in high esteem for ability and valour, and as he did not choose to acknowledge Emir Abraham as a superior, he made himself independent and opened his port to the trade of Melinde and other towns on the coast.

The Asiatic communities on the African seaboard existed almost entirely by commerce. Except at Pemba, Zanzibar, and one or two other places they did not carry on agriculture to any large extent, though they introduced various fruit-trees and the cultivation of rice and probably a few foreign vegetables among the Bantu. The small islands were not adapted for the growth of grain, and the supplies of food needed by the inhabitants of such towns as Kilwa and Mombasa could be obtained without difficulty in exchange for such wares as they had to barter. One product of the ground, however, they paid particular attention to. That was the cocoa palm, without which they could not have existed as they did. From its fruit they obtained not only an agreeable article of diet, but a fibre of the greatest utility; from its leaves material for mats and thatching; and from its trunk timber for the habitations of the poorer classes, masts and spars for their vessels, and wood for a great variety of other purposes. There was no part of this valuable tree of which some use could not be made.

They built vessels adapted for the navigation of the upper part of the Indian sea, where the monsoons blow regularly at different periods of the year from the east and from the west, though in them they could not venture on such stormy waters as those south of Cape Correntes. In these vessels no iron was used, the planks being fastened to the timbers with wooden treenails, and all the parts sewed or bound together with cord of coir. As they did not use saws, the planks were formed by splitting the trunks of trees down the centre, and then trimming each block with an axe, a tedious and clumsy process, in which much timber was lost. The sails were of close and strong matting, and the standing and running gear alike was made of coir. The largest of these vessels - now called dows were used for crossing over to the coasts of Arabia, Persia, and Hindostan; those next in size - which were called pangayos by the first Europeans who saw them - for the most important part of the home trade; and the smallest termed zambucos and luzios - for communicating between the settlements, conveying cargoes up and down the mouths of the Zambesi, and other purposes where heavy tonnage was not needed. The zambucos and luzios, indeed, were nothing more than large boats, half decked, and commonly provided with awnings. In shallow places, as in rivers, they were propelled with poles.

The pilots, called malemos, who conducted the vessels to foreign ports, were remarkably expert. Steering across to the coast of Hindostan, for instance, they seldom failed to make the land within a very few miles of the place they were bound to. They determined the latitude by means of measuring the angular altitude of certain stars when on the meridian, for which purpose they used an instrument which they regarded as superior to that by which the first Portuguese navigators in those seas found their way. Of any other method of determining longitudes than by dead reckoning, however, they were as ignorant as all the rest of the world at that time.

The commerce carried on by these people with distant lands was indeed small when compared with that which passed from India either up the Persian gulf and thence by caravans to the shore of the Mediterranean, or up the Red sea, then overland to Cairo, and down the Nile to Alexandria, where the produce of the East was obtained by the Venetians to be distributed over Europe; but for Africa it was considerable, and it was not subject to much fluctuation.

From India they obtained silks, spices, and other articles of luxury for the use of their own people of pure or nearly pure Asiatic blood, and cotton cloth and beads for trade with the Bantu; from Arabia and Persia rich fabrics, dates, scimitars, large sheathed daggers, and various other kinds of merchandise. Every man, no matter how black, who claimed to be a Mohamedan, wore at least a turban and a loin cloth, and carried a weapon of some kind on his person. The men of rank and wealth, who were of lighter colour, dressed in gorgeous robes of velvet, silk, or cotton, had sandals on their feet, and at their sides ornamented scimitars of finely tempered steel. The women naturally were clothed more or less richly according to the position of their parents and husbands, and they were particularly fond of trinkets. Every article of dress or adornment, all glassware, the best of the furniture of every description, the choicest weapons, and various luxuries of diet were imported from abroad.

With pieces of calico to be used as loin-cloths, beads, and ornaments of trifling value, the traders went among the Bantu on the mainland. Ingratiating themselves with the chiefs by means of presents, they induced those despots to send out men, here to hunt elephants, there to wash the soil for gold, and so forth. Time was to them of less importance than to Europeans, and their mode of living was so nearly like that of the native Africans that they could reside or travel about without discomfort where white men could hardly have existed. Thus the trade that they carried on was much greater in quantity than that of their Portuguese successors, though its exact amount cannot be ascertained. Upon their wares they obtained enormous profits. They received in exchange gold, ivory, pearls from the oyster beds at the Bazaruta islands, strips of hippopotamus hide, gum, and ambergris washed up on the coast, with which they carried on their foreign commerce; and millet, rice, cattle, poultry, and honey, which they needed for home consumption.

Commerce was open to any one who chose to engage in it, but practically was confined to the pure Asiatics, who employed the mixed breeds as their agents in conducting the inland barter, working the vessels, and performing the rough labour of every kind. The governments, Arab, Persian, and Bantu alike, derived a revenue from the trade that to-day seems extortionate. When an elephant was killed, the tusk next the ground belonged to the chief, and when the upper one was sold he took about half the proceeds. On all other articles disposed of by his subjects, his share was about the same proportion, besides which the traders on the other side were obliged to make him large presents before commencing to barter. When Mombasa after the independence of Isuf was able to trade with Sofala, an export duty of rather over fifty per cent, was levied on the merchandise for the benefit of the government of that town. At Kilwa any one desiring to trade with Sofala was obliged to pay about seventy per cent of the value of the goods before leaving the port, and on arrival at his destination one-seventh of what was left. Upon his return he paid a duty of five per cent of the gold he had acquired. The duty on ivory brought to Kilwa was very heavy, so that in fact the government obtained a large proportion of the profits on commerce.

On the islands the governments of the Asiatics were not only independent, but all other authority was excluded, and on some of them fortifications were erected, as well as mosques and houses of stone. But on the mainland south of Kilwa, it was different. Here the mixed breeds were permitted by Bantu chiefs to reside for purposes of trade, but they were by no means lords of the country. The sheiks ruled their own people, but no others, like native clans which are often found intermingled, whose idea of government is tribal rather than territorial. They were obliged to make the Bantu rulers large presents every year for the privilege of living and trading in the country, which presents may be regarded rather as rent for the ground and license fees than as tribute. Under these circumstances they did not construct any buildings of stone.

The pure Asiatic settlers on the African coast were grave and dignified, though courteous in demeanour. They were as hospitable as any people in the world, but they were attached to their ancestral customs, and keenly resented anything like an affront. They were enterprising, though so conservative in their ideas that they were incapable of making what Europeans would term rapid progress in civilisation. As superstitious as their Bantu neighbours, they especially regarded dreams as figuratively foreshowing events, and he was regarded as wise who pretended to be able to interpret them. The tombs of men celebrated for piety were places of ordinary pilgrimage, but every one endeavoured when in the prime of life to visit the city of Mecca in Arabia, thereby to obtain the highly honoured title of hadji.

The mixed breeds, who formed the great bulk of the nominally Mohamedan population, had all the superstitions of both the races from which they were descended. They would not venture to sea on a coasting voyage if one among them had an adverse dream, or without making an offering, if only of a shred of calico or a piece of coir cord, at the tomb of some holy man. They believed that the winds could be charmed to rise or fall, that the pangayos were subject to bewitchment, that even the creatures of the sea could be laid under spells. They lived in short in the atmosphere of the Arabian Nights, darkened by the gloom of Bantu fear of malignant sorcery.

Coming down the eastern coast of Africa in the year 1500, the principal Mohamedan settlements and trading stations were in geographical order as follows:-

Magadosho,5 in latitude 2° 2' north of the equator. The town was on the coast of the mainland, partly built upon an eminence rising to a height of about forty feet above a sandy plain. It contained several mosques and many stone houses with flat roofs. In front, at no great distance from the shore and parallel with it, was a coral reef four or five miles in length, which protected the channel within from the fury of the sea. At low spring tides the water in the channel was only two fathoms in depth, but that was sufficient for the dows used in the Indian trade. There was no other port.

Brava, in latitude 1° 7' north, was also built on the coast of the mainland. It stood on an eminence about a hundred feet above the beach, and was enclosed with a wall. The town was well built, and was governed as an aristocratic republic, the only one of the kind on the coast. The port somewhat resembled that of Magadosho, being a channel along the shore partly protected by islets and reefs, but was more exposed to heavy rollers from the sea.

Melinde,6 in latitude 3° 15' south of the equator, situated on the coast of the mainland, was also a well-built town. Adjoining it was an extensive and fertile plain, covered with beautiful gardens and groves, in which flourished fruit trees of various kinds, principally orange and lemon. To gain this advantage the town was built some distance from the nearest anchorage, which itself was far from safe, being a roadstead protected to some extent by a reef, but made dangerous by numerous shoals. It possessed, however, in a narrow rocky peninsula extending into the sea an excellent natural pier for landing cargo from boats.

Mombasa, on a coral island about three miles long by two broad, was situated in the estuary of the Barrette river, in latitude 4° 4' south. The island was like a huge fortress, standing from forty to sixty feet out of the water and presenting steep cliffs of madrepore on the seaward side. It possessed one of the best natural harbours in the world, easily accessible at all times. On each side the passage between the island and the banks of the estuary was broad and deep, though winding, and when in them or in the fine sheet of water to which they led a vessel was perfectly sheltered. This sheet of water could only be reached by large vessels through the northern strait, because a submerged reef stretched across the inner end of the other, and at low tide formed a ford to the mainland. The town was built along the steep shore of the northern passage, not far from the sea, and was next to Kilwa the most celebrated on the coast. The houses were of stone, so well constructed that the first Europeans who saw them compared them favourably with residences in Spain. Mombasa, owing to its excellent site and to the prevalence of sea breezes, was less troubled with fever than any other settlement on that part of the coast.

Pemba, a coral island, rising in the highest part to three hundred feet above the level of the sea, was thirty-eight miles in extreme length by thirteen in width. It was about eighteen miles from the mainland, with a clear passage for ships inside, though coral reefs abounded near the shore. The island was fertile, and produced large quantities of provisions, particularly rice, for exportation. The principal Arab settlement on it was in latitude 5° 25' south.

Zanzibar, not far south of Pemba, was an island similar in every respect, though larger, being forty-seven miles in extreme length by twenty miles in breadth. It rose to a height of four hundred and forty feet above the level of the sea. The principal Arab town, from which the island took its name, was on the western side, in latitude 6° 3' south. The anchorage in front of it was good and capacious, and there were many secure harbours among the islets and reefs in the channel between it and the mainland. Here were built the greater number of the vessels used in the Indian and the coasting trade, and from the island considerable quantities of provisions were exported.

Mafia,7 a coral island rising abruptly from a great depth of water, lay about nine miles from the mainland. This island was about twenty-seven miles in length by nine in extreme breadth, between 7° 38' and 8° south latitude. It was of much less importance than either Zanzibar or Pemba.

Kilwa, a low coral island, rather over four miles in length by two in breadth, rising on the northern side to fortyfive feet above the sea level, was set like an arrow in a drawn bow in the estuary of the Mavudyi river. It lay in latitude 8° 57' south. With the sea in front, a strait on each side, and a sheet of water extending ten or twelve miles beyond its inner extremity, it was a very strong position. As at Mombasa, the southern strait was crossed at its far end by a reef, along which access to the mainland could be had at low water. This strait was interspersed with islets, and made a capacious harbour, admirably adapted for shipping, but that on the northern side of the island was difficult to navigate on account of its containing numerous reefs and sand banks.

Passing south of Cape Delgado, in latitude 10° 40', a chain of coral islets and reefs parallel to the coast at a distance of eight to thirteen miles, and extending one hundred and seventeen miles along it, was to be seen. The principal islet was termed Kerimba, or Querimba, and from it the whole group was named. Next in importance was Ibo. Most of the others were uninhabited, being mere rocks rising from the sea. Along the strait within were numerous harbours for ships.

The northern extremity of the Mozambique channel has now been reached, and halfway across it lay the Comoro islands, all of volcanic origin. The principal of these were named Comoro, Johanna, Mohilla, and Mayotta, but there were many smaller in size. These islands were also possessed by the Arabs, who made use of them as convenient stopping places on their way to the great Island of the Moon, which we term Madagascar.

Keeping down the African coast, an inlet about five miles and a half across and six in depth was reached, in latitude 15° south. Into its inner end ran three streamlets, but of inconsiderable size. Lying across the centre of the mouth of the inlet, within a line joining its two outer points, was a low coral island, about a mile and a half in length and four hundred yards in breadth, named Mozambique. About three miles farther out in the sea were two others, similar in formation, then uninhabited, one of which is now called Saint George and the other Saint Jago. Behind Mozambique was a spacious harbour, easily accessible and perfectly sheltered. At long intervals indeed a furious cyclone would sweep over it and cause great destruction, but the same could be said of any part of that coast and sea. Such a position as the island of Mozambique could not escape the observation of the Mohamedans, though it had not the advantages of Kilwa or Mombasa. The island itself produced nothing, not even drinking water. On the northern shore of the inlet, since termed Cabaceira, the ground was fertile, but it was exposed to irruptions of the Bantu inhabitants, who were generally hostile. So Mozambique never rose to be more than a dependency of Kilwa, a mere halfway station for vessels bound up or down the coast. Its Mohamedan occupants had their gardens and cocoa nut groves on the mainland, but could not always depend upon gathering their produce.

The Angosha8 islands lay off the mouth of the Angosha river, between latitude 16° and 16° 40' south. The river was three miles wide at the bar, aud could be ascended by boats nearly one hundred and fifty miles, which circumstance gave to the six coral islets off its entrance a value they would not have had in another position. There was a good roadstead between the bar of the river and the island Mafamede, which was a mere crown of sand on a coral reef seven or eight feet above sea level.

The Primeiras islands were nothing more than a row of coral hummocks extending northward from latitude 17° 18' in a line parallel with the coast. In the channel between them and the mainland there were places where a pangayo could find shelter.

At Mozambique the direction of the coast line had changed from nearly north and south to north-east and south-west, and the aspect of the land had altered also. Thence to Cape Correntes as far as the eye could reach nothing was visible but a low flat tract, bordered along the sea by sand hills from fifty to six hundred feet high, with here and there a dark- coloured rock. In latitude 18° south the mouth of the Kilimane, or Quilimane, river was reached. This was the northernmost of the several outlets of the great river Zambesi, which therefore bounded the delta on that side. The other large outlets were the Luabo and the Kuama, but there were many smaller ones, a distance of a hundred miles separating the extreme southern from the extreme northern mouth, while the inland extremity of the delta, where the river began to fork, was over fifty miles in a straight line from the sea. In later years this whole tract of land and water was termed by the Portuguese the Rivers of Kuama, the largest of the islands in the delta bearing that name.

If an accurate survey of the delta and its streams had been made in any one year, in the next it would have been imperfect, and in a decade misleading, for two causes were constantly operating to alter the features of land and water. In the rainy season the Zambesi, which stretched nearly across the continent, poured down a flood bearing sand, soil, and gravel, which spread over great areas, blocked up old channels, tore away huge fragments of islands, and opened new passages in every direction. When the flood subsided, former landmarks were gone, and where vessels had sailed the year before sandflats alone were keen. The Kilimane arm in the year 1500 was the best entrance into the Zambesi during six months of the year, in 1900 its upper course is many feet higher than the bed of the great river farther inland, of which it is no longer regarded as an outlet. The other cause of change was the mangrove. This tree, with its gloomy dark-green foliage, grew only on the confines of land and water, where it spread out its roots like gigantic snakes, intertwining and retaining in their folds the ooze and slime that would otherwise have been borne away. Sand was blown up by the wind or deposited when the currents were gentle, vegetable mould accumulated, the inner line of the swamp became soil on which grass and herbs could grow, and the mangrove spread farther out to reclaim ever more and more land from the shallow water. So the floods washed away and reformed, and the mangrove bound together and extended, in the ever varying scene.

How far up the Zambesi the Mohamedans were accustomed to go cannot be ascertained with precision. They had a small settlement on its southern bank where the Portuguese village of Sena now stands, about one hundred and forty miles from the sea, but it is doubtful whether they had any fixed post farther inland, though travelling traders probably penetrated the country to a great distance. About two hundred and thirty-five miles from the sea the great river passed through the Lupata gorge, a narrow cleft in the range that separates the interior plain from the coast belt, where the rapids were so strong that they may not have cared to go beyond them with their boats, though the Portuguese afterwards navigated the stream up to the Kebrabasa rapids, about twenty miles above Tete, or three hundred and twenty miles from the sea.

At the mouth of the Pungwe river,where Beira now stands, there was a very small Mohamedan trading settlement, perhaps not a permanent one, and only at best an outpost of Sofala.

Sofala, the most important station south of Kilwa, was in latitude 20° 10'. It was at the mouth of an estuary a mile and three quarters wide from the northern bank to an island named Inyansata, between which and the southern bank there was only a narrow and shallow stream when the tide was low. Across the entrance of the estuary was a shifting bar of sand, which prevented large vessels from crossing, and inside there were so many shoals that navigation was at all times dangerous. The land to a great distance was low and swampy, and the banks of the estuary were fringed with belts of mangrove, so that the place was a hotbed of fever and dysentery. Farther in the interior the stream was of no great size, but it was always bringing down material to add to the deposits of sand and mud above the bar. The sole redeeming feature was a high rise of tide, often nearly twenty feet at full moon, so that when the wind was fair it was accessible for any vessels then used in the Indian trade. Along the coast was a great shoal or bank like a submerged terrace, extending far into the sea, upon which the waves ran so high at times and the currents were so strong that the locality was greatly dreaded by the mariners of olden days. But all these drawbacks were disregarded in view of the fact that gold was to be obtained here in exchange for merchandise of little value.

At Sofala there were two villages: one close to the sea, on a sand flat forming the north-eastern point, contained about four hundred inhabitants; the other, a couple of miles higher up the bank of the estuary, also contained about four hundred residents. The sheik lived in the last named. His dwelling house was constructed of poles planted in the ground, between which wattles were woven and then plastered with clay. It was thatched, and contained several apartments, one of considerable size which could be used as a hall of state. The floor, like that of Bantu huts, was made of antheaps moistened and stamped. It was covered with mats, and the room occupied by the sheik was hung with silk, but was poorly furnished according to modern European ideas. This was the grandest dwelling house in Africa south of the Zambesi, indeed the only one of its size and form, in the first year of the sixteenth century.

The island of Chiloane9 lay partly in the mouth of the Ingomiamo river, in latitude 20° 37' south. The island was about six miles long by three wide, but a great part of it was a mangrove swamp. The channel into the Ingomiamo on the northern side of the island, now called Port Singune, was used as a harbour by an occasional pangayo or zambuco that put in to trade.

The Bazaruta islands were of much greater importance, for there were the pearl-oyster beds which yielded gems as much coveted by the Arabs and Persians as by the people of Europe and India. There were five islands in this group, stretching over thirty miles along the coast northward from the cape now called Saint Sebastian, which is in latitude 22° 5' south. The principal island, from which the group takes its name, is eighteen miles in length.

The last place to the southward frequented by the Mohamedans was the river Nyambana, or Inhambane, the mouth of which is in latitude 23° 45' south. They had a small settlement where the Portuguese village now stands, fourteen miles by the channel, though only eight in a direct line, above the bar. The river was easy of access, and formed an excellent harbour. It was navigable for boats about five miles farther up than the settlement, which formed a good centre for collecting ivory, an article always in demand in India. This place was reputed to be the healthiest on the whole coast.

Beyond Cape Correntes, in latitude 24° 4' south, the Arabs and Persians did not venture in their coir-sewn vessels. Here the Mozambique current, from which the cape has its present name, ran southward with great velocity, usually from one to three miles an hour, according to the force and direction of the wind, but often much faster. The cape had the reputation also of being a place of storms, where the regular monsoons of the north could no longer be depended upon, and where violent gusts from every quarter would almost surely destroy the mariners who should be so foolhardy as to brave them. The vivid Arab imagination further pictured danger of another kind, for this was the chosen home of those mermaids - believed in also by the Greeks of old - who lured unfortunate men to their doom. So Cape Correntes, with its real and fictitious perils, was the terminus of Mohamedan enterprise to the south, though there were men in Kilwa who sometimes wondered what was beyond it and half made up their minds to go over land and see.



When the European fort and trading station at Sofala was formed in 1505 the predominant people in the country between the rivers Sabi and Zambesi were the Mokaranga as termed by the Portuguese, or Makalanga as pronounced by themselves, a word which means the people of the sun. This tribe occupied territory extending from the shore of the Indian ocean to the interior of the continent far to the west, but just how far it is impossible to say. Along the southern bank of the Zambesi and scattered here and there on the sea coast were clans who were not Makalanga by blood, and who were independent of each other. South of the Sabi river lived a tribe named the Batonga, whose outposts extended beyond Cape Correntes.

There are people of this name in various parts of South Africa still, but it does not follow that they are descended from the Batonga of the sixteenth century. The country has often been swept by war since that time, and of the ancient communities many have been absolutely destroyed, while others have been dispersed and reorganised quite differently. There is not a single tribe in South Africa to-day that bears the same title, has the same relative power, and occupies the same ground, as its ancestors three hundred years ago. The people we call Mashona are indeed, descended from the Makalanga of early Portuguese days, and they preserve their old name and part of their old country, but the contrast between their condition and that of the tribe in the period of its greatness is striking. Discord, subjection, and merciless treatment from conquerors have destroyed most of what was good in their forefathers.

This tribe - the Makalanga - was the one with which the Portuguese had most to do. Its paramount chief was called by them the monomotapa, which word, their writers state, meant emperor, but in reality it was only one of the hereditary titles originally given by the official praisers to the great chief, and meant either master of the mountain or master of the mines. The Portuguese were not very careful in the orthography of Bantu names, and in those early days they had not discovered the rules which govern the construction of the language, so that probably monomotapa does not represent the exact sound as spoken by the natives, though most likely it approximates closely to it. About the first part of the word there is no uncertainty. In one of the existing dialects mong means master or chief, in another omuhona has the same meaning. The plural of mong is beng, and one of the Portuguese writers gives the word as benomotapa, evidently from having heard it used by natives in a plural form. Another Portuguese writer, in relating the exploits of a chief named Munhamonge, says that word meant master of the world, and his statement is perfectly correct. Thus monomotapa (more likely mnamatapa) meant chief of something, but what that something was is not so certain.

It seems on analysing it to be chief of the mountain, and there are other reasons for believing that to be its correct signification. The great place, or residence of the monomotapa, was close to the mountain Fura, which he would never permit a Portuguese to ascend, probably from some superstition connected with it, though they believed it was because he did not wish them to have a view over as much of his country as could be seen from its top. The natives, when going to the great place, most likely used the expression going to the mountain, for the Portuguese soon began to employ the words a serra in. that sense, without specially defining what mountain was meant. In our own time one of the titles given by the official praisers to the Basuto chief Moshesh was chief of the mountain, owing to his possession of Thaba Bosigo, and the Kalanga chief probably had his title of monomotapa from his possession of Fura. But there is another possible explanation of the word, which would give it a much more romantic origin. It may have meant chief of the mines, for the termination, slightly altered in form, in one of the Bantu dialects signifies a large hole in the ground. In this case the title may have come down from a very remote period, and may have originated with the ancient gold-workers who mixed their blood with the ancestors of the Kalanga people. This is just possible, but it is so unlikely that it is almost safe to translate the word monomotapa, manamotupa, manomotapa, - as different Portuguese writers spelt it, chief of the mountain. In any case it signified the paramount or great chief of the Kalanga tribe, and was applied to all who in succession held that office.

Some interest is attached to this word Monomotapa, inasmuch as it was placed on maps of the day as if it was the name of a territory, not the title of a ruler, and soon it was applied to the entire region from the Zambesi to the mouth of the Fish river. Geographers, who knew nothing of the country, wrote the word upon their charts, and one copied another until the belief became general that a people far advanced in civilisation, and governed by a mighty emperor, occupied the whole of South-Eastern Africa.

Then towns were marked on the chart, and rivers were traced upon it, and men of the highest standing in science lent their names to the fraud, believing it to be true, until a standard map of the middle of the seventeenth century was as misleading as it was possible to make it. Readers of Portuguese histories must have known this, but no one rectified the error, because no one could substitute what was really correct. And even in recent years educated men have asked what has become of the mysterious empire of Monomotapa, a question that can be so easily answered by reading the books of De Barros, De Couto, and Dos Santos, and analysing the Sekalanga words which they repeat. Such an empire never existed. The foundation upon which imagination constructed it was nothing more than a Bantu tribe. The error arose mainly from the use of the words emperor, king, and prince to represent African chiefs, a mistake, however, which was not confined to the Portuguese, for it pervades a good deal of English literature of the nineteenth century, where it has done infinitely more to mislead readers than those expressions ever did in times gone by.

The Kalanga tribe was larger and occupied a much greater extent of territory than any now existing in South Africa. It was held together by the same means as the others, that is principally by the religious awe with which the paramount chief was regarded, as representing in his person the mighty spirits that were feared and worshipped. There was always the danger of a disputed succession, however, when it might not be certain which of two or more individuals was nearest to the line of descent and therefore the one to whom fealty was due. How long the tribe had existed before the Portuguese became acquainted with it, and whether it had attained its greatness by growth or by conquest, cannot be ascertained, but very shortly afterwards it was broken into several independent communities.

The tribe belonged to that section of the Bantu family which in general occupies the interior of the country. It was divided into a great number of clans, each under its own chief, and though all of these acknowledged the monomotapa as their superior in rank, the distant clans, even with the religious bond of union in full force, were very loosely connected with the central government. Thus those near the coast were found by the Portuguese making war on their own account, and acting otherwise in a manner that among Europeans would be regarded as indicating perfect independence. There was one peculiar custom, however, that prevented them from forgetting their dependence upon the paramount chief, a custom that most likely had a foreign origin. Every year at a certain stage of the crops a command was sent throughout the country that when the next new moon appeared all the fires were to be put out, and they could only be lit again from the spreading of one kindled by the monomotapa himself.

The Makalanga had developed their religious system and their industries more highly than any of the other tribes of Southern or Eastern Africa. Of all the Bantu they had the largest proportion of Asiatic blood in their veins, which will account for their mental and mechanical superiority. Almost at first sight the Europeans observed that they were in every respect more intelligent than the blacker tribes along the Mozambique coast. But they were neither so robust nor so courageous as many of their neighbours. Like their near kindred the Basuto and Bapedi of today, they were capable of making a vigorous defence in mountain strongholds, but were disinclined to carry on aggressive warfare, and could not stand against an equal number of men of a coast tribe in the open field. Their language was regarded by the Christians as being pleasanter than Arabic to the ear. The residence of each important chief was called his zimbabwe, which the Portuguese writers say meant the place where the court was held, though the buildings were merely thatched huts with wattled walls covered with clay. The word was equivalent to "the great place" as now used, though the roots from which it was derived are not absolutely certain.

When the Portuguese in 1505 first came in close contact with the Makalanga, the tribe had been engaged in civil war for twelve or thirteen years, and was in a very unsettled condition. A monomotapa, Mokomba by name, had made a favourite of the chief Tshikanga, one of his distant relatives, who was hereditary head of the powerful clan which occupied the district of Manika. Some other chiefs became jealous of the privileges conferred upon this man, and took advantage of his absence on one occasion to instil in the monomotapa's mind that he was a sorcerer and was compassing the death of his benefactor. , Thereupon the monomotapa sent him some poison to drink, but instead of obeying, he made an offer of a large number of cattle for his life. The offer was declined, and then in despair he collected his followers, made a quick march to the great place, surprised Mokomba, and killed him.

Tshikanga then assumed the government of the tribe. He endeavoured to exterminate the family of his predecessor, and actually put twenty-one of Mokomba's children to death.

Only one young man escaped. After four years' exile, this one, whose name is variously given as Kesarinuto or Kesarimyo, returned and collected a force which defeated the usurping monomotapa's army. Tshikanga then took the field himself, adherents gathered on both sides, and a battle was fought which continued for three days and a half. On the fourth day Tshikanga was killed, when his army dispersed, and Kesarimyo became monomotapa. But Tolwa, Tshikanga's son, would not submit, and with his ancestral clan kept possession of the Manika district, and carried on the war. To this circumstance the Portuguese attributed the small quantity of gold that was brought to Sofala for sale. In course of time the war was reduced to a permanent feud, Tolwa's clan became an independent tribe, and Manika was lost to the monomotapa for ever.

For many years after their occupation of Sofala the Portuguese lived on fairly good terms with the Makalanga, and after the failure to drive them from the fort in Isuf's time no attempt was made to expel them from the country. They paid subsidies in the form of presents to the nearest chiefs of note, and so secured their good will and freedom for trade. These presents usually consisted of beads, bangles, pieces of coarse calico, and other inexpensive articles, so that the value of the whole was trifling. In return the chiefs sent a tusk or two of ivory, which was often worth as much as what they received.

But even after the employment of the Mohamedans as agents to collect gold and ivory, the amount of commerce carried on was very far short of the earlier anticipations of the Europeans. Their next effort to increase it was by stationing individuals at outposts on the Zambesi, which at first were quite unprotected, and existed entirely by the favour of the people in whose lands they were situated. After various ineffectual attempts by other officials, in 1531 Vicente Pegado, the ablest and most enterprising of all the early captains of Mozambique and Sofala, who had then resided a year in the country, succeeded in establishing a fair at the place afterwards known as Sena, where there was a small Mohamedan village. The particulars of this event are not now on record in manuscript that can be found, and the historians of the time were so deeply engrossed with the stirring deeds of their countrymen in India that they altogether neglected transactions of comparatively little importance in South Africa, but no imagination is needed to understand how it must have taken place. The Bantu would certainly not object to the presence of unarmed traders, and the Mohamedans, who at an earlier date would have acted either as open or secret enemies, were then in a condition of dependence upon the Portuguese. The contraband trade, as the Europeans termed it, had been almost completely suppressed. There was but one place where foreign merchandise could be obtained, and that was the king's warehouse at Sofala. The factor there, acting under instructions from his government, fixed the price of everything and required an enormous profit on whatever he bought or sold, but a portion of the retail bartering with the Bantu was again in the hands of those who had once enjoyed a monopoly of it. So the Mohamedans at Sena would not object to getting their supplies at home, instead of going to Sofala for them, and besides it was to their interest not to offend their employers. Thus the fair or trading-post of Sena came into existence, and the quantity of ivory and gold obtained was so much increased that the captain Vicente Pegado was rewarded for his exertions by being retained in office for the unusual term of eight years.

The exact date of the formation of a similar outstation at Tete cannot be ascertained, but it was not long after the establishment of the fair farther down the river. At both these places for many years white men lived in the same precarious manner as the first English traders in the Xosa country three centuries later. Favoured by the chief one day, abused and robbed by him the next, nothing but the prospect of considerable gain could induce any others than missionaries to exist in such a condition. Those at Sena and Tete were of the class that accommodates itself readily to barbarian habits, and in morals at least were little above the Bantu with whom they associated.

In 1544 the factory of Quilimane was founded on the northern bank of the river of Good Tokens, about fifteen miles from the sea. The object was partly to carry on commerce with the Bantu in the neighbourhood, but principally to command the route to the interior by that stream, which was then more used during several months of the year than the other outlets of the Zambesi. The station is still in existence, but as it is beyond the territorial limits dealt with in this narrative, it will not be referred to again.

In the same year the captain of Sofala and Mozambique sent two men named Lourenco Marques and Antonio Caldeira in a pangayo on an exploring voyage to the southward. They inspected the lower course of the Limpopo river, and ascertained that copper in considerable quantities was to be obtained there from the natives. They then examined the great bay which before that time had been obscurely known as Da Lagoa. Three large rivers flowing from different directions, - known now to British geographers as the Maputa, the English, and the Manisa, - discharge their waters into this bay, and it was believed that the central one of these, or rather the central one of the streams now called the Tembe, the Umbelosi, and the Matola, which have as their estuary the English river, had its source in a great lake far in the interior, hence the Umbelosi and the English were named Rio da Lagoa, and the bay Bahia da Lagoa.

On the banks of the Umbelosi the explorers saw a great number of elephants, and purchased tusks of ivory from the natives at the rate of a few beads for each. In the neighbourhood of the Maputa river, which they next visited, elephants were also seen, and ivory was plentiful. The chief of the tribe that occupied the country between this river and the sea, whose hereditary title was Inyaka, was very friendly to his European visitors. Though quite black, he was a fine looking old man, with a white beard, and as Marques and Caldeira fancied his features bore some resemblance to those of Garcia de Sa, then captain of Malacca, who was subsequently - 1548-9 - captain general and governor of India, and one of whose daughters, Dona Leonor, wife of Manuel de Sousa de Sepulveda, in 1552 perished in a most pitiable manner on the shore of this very bay, they gave him that official's name. We shall meet him again, particularly in the account of the wreck of the galleon Sao Joao, and shall find that his friendship for white people was not a mere passing whim.

The inspection of the country around the bay was followed by a change of names. The Umbelosi - with its estuary the English river - was thereafter termed by the Portuguese Rio de Lourenco Marques, though geographers of other nations continued to call it the river De Lagoa, until the restoration in recent years of its Bantu name. The bay - previously Bahia da Lagoa - now took the name among the Portuguese of Bahia de Lourenco Marques, though to all other Europeans it remained known as Delagoa Bay, and it is still so called.

In 1546 King Joao III issued instructions that Lourenco Marques should be provided with a suitable vessel to complete the exploration of the coast and to open up a trade with the residents on the shores of the great inlet. This was done, and thereafter a pangayo was usually sent every year or every second year from Mozambique to obtain ivory. While they were engaged in bartering by means of boats manned by mixed breeds or Mohamedans that went up the different rivers, the traders resided on one of the islands Inyaka so called by the Portuguese from the title of the chief Garcia de Sa, Elephant, or Shefina, where some rough huts were built for their accommodation, and as soon as all the tusks that had been collected by the natives were purchased, they returned to Mozambique. No permanent factory or fort was built at this place until a much later date. Lourenco Marques probably remained some years in charge of the trade at the bay which bore his name, as in 1557, in reward for his services there, he was appointed intendant at Cochin.

At Inhambane, or Nyambana as termed by the natives, which is about two hundred and thirty miles farther up the coast, a similar trade was carried on from this time forward by means of a pangayo sent every year or two from Mozambique. Temporary huts were erected on the site of the present village, off which the pangayo lay at anchor until the traders were ready to return. Neither here nor at Delagoa Bay, any more than at Sena or Tete, did the Portuguese authorities attempt to exercise the slightest control over the Bantu inhabitants. Their object at all those places was simply and solely to carry on commerce, and not by any means to involve themselves in difficulties. At times indeed the traders were subject to gross ill treatment from barbarous chiefs, which they were obliged to endure patiently, without any effort being made to retaliate or redress their wrongs.

After trade at these places was opened, from thirty to thirty-six tons of ivory were usually collected at Mozambique and sent from that island to India every year until 1551, when only a little more than five tons was obtained. The quantity subsequently rose again, but fluctuated greatly according to the condition of the country as regarded peace or war.

The Portuguese, whether soldiers or traders, were in South Africa so circumstanced that they degenerated rapidly. A European female was very rarely seen, and nearly every white man consorted with native women. Fever, when it did not kill them outright, deprived them of energy, and there was nothing to stimulate them to exertion. Cut off from all society but that of barbarians, often until towards the close of the sixteenth century without the ministrations of the church, sunk in sloth, and suffering from excessive heat and deadly malaria, no lives led by Europeans anywhere could be more miserable than theirs.

The natives termed them Bazunga, singular Mozunga, - and were generally well disposed to\vards them. Individual white men often gained the confidence of chiefs, and exercised great influence over them. Instances were not wanting of such persons abandoning their former associates, and going to reside permanently either on tracts of land presented to them, where they became petty rulers, or at native kraals, where they held authority of some kind under the chiefs. Thereafter they were regarded as renegades, though their mode of living was little worse than that of many of their countrymen at the fort and trading stations.

This was the condition of affairs in South-Eastern Africa during the reign of King Joao 111, a period far less glorious in the history of Portugal than that in which his father Manuel the Fortunate sat upon the throne. To outward appearance the country exhibited every mark of prosperity, and its commerce and wealth were the wonder of Europe, but the zenith of its greatness was passed before the sixteenth century had run half its course. The king had many sons, but all died in childhood except the youngest, Dom Joao, who married the infanta Joana, daughter of the emperor Charles V. He died in early manhood, on the 2nd of January 1554, eighteen days before his widow gave birth to a boy, who received the name Sebastiao. On the 16th of June 1557 this child of little more than three years of age became by his grandfather's death sovereign of Portugal, and as his mother had retired to Spain, his grandmother, Dona Catharina, daughter of Philippe I of Castile and widow of the deceased monarch, became regent of the kingdom.

Corruption had by this time become so general among the Portuguese in India that even a virtuous viceroy such as Dom Joao de Castro was powerless to check it. They retained indeed the daring spirit of their fathers, so that military prowess was conspicuous still, but beyond that avarice had become their ruling passion. To collect wealth, whether honestly or dishonestly hardly mattered, had become the great object of their lives, and as power was theirs, under such circumstances good government was impossible. Even at this early period the rapacity of the officials was preparing Portuguese India for the fate that overtook it as soon as a rival European power dealt it a puny blow. Eastern Africa was included in India, and if a course of spoliation was not practised there, the reason was that no weak peoples other than the Mohamedans existed sufficiently wealthy to be despoiled.

Before 1545 Mozambique had been without other protection, than the slight defensive works constructed when the island was first occupied. In that year Dom Joao de Castro put in there on his way to Goa to assume the government of India, and was struck with the weakness of a place of such importance. In his opinion the position of the so-called fort was not only bad in a military point of view, but was insanitary as well. He selected another site, gathered some materials, and during his short stay constructed a small outwork for temporary use. Upon his report of the condition of the island reaching Lisbon, the king gave order for larger and better defensive works to be built, but the death of the eminent viceroy followed soon afterwards, and the matter was then allowed to fall out of sight.

The power that Portugal had to contend with now in the eastern seas was the Grand Turk, in the zenith of his pride, and aided always openly or secretly by one or other Mohamedan state. To put a fleet upon the waters of the Indian ocean, every part of the material, wood, iron, cordage, and canvas, had to be conveyed up the Nile to Cairo, and thence on the backs of camels to the shipyards of Suez, a seemingly impossible task. Yet that it could be done had been proved by the sultan Soleiman II in 1527, and still more conspicuously in 1538. On the 22nd of June of this year the faithless and ferocious pasha Soleiman, who had governed Egypt for the sultan at Constantinople, sailed from Suez with a great fleet built of materials so transported from European Turkey, having with him a powerful force of janizaries. His siege of the fort of Diu—4th September to 5th November 1538—and its heroic defence by Antonio da Silveira with only six hundred men, most of whom lost their lives before Soleiman withdrew discomfited to commit suicide rather than be put to death by his master for having failed in the enterprise, must be regarded as among the most memorable events in the history of India. This Antonio da Silveira who, with only forty men left capable of bearing arms, with his ammunition exhausted and his provisions consumed, saw from his battered and half destroyed fort the remnant of the Turkish fleet sail away, had been captain of Sofala and Mozambique from 1524 to 1527, but had there no opportunity of distinguishing himself in any way. From the time of the pasha Soleiman's defeat onward Turkish subjects in smaller force were encountered, sometimes in one place, sometimes in another, allied with Indian princes; and it was apprehended that an attempt to secure the eastern commerce might again be made by them with a very powerful armament. To be prepared for such an occurrence, in 1558 among other measures the regent Dona Catharina resolved to construct a fortress of the first class at Mozambique, and to make the island the residence of the highest official in authority on the African coast. Previously there had been no permanent garrison, and the captain had resided during the greater part of the year at Sofala, which was regarded as the more important place of the two. Henceforth each was to have a captain, but the one at Sofala was to be subordinate to the one at Mozambique.

To plan the new fortress, an engineer architect was sent out who was a nephew of the archbishop of Braga, and had learned his profession in Flanders. He selected as the best site the eastern extremity of the island, off which ships passed to and from the anchorage, and there on the margin of the sea he laid the foundations of the massive walls that afterwards arose. The fortress was quadrilateral in form, with a bastion at each angle, and was so large that from eighty to a hundred guns could be mounted on its ramparts. The whole structure wa» termed Fort Sao Sebastiao, but the outwork at each angle had its own name, the one first passed when coming in from sea being called Nossa Senhora, the one nearest the anchorage Sao Joao, the landward one on the inner side of the island Sao Gabriel, and the landward one on the outer side Santo Antonio. The walls were of great height, which subsequent experience proved to be disadvantageous. A work of such magnitude, though the heaviest labour was performed by slaves, required many skilled artisans, and could only be slowly carried on. The political condition of Portugal also retarded progress, so that the sixteenth century was nearly ended before the walls and the numerous buildings they enclosed were fully finished. The want of fresh water was at first regarded as its principal defect, but this was remedied in course of time by the construction of enormous cisterns, which contained an ample supply to last from one rainy season to another.

After laying out the fortress at Mozambique and preparing plans for carrying on the work, the architect proceeded to Daman to perform a similar duty there. After that was done he returned to Europe and entered a religious order, when he was favoured by Philippe II of Spain, and from his designs parts of the Escurial were constructed. Thus in Fort Sao Sebastiao there exists a specimen of the highest skill of the sixteenth century.

The conversion of the heathen to Christianity was from the very beginning of the Portuguese explorations and settlements in Africa and India kept constantly in view by the king and by the authorities of the Roman catholic church, but the far East offered the most promising field to the Franciscans, Dominicans, and other long established religious orders, and there were no men to spare for the enlightenment of the barbarous tribes between the Zambesi and the bay of Lourenco Marques. The whole territory east of the Cape of Good Hope to Japan had formed a single see since March 1539, when Dom Joao d'Alboquerque assumed duty at Goa as first bishop of India. But even the Portuguese themselves were neglected in Africa, for the garrison of Sofala was seldom provided with a chaplain, and Sena and Tete were left altogether without one. On the 27th of September 1540, however, a bull was issued by Pope Paul III, approving of the order founded by Ignatius Loyola, and the Company of Jesus, the greatest and most zealous of all the missionary associations of the Roman catholic church, came into existence. Within seven months, on the 7th of April 1541, the celebrated Francisco Xavier sailed from Lisbon for India, and he was soon followed by others into various parts of the heathen world. The first college of the order was founded at Coimbra by Joao III of Portugal in 1542, and speedily attracted within its walls many of the most religious and most energetic of the youth of the kingdom. Into this college in 1543 a young man of noble parentage, named Goncalo da Silveira, a native of Almeirim on the Tagus, sought admission for the purpose of completing his education. Shortly afterwards he entered the order, and in 1556 was sent to Goa. There he became conspicuous for his zeal and general ability, and it was mainly owing to his exertions that the magnificent church of Sao Thome was built in the capital of Portuguese India.

On one of the voyages of the little vessel that went occasionally from Mozambique to Inhambane to purchase ivory, a son of a chief of some importance was induced to return in her. It was the custom to treat such persons with much attention, in order to secure their friendship, and the young chief was greatly pleased with the favours that he received. In course of time he professed his belief in Christianity, and was baptized with all the pomp that was possible in the church of Sao Gabriel, the captain of Sofala and Mozambique being one of his godfathers. When the vessel made her next voyage he returned to Inhambane, and induced his father to send a request to the Portuguese captain that he might be supplied with missionaries. This request was forwarded to Goa, where it was referred to the provincial of the Jesuits, with the result that the fathers Goncalo da Silveira and Andre Fernandes, with the lay brother Andre da Costa, were directed to proceed to SouthEastern Africa, and attempt to convert the natives there to Christianity. Dom Goncalo was the head of the party, and was entrusted by the viceroy Dom Constantino de Braganca with friendly messages and presents for the chief who had made the application and for the paramount ruler of the Makalanga tribe.

On the 2nd of January 1560 the missionaries sailed from Chaul, and after a pleasant passage reached Mozambique on the 4th of February, where they found a trading vessel nearly ready to sail for Inhambane. She was only a zambuco, with so little accommodation that, as one of them wrote, they could neither lie down comfortably, stand erect, or exercise their legs in her, but on the 12th of February they embarked, together with two Portuguese—one of whom was to be their guide—and a native who was well acquainted with the coast. The zambuco was to touch at Sofala on the way. At this place they arrived after a passage of twenty-seven days, and here they secured the service of a halfbreed born at the fort, named Joao Raposo, who spoke Portuguese and Sekalanga with equal fluency, and who was a handy man in other respects, as he had travelled much in the country. After five days' stay at Sofala, the zambuco sailed again, and eight days later reached Inhambane, where five Portuguese were found trading for ivory.

Dom Goncalo and the lay brother were suffering severely from fever, and landed in such a debilitated condition that for a time their lives were despaired of. Their countrymen, however, took such care of them that shortly they began to mend, and as soon as they were out of danger the father Andre Fernandes was sent in advance to the kraal of the chief who had applied for missionaries, to announce their arrival and to request that carriers might be provided to convey the others in hammocks. The distance of the kraal from Inhambane is stated to have been thirty leagues, but as the father Andre Fernandes and those with him traversed it on foot in three days and a half, it can hardly have been so far. The name of the place is given by the missionaries as Otongwe, and of the chief as Gamba. He was the head of a clan of Makalanga that had been driven from its own country in a war with its neighbours, and had taken refuge in territory occupied by the Batonga, where it had acquired a right of possession by force of arms. This condition of things at once accounts for its desire to secure the friendship of the Portuguese. Father Andre Fernandes and Joao Raposo, who was with him, were provided with a hut to live in, and carriers were despatched who brought up the others seventeen days later. Dom Goncalo and Andre da Costa arrived so weak that they could hardly stand, but the father soon became stronger, and the lay brother was sent back to the coast for a time to recuperate.

Shortly after their arrival the mission party—the first in South Africa—witnessed a striking instance of the nature of the heathenism they had come to destroy. A son of the chief had just died, and the witchfinder had pointed out an individual as guilty of having caused his death by treading in his footprints, whereupon the man accused was tortured and killed. They found, too, people in the last stages of sickness abandoned by every one, even their nearest relatives, who feared that death— the invisible destroyer—might seize them as well as the decrepit, if they were close at hand when he came.

Having delivered the complimentary message of the viceroy and his present, the missionaries were very well treated. Huts were given to them to live in, and they were supplied with abundance of food. They commenced therefore without delay to exhort the people to become Christians. There is a custom of the Bantu, with which they were of course unacquainted, not to dispute with honoured guests, but to profess agreement with whatever is stated. This is regarded by those people as politeness, and it is carried to such an absurd extent that it is often difficult to obtain correct information from them. Thus if one asks a man, is it far to such a place? politeness requires him to reply it is far, though it may be close by. The questioner, by using the word far, is supposed to be under the impression that it is at a distance, and it would be rudeness to correct him. They express their thanks for whatever is told to them, whether the intelligence is pleasing or not, and whether they believe it or not. Then, too, no one of them ever denies the existence of a Supreme Being, but admits it without hesitation as soon as he is told of it, though he may not once have thought of the subject before.

The missionaries must have been deceived by these habits of the people, for they were convinced that their words had taken deep root, and within a very short time they baptized about four hundred individuals at the kraal, including the chief and his family. The chief received the name Constantino, his principal wife Isabel, and his sons and councillors the names of leading Portuguese nobles. It is not easy to analyse the thoughts of those uncultivated barbarians, but certainly what they understood by this ceremony must have been something very different from what the missionaries understood by it.

After a sojourn of only seven weeks at Otongwe, Dom Goncalo da Silveira returned to Inhambane, leaving behind him the other members of the mission and what he believed to be an infant Christian community. The little vessel had taken in the cargo obtained in barter, and the Portuguese traders, who were ready to go on board, were waiting for him. The missionary embarked with them, the sails were set, and he proceeded to Mozambique to prepare for a visit to the monomotapa.

Having made his arrangements with the assistance of the captain Pantaleao de Sa, on the 18th of September 1560 he left the island again with the Kalanga country as his destination. He was accompanied by six Portuguese, one of whom, Antonio Dias by name, was a competent interpreter. The zambuco in which he was a passenger touched at the mouth of the Kilimane, and then proceeded to the Kuama, up which she made her way to Sena. From ten to fifteen Portuguese and a few Indian Christians were found at this place, living in the most dissolute manner. There was no resident clergyman, so during the two months that he remained here waiting for a reply to a message that he sent to the monomotapa, he pursued his calling and induced some of his countrymen to amend their habits, besides which he baptized about five hundred natives, mostly servants and slaves of the Europeans. At Sena he was joined by a Portuguese resident of Tete, named Gomes Coelho, who was living on terms of friendship with the paramount Kalanga chief, and who was conversant with his language.

At length a reply was received from the monomotapa, inviting the missionary to visit him, so he and his attendants set out over land for Tete, sending their luggage and other goods up the river in boats. At Tete a stay was made only sufficiently long to engage more native carriers, and the party then proceeded onward, forming quite a little caravan. Gomes Coelho remained at the river to attend to any forwarding business that was to be done, as he had ascertained that his presence with Dom Goncalo would not be needed. The road was long, and food became so scarce that they were glad to get any kind of edible wild plants, but on the 26th of December they reached their destination in safety.

At the kraal of the great chief there was living at this time a Portuguese adventurer named Antonio Caiado, one of a class of men met with then as now, who, while retaining affection for the country of their birth, can make themselves perfectly at home among barbarians. Caiado had ingratiated himself with the monomotapa, and was a councillor of rank and principal military authority in the tribe. He was deputed by the chief to wait upon the strangers, to bid them welcome as messengers from the viceroy of India, and to offer their leader a present of gold dust, cattle, and female slaves, as a token of friendship. The missionary declined the present, but in such a way as not to give offence, and shortly afterwards the great chief admitted him to an interview. He was received with all possible honour as an ambassador from the viceroy, who, from accounts of previous Portuguese visitors to the great place, was believed to be a potentate of enormous wealth and power. The message of friendship and the present which he brought gave great satisfaction.

Food and huts for himself and his retinue were offered and accepted with thanks, but the African chief was surprised when the missionary, so unlike all other white men he had met, courteously declined to accept the gold and female companions pressed upon him.

The same mistake was made here as at Gamba's kraal, the missionary addressed the chief and his assembled people through an interpreter, they professed to believe what he said, and allowed themselves to be baptized. This took place within a month from the date of his arrival. The monomotapa was a mere youth, and one of his half brothers, Tshepute by name, was in revolt against him. The insurgent had taken the title of kiteve, and was in possession of a broad tract of territory along the coast from Sofala to the Tendankulu river, in which he was quite independent. Under these circumstances it was evidently the interest of the monomotapa and his adherents to do nothing to offend any one who offered him friendship, especially one who represented a powerful, though distant ruler. Looking at the matter in this light, there is nothing strange in what occurred. The monomotapa received at his baptism the name Sebastiao, and his mother at hers Maria. Some three hundred of his councillors, attendants, and followers were baptized with him.

The chief evidently thought his visitors would not make a long stay, and he was very willing to entertain them for a few weeks and please them to the best of his ability, but shortly after his baptism he began to get weary of their presence. He had no intention whatever of abandoning any of the customs of his race, and was irritated when the missionary urged him to do so. Some Mohamedan refugees from Mozambique, who were staying with him, took advantage of his growing coldness to persuade him that Silveira was a mighty sorcerer. They reminded him of the loss of the presents which the officials of Sofala had made to his predecessors, and that Dom Goncalo had been in Tshepute's country, from which they inferred that he had left people behind him there and had come in advance as a spy to ascertain the condition of the land and bewitch the people in it. In the end they so worked upon his credulity and his fear that he resolved if the missionary would not leave to put him to death, with which resolution Dom Goncalo was made acquainted. He, however, declined to remove, and took no other precautions than to give some articles that he regarded as sacred to Caiado, with an injunction to preserve them from injury. In the belief that he was making converts he was willing to face death, and presently he baptized fifty individuals who expressed a desire to become Christians, probably for the sake of the beads and pieces of calico that he distributed among them. This was regarded by the monomotapa as a defiance of his authority, and in his wrath he issued orders to a party of men, who strangled the missionary during the night of the 16th of March 1561 and cast his dead body into the river Monsengense. The newly baptized narrowly escaped the same fate.

A drought of some duration occurred not long afterwards, and was followed by a great plague of locusts. Caiado and other Portuguese now persuaded the chief that these evils were consequences of the murder of Silveira, so he caused the principal Mohamedans who had poisoned his mind towards the missionary to be put to death.

Father Andre Fernandes and the lay brother Andre da Costa had been left by Dom Goncalo at Gamba's kraal Otongwe. Whether the lay brother died or left the country is unknown: in numerous letters written by Father Fernandes at a little later date neither he nor Joao Raposo is mentioned, and the father refers to himself as being quite alone. It was truly a wretched condition for a European to be in, especially as it soon became evident that the supposed converts were altogether indisposed to lay aside their old customs or to submit to ecclesiastical discipline. They would not abandon polygamy, or the belief in charms, or the practice of divination, or punishment of persons charged with dealing in witchcraft, and were greatly offended with the preaching of the missionary against their habits. They had a custom also—which still exists—that when a man died his brothers should take his widows and raise up a family for him, and this the missionary denounced to their great annoyance. At length matters reached a climax. There was a drought in the country, and the chief Gamba, who was also the rainmaker of his clan, went through the ordinary ceremonies to obtain a downpour. For doing this Father Fernandes openly and fearlessly rebuked him before his people, with the result that whatever influence he had before was now at an end. He had nothing left to buy food with, and at times was nearly starved. Neglected, often fever-stricken, regarded as a wizard to be avoided, after a residence of over two years at Otongwe he received instructions from his provincial to return to Goa, and so he left a country in which under the circumstances then existing he must have perished had he remained longer, without a chance of doing any good. Making his way as best he could to Inhambane, he proceeded to Mozambique in the trading vessel, and there embarked in a ship which conveyed him in an extremely debilitated condition to the convent of his order in Goa.

Thus ended the first mission to the Bantu of South Africa. It is possible that some traces of the doctrine of the teachers may have remained, for instance a belief in the existence of the devil; but as far as the introduction of Christian morals is concerned the mission had no result whatever. Without something beyond natural agency it could not have been otherwise among people such as the Makalanga at that time, whose race instinct was exceedingly strong, and whose political and social system was based upon ideas utterly antagonistic to those of Europeans.



1 The name of the bird given in the Bible is said, however, to be of Tamil origin, and to be used for the peacock (pavo cristatus) at the present day in Ceylon. This appears to be the greatest impediment to the supposition that the Ophir of scripture is the Rhodesia of today, unless there was intercourse between Eastern Africa and Southern India in those early times, in which case an African bird might have received from strangers a Dravidian name.

2 See his very interesting volume The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland, with a Chapter on the Orientation and Mensuration of the Temples by R. M. W. Swan, published in London in 1892, with several subsequent editions.

3 Habrahemo according to Barros, Abraemo according to De Goes.

4 Ycuf according to Barros, Cufe according to Castanheda and De Goes.

5 Variously spelt in books and on charts at present as well as in olden times Magadoxo, Magadaxo, Magadosho, Mogdishu, and Mukdeesha.

6 Variously spelt Melinde, Melinda, Maleenda, and Malindi.

7 Written also Monfia and Monfeea.

8 Spelt, also Angoxa, Angozha, and Angoche.

9 Variously spelt Chiluan, Chilwan, Chuluwan, Kiloane, &c.

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