A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.
called the Zenji, who had formerly conquered all that coast before the settlement of the Arabs.  From Zanguebar all the way to Cape Guardafu and the mouth of the Red Sea, the coast is called Ajam or Ajen, signifying in Arabic the country of the barbarians; the maritime parts being occupied by the Arabs, and the inland country by heathen Negroes.  Most of this coast is very low, covered by impenetrable woods, and subject to inundations, so that it is excessively hot and unwholesome.  The Negroes of this country are black with crisp curled hair, and are wonderfully addicted to superstition, being all idolaters; insomuch that upon the most frivolous motives they will give over the most important enterprises:  Thus the king of Quiloa failed to meet Don Francisco de Almeyda, because a black cat crossed his way when going out.  The cattle, fruit, and grain are answerable to the wildness of the country.  The Moors or Arabs, who inhabit this coast and the adjacent islands, seldom cultivate the ground, and mostly subsist on wild beasts and several loathsome things.  Such as live more towards the interior, and have intercourse with the barbarous Kafrs, use milk as a part of their diet.

As this country has been endowed by nature with much gold, an eager desire to procure that precious metal has induced, first the Arabs, and afterwards the Europeans, to possess themselves of various parts along the coast.  The first of the Arabs who came here were called Emozadi, which signifies subjects of Zayde, who built two inconsiderable towers, merely sufficient to defend them against the barbarous Kafrs.  Afterwards still greater numbers came from the ports about the city of Lazah, forty leagues from the island of Baharem[70] in the Persian gulf, who settled first Magadoxa and afterwards Brava.  The first Arabs separated from these, new comers, and mixing with the Kafrs became Bedouins, or Badwis, signifying people of the desert.  Those Arabs who first possessed themselves of the gold trade of Sofala were from Magadoxa, and discovered the gold mines by accident.  From thence they spread themselves farther towards the south, but durst never venture to navigate beyond Cape Corrientes, which is opposite to the south-wester-most part of the Island of St Lawrence or Madagascar.  Along this coast the Arabs had possessed themselves of Quiloa, Mombaza, Melinda, and the islands, of Pemba, Zanzibar, Monfia, Comoro, and others; Quiloa being the principal of their settlements, from whence many others had been formed, particularly on the coast of Madagascar.  Quiloa had been originally a peninsula, but by the encroachments of the sea it had become an island.  The soil produces many palms and thorn trees, and various herbs and plants; and the wild beasts, cattle, and birds resemble those of Spain.  The buildings in the places possessed by the Arabs resemble those in Spain, having flat roofs, with gardens and orchards behind.

[Footnote 70:  More properly Bahrayn, which signifies the two seas, being the Arabic dual of Bahr, the sea.—­Astl.  I. 59. e.]

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