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.
the neighbouring tribes or nations; but they have no cavalry, for want of horses.  In war, their only defensive armour is a large target, made of the skin of an animal called Danta, which is very difficultly pierced; and their principal weapons are azagays or light darts, which they throw with great dexterity.  These darts are pointed with iron, the length of a span, and barbed in different directions, so that they make dangerous wounds, and tear the flesh extremely when pulled out.  They have also a Moorish weapon, much-bent like a Turkish sword or cimeter, and made of iron, without any steel, which they procure from the negroes on the river Gambia, as they either have no iron in their own country, or want knowledge or industry in working it.  Having but few weapons, or rather no missiles, their wars are very bloody, as they soon come to close quarters, and their strokes seldom fall in vain; and, being extremely fierce and courageous, they will rather allow themselves to be slain as save themselves by flight; neither are they disheartened by seeing their companions slain.  They have no ships, nor had they ever seen any before the Portuguese came upon their coast; but those who dwell upon the river Senegal, and some who are settled on the sea coast, have zoppolies or canoes, called almadias by the Portuguese, which are hollowed out of a single piece of wood, the largest of which will carry three or four men.  They use these almadias for catching fish, and for transporting themselves up or down the river.  The negroes of this country are the most expert swimmers in the world, as I can vouch from frequent experience of their dexterity.

[1] Cada Mosto is incorrect in the chronology of this discovery, and even
    de Barros is not quite decided as to the first discovery of the
    Senegal.  He says that Denis Fernandez passed it in 1446, and that
    Lancerot discovered it in 1447; the latter of which is eight years
    before the visit of Cada Mosto.—­Clarke.

[2] The northern mouth of the Senegal is in lat. 16 deg. 40’.  The southern in
    15 deg. 45’, both N. so that the distance between them, or the length of
    the island mentioned in the text, is about sixty-two miles.—­E.

[3] This fancy of all the great rivers in Africa being branches from one
    principal stream, is now known to be entirely erroneous.—­Astl.

[4] Although the first kingdom, or kingdoms of the Negroes lies on the
    Senegal, Senega, or Sanaghas, and others along the Gambia, yet there
    were not properly any kingdoms of these names.  On the north, indeed,
    of the Sanagha, lay the country of the Sanhaga, Azanaghi, or Azanhaji,
    from whence the river seems to have taken its name; but was divided
    among various tribes of people, and not under any one sovereign. 
    Geographers, however, have since continued to propagate this first
    error.—­Astl.

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