As in the first voiage I haue declared rather the order of the history, then the course of the nauigation, whereof at that time I could haue no perfect information: so in the description of this second voyage, my chiefe intent hath beene to shew the course of the same, according to the obseruation and ordinarie custome of the mariners, and as I receiued it at the handes of an expert Pilot, being one of the chiefe in this voyage, who also with his owne handes wrote a briefe declaration of the same, as he found and tried all things, not by coniecture, but by the art of sayling, and instruments perteining to the mariners facultie. Not therefore assuming to my selfe the commendations due vnto other, neither so bold as in any part to change or otherwise dispose the order of this voyage so well obserued by art and experience, I haue thought good to set forth the same, in such sort and phrase of speech as is commonly vsed among them, and as I receiued it of the said Pilot, as I haue said. Take it therefore as followeth.
Robert Gainsh was master of the Iohn Euangelist. In the yeere of our Lord 1554 the eleuenth day of October, we departed the riuer of Thames with three goodly ships, the one called the Trinitie, a ship of the burden of seuenscore tunne, the other called the Bartholomew, a ship of the burden of ninetie, the third was the Iohn Euangelist, a ship of seuen score tunne. With the sayd ships and two pinnesses (wherof the one was drowned on the coast of England) we went forward on our voyage, and stayed at Douer fourteene dayes. We staied also at Rie three or foure dayes. Moreouer last of all we touched at Dartmouth.
The first day of Nouember at nine of the clocke at night, departing from the coast of England, we set off the Start, bearing Southwest all that night in the sea, and the next day all day, and the next night after, vntill the third day of the said moneth about noone, making our way good, did runne threescore leagues.
The 17. day in the morning we had sight of the Ile of Madera, which doth rise to him that commeth in the Northnortheast part vpright land in the west part of it, and very high: and to the Southsoutheast a low long land, and a long point, with a saddle thorow the middest of it, standing in two and thirtie degrees: and in the West part, many springs of water running downe from the mountaine, and many white fieldes like vnto corne fields, and some white houses to the Southeast part of it: and the toppe of the mountaine sheweth very ragged, if you may see it, and in the Northeast part there is a bight or bay as though it were a harborow: Also in the said part, there is a rocke a little distance from the shoare, and ouer the sayd bight you shall see a great gappe in the mountaine.
The 19 day at twelue of the clocke we had sight of the isle of Palmes and Teneriffa and the Canaries. The Ile of Palme riseth round, and lieth Southeast and Northwest, and the Northwest part is lowest. In the South is a round hill ouer the head land, and another round hill aboue that in the land. There are between the Southeast part of the Ile of Madera and the Northwest part of the Ile of Palme seuen and fifty leagues. This Isle of Palme lieth in eight and twenty degrees. And our course from Madera to the Ile of Palme was South and South and by West, so that we had sight of Teneriffa and of the Canaries. The Southeast part of the Ile of the Palme, and the Northnortheast of Teneriffa lie Southeast and Northwest, and betweene them are 20 leagues. Teneriffa and the great Canary called Gran Canaria, and the West part of Forteuentura stande in seuen and twenty degrees and a halfe. Gomera is a faire Island but very ragged, and lieth Westsouthwest off Teneriffa. And whosouer wil come betweene them two Ilands must come South and by East, and in the South part of Gomera is a towne and a good rode in the said part of the Iland: and it standeth in seuen and twentie degrees and three terces. Teneriffa is an high land, with a great high pike like a sugar loafe, and vpon the said pike is snow throughout all the whole yeere. And by reason of that pike it may be knowen aboue all other Ilands, and there we were becalmed the twentieth day of Nouember, from sixe of the clocke in the morning, vntill foure of the clocke at afternoone.
The two and twentieth day of Nouember, vnder the Tropike of Cancer the Sunne goeth downe West and by South. Vpon the coast of Barbarie fiue and twentie leagues by North Cape blanke, at three leagues off the maine, there are fifteene fadomes and good shelly ground, and sande among and no streames, and two small Ilands standing in two and twentie degrees and a terce.
From Gomera to Cape de las Barbas is an hundred leagues, and our course was South and by East. The said Cape standeth in two and twentie and a halfe: and all that coast is flatte, sixteene or seuenteene fadome deepe. Seuen or eight leagues off from the riuer del Oro or Cape de las Barbas, there vse many Spaniardes and Portugals to trade for fishing, during the moneth of Nouember: and all that coast is very low lands. Also we went from Cape de las Barbas Southsouthwest, and Southwest and by South, till we brought our selues in twentie degrees and a halfe, reckoning our selues seuen leagues off: and there were the least sholes of Cape Blanke.
Then we went South vntil we brought our selues in 13 degrees, reckoning our selues fiue and twentie leagues off. And in 15 degrees we did reare the Crossiers, and we might haue reared them sooner if we had looked for them. They are not right a crosse in the moneth of Nouember, by reason that the nights are short there. Neuertheless we had the sight of them the 29 day of the said moneth at night.
The first of December, being in 13 degrees we set our course South and by East, vntill the fourth day of December at 12 of the clocke the same day. Then we were in nine degrees and a terce, rekoning our selues 30 leagues of the sholes of the riuer called Rio Grande, being Westsouthwest off them, the which sholes be 30 leagues long.
The fourth of December we beganne to set our course Southeast, we being in sixe degrees and a halfe.
The ninth day of December we set our course Eastsoutheast: the fourteenth day of the sayde moneth we set our course East, we being in fiue degrees and a halfe, reckoning our selues thirty and sixe leagues from the coast of Guinea.
The nineteenth of the said moneth we set our course East and by North, reckoning our selues seuenteene leagues distant from Cape Mensurado, the said Cape being Eastnortheast of vs, and the riuer of Sesto being East.
The one and twentieth day of the said moneth, we fell with Cape Mensurado to the Southeast, about two leagues off. This Cape may be easily knowen, by reason yet the rising of it is like a Porpose-head. Also toward the Southeast there are three trees, whereof the Eastermost tree is the highest, and the middlemost is like a hie stacke, and the Southermost like vnto a gibet: and vpon the maine are foure or fiue high hilles rising one after another like round hommocks or hillocks. And the Southeast of the three trees, brandiernwise: and all the coast along is white sand. The said Cape standeth within a litle in sixe degrees.
The two and twentieth of December we came to the riuer of Sesto, and remained there vntill the nine and twentieth day of the said moneth. Here we thought it best to send before vs the pinnesse to the riuer Dulce, called Rio Dulce, that they might haue the beginning of the market before the comming of the Iohn Euangelist.
At the riuer of Sesto we had a tunne of graines. This riuer standeth in sixe degrees, lacking a terce. From the riuer of Sesto to Rio Dulce are fiue and twentie leagues. Rio Dulce standeth in fiue degrees and a halfe. The river of Sesto is easie to be knowen, by reason there is a ledge of rockes on the Southeast part of the Rode. And at the entring into the hauen are fiue or sixe trees that beare no leaues. The is a good harborow, but very narow at the entrance into the riuer. There is also a rocke in the hauens mouth right as you enter. And all that coast betweene Cape de Monte, and cape de las Palmas, lieth Southeast and by East, Northwest and by West, being three leagues off the shore. And you shal haue in some places rocks two leagues off: and that, betweene the riuer of Sesto and cape de las Palmas.
Betweene the riuer of Sesto and the riuer Dulce are fiue and twentie leagues: and the high land that is betweene them both, is called Cakeado, being eight leagues from the riuer of Sesto. And to the Southeastwarde of it is a place called Shawgro, and another called Shyawe or Shauo, where you may get fresh water. Off this Shyawe lieth a ledge of rockes: and to the Southeastwarde lieth a hedland called Croke. Betweene Cakeado and Croke are nine or ten leagues. To the Southeastward off, is a harborow called S. Vincent: Right ouer against S. Vincent is a rocke vnder the water two leagues and a halfe off the shore. To the Southeastward of that rocke you shal see an island about three or foure leagues off: this island is not past a league off the shore. To the Eastsoutheast of the island, is a rocke that lieth aboue the water, and by that rocke goeth in the riuer Dulce, which you shall know by the said riuer and rocke. The Northwest side of the hauen is flat sand, and the Southeast side thereof is like an Island, and a bare plot without any trees, and so is it not in any other place.
In the Rode you shall ride in thirteene or foureteene fadomes, good oaze and sand, being the markes of the Rode to bring the Island and the Northeast land together, and here we ankered the last of December.
The third day of Ianuarie, we came from the riuer Dulce.
Note that Cape de las Palmas is a faire high land, but some low places thereof by the water side looke like red cliffes with white strakes like hie wayes, a cable length a piece, and this is the East part of the cape. This cape is the Southermost land in all the coast of Guinea, and standeth in foure degrees and a terce.
The coast from Cape de las Palmas to Cape Trepointes, or de Tres Puntas, is faire and cleare without rocke or other danger.
Twentie and fiue leagues from Cape de las Palmas, the land is higher then in any place, vntill we come to Cape Trepointes: And about ten leagues before you come to Cape Trepointes, the land riseth still higher and higher, vntill you come to Cape Trepointes. Also before you come to the said Cape, after other 5 leagues to the Northwest part of it, there is certaine broken ground, with two great rockes, and within them in the bight of a bay, is a castle called Arra, perteining to the king of Portugall. You shall know it by the said rockes that lie off it: for there is none such from Cape de las Palmas to Cape Trepointes. This coast lieth East and by North, West and by South. From Cape de las Palmas to the said castle is fourescore and fifteene leagues. And the coast lieth from the said castle to the Westermost point of Trepoyntes, Southeast and by South, Northwest and by North. Also the Westermost point of Trepoyntes is a low lande, lying halfe a mile out in the sea: and vpon the innermost necke, to the land-ward, is a tuft of trees, and there we arriued the eleuenth day of Ianuary.
The 12 day of Ianuary we came to a towne called Samma or Samua, being 8 leagues from Cape Trepointes toward Eastnortheast. Betweene Cape Trepointes and the towne of Samua is a great ledge of rockes a great way out in the sea. The pledge was sir Iohn Yorke his Nephew. We continued foure dayes at that Towne, and the Captaine thereof would needs haue a pledge a shore. But when they receiued the pledge, they kept him still, and would trafficke no more, but shot off their ordinance at vs. They haue two or three pieces of ordinance and no more.
The sixteenth day of the said month we made reckoning to come to a place called Cape Corea, where captaine Don Iohn dwelleth, whose men entertained vs friendly. This Cape Corea is foure leagues Eastwarde of the castle of Mina, otherwise called La mina, or Castello de mina, where we arriued the 18 day of the month. The castle of Mina perteining to the king of Portugall. Here we made sale of all our cloth, sauing two or three packes.
The 26 day of the same moneth we weighed anker, and departed from thence to the Trinitie, which was seuen leagues Eastward of vs, where she solde her wares. Then they of the Trinitie willed vs to go Eastward of that eight or nine leagues, to sell part of their wares, in a place called Perecow, and another place named Perecow Grande, being the Eastermost place of both these, which you shal know by a great round hill neere vnto it, named Monte Rodondo, lying Westward from it, and by the water side are many high palme trees. From hence did we set forth homeward the thirteenth day of February, and plied vp alongst till we came within seuen or eight leagues to Cape Trepointes. About eight of the clocke the 15 day at afternoone, wee did cast about to seaward: and beware of the currants, for they will deceiue you sore. Whosoeuer shall come from the coast of Mina homeward, let him be sure to make his way good West, vntill he reckon himselfe as farre as Cape de las Palmas, where the currant setteth alwayes to the Eastward. And within twentie leagues Eastward of Cape de las Palmas is a riuer called De los Potos, where you may haue fresh water and balast enough, and plenty of iuory or Elephants teeth. This riuer standeth in foure degrees, and almost two terces. Cabo de las Palmas. And when you reckon your selfe as farre shot as Cape de las Palmas, being in a degree, or a degree and a halfe, you may go West, and West by North, vntill you come in three degrees: and then you may go Westnorthwest, and Northwest and by West, vntill you come in fiue degrees, and then Northwest. And in sixe degrees, we met Northerly windes, and great ruffling of tides. And as we could iudge, the currants went to the Northnorthwest. Furthermore betweene Cape de Monte, and Cape Verde, go great currants, which deceiue many men.
The 22 day of Aprill, we were in 8 degrees and two terces: and so we ran to the Northwest, hauing the winde at Northeast and Eastnortheast, and sometimes at East, vntill we were at 18 degrees and a terce, which was on May day. And so from 18 and two terces, we had the winde at East and Eastnortheast, and sometimes at Eastsoutheast: and then we reckoned the Island of Cape verde Eastsoutheast of vs, we iudging our selues to be 48 leagues off. And in 20 and 21 degrees, we had the winde more Easterly to the Southward then before. And so we ran to the Northwest and Northnorthwest, and sometimes North and by West and North, until we came into 31 degrees, where we reckoned our selues a hundred and fourescore leagues Southwest and by South of the Island de los Flores, and there wee met with the winde at Southsoutheast, and set our course Northeast.
In 23 degrees we had the winde at the South and Southwest, and then we set our course Northnortheast, and so we ran to 40 degrees, and then we set our course Northeast, the winde being at the Southwest, and hauing the Ile de Flores East of us, and 17 leagues off.
In the 41 degrees we met with the winde at Northeast, and so we ran Northwestward, then we met with the winde Westnorthwest, and at the West within 6 leagues, running toward the Northwest, and then we cast about, and lay Northeast, vntill we came in 42 degrees, where we set our course Eastnortheast, iudging the Ile of Coruo South and by West of vs, and sixe and thirty leagues distant from vs.
A remembrance, that the 21st day of May we communed with Iohn Rafe, and he thought it best to goe Northeast, and iudged himselfe 25 leagues Eastward to the Isle de Flores, and in 39 degrees and a halfe.
Note, that on the fourth day of September, vnder nine degrees, we lost the sight of the North starre.
Note also, that in 45 degrees, the compasse is varied 8 degrees to the West.
Item, in 40 degrees the compasse did varie 15 degrees in the whole.
Item, in 30 degrees and a halfe, the compasse is varied 5 degrees to the West.
Be it also in memory that two or three daies before we came to Cape de 3 puntas, the pinnesse went alongst the shore, thinking to sell some of our wares, and so we came to anker three or foure leagues West and by South of the Cape de 3 puntas, where we left the Trinitie.
Then our pinnesse came aboord with all our men, the pinnesse also tooke in more wares. They told me moreouer that they would goe to a place where the Primrose was, and had receiued much gold at the first voyage to these parties, and tolde me furthermore that it was a good place: but I fearing a brigantine that was then vpon the coast, did wey and follow them, and left the Trinitie about foure leagues off from vs, and there we rode against that towne foure dayes: so that Martine by his owne desire, and assent of some of the Commissioners that were in the pinnesse, went a shoare to the towne, and there Iohn Berin went to trafique from vs, being three miles off trafiquing at an other towne. The towne is called Samma or Samua, for Samma and Sammaterra, are the names of the two first townes, where we did trafique for gold, to the Northeast of Cape de 3 puntas.
Hitherto continueth the course of the voyage, as it was described by the sayde Pilot. Nowe therefore I will speake somewhat of the countrey and people, and of such things as are brought from thence.
They brought from thence at the last voyage foure hundred pound weight and odde of gold, of two and twentie carrats and one graine in finenesse: also sixe and thirtie buts of graines, and about two hundred and fiftie Elephants teeth of all quantities. Of these I saw and measured, some of nine spans in length, as they were crooked. Some of them were as bigge as a mans thigh aboue the knee, and weyed about fourescore and ten pound weight a peece. They say that some one hath bin seene of an hundred and fiue and twentie pound weight. Other there were which they call the teeth of calues, of one or two or three yeeres, whereof some were a foot and a halfe, some two foot, and some 3 or more, according to the age of the beast. These great teeth or tusks grow in the vpper iaw downeward, and not in the nether iaw vpward, wherein the Painters and Arras workers are deceiued. At this last voyage was brought from Guinea the head of an Elephant, of such huge bignesse, that onely the bones or cranew thereof, beside the nether iaw and great tusks, weighed about two hundred weight, and was as much as I could well lift from the ground: insomuch that considering also herewith the weight of two such great teeth, the nether iaw with the lesse teeth, the tongue, the great hanging eares, the bigge and long snout or troonke, with all the flesh, braines, and skinne, with all other parts belonging to the whole head, in my iudgement it could weigh litle lesse then fiue hundred weight. Sir Andrew Iudde. The contemplation of Gods works. This head diuers haue seene in the house of the worthy marchant sir Andrew Iudde, where also I saw it, and beheld it, not only with my bodily eyes, but much more with the eye of my mind and spirit, considering by the worke, the cunning and wisedome of the workemaister: without which consideration, the sight of such strange and wonderfull things may rather seeme curiosities, then profitable contemplations.
The decription and properties of the Elephant. The Elephant (which some call an Oliphant) is the biggest of all foure footed beasts, his forelegs are longer then his hinder, he hath ancles in the lower part of his hinder legges, and fiue toes on his feete vndiuided, his snout or tronke is so long, and in such forme, that it is to him in the stead of a hand: for he neither eateth nor drinketh but by bringing his tronke to his mouth, therewith he helpeth vp his Master or keeper, therewith he ouerthroweth trees. Beside his two great tusks, he hath on euery side of his mouth foure teeth, wherewith he eateth and grindeth his meate: either of these teeth are almost a span in length, as they grow along in the iaw, and are about two inches in height, and almost as much in thicknesse. The tuskes of the male are greater then of the female: his tongue is very litle, and so farre in his mouth, that it cannot be seene: of all beastes they are most gentle and tractable, for by many sundry wayes they are taught, and doe vnderstand: insomuch that they learne to doe due honor to a king, and are quick sense and sharpenesse of wit. When the male hath once seasoned the female, he neuer after toucheth her. The male Elephant liueth two hundreth yeeres, or at the least one hundred and twentie: the female almost as long, but the floure of their age is but threescore yeres, as some write. They cannot suffer winter or cold: they loue riuers, and will often go into them vp to the snout, wherewith they blow and snuffe, and play in the water: but swimme they cannot, for the weight of their bodies. Plinie and Soline write, that they vse none adulterie. If they happen to meete with a man in wildernesse being out of the way, gently they wil go before him, and bring him into the plaine way. Ioyned in battel, they haue no small respect vnto them that be wounded: for they bring them that are hurt or weary into the middle of the army to be defended: they are made tame by drinking the iuise of barley. Debate between the Elephant and the Dragon. They haue continual warre against Dragons, which desire their blood, because it is very cold: and therefore the Dragon lying awaite as the Elephant passeth by, windeth his taile (being of exceeding length) about the hinder legs of the Elephant, and so staying him, thrusteth his head into his tronke and exhausteth his breath, or else biteth him in the eare, whereunto he cannot reach with his tronke, and when the Elephant waxeth faint, he falleth downe on the serpent, being now full of blood, and with the poise of his body breaketh him: so that his owne blood with the blood of the Elephant runneth out of him mingled together, which being colde, is congealed into that substance which the Apothecaries call Sanguis Draconis, (that is) Dragons blood, otherwise called Cinnabaris, although there be an other kinde of Cinnabaris, commonly called Cinoper or Vermilion, which the Painters vse in certaine colours.
Three kinds of Elephants. They are also of three kinds, as of the Marshes, the plaines, and the mountaines, no lesse differing in conditions. Philostratus writeth, that as much as the Elephant of Libya in bignes passeth the horse of Nysea, so much doe the Elephants of India exceed them of Libya: for the Elephants of India, some haue bene seene of the height of nine cubits: the other do so greatly feare these, that they dare not abide the sight of them. Of the Indian Elephants onely the males haue tuskes, but of them of Ethiopia and Libya both kindes are tusked: they are of diuers heights, as of twelue, thirteene, and fourteene dodrants, euery dodrant being a measure of nine inches. Some write that an Elephant is bigger then three wilde Oxen or Buffes. They of India are black, or of the colour of a mouse, but they of Ethiope or Guinea are browne: the hide or skinne of them all is very hard, and without haire or bristles: their eares are two dodrants broad, and their eyes very litle. Our men saw one drinking at a riuer in Guinea, as they sailed into the land.
Of other properties and conditions of the Elephant, as of their marueilous docilitie, of their fight and vse in the warres, of their generation and chastitie, when they were first seene in the Theatres and triumphes of the Romanes, how they are taken and tamed, and when they cast their tusks, with the vse of the same in medicine, who so desireth to know, let him reade Plinie, in the eight booke of his naturall history. He also writeth in his twelft booke, that in olde time they made many goodly workes of iuory or Elephants teeth: as tables, tressels, postes of houses, railes, lattesses for windowes, images of their gods, and diuers other things of iuory, both coloured, and vncoloured, and intermixt with sundry kindes of precious woods, as at this day are made certaine chaires, lutes, and virginals. They had such plenty thereof in olde time, that (as far as I remember) Iosephus writeth, that one of the gates of Hierusalem was called Porta Eburnea, (that is) the Iuory gate. The whitenesse thereof was so much esteemed, that it was thought to represent the natural fairenesse of mans skinne: insomuch that such as went about to set foorth (or rather corrupt) naturall beautie with colours and painting, were reproued by this prouerbe, Ebur atramento candefacere, that is, To make iuory white with inke. The Poets also describing the faire necks of beautifull virgins, call them Eburnea colla, that is, Iuory necks. And to haue said thus much of Elephants and Iuory, it may suffice.
The people of Africa. Now therefore I will speake somewhat of the people and their maners, and maner of liuing, with an other briefe description of Africa also. It is to be vnderstood, that the people which now inhabite the regions of the coast of Guinea, and the midle parts of Africa, as Libya the inner, and Nubia, with diuers other great and large regions about the same, were in old time called Æthiopes and Nigritæ, which we now call Moores, Moorens, or Negroes, a people of beastly liuing, without a God, lawe, religion, or common wealth, and so scorched and vexed with the heat of the sunne, that in many places they curse it when it riseth. Of the regions and people about the inner Libya (called Libya interior) Gemma Phrysius writeth thus.
Libya interior is very large and desolate, in the which are many horrible wildernesses and mountaines, replenished with diuers kinds of wilde and monstrous beastes and serpents. First from Muritania or Barbary toward the South is Getulia, a rough and sauage region, whose inhabitants are wilde and wandering people. After these follow the people called Melanogetuli and Pharusij, which wander in the wildernesse, carrying with them great gourdes of water. Æthiopes, Nigritæ. The riuer Nigritis or Senega. The Ethiopians called Nigritæ occupy a great part of Africa, and are extended to the West Ocean. Southward also they reach to the riuer Nigritis, whose nature agreeth with the riuer of Nilus, forasmuch as it is increased and diminished at the same time, and bringeth forth the like beasts as the Crocodile. By reason whereof, I thinke this to be the same riuer which the Portugals called Senega: For this riuer is also of the same nature. It is furthermore marueilous and very strange that is said of this river: And this is, that on the one side thereof, the inhabitants are of high stature and black, and on the other side, of browne or tawne colour, and low stature, which thing also our men confirme to be true.
People of Libya. There are also other people of Libya called Garamantes, whose women are common: for they contract no matrimonie; neither haue respect to chastitie. After these are the nations of the people called Pyrei, Sathiodaphnitæ, Odrangi, Mimaces, Lynxamatæ, Dolopes, Aganginæ, Leuci Ethiopes, Xilicei Ethiopei, Calcei Ethiopes, and Nubi. These haue the same situation in Ptolome that they now giue to the kingdome of Nubia. Here are certaine Christians vnder the dominion of the great Emperour of Æthiopia, called Prester Iohn. From these toward the West is a great nation of people called Aphricerones, whose region (as faire as may be gathered by coniecture) is the same that is now called Regnum Orguene, confining vpon the East parts of Guinea. From hence Westward, and somewhat toward the North, are the kingdoms of Gambra and Budomel, not farre from the riuer of Senega. And from hence toward the inland regions, and along by the sea coast, are the regions of Ginoia or Guinea, which we commonly call Ginnee. The Portugals Nauigation to Brasile. On the Westside of these regions toward the Ocean, is the cape or point called Cabo verde, or Caput viride, (that is) the greene cape, to the which the Portugals first direct their course when they saile to America, or the land of Brasile. Then departing from hence, they turne to the right hand toward the quarter of the winde called Garbino, which is betweene the West and the South. But to speake somewhat more of Æthiopia: although there are many nations of people so named, yet is Æthiopia chiefly diuided into two parts, whereof the one is called Aethiopia vnder Aegypt, a great and rich region. To this perteineth the Island Meroe, imbraced round about with the stremes of the riuer Nilus. In this Island women reigned in old time. Iosephus writeth, that it was sometime called Sabea: and that the Queene of Saba came from thence to Ierusalem, to heare the wisedom of Salomon. Prester Iohn Emperour of Aethiopia. From hence toward the East reigneth the said Christian Emperour Prester Iohn, whom some cal Papa Iohannes, and other say that he is called Pean Iuan (that is) great Iohn, whose Empire reacheth far beyond Nilus, and is extended to the coasts of the Red sea and Indian sea. The middle of the region is almost in 66. degrees of longitude, and 12. degrees of latitude. People of the Eastside of Africa. About this region inhabite the people called Clodi, Risophagi, Bobylonij, Axiuntæ, Molili, and Molibæ. After these is the region called Troglodytica, whose inhabitants dwel in caues and dennes: for these are their houses, and the flesh of serpents their meat, as writeth Plinie, and Diodorus Siculus. They haue no speach, but rather a grinning and chattering. There are also people without heads, called Blemines, hauing their eyes and mouth in their breast. Likewise Strucophagi, and naked Ganphasantes: Satyrs also, which haue nothing of men but onely shape. Moreouer Oripei, great hunters. Mennones also and the region of Smyrmophora, which bringeth foorth myrrhe. After these is the region of Azania, in the which many Elephants are found. A great part of the other regions of Africke that are beyond the Aequinoctiall line, are now ascribed to the kingdome of Melinde, whose inhabitants are accustomed to trafique with the nations of Arabia, and their king is ioyned in friendship with the king of Portugal, and payeth tribute to Prester Iohn.
The other Ethiope, called Æthiopia interior (that is) the inner Ethiope, is not yet knowne for the greatnesse thereof, but onely by the sea coastes: yet is it described in this manner. First from the Aequinoctiall toward the South, is a great region of Aethiopians, which bringeth forth white Elephants, Tygers, and the beastes called Rhinocerotes. Also a region that bringeth foorth plenty of cynamome, lying betweene the branches of Nilus. Also the kingdome of Habech or Habasi, a region of Christian men, lying both on this side and beyond Nilus. Here are also the Aethiopians, called Ichthiopagi (that is) such as liue onely by fish, and were sometimes subdued by the warres of great Alexander. Furthermore the Aethiopians called Rhapsij, and Anthropophagi, that are accustomed to eat mans flesh, inhabite the regions neere vnto the mountains called Montes Lunæ (that is) the mountaines of the Moone. Gazati is vnder the Tropike of Capricorne. After this followeth the front of Afrike, the Cape of Buena Speranza, or Caput Bonæ Spei, that is, the Cape of good hope, by the which they passe that saile from Lisbon to Calicut. But by what names the Capes and gulfes are called, forasmuch as the same are in euery globe and card, it were here superfluous to rehearse them.
Some write that Africa was so named by the Grecians, because it is without colde. For the Greeke letter Alpha or A signifies priuation, voyd, or without: and Phrice signifies colde. For in deed although in the stead of Winter they haue a cloudy and tempestuous season, yet is it not colde, but rather smothering hote, with hote showres of raine also, and somewhere such scorching windes, that what by one meanes and other, they seeme at certaine times to liue as it were in fornaces, and in maner already halfe way in Purgatorie or hell. Gemma Phrisius writeth, that in certaine parts of Africa, as in Atlas the greater, the aire in the night season is seene shining, with many strange fires and flames rising in maner as high as the Moone: and that in the element are sometime heard as it were the sound of pipes, trumpets and drummes: which noises may perhaps be caused by the vehement and sundry motions of such firie exhalations in the aire, as we see the like in many experiences wrought by fire, aire and winde. The middle region of the aire is cold. The hollowness also, and diuers reflexions and breaking of the cloudes may be great causes hereof, beside the vehement colde of the middle region of the aire, whereby the said fiery exhalations, ascending thither, are suddenly stricken backe with great force: for euen common and dayly experience teacheth vs, by the whissing of a burning torch, what noise fire maketh in the aire, and much more where it striueth when it is inclosed with aire, as appeareth in gunnes, and as the like is seene in onely aire inclosed, as in Organ pipes, and such other instruments that go by winde. The strife of Elements. Winde. For winde (as say the Philosophers) is none other then aire vehemently moued, as we see in a paire of bellowes, and such other.
The heate of the Moone. Some of our men of good credite that were in this last voiage to Guinea, affirme earnestly that in the night season they felt a sensible heat to come from the beames of the moone. The nature of the starres. The which thing, although it be strange and insensible to vs that inhabite cold regions, yet doeth it stand with good reason that it may so be, forasmuch as the nature of starres and planets (as writeth Plinie) consisteth of fire, and conteineth in it a spirit of fire, which cannot be without heat.
And, that the Moone giueth heate vpon the earth the Prophet Dauid seemeth to confirme in his 121. Psalme, where speaking of such men as are defended from euil by Gods protection, hee saith thus: Per diem Sol non exuret te, nec Luna per noctem. That is to say, In the day the Sunne shall not burne thee, nor the Moone by night.
They say furthermore, that in certaine places of the sea they saw certaine streames of water, which they call spouts, falling out of the aire into the sea, and that some of these are as bigge as the great pillars of Churches: insomuch that sometimes they fall into shippes, and put them in great danger of drowning. Some faine that these should be the Cataracts of heauen, which were all opened at Noes floud. But I thinke them rather to be such fluxions and eruptions as Aristotle in his booke de Mundo saith, to chance in the sea. For speaking of such strange things as are seene often times in the sea, he writeth thus. Oftentimes also euen in the sea are seene euaporations of fire, and such eruptions and breaking foorth of springs, that the mouthes of riuers are opened. Whirlepooles, and fluxions are caused of such other vehement motions, not only in the middest of the sea, but also in creeks and streights. At certaine times also, a great quantity of water is suddenly lifted vp and carried about with the Moone, &c. By which wordes of Aristotle it doth appeare that such waters be lifted vp in one place at one time, and suddenly fall downe in an other place at another time. A strange thing. And hereunto perhaps perteineth it that Richard Chancellor told me that he heard Sebastian Cabot report, that (as farre as I remember) either about the coasts of Brasile or Rio de Plata, his shippe or pinnesse was suddenly lifted from the sea, and cast vpon land, I wot not howe farre. The power of nature. The which thing, and such other like wonderfull and strange workes of nature while I consider, and call to remembrance the narrownesse of mans vnderstanding and knowledge, in comparison of her mightie power, I can but cease to maruell and confesse with Plinie, that nothing is to her impossible, the least part of whose power is not yet knowen to men. Many things more our men saw and considered in this voyage, woorthy to be noted, whereof I haue thought good to put some in memory, that the reader may aswell take pleasure in the variety of things, as knowledge of the historie. Among other things, therefore touching the maners and nature of the people, this may seeme strange, that their princes and noble men vse to pounce and rase their skinnes with pretie knots in diuers formes, as it were branched damaske, thinking that to be a decent ornament. Fine iewels. A bracelet. And albeit they goe in maner all naked, yet are many of them, and especially their women, in maner laden with collars, bracelets, hoopes, and chaines, either of gold, copper, or iuory. I my selfe haue one of their brassets of Iuory, weighing two pound and sixe ounces of Troy weight, which make eight and thirtie ounces: this one of their women did weare vpon her arme. It is made of one whole piece of the biggest part of the tooth, turned and somewhat carued, with a hole in the midst, wherein they put their handes to wear it on their arme. Some haue on euery arme one, and as many on their legges, wherewith some of them are so galled, that although they are in maner made lame thereby, yet will they by no meanes leaue them off. Some weare also on their legges great shackles of bright copper, which they thinke to bee no lesse comely. They weare also collars, bracelets, garlands, and girdles, of certain blew stones like beads. Likewise some of their women weare on their bare armes certaine foresleeues made of the plates of beaten golde. On their fingers also they weare rings, made of golden wires, with a knot or wreath, like vnto that which children make in a ring of a rush. Among other things of golde that our men bought of them for exchange of their wares, were certaine dog-chaines and collers.
They are very wary people in their bargaining, and will not lose one sparke of golde of any value. They vse weights and measures, and are very circumspect in occupying the same. They that shall haue to doe with them, must vse them gently: for they will not trafique or bring in any wares if they be euill vsed. At the first voyage that our men had into these parties, it so chanced, that at their departure from the first place where they did trafick, one of them either stole a muske Cat, or tooke her away by force, not mistrusting that that should haue hindered their bargaining in another place whither they intended to goe. But for all the haste they coulde make with full sailes, the fame of their misusage so preuented them, that the people of that place also, offended thereby, would bring in no wares: insomuch that they were inforced either to restore the Cat, or pay for her at their price before they could trafique there.
Their houses are made of foure postes or trees, and couered with boughes.
Their common feeding is of roots, and such fishes as they take, whereof they haue great plenty.
There are also such flying fishes as are seene in the sea of the West Indies. Our men salted of their fishes, hoping to prouide store thereof: but they would take no salt, and must therefore be eaten forthwith as some say. Howbeit other affirme, that if they be salted immediately after they be taken, they wil last vncorrupted ten or twelue dayes. But this is more strange, that part of such flesh as they caried with them out of England, which putrified there, became sweete againe at their returne to the clime of temperate regions.
They vse also a strange making of bread, in this maner. They grinde betweene two stones with their handes as much corne as they thinke may suffice their family, and when they haue thus brought it to floure, they put thereto a certaine quantitie of water, and make thereof very thinne dough, which they sticke vpon some post of their houses, where it is baked by the heate of the Sunne: so that when the master of the house or any of his family will eate thereof, they take it downe and eate it.
They haue very faire wheate, the eare whereof is two handfuls in length, and as bigge as a great Bulrush, and almost foure inches about where it is biggest. The stemme or straw seemeth to be almost as bigge as the litle finger of a mans hand, or litle lesse. The graines of this wheate are as big as our peason, round also, and very white, and somewhat shining, like pearles that haue lost their colour. Almost all the substance of them turneth into floure, and maketh little bran or none. I told in one eare two hundred and threescore graines. The eare is inclosed in three blades longer than it selfe, and of two inches broad a piece. And by this fruitfulnes the Sunne seemeth partly to recompence such griefes and molestations as they otherwise receiue by the feruent heate thereof. It is doubtlesse a worthy contemplation to consider the contrary effects of the sunne: or rather the contrary passions of such things as receiue the influence of his beames, either to their hurt or benefit. Their drinke is either water, or the iuise that droppeth from the cut branches of the barren Date trees, called Palmitos. For either they hang great gourdes at the said branches euery euening, and let them so hang all night, or else they set them on the ground vnder the trees, that the droppes may fall therein. They say that this kinde of drinke is in taste much like vnto whey, but somewhat sweeter, and more pleasant. They cut the branches euery euening, because they are seared vp in the day by the heate of the Sunne. They haue also great beanes as bigge as chestnuts, and very hard, with a shell in the stead of a huske.
Many things more might be saide of the maners of the people, and of the wonders and monstrous things that are engendered in Africke. But it shall suffice to haue saide this much of such things as our men partly sawe, and partly brought with them.
And whereas before speaking of the fruit of graines, I described the same to haue holes by the side (as in deede it hath, as it is brought hither) yet was I afterward enfourmed, that those holes were made to put stringes or twigges through the fruite, thereby to hang them vp to dry at the Sunne. They grew not past a foote and a halfe, or two foote from the ground, and are as red as blood when they are gathered. The graines themselues are called of the Phisicions Grana Paradisi.
Shels that cleaue to ships. At their comming home the keeles of their shippes were marueilously ouergrowne with certaine shelles of two inches length and more, as thicke as they could stand, and of such bignesse that a man might put his thumbe in the mouthes of them. They certainely affirme that in these there groweth a certaine slimie substance, which at the length slipping out of the shell and falling in the sea, becommeth those foules which we call Barnacles. The like shelles haue bene seene in ships returning from Iseland, but these shels were not past halfe an inch in length. Of the other that came from Guinea, I sawe the Primerose lying in the docke, and in maner couered with the said shels, which in my iudgement should greatly hinder her sayling. Their ships were also in many places eaten with the wormes called Bromas or Bissas, whereof mention is made in the Decades. These creepe betweene the plankes, which they eate through in many places.
A secret. Among other things that chanced to them in this voyage, this is worthy to be noted, that whereas they sailed thither in seuen weekes, they could returne in no lesse space then twentie weekes. The cause whereof they say to be this: That about the coast of Cabo Verde the winde is euer at the East, by reason whereof they were enforced to saile farre out of their course into the maine Ocean, to finde the winde at the West to bring them home. The death of our men. There died of our men at this last voyage about twentie and four, whereof many died at their returne into the clime of the colde regions, as betweene the Islands of Azores and England. Fiue blacke Moores brought into England. Colde may be better abiden then heate. They brought with them certaine black slaues, whereof some were tall and strong men, and could wel agree with our meates and drinkes. The colde and moyst aire doth somewhat offend them. Yet doubtlesse men that are borne in hot Regions may better abide colde, then men that are borne in colde Regions may abide heate, forasmuch as vehement heate resolueth the radicall moysture of mens bodies, as colde constraineth and preserueth the same.
This is also to be considered as a secret worke of nature, that throughout all Africke, vnder the Æquinoctial line, and neere about the same on both sides, the regions are extreeme hote, and the people very blacke. Whereas contrarily such regions of the West Indies as are vnder the same line are very temperate, and the people neither blacke, nor with curlde and short wooll on their heads, as they of Afrike haue, but of the colour of an Oliue, with long and blacke heare on their heads: the cause of which variety is declared in diuers places in the Decades.
It is also worthy to be noted that some of them that were at this voyage told me: That is, that they ouertooke the course of the Sunne, so that they had it North from them at noone, the 14. day of March. And to haue said thus much of these voyages, it may suffice.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51