A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.

In the same year, 1447, Alvaro Fernando proceeded to the coast of Africa, and is said to have advanced forty leagues beyond Tristan, having arrived at the mouth of a river called Tabite[11], 100 miles to the south of Rio Nuno.  Notwithstanding the appearance of a determined opposition on the part of the natives, who had manned five almadias, Alvaro resolved to explore its course in his boat, and proceeded up the river for that purpose, with the utmost circumspection.  One of the almadias stood out from the rest, and attacked his boat with great bravery, discharging a number of poisoned arrows, by which Alvaro and several of his men were wounded, which forced him to desist and return to his ship.  Being, however, provided with theriac and other antidotes against the poison, Alvaro and all his men recovered from their wounds.  He resolved, after leaving the river Tabite, to proceed along the coast, which he did to a sandy point; and, apprehending no danger in so open a situation, was preparing to land, when he was suddenly assailed by a flight of poisoned arrows, from 120 negroes who started up from a concealment.  Alvaro, therefore, desisted from any farther attempt to explore the coast, and returned to Lagos to give an account of his proceedings.

In the same year, ten caravels sailed from Lagos for Madeira, the Canaries, and the coast of Africa, but returned without making any progress in discovering the coast.  Under this year likewise, 1447, the Antilles, or Caribbee islands, are pretended to have been discovered by a Portuguese ship driven, thither by a storm.  But the fact rests only on the authority, of Galvano, a Portuguese historian, and is not at all credible.  Indeed the story is an absolute fable; as the inhabitants are said to have spoken the Portuguese language, and to have had seven cities in their island.  In the same year, Gomez Perez went with two caravels to Rio del Ouro, whence he carried eighty Moors to Lagos as prisoners.

About this period the progress of discovery was arrested by political disputes in Portugal, which ended in a civil war between Don Pedro, Duke of Coimbra, and King Alphonso V. his nephew and son-in-law, in the course of which Don Pedro was slain.  Don Henry appears to have taken no share in these disputes, except by endeavouring to mediate between his nephew and brother; and, after the unhappy catastrophe of Don Pedro, Don Henry returned to Sagres, where he resumed the superintendence of his maritime discoveries.

[1] Explained by the celebrated Dr Johnson, as “so named from its
    progression into the ocean, and the circuit by which it must be
    doubled.”  Introduct. to the World Displayed.—­Clarke.

[2] Cape Bojador is imagined to have been the Canarea of Ptolemy.—­
    Clarke I. 15

[3] The barcha is a sort of brig with topsails, having all its yards on
    one long pole without sliding masts, as still used by tartans and
    settees.  The barcha longa is a kind of small galley, with one mast
    and oars.—­Clarke, I. p. 153.

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