The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A relation sent by Melchior Petoney to Nigil de Moura at Lisbon, from the Iland and Castle of Arguin, standing a little to the southward of Cape Blanco, in the Northerly latitude of 19 degrees, concerning the rich and secret trade from the inland of Africa thither: Anno 1591.

[Sidenote: Commodities fit for Arguin.] As concerning the trade to this Castle and Iland of Arguin, your worship is to vnderstand, that if it would please the kings maiesty to send hither two or three carauels once in a yeere with Flanders and Spanish commodities, as Bracelets of glasse, Kniues, Belles, Linnen-cloth, Looking-glasses, with other kindes of small wares, his hignesse might do great good here. For 50 leagues vp into the land the Moores haue many exceedingly rich golde mines; insomuch that they bring downe their golde to this Castle to traffique with vs: and for a small trifle they will give vs a great wedge of gold. And because here is no trade, the sayd Moores cary their golde to Fez being 250 leagues distant from hence, and there doe exchange the same for the forsayd kindes of commodities. By this meanes also his maiesty might stop that passage, and keepe the king of Fez from so huge a mass of golde. [Sidenote: Scarlet and fine Purple cloth greatly accepted.] Scarlet-clothes, and fine Purples are greatly accepted of in these parts. It is a most fertile country within the land, and yeeldeth great store of Wheat, flesh of all kindes, and abundance of fruits. [Sidenote: A good harbor before the Castle of Arguin.] Therefore if it were possible, you should do well to deale with his maiesty, either himselfe to send a couple of carauels, or to giue your worship leaue to traffique here: for here is a very good harbour where ships may ride at ancre hard by the Castle. The countrey where all the golde-mines are is called The kingdome of Darha. [Marginal note: Concerning this kingdome reade Leo Africanus a little after the beginning of his 6 booke.] In this kingdome are great store of cities and townes; and in euery city and towne a Captaine with certaine souldiers; which Captaines are lords and owners of the sayd townes. One city there is called Couton, another Xanigeton, as also the cities of Tubguer, Azegue, Amader, Quaherque, and the towne of Faroo. The which townes and cities are very great and fairely built, being inhabited by rich Moores, and abounding with all kinde of cattell, Barley and Dates. And here is such plenty of golde found vpon the sands by the riuers side, that the sayd Moores usually cary the same Northward to Marocco, and Southward to the city of Tombuto in the land of Negros, which city standeth about 300 leagues from the kingdome of Darha; and this kingdome is but 60 leagues from this Iland and Castle of Arguin. Wherefore I beseech your worship to put his maiesty in remembrance hereof; for the sayd cities and townes are but ten dayes iourney from hence. I heartily wish that his maiesty would send two or three marchants to see the state of the Countrey, who might trauell to the aforesayd cities, to understand of their rich trade. For any man may go safe and come safe from those places. And thus without troubling of your worship any further, I humbly take my leaue. From the Iland and Castle of Arguin the 20 of Ianuary 1591.

Your worships seruant

Melchior Petoney.

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Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:20