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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.
on the south by the kingdom of Gambra or Gambia; on the west by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the north by the river Senegal and the Azanhaji[4].  The king who reigned in Senegal in my time was named Zukholin, and was twenty-two years old.  This kingdom is not hereditary; but for the most part, three or four of the principal lords, of whom there are many in the country, choose a king, in the event of a vacancy, but always fix their choice on a person of noble lineage, who reigns only as long as he gives satisfaction to these great lords.  They often dethrone their kings by force; who, on the other hand, often render; themselves so powerful as to stand on their defence.  This renders the government unsettled, and is productive of civil wars; similar to Egypt, where the Soldan of Cairo is always in fear of being killed or banished.

The people are savages, and extremely poor, having no walled towns, and their villages are entirely composed of thatched cottages.  They use neither lime nor stone in building, not knowing how to make the one, or to form the other.  The kingdom of the Jalofs is small, and, as I was informed, extends only 300 miles along the coast, and about the same distance inland.  The king has no settled revenue; but the lords of the country court his favour, by making him yearly presents of horses, which being scarce, are in high estimation, together with horse furniture, cows, and goats, pulse, millet, and other things.  He likewise increases his wealth by means of robbery, and by reducing his own subjects, and those of neighbouring provinces to slavery, employing a part of these slaves to cultivate the lands which are assigned to him, and selling the rest to the Arabs and Azanhaji traders, who bring horses and other things for sale; as likewise to the Christians, since they have established a trade in these parts.

Every man may keep as many wives as he pleases.  The king has always upwards of thirty, and distinguishes them according to their descent, and the rank of the lords whose daughters they are.  He keeps them in certain villages of his own, eight or ten in one place, each having a separate house to dwell in, with a certain number of young women to attend her, and slaves to cultivate the land which is assigned for her maintenance, which they sow and reap, and to tend her cows and goats.  When the king comes to any of these villages, he brings no provisions along with him, as his women are obliged to support him and his retinue whenever he visits them.  Every, morning at sunrise, each of his wives in the village where he happens to reside, prepares three or four dishes of various viands, such as flesh, fish, or other dainties, cooked in their fashion; which are carried by the slaves to the kings pantry; so that in less than an hour, thirty or forty dishes are provided, and when the king has a mind to eat, he finds every thing ready at his command.  When he has eaten of such things as he likes best, the remainder is given to his retinue; but as this, diet is never very plentiful, they are but poorly fed.  He travels about in this manner, from place to place, visiting his several wives, by which means he has a very numerous issue and whenever one of his wives happens to fall with child, he visits her no more.  The lords or chiefs of the country live in a similar manner.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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