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.
is here named ingame by the Negroes, and is their principal food, either boiled or roasted under the ashes.  There are different kinds of this root produced on the island, but that which is known by the name of igname cicorero is preferred by the merchant vessels, all of which purchase considerable quantities as a sea-stock for their homeward voyage, and the Negroes cultivate them largely for the express purpose of supplying the ships[11].  This island is distinguished by a high mountain in the middle, thickly covered by tall, straight, and verdant trees, and its summit is continually enveloped in clouds, whence water is diffused in numerous streams all over the island.  A large shallow stream flows through the city of Pouoasan, supplying it with abundance of excellent water, which the inhabitants reckon of a medicinal quality, and allege that St Thomas would not be habitable if it were not for this river and its other numerous springs and rivulets.  The native trees are chiefly barren, and though some olives, peaches, and almonds, were planted by the early settlers, which soon grew with great luxuriance, they never bore any fruit, and this has been the case with all stone fruits that have been tried.  But the cocoa-nut palm, brought hither from Ethiopia, has thriven satisfactorily.  Repeated attempts have been made to cultivate wheat, but always unsuccessfully, though tried at different seasons of the year; as the ear would never fill, but always ran up to straw and chaff only.

In March and September, the sky is always overcast with clouds and mists, and continual rains prevail, which season is considered by the inhabitants as their winter.  In May, June, July, and August, which they call Mesi di Vento, or windy months, the prevalent winds are from the south, southeast, and southwest; but the island is sheltered by the continent from the north, northeast, and northwest winds; The summer months are December, January, and February, when the heat is excessive, and the atmosphere being continually loaded with vapour, occasions the air to feel like the steam of boiling water.  The shores of this island abound in many kinds of fish, and, during the months of June and July, the inhabitants catch a kind which they name le chieppe, which are singularly delicate.  In the seas between this island and the coast of Africa, there are prodigious multitudes of whales, both of the large and small kinds.—­Should you, Sir, be unsatisfied with my ill-written and confused information, I beg of you to consider that I am merely a seaman, unpracticed in literary composition.

[1] Ramusio.  Clarke I. 298.  This voyage was communicated by the relator
    to Count Raimond della Torre, a nobleman of Verona.—­Clarke.

[2] A description of the islands of Cape Verd, and an account of the
    supply of salt usually taken on board by the Portuguese ships at the
    island of Sal, for the purpose of laying in a sea store of salt fish,
    is here omitted.—­Clarke.

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