1600 ff.
Story of Dom Domingos, Prince of Warri

1-6-1604 Petrus Fernandez Barbosa, Dean of São Tomé diocese: Report

11) The diocese of São Tomé consists in the same island of São Tomé, the island of Principe, the island of Anno Bon, and the kingdom of Warri. Each of the said islands has one place inhabited by some Christians. This is by direct knowledge because [Pedro Fernandez Barbosa] was a vistator in that diocese.

16-9-1602 King Philip gives Domingos a scholarship for Coimbra

I, the King, declare to those who see this letter of mine, that, since I had Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, come from his land to study in Coimbra, and I have ordered him to be received in the college of the St. Jerome religious, which is in the city of Coimbra. I have decided that as long as he stays there to study, he should have from my account 200,000 reals annually, which should take effect on the day that the Rector of the college certifies that he has entered and begun his studies and continue thenceforward. Therefore I command Dom Fernando de Noronha, count of Linhares, my beloved nephew, state counsellor and overseer of my account, to enter into my account book the 200,000 reals for Dom Domingo, and send it to him annually on my behalf in installments at a good rate, for the purpose of his studies in that college, from the time he begins studying and thenceforward, as has been said. This letter shall have the force of a document etc.

Antao da Rocha drew up this letter in Lisbon, on 16 September 1602. Sebastião Perestrello was the scribe.

17-7-1604 King Philip to Vice-King of Portugal, Bishop Afonso de Castelo Branco: Domingos transferred to Colégio de Santo Agostinho in Lisbon

Reverend Bishop Count etc.: Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, requested of me that, since he has not yet receive payment of the 200,000 reals that I ordered to be paid from my account each year, and he is in dire need, my Court should look into the matter. And since he desired to finish his Latin in this city and acquire other good learning within three or four years, unless his father, the king of his country, calls him back earlier, he asked me to have the 200,000 reals paid to him and to be given other things contained in his petition.

Since his request is just and should be granted, and so that he can more easily finish his Latin and study other subjects, I request you to order the Rector of the College of the Brothers of St. Augustine of this city (to whom I am also writing) to take him into their college and to give him and his servants and one cleric accommodation befitting his state, and to be very careful to respect the person of this prince, so that he may not be in need and may be treated with the courtesy he deserves.

Also see that from the surplus in the treasury accounts of this city this year, he is paid immediately and without any delay all that he is owed from my account of the 200,000 reals and has not yet been paid. This you must pay him to satisfy what is owed, and from the first of next January 1605 and thenceforward you should give him from whichever government account gives the best rate 320,000 reals, and each year 200,000 reals more for the salary of a cleric who will accompany him in his studies, and for the upkeep and clothing of two servants who wait on him. The Rector should make clear to him that the said cleric and the servants owe obedience to the Rector, and the money shall be given to the Rector to spend as has been indicated.

Written in Valladolid on 17 July 1604.

[On the margin] Given to the same Prince on 22 August 1604.

17-7-1604 King Philip to Friar João de Valadares, Rector of Santo Agostinho: to enrol Domingos

To Friar Joaõ de Valadares. I, the King, send you greetings. Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, desires to finish his Latin in this city and study other useful subjects until his father sends for him. In order that he can do all this with greater comfort and peace, I request you to give him the necessary accommodation in your college for himself, two servants and a cleric, all of whom are to acommpany him while he studies. For the upkeep and clothing of himself and his servants and the salary of the cleric, I wrote to the Count Bishop, Vice-King of this realm to have deposited in one of the banks of this city where the rate is best 320,000 reals, which you shall receive and spend for the requirements of this prince and his servants. You are to look after him with particular care so that he suffers from no need. And I strongly charge you to treat him with the courtesy due to persons of his state. This special care which I said you should have and the efforts you make I will appreciate very much and consider it a great service [vos agardecerej mujto e volo terej em seruiço??].

Written in Valladolid, 17 July 1604.

[On the margin] Given to the same prince on 2 August 1604.

12-1-1605 King Philip to the Vice-King of Portugal, Bishop Pedro de Castilho: to pay Domingos' stipend

Reverend Bishop etc.: I have seen four recommendations of the Council of my Treasury and another from Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, who requests me to please have him paid in the custom house of Buarcos, where he has coming to him 200,000 reals each year for his studies in Coimbra, which was accumulating for him during the time he was absent from the college and spent on his requisitions, without however presenting any certification from the Rector of the College of São Jeronimo. To continue doing him favour I think it is good to grant him what he asks, as the Council of my Treasury recommends and the Vice-King agrees.

Written on 12 January 1605.

18-3-1606 Vice-King of Portugal to King Philip: Domingos transfers to the Jesuit school, Colégio de Santo Antão

In the Jesuit College of Santo Antaõ, where your Magesty had Dom Domingos, prince of Warri, transferred, has no accommodation for him, since they are just finishing the construction of that house and for that reason it was not possible to do as your Majesty commanded, as the Rector explained to you, telling me that he would be very pleased for his Order to be of service to your Majesty, if the accommodation situation permitted...

13-5-1606 King Philip to the Vice-King of Portugal: The same

Reverend Bishop etc.: In your letter of 18 March you told me of the inconveniences that the Jesuits of the College of S. Antaõ, in this city of Lisbon, have in admitting Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, in the way I had ordered, and that the Provincial of the Jesuits and the Rector of that college wrote to me about the same inconveniences. Nevertheless it is very important to assure the education of the said Dom Domingos, for the reasons that you have been made to understand; so I think it advisable to try again (as I am doing). Call the same Provincial again and tell him from my part that for the special confidence I have of what can be achieved if the Society takes charge of him, I strongly recommend to him that he give orders to admit Dom Domingos now without any more delay either in the College of Lisbon or in that of Coimbra. And give him as many reasons as you can think of to persuade him to do this, especially that, for the style of life that Dom Domingos will have in any part of his land, a quite simple accommodation will suffice.

8-7-1606 The Vice-King of Portugal to King Philip: To send priests to Benin and Warri

Likewise I sent to your Majesty another recommendation of the Council of India on the letter that the Bishop of São Tomé wrote to your Majesty, in which it seems a response is required. I am of the same opinion as the Council...

I think your Majesty should order the bishop to report whether Antonio de Mello has the obligation of maintaining a priest on the island of Anno Bon, and if he does not then your Majesty should have one paid for from of your account. Likewise I think that your Majesty should order him to report how he is going to finance the two priests whom he thinks should be sent to the king of Warri and the king of Benin, and that he should negotiate with those kings that they should do so from their accounts. Your Majesty should also write to the bishop expressing appreciation for the care he is taking in sending a priest to the king of Warri, and explain to him that when your Majesty receives the information you will reply...

26-9-1606 Vice-King of Portugal to King Philip: Jesuits have no accommodation for Domingos

Memorandum of 26 September 1606. Lord...

The Provincial of the Jesuits visited [ujo??] the College of Coimbra personally and informed me that in the college there was no accommodation where Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, could stay, except in the quarters of the religious. And because there is no place either for him to stay in his College of Santo Antaõ of this city, I am informing your Majesty of this so that you may know, and may order what you decide. May God guard you...

31-10-1606 King Philip to the Vice-King of Portugal: Find accommodation

Reverend Bishop etc.: Since, as you have written me, there is no facility to house Dom Domingos in the Jesuit College of Santo Antaõ of this city of Lisbon and there is no reason why he should spend more time without accommodation, I urge you strongly to speak to the Rector of that college and on my behalf give him the responsibility of looking for some rooms as close to the college as possible, where he can comfortably stay, since the said Rector, besides having him taught and instructed in the college, should also have the responsibility of looking after his behaviour, putting him on the right path and arranging for what will assist him and his servants, so that they do not go astray, and by the regulation of his house, the same as if he lived within the college, and seeing that he is quickly paid what I order him to be given for his upkeep and other necessary things, and spend it at his order. In this way, all the quiet and comfort that he lacks by not staying in the college and the inconveniences of living outside can be largely compensated.

So let the said Rector know that I would be very pleased if he would do everything in conformity to what has been said. You shall also advise the Provincial of this so that he may be aware of it, and you shall give me a report of what is done.

Written on 31 October 1606.

23-11-1607 King Philip: Free trade allowed with Warri

I, the King, inform those who see this letter that, considering how much it will serve God and myself by opening the ports and commerce and trade with the kingdom of Warri, on the coast of Guinea, as well as to have divine worship celebrated there and our holy Catholic Faith preached there and to promote a true knowledge of the Faith among the indigenous of the same kingdom and the unbelieving idolators of those territories, as well as for the profit and usefulness which can result from it to my realms and to the indigenous themselves of that kingdom, I commanded my Financial Council to discuss the matter and to gather information about the persons who reside in or sail to that territory. Being in agreement with what the said Council recommended and with the great care they took in this matter, I am pleased with every aspect and, since Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, also asked me on behalf of his King, I grant him that all the ports of his kingdom be opened for commerce with all my vassals of these realms and the realms of Portugal, to trade there from now onwards, in the same manner as is don in our realms of the Congo. This decree shall be carried out entirely and exactly as it provides, without any delay or impediment. May this hold firm etc.

Francisco de Brito composed this in Lixboa, on 23 Novermber 1607.
Juan Aluarez was the scribe.

10-3-1608 The Counsel of Portugal to King Philip: Allow Domingos to return home

Lord: The king of Warri, which is one of the kingdoms on the coast of Guinea, eight years ago sent to Portugal, along with a letter to your Majesty, his elder son, Dom Domingos, to study and learn good manners, so that he could help with the conversion of that gentile people (which must be gone about with care) as well as to govern his kingdom. By order of your Majesty and at the cost of your account, the said Dom Domingos studied all the while, the first few years in Coimbra at the College of the Order of Saõ Jeronimo, and now in Lisbon under the responsibility of the Jesuits, as your Majesty recommended.

A few days ago he wrote a letter to your Majesty saying that the king, his father, was calling for him, and that your Majesty should please give him permission to go and kiss your hand, and with that be able to make his journey. At the advice of the Bishop Inquisitor General, who was still in charge and did not want to give him permission, understanding that Dom Domingos asked this without an order from his father. He told him to settle down and continue his studies, taking counsel on all this with the Vice-King, saying that if he saw a letter from his father he would not stop him from returning, but would do all he could to help, promising that he would have all he was supposed to be given for his departure, and that he was excused from coming here.

The Marquis Vice-King now answers this letter, saying that Dom Domingos showed him the letter of of his father, where it is clear that he is calling for him. He also says that your Majesty should give him permission to go, since he does not see that there is any advantage in his staying here, and that for his colour he is well enough instructed. If your Majesty agrees, he will make all arrangements for what he must be given to depart.

Examining this in Counsel, we recommend that, since the said Dom Domingos requested to go and it is established that the king, his father, is calling him, that you should write to the Marquis that he should tell him that your Majesty is in full agreement. And because of the work of preparing for the journey he is excused from coming here. The Marquis should recommend what should be given to him for his departure, which should be enough for him to travel in comfort. Your Majesty shall order what you see fit.

Madrid, 10 March 1608.

[On the margin] This is all right.

11-2-1609 King Philip's reply: Provides for Domingos' return

I saw a recommendation of the Council of India on the observations that Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, gave. On the first point (which is about an answer requested by the letter which he brought from his father), since this letter cannot be found, he must be given a general answer in a way to give him satisfaction.

On the second point, concerning the prelate, priests and religious which he requests, I approve of what the said Council's recommendation to send him now one learned and virtuous priest along with two other priests, that they be provided with what is necessary for travel and, from my chapel, with what they need for divine worship. And that they may be provided with what will enable them to achieve what this mission is setting out to accomplish, you shall on my behalf tell the Bishop/ Chaplain Major, to find out which subjects can be sent, with consideration of the competing parties in need, and in particular that they be old Christians, and especially ones that seem to him more suitable. You shall inform me about this, so that I may choose for you what is best.

On the third point, concerning the arms he requests, It is best to write to the Governor of São Tomé, recommending him to have good communication with the said king of Warri, but without promising anything. But Dom Domingos should be given for himself a complete set of steel armour, a visor, an axe and a sword.

On the fourth point, on the pepper and other drugs that he says exist in his kingdom, this should not be settled now, leaving this point until we hear from persons who have been to that kingdom, who can give us advice as to what exactly should be done.

On the fifth point, on the habits which he requests, it is good to accord him the habit of [the Order of] Christ, both himself, the king his father, and his brother.

On the sixth point, on the freedom that he requests from having to pay duty on the materials which are to be sent to this kingdom, since it is clear from his letter that they are for the service of the churches, it is good to grant him this request, on the basis that these materials are for the service of the churches and are sent to the Chaplain Major, as the said Council recommends.

On the seventh point, which is his request that his stipend should continue, which I sent him for his upkeep until he pays his debts, and that he be aided with the cost of these, it is good to grand him 500 cruzados once and for all, with the declaration that it will be given to him after he returns from Santiago.

On the eight point, on the servants, men of my house, which he asks to take as horsemen, it is good that of those who were with him he should take four of the said group, with a declaration that they are free from old age.

On the ninth point, on the habit which he requests for Antonio Martins dAbreu, he should be told that there is no place now to give this to him now, as the Council recommends.

On the tenth point, on his sollicitation that I should choose as my Chaplain Manoel dAlmeida, who is his own, and for the bishop of the island of Madeira to provide him with a chapter, it is good for him to consult with the said prince, and if it is first ascertained that he is used to the job he should be received as my Chaplain.

On the eleventh point, on the caravels that he requests for his travel and the provision that they be provided with the help of expenses in whichever of my ports that they arrive, should he experience a shipwreck, it is good that the ships that go to the island of São Tomé should give him passage and upkeep for himself and ten servants. The same holds for the said provision, with the declaration that the said help of expenses will be given him only if he docks from necessity, and it will be only for what is necessary for him to continue his journey. You shall have a reply given to him in conformity with this resolution and have the necessary despaches sent and have him provided immediately what I have command him to be given for this journey, so that he not be delayed because of anything lacking.

9-3-1609 Mesa da Consciencia e Ordens: admits Domingos to Order of Christ

Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, presented in this Council a message of Count Almirante that your Majesty should grant him and his brother and the king, his father, the habit of the Order of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he asks that they should have the provisions sent so that he can be vested in the said habit. That the said provisions may take effect, you should have the required provisions made, according to the Statutes of the Order.

We recommend that, in view of the quality of the petitioners and to that their petition may be granted quickly as befits the favour your Majesty is granting him, and because there is no presumption or suspicion of any kind of obstacle, your Majesty should be pleased to have made in this city the said provisions and the investiture according to the Statutes.

In the Council, 9 March 1609.
aa) A.o Furtado de M.a P./ J. Ferás/ Dom Ant.o Mãz/ Domingos Rib.o C./ B.or dias P.to/ Dõ J.o Coutinho.

19-5-1609 King Philip, on sending priests to Warri

On the same day I saw a recommendation of the Bishop Chaplain Major on the priests that I commanded him to propose to be sent to the kingdom of Warri. In consideration of what the Bishop said, it is good to send now the religious that he appoints, and I request you to order that to take effect.

a) Antonio Uiles de Çimas.

30-6-1609 Mesa da Consciência: on the habits given to Domingos

"On the habits of the Order of Christ, which I granted to the king of Warri for himself and his two sons." The King is in agreement with this.

1-12-1609 King Philip: Allow Domingos to take the habit of the Order of Christ

In the letter of his Majesty on 1 December 1609:

I saw a recommendation of the Council of Conscience on Dom Domingos, son of the king of Warri, who claims to have made profession in the Order of Christ, without having done the year and one day of his novitiate, and that his father and another brother of his who were also granted the habit of this order can make profession in the kingdom of Warri. For the reasons he gives for this, and to complete the favour given, it is all right to allow him this dispensation, and to give him the necessary documents, in the form that the Council recommends.

28-6-1610 King Philip to Vice-King Marquez: Domingos' marriage and an attack on him

Honorable Marquis Vice-King etc.: Dom Domingos, Prince of Warri, wrote me a letter, enclosed with this one, in which he tells me of his marriage with a daughter of Dom Christouaõ Pereira, niece of the Count da Feira, and he complains of a judge in that city called Francisco Carualho, who seized all his servants to settle a fight which an official of his house had with officials of the house of the ship-off-loader Antonio Pinto dAmaral. Entering his house at 2:00 A.M. with two policemen and many other men, they broke down the doors with great violence, as if he were a killer.

I request you to gather information on this complaint of his and, if what he says in the letter is true, give him in my name the compensation that you think is necessary. so that he may be satisfied and have no more complaint. Inform me of what you have done about this, and also about the manner of his marriage.

Written in Madrid, 28 June 1610.

11-8-1610 King Philip to Vice-King Marquez: Domingos should leave as soon as possible

Honorable Marquis etc.: I saw your letter of the 10th of this month in reply to what I wrote to you about the complaint of Dom Domingos, Prince of Warri, against Francisco Carualho, criminal justice of this city. Regarding your advice that he should depart, since he was sent off many days ago and has not yet gone, I wrote to him to go now and as fast as possible, as you can see by the copy of the same letter enclosed with this one. I request you to do all you can to hasten his departure as much as you can.

Written in Aranda, 11 August 1610.

22-9-1610 King Philip to Vice-King Marquez: Domingos delays

Honorable Marquis etc.: In the enclosed letter of Dom Domingos, Prince of Warri, you can see the reasons he gave for not yet having departed, as I had ordered him to do as quickly as possible. So that he may do so, he asks me to be aware of the reasons that he lists. I request you to look into the excuses that he offers and do your best to see that he can depart.

Written in Agilafuête, 22 October 1610.

1620 Pedro da Cunha: Ad limina report: Domingos is back in Warri

When Bishop Peter arrived in the diocese in 1616, by letters he confirmed King Sebastian in the Catholic Faith, which the king, as a true Catholic, greatly appreciated, and asked him for a priest. The previous one had died a few days before, whom he greatly mourned. But because no one was found who was willing to go and stay there because of the poverty of the king and of his kingdom, the bishop sent a priest with the option of returning with the same ship, so as to to pastoral work for a little while. A whole year has gone by and this priest is still there.

Bishop Pedro has constantly, through many letters, presented the miseries of that Christian people to the Catholic King, imploring his vast consideration to sent at least one priest with a fitting salary to come to the aid of so many souls, but up to now has had no reply. King Sebastian has long been suffering from old age, but all the Portuguese bear witness to how well he has maintained the Catholic Faith with so long an absence of a priest. He hiimself teaches his people Christian doctrine and leads them in processions with great devotion.

This King Sebastian, after some years, sent a son of his who was not legitimate to the Catholic King so that he could devote himself to study of sacred dogma and theology, so as to later serve the most great and good God as a priest. Although he received abundant gifts and favours from his Catholi Majesty, ne neglected his studies and married a noble Portuguese lady and came back to his country. Although he is illegitimate, because of his superior knowledge of the Catholic Faith which he learned in Portugal, his father thought he was likely to persevere more firmly in it; so he chose him as his successor. But the prince successor did not imitate his father's goodness, and when his wife died without children he showed a harsher attitude to the Portuguese.

Outside that small town of St. Augustine, there are many other Christians, while even in that town only a minority profess the Catholic Faith and many of these are nominally Christian. Nearly the whole Christianity is centered around the king himself and the prince; the rest are nominally Christian only to please the king. Only with difficulty do they bring their children for sacred baptism, thinking that the children will die immediately after baptism. Most of the men take women without hte sacrament of matrimony; they circumcise their children and make use of sorcery and superstition. Therefore Bishop Pedro wrote earnestly to the King and instructed a priest to take note of everything that was going on there, so that he could do all he could to teach and introduce the pure Faith according to the norm of the Catholic Church.

Near this diocese there are very many other kingdoms, all of them full of pagan barbaric practices. But if there were enough workers they could easily be converted to the Catholic faith. It is therefore a worthy task of his Catholic Majesty, whose help Bishop Pedro often and incessantly has implored. He now implores again and again his Holiness Pope Paul V and the Apostolic Holy See, in fulfilment of his pastoral office, to send letters to his Catholic Majesty urging him to provide ministers and to write to those kings to embrace the Catholic Faith which he himself holds. For if he writes charitably to them and sends some ministers, the harvest will be great.

26-6-1625 Philip IV to the governors of Portugal: Send two Capuchins

... I agree with all that the Council of Conscience advised in the first chapter of their recommendations which treats of the ecclesiastical ministers of that island and how important it is for the bishop to reside there. You shall order him to do precisely that and that he should leave for there as soon as it is necessary, that he should arrange his departure as soon as possible. Regarding the particular points of the seconde and third chapters, it is good to send some Jesuits who are such as are usually sent to similar missions. Likewise two Capuchin religious of the Order of St. Francis should be sent to the prince of Warri.

1644 Samuel Blommaart, reported by Olaf Dapper in 1668 - This translation was kindly made by Mr Dirk Bins of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Lagos, with some stylistic ajustment by myself.

Lagos and Kuramo

Sixteen miles east of Little Arder lies Rio de Lagos (so named by the Portuguese), on the sea. A reef blocks the river, except on the west side, where it can be crossed in a boat, but not without danger of being knocked apart by a rough sea. A little ways inland from the first town on the east bar, a waterway goes westward past other towns. But the Lagos River goes up north or northwest to a stream that wanders eastwards to a the town of Kuramo, on the south side.

In Kuramo there are karoene?? cloths brought from the Gold Coast, and are bought at a good price by our people.

The kingdom of Ulkami or Ulkuma

The kingdom of Ulkami or Ulkuma [i.e. y], a powerful territory, lies straight east of Arder, between the kingdom of Arder and Benin, in the northeast; thus it does not reach the coast.

From this kingdom come many slaves, some captured in battle, some enslaved in punishment for their crimes. They are brought to little Arder and there sold to the Dutch and Portuguese to be forwarded to the West Indies.

The slave-children are circumcized in a Muslim way. Similarly the girls are circumcised in a peculiar way: When they reach the age of ten or eleven, sticks covered with ants from the bush are inserted in their private parts so that they eat the flesh. New ants are added occasionally to make them bite more forcefully.

The kingdom of Benin

The kingdom of Benin, also called Great Benin after its capital, borders in the Northeast on the Kingdom of Ulkami, Isago and Oedobo, in the North on that of Gaboe (eight days north of the great city of Benin), in the East on the Kingdom of Istanna en Forcado, or Owerre, and in the South on the sea.

How far the Kingdom of Benin stretches to the North is still not known because some places are separated from each other by inaccessible forests, but from East to West it has a length of a hundred miles.

In this kingdom there are many cities whose names are still not known. Many unknown cities lie eight or nine days travel from Benin, near Ulkami. Also there is an endless number of small villages and hamlets in the countryside along the river of Benin. First there is a village called Loebo in the local language, and on the other shore Arbon or Argon, an open village fifteen miles upriver, about two hundred and fifty meters deep and twenty-five meters wide. Inland there is only forest with some narrow tracks where two people cannot walk side by side.

Some twenty miles further up the same river is the village Gotton, of the same depth as Arbon but much wider.

Nine or ten miles after Gotton, fifteen miles inland to the north is the city of Benin, known among us as Great Benin because of its size (although it is not called "Great" locally); rather the indigenes call it Oedo.

The city is, together with the Court of the Queens, some five or six miles in circumference; apart from that Court it is three miles round inside the gates. On one side there is a wall of ten feet high, with double palisades made out of heavy tree-trunks with joints of five or six feet, joined crosswise and tightly filled-up with red clay. This wall lies only to one side of the city. On the other side, where there is no wall, there is a marsh and thick bushes, which are a considerable protection of the city.

The city has a number of gates, 8 or 9 feet high and five feet wide, with doors made of one solid piece of wood, that hinge on a pin just like the farm gates in our own country.

The King's court is square and stands on the right hand side of the city, if you enter through the Gotton gate. It is as big as the city of Haarlem and ringed with a special wall, just like the one around the city. The court is subdivided into many beautiful palaces and apartments for the courtiers, with long and clean square galleries almost as big as the Stock Exchange of Amsterdam, one bigger than the other, resting on wooden pillars and decorated from top to bottom with images of their war deeds and battles depicted in copper. All very well maintained. All the palaces in this court are covered with palm leaves instead of square planks. Every roof has a small tower ending in a peak and on the top of that there are copper birds with widespread wings, sculpted in a very artistic and lifelike manner.

The city has thirty very wide and very straight streets, each some 120 feet wide, or as wide as the Heeregracht or the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam, from the houses on one side to those on the other. And they are crossed by many wide but slightly smaller cross-streets. The houses stand along the streets in good order, close together like in our country, with gables, steps and roofs decorated with palm or banana leaves. They are not highter than one floor, but large, especially the houses of the nobility, with long galleries inside and divided by nicely decorated red clay walls into may rooms. By rubbing and polishing they manage to make these walls as flat and as smooth as any stucco wall in Holland. They shine like mirrors. The floors are made of the same clay. Every house has its own well. In brief, the houses are constructed as everywhere in that region.

One day's journey to the east of the city of Benin is a village or town called Kosso.

The country of Benin consists of low-lying wooded territory, crossed by rivers and full of swamps; but some areas are not well endowed with water, especially between Gotton and Great Benin, where the King has ordered some people to provide travellers with water. There are big pots with cool and fragrant water, clear as crystal, with shells as drinking utensils next to them. Nobody is allowed to take a drop of water without paying the fixed price. Although there is no supervisor, they do deposit the money.

The kingdom is irrigated by a river that is called Arbo by the locals and Rio de Benin by the whites, which is Portuguese for "River of Benin". This river, eighteen miles to the east of Rio Lagos, has a wide mouth at the sea which is a reasonably good entrance for yachts and sloops, but upriver, near the villages of Arbon and Gotton, it becomes very narrow and curvy. Downriver the river is ten feet deep in the middle at high tide, and has many branches. One of them, about three miles from the sea, connects with the river Lagos.

They have here all kinds of fruits, including oranges and lemons, especially along the road between Gotton and the City of Great Benin. The land produces pepper, called Benin pepper by the Dutch, but this is not available in large quantities. It grows just like the East-Indian pepper but has smaller grains. Cotton grows in large quantities all over the country. It is very nice, and the natives make cloth out of it. For a number of years in Mouré on the Gold Coast the Dutch have planted cotton seed as an experiment. That resulted in large plants and ripe fruit in the month of November.

The land supports many wild and tame animals, like tigers, leopards, boar, deer, civet and wild cats, elephants, horses, roosters, donkeys, goats and sheep that do not have wool but hair; these have long legs and taste good. There are many sorts of suricates, squirrels, tortoises, snakes etc. There are many birds, parrots, pigeons, storks, as well as large birds like ostriches and so many other kinds of birds.

The rivers support many crocodiles, huge hippopotami and many edible and good-tasting fish. They have a small fish that if you touch it makes your arm shake and shiver; because of that we call it the shiver-fish.

The country is heavily populated and has a large nobility. The population is decent and surpasses the rest of all the blacks along that coast in all respects. They live peacefully among themselves under good and just laws and are respectful not only to the Dutch and all the others that visit their coast for commercial purposes but also among themselves. The men look more elegant than the women. They do not indulge in stealing or drinking, but they do indulge in whoring.

Their dress is very similar to that of Arder. The wealthy wear two or sometimes four garments, the one shorter than the other, sown in such a way that the lower one is visible though the upper one. The common people wear only one garment over their naked body.

The women wear a blue garment over their lower body to below their calves. Some of them wear smaller garments over their breasts. They decorate their hair in beautiful tresses, one side black and one side painted red, wound along the top of their heads, like a wreath, and they wear yellow copper rings on their arms.

No man in allowed to go dressed at the Court before he has been dressed by the King. There are men of some twenty-four years of age in the King's Court who walk around stark naked, without any shame, and with only a string of Coral or Jasper around their neck. Similarly they may not wash their hair until that moment. But when the King gives them clothes, he usually gives them a wife at the same time and in that way makes the boys into men. After that they are always dressed and wash their hair; they no longer need to scrape it off with a knife. Similarly the women may not wear clothes until they receive clothes from their husbands. That is why you see in that counry ladies of twenty or twenty-five years of age walking stark naked along the streets without any sense of shame. But if a man wants to clothe them, he makes a house for them and sleeps with them, just as with his other wives.

Every man marries as many wives as he wants and can feed. Besides that he has a large number of concubines. Among themselves they have an excess of carnal lust and lewdness. But a white man or a Christian can hardly find a prostitute in that country for fear of punishment, because this is forbidden by law and punishable by death.

The woman who has borne her deceased husband a son, will be made a servant of her son and will not be given as a wife to another man. She has to serve him and is not allowed to take a new husband without the consent of her son. If it happens that a man likes such a widow, then he asks her son for permission to take her as a wife, while promising, in her place, another young daughter as his wife. And this daughter has to remain his slave, as long as he wants. The man is not allowed to sell or trade the woman or the old mother without the King's consent, if the son wants it that way.

A daughter is not given in marriage until she is 12 or 14 years old. After that the father has nothing to do with her any longer.

All married women revert to the King after their husbands' death and he gives them as wives to other men. A dead man's childless wives revert partly to this man's eldest son. Others are taken as wives by others.

It also happens that the king does not give out some of these women in marriage. He then makes them King's Companions who have to pay to the King an annual tax. These women, who do not have to fear a husband's yoke, select as many lovers as they want and happily play the role of a prostitute, although they occasionally do the same in their married state. These King's Companions, when they get pregnant and give birth to a son, receive a reprieve of their taxes. A daughter will be given out in marriage by the King.

There are important King's Companions who are accountable only to the King and to whom the lesser ones are accountable, as the notables are accountable to the Fiadors or State Counsellors.

A man does not sleep with his wife after childbirth until the child is one and a half and able to walk. She meanwhile satisfies herself with others. If the husband learns about this, he will complain about her to the Fiadors.

You find no twins, although it can be assumed that they are born. It is suspected that the midwife smothers one of them, because bearing two children is in that country considered to be a shame, since they are of the opinion that one man cannot be the father of both children.

They bury their dead with all their clothes on, and butchermainly for persons of ranka certain number of slaves to serve the deceased in the other world; they spend seven days dancing and singing, with drums and other instruments, around the grave. Sometimes they dig up the bodies, to honour them with new sacrifices of men and beasts, and they lament, as before, with loud lamentations. When a woman dies, her friends will come and take her pots and pans and chests and other utensils, put them on their heads and go along the streets with drums and other instruments, singing in honour of the deceased. If she is a woman of rank, then a number of slaves is killed at the gravesite and included in the burial. It has happened that a certain woman, when she lay dying, ordered that 87 slaves be killed at her grave. Finally, to make it a round number of 80, she ordered a slave boy and girl to be added. No person of any status dies there wihout a price for it being paid in human blood.

Inheritances are arranged in the following way: The man takes all that the woman leaves behind, without leaving anything to the children except what their mother has given them during her lifeime. On the other hand, a woman is not permitted to touch any of her husband's possessions after his death, since all of these, wives, slaves and other goods, revert to the King. If there are sons, the King often appoints the eldest son as sole heir of his father's slaves and goods, and also of his childless wives. For the wives who have born children are given to others in marriage.

Trade between foreigners and natives takes place up the Benin River, near the village of Gotton, where the Dutch come with sloops and yachts, but only by order of the King. The King selects some Fiadors or State Counsellors and Merchants and only they can approach the Europeans, whom they call whites. It is totally forbidden for those whose occupation is war, to deal with whites. They dare not even come into their establishments, let alone buy some European wares from them. They are compelled to buy for very high prices from these Fiadors and Merchants. On the other hand no Merchant or Fiador is permitted to occupy himself with anything relating to war, because each should remain within the confines of his job. Also no woman is allowed in a white establishment, because such might lead to slander.

When a ship with its cargo calls on this coast, a Passador will be sent to the King to inform him. He then instructs two or three Fiadors, accompanied by twenty or thirty Veeljes (Merchants) to go downriver to do business with the whites. Immediately and with great diligence they travel overland from the city of Benin to Gotton. They provide themseslves with as many canoes and rowers as they need, taking them away from their rightful owners even if these might need them themselves. If these owners complain, they point to the King and ask if they are not slaves of their King and if all their property does not belong to the King, and they order them henceforth to remain silent; if not they will be sent to the court. After arriving in Gotton, or wherever they have to go, they select the best houses and bring, without even asking the owners, all their goods inside. If the house happens to be too small, they tell the owner to add another one and then they use it as their own, in such a way that the owner himself has nowhere to live. In the same way, the owner is expected to cook for them from the first day, without getting anything in return.

When the Fiadors for the first time come to the establishments, they are very formally dressed, with jasper around their neck, and kneel and transmit the greetings of the King and his Mother and of the greatest Fiadors, in whose name they bring some foodstuffs as a present. They are very obsequious, and ask about the state of the country, about wars against enemies etc. Then they have a drink and take their leave, without any mention at all of commerce. The next day they come again and ask to be allowed to see the newly arrived goods, which are then shown. The goods they have bought before are offered at the same price. But for the new ones a new price is determined; since they bargain as hard as they can, this can take many months. As soon as the price is set, business is done.

The goods that the Dutch and the other peoples of Europe buy in the river of Benin are cotton clothlike in Rio Lagos at Kuramojasper, slaves (but only women, because they do not allow men to leave the country), leopard skins, some pepper and akori. The last is some bluish coral that is excavated by divers. It grows, like all other coral, like a tree in the water. Our people take this akori, which the natives here make into oblong corals, to the Gold Coast to sell to the blacks there. The women wear them as ornaments in their hair.

The pieces of cloth, mentioned earlier, called mouponoqua by the natives and Benin cloth by the whites, are made of cotton yarn, completely blue, or striped white and blue. They are four bands or two rods wide and two and a half or two and three quarters rods long. Then there are smaller pieces, three of which form one piece. These they call ambasis. Some of these are made locally, some brought there from elsewhere.

In exchange for this cloth, the Dutch offer the natives local and imported wares such as: gold and silver cloth, red cloth, vases with red stripes on one end, all kinds of cotton, linen, orange, lemon and green paste, red velvet, yellow copper armbands of five and a half ounces each, lavender, violet quispel-?? grains, bad karzeien??, fine beads, Harlem cloth with big flowers and heavily starched, red-glass ear pendants, iron rods, gilded mirrors, crystals, and East-Indian horn-shells [= cowries], which they use instead of money.

The big pieces cloth, especially the striped ones, our people sell again on the Gold Coast, where they are much in demand. But the uniformly blue ones are mostly in demand along the river Gobon and Angola.

Every three or four days there is a market in Gotton where the people from Great Benin, Arbon and other villages in the area come shopping and where not only the cloth mentioned earlier is sold, but also all kinds of foodstuffs. Not everyone is allowed to do business with the Dutch, only those who have permission from the King. These buy from us and from other whites European goods that they sell again in Gotton. The inhabitants of Great Benin trade other pieces of cloth among themselves. These are made in the city of Koffo, one day's journey to the east of Great Benin. No whites are allowed there.

Along the road from Gotton to the city of Benin are many wide squares which are used on certain days as well stocked markets, where crowds of people from the surrounding area appear to do business.

All fights and disputes that occur while doing business are brought before the nobles and decidedsince the local judges have little or nothing to say and theyand as long as they are there, they represent the king.

The weapons these people carry are shields, bows, assagais and arrows coated with poison, produced artfully by the fetish men or exorcists. When the nobles go to war, they dress in red cloth, bought from the Dutch, in order to distinguish themselves from the others. Others wear collars made from elephant teeth mixed with leopard teeth, and high Turkish hats, lined with leopard or civet skin, and with a horse's tail hanging from it.

Ordinary soldiers have a silk-thin cloth over their lower bodies and leave the upper body naked.

In battle they preserve good martial discipline; nobody is allowed to step back one inch even if he were facing death. Nobody gets any spoils except for the Field Marshal, whom they call Owe-Aserry or Siasseere, unless they take it stealthily and hold it back for themselves. In spite of that, everybody thanks the King that he judges them worthy to parade and do battle for him.

All remaining, unspent arrows are brought, after the war or battle, to special rooms in the King's armoury. Immediately the fetish men or exorcists produce and covered with poison as many new ones as are deemed necessary for the next wars.

The King of Benin in one day can call twenty thousand men under arms. If necessary 80 or even 100 thousand. This makes him un-opposable with the surrounding peoples. His army is run by his Field-Marshal, called Owe-Asserry, who has full command over the entire army and is allowed to do everything he pleases, as if he were the king himself.

The King of Benin rules with unlimited and cruel power and calls all his subjects, however noble lords they may be, his slaves. No children are recognised as his slaves until they are displayed by their father or mother to the King. He then gives the order to mark the child with a considerable incision. Only then is the child recognised as a slave, just like all the others. For all his people, great or small have to admit being slaves of the King.

His territory covers many cities, villages and hamlets. There is no other king around who possesses so many beautiful cities and villages. Some Kingdoms, like Istanna, Forkado, Jaboe, Isago and Oedobo, pay tribute to this Kingdom, although Isago is the most powerful Kingdom and is the least subservient to the King of Benin.

In Great Benin, among other officials appointed by the King for the management of the country, are three High Imperial Counsellors (called Fiadors by the Portuguese). No one is over them but the Field-Marshal, the nearest man to the King, and the mother of the King. Each of them rules over a certain quarter of the town and they make huge profits from that. Their offical names are: Ongogue, Osade and Arrbo. In the same way a number of counsellors or Fiadors is appointed in each and every city or village. They rule on all cases that do not carry corporeal punishments and decide the penalty of the accused according to the seriousness of his crime. But cases carrying corporeal punishment are forwarded to Great Benin, where the Supreme Judge holds office, and are treated there, since there are daily court sessions. But often the Judges often, without the knowledge of the King, but with the tacit permission of some of the greatest Fiadors, are bribed with money. The village of Gotton is ruled by five noblemen and the village of Arbon by seven.

The King maintains a large number of women, at present over a thousand. Because with the death of his Father Kembaje he received as inheritance all the wives of his father that did not have children. Those who have had children are not permited to marry again. They are locked in a cloister and looked after by eunuchs. If any of these women would have an affair and were caught, she would have to die immediately, together with her mate.

The King of Benin wages large scale foreign wars against neighbouring kings beyond the Benin River to the East and to the North. He conquers many villages from them and collects many spoils, including jasper and other objects.

On a special day once each year the King proceeds from his court before his people, on horseback, beautifully decorated with all kinds of Royal decorations and accompanied by three or four hundred noblemen, both on horseback and on foot, together with a multitude of happily playing musicians in front and behind. As is depicted in the accompanying drawing of the city of Benin. He does not go far away from the court but returns there afer a few diversions. On that occasion the King has paraded some tame chained leopards, that he likes to keep. Similarly many dwarfs and deaf people, that he likes to look at, come out. At this moment of celebration some ten, twelve, thirteen or more slaves are killed in honour of the King, by strangling or decapitating them. For they believe that these slaves, after having been dead for some time, will go to another country and be revived and then will be better off and even have slaves of their own. There is also a day when the King displays all his riches at court to the people and then he gives to persons of merit many presents, like slaves, women and other things. On that occasion he also awards many appointments to manage villages and cities.

The King's mother is especially honoured. She has a special court, just outside the city, beautiful and well built, where she resides with many women and daughters. Her advice is heard in many national policy matters. But because of a special law the King and his mother are not allowed to see each oher as long as they live.

If a King happens to die, then in his court a big hole is dug, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, and so deep that those who dig it die in the water. In this hole they throw the corpse of the King and all his favourites that appear there and offer to accompany their King in order to serve him is his other life, although this favour is granted only to those who served him most closely during his life. There is much argumentation about this. When those who have obtained this favour have descended into the hole with the corpse of the King, then a big stone is placed over the mouth of the hole and the people keep standing day and night around the stone. The next day some are sent to take off the stone and ask those in the hole what they are doing and whether somebody went already to serve the King. They get the answer "No".

On the third day they ask the same question again and then may get the reply that one or another has been the first to undertake the journey hence, and another followed as the second. These are praised by all and considered most lucky.

After four or five days all these people die. When there is no one left who answers, this will be immediately reported to the new King, who lights a huge bonfire on top of the hole, where a large amount of meat is roasted. This ceremony is his dedication.

After the hole is filled up, multitudes of people are cut down in the streets or in their very houses and the cut off heads are covered with a cloth that no one dares to take away except for two man-eating species of birds: one called Gorè, and another called Akalles.

There are those who say that in the hole no living people but dead and decapitated corpses are thrown.

In the grave next to the corpse large amounts of royal costumes, household articles and money are deposited.

They hold, upon royal decree, occasional commemoration feasts for deceased Kings, with gruesome sacrifice of men and beasts, annually up to four or five hundred. But they never butcher more people than twenty-three in one day, mostly criminals who deserve death and are kept in jail specially for such a festive day. If it so happens that on the day of the commemoration there are not enough criminals in chains or in jail, then the King, in order to make complete the perfect number for this sacrifice, sends some of his men in the evening out into the streets to catch anyone who goes out without a light and put him in the dungeon. If the man caught happens to be an ordinary one, he will immediately and without any hesitation be thrown into the dungeon where he can expect nothing but certain death. A rich man can buy himself free. Not even a slave of the most powerful Fiadors is free from this ordeal, except that his master may exchange him for another slave. In the same way any fetish man, who wants to make a sacrifice to the Devil, can obtain by order of the court a human being that he can deal with just as he likes.

The Crown is inherited by the sons, and in the absence of sons, by the brothers. When the King is on his death bed and leaves sons (as is usual because of the multitude of wives) he asks for one of the nobles, the one they call Onegwa. To him he indicates the inheritor of the kingdom, and the nobleman is not allowed to tell anybody until the King has been dead for some time. Immediately after the death of the King this nobleman takes charge of the King's possessions. The Kings children come then and appear before him and salute him on their knees, even though no one knows yet who will inherit the crown. They will vie among themselves in offering to this nobleman the largest amounts of money, in order to become King. But he does not dare to reveal anything to any of them. Then, when time is ripe, he calls for the Owe-Asserry or Siassere, the Field-Marshal being the man next to the King, who comes and asks the Onegwa what he has to say. And he tells him which son of the King has been nominated as inheritor of the crown. Then the Field Marshal asks four or five times if the King has really said so. To this he answers "Yes", and then the Field-Marshal returns home, without saying a word. When this is done, the Onegwa calls back the son who has been named King by his deceased father and instructs him to go forthwith to the Field-Marshal and offer him many goods in order that he may appoint a new King quickly. He then tells the new King to go home. After five or six days the Field-Marshall appears in court again. He calls the Onegwa and asks him again, two or three times, whether the King has really said so. And if he answers "Yes", then the indicated inherior of the Crown will be summoned, instructed to go down on his knees and then he is told that he is the ruler of the country. After that he thanks them, rises, puts on the royal robes and sits down.

Then all the vassals, from the Field-Marshal down to the lowest vassal, come and prostrate themselves before the King and salute him. As soon as this ceremony is over, the King has to move to another village, called Ooseboe, to set up his court there because his time to rule has not yet come. He can come to Benin after sacrificing to the devil some human beings or cattle, like horses or cows or something else for the sake of his father. He will then be smeared with the blood of the butchered cattle. When at last the aforementioned Field-Marshal thinks that time is ripe and the new King has learnt enough lessons, then he will be called to Benin by the Field-Marshal, where henceforth he will hold court and rule as it pleases him.

Once on the throne the new King will at once try to do all his other brothers in, in order to rule in a safer atmosphere and to have no competitors for the crown. He does not usually let them live to an older age than twenty or twenty-five out of fear that they will conspire with the friends of some murdered Fiador. Something similar happened a few years ago when the present King of Benin ordered his people to smother his brother, who with the help of some nobles, tried to poison him with a piece of cloth on his mouth. Then he called all his brother's supporters and, when they were all present, told them that in order to alleviate his sickness he wanted to kill them all and then had their heads cut off. Some say that the King orders his brothers to hang themselves (since no one is allowed to kill people of royal blood), but after their death he buries them with great honour and display.

Their religion consists in the worship of the devil, to whom they sacrifice men and beasts. For although they know well that there is one God who has created heaven and earth and who still rules, they do not deem it necessary to pray to him, because he does not do them any harm, but rather is good to them. They rather try to satisfy with sacrifice the Devil, who always does them harm. They call god Orisa, and the whites Owiorisa, meaning God's child. They have their fetishes, or demons, made of wood or green plants, that they adore and whose instructions they follow. Each has his own fetish man or devil-chaser, who puts questions to the devil or speaks to him. The devil then answers through the fetish man and prophesies what will happen to them in war or on other occasions. This happens, for example, through a sound that emanates from a pot with three holes, as has been mentioned earlier. They annually scrifice substantially to the sea, to put the sea in a favourable mood, and their weightiest oaths ar by the sea or by their King. They have many holidays that they celebrate by dancing, jumping, making music and butchering cattle and people in order to honour their fetishes, together with joyful eating and drinking.

In the village of Loebo, located at the head of the river Arbon or Benin, there lives a mighty fetish man, a village head after whom the village is named, whose forebears have practised this art for many generations. According to the villagers, they were able to put many different spells upon the sea, to churn the waters of the sea and to know in advance the arrival of ships from foreign countries. The King of Benin then gave the fetish men this entire village with all its people and slaves. And this Loebo, who knows strange tricks and always has a possessed look so that no one dares to touch him, possesses this village by inheritance.

When they come there, the envoys from Benin are afraid of him. And he in his turn is not allowed to come in or near Great Benin, because of a certain taboo instituted long ago by the Kings of Benin, even though they did greatly honour many of such fetish men.

The Kingdom of Isago, Iaboe and Odobo

The Kingdom of Isago, which is tributary to the King of Benin, borders Benin on the west. The country has many horses, which the inhabitants use in war.

Some years ago the Isago attempted with a few thousand horsemen to take Benin by surprise. However their attempt was thwarted and they themselves were defeated and made tributary. For the Beni learnt about the attack beforehand and dug many pits in the open field, covered them with soil and advanced toward the Isago, who defended themselves vigourouly. The Beninese then slowly and intentionally withdrew and retreated among the pits, the location of which they recognised because of certain markings. And the more vigorously the Isago persued their enemies, the more they got trapped in the pits, from which their enemies hauled them out and beat them to death. Since then they never again dared to undertake anything against Kombadje, the King of Benin, but voluntarily became his tributaries.

On the same western border of Benin are, like Isago, but of less power, the Kings of Jahoe and Odobo. The King of Isago surpasses by far the power and the capacities of Jaboe and Odobo, and is the least subservient to the King of Benin.

The Kingdom of Istanna

The Kingdom of Istanna, that lies to the east of the Kingdom of Benin, used to be a powerful kingdom. Later it was defeated by the Beni and made subject.

The Kingdom of Gaboe

The Kingdom of Gaboe is situated on the river Benin, about eight days upriver of Great Benin. The country produces much akori, which we buy there and sell on the Gold Coast. It also poduces jasper. Our people trade mostly in slaves. They are gentle people, mostly like the Beninese.

The Kingdom of Biafar or Biafra

To the east of Benin is the Kingdom of Biafar or Biafra, according to Ananie and Linschoten which in the west borders on some mountains that separate this Kingdom from the Kingdom of Medra. It stretches south up to the fourth degree North. The capital of this Kingdom is also called Biafra and lies according to Hues on six degrees and ten minutes.

The inhabitants are remarkably inclined toward magic and witchcraft, more than any other blacks and they believe that with this knowledge they can produce whatever they want: rain, thunder, lighting. And for this they feel that they have to honour the devil to such an extent that they sacrifice to him not just beasts and herbs, but even their own children.

The Kingdom of Ouwerre or Forkado

Some twenty four miles east of the Benin river another river comes to the sea, which is called Rio Forkado by the Portuguese and around that area the Kingdom of Ouwere [Warri], also Forkado, is situated.

The river is plesantly situated, in the shadow of the trees that stand on both sides, it is about half a mile wide and can be navigated by yachts with a depth of seven to eight feet.

One mile inland, on a branch of the river, is a fishing village called Poloma.

About 27 miles upriver is the city or village Ouwerre, where the King holds court. It is about half a mile in circumference and surrounded by forest. There are fine buildings, mainly belonging to the nobility, covered as in Benin with palm-leaves and constructed out of grey earth (which is red in Benin).

The court is arranged as in Benin, but on a smaller scale.

It is an unhealthy country because of the extreme heat and the evil and suffocating vapours, which in a short time kill the people, natives included, who come on the river to trade with the natives and sleep carelessly in the open under the moon.

The lands are barren and without grass, but produce year after year many tree fruits, coconuts, sour and sweet oranges as well as other trees and fruits that grow on the ground. They also produce pepper, like in Benin, but not in large quantities, because they don't plant much. Bananas grow in abundance, and the locals also grow mandihoka [casavva], out of which they make corn to bake bread.

Due to the meagreness of the pastures they do not have any domesticated work animals, like horses or cows, but rather many quite large chickens. The locals fry them very nicely, in their own fat mixed with an egg yolk. Fish is available in considerable quantities and occasionally also sea-cows, which taste good.

The men are well built and the women also have a good figure, according to local standards. All natives, men and women, are marked with three incisions, each on inch long: one in the forehead above the nose, and one on each temple, next to the eye. They can wear their hair short or long, whichever way they like. In many things these locals are more clever than those of Benin.

Their dress is similar to that of Benin, but some also wear beautiful fine cotton or silk cloth, (which the Beninese do not dare to do) the size of small bedsheets, up to their armpits. They tie it an artistic knot above their navel.

Everyone is permitted to take as many women as he wants, or as he can get. Occasionally the King hands out some widows.

The Dutch come to trade on the Forkado river and bring there things they obtain in Benin, which they exchange for slaves, (for here you can get the best and the most suitable slaves, up to four hundred per year), jasper and akori, but those are few and small in size. And they are very fussy about them; they hardly want to sell them except for a higher price than they are worth. The blacks are not mild, quiet traders, but will bargain for days and months to get things for a low price, and then later they will always stick to that price. In this they resemble the Beni very much.

The Portuguese always gave them credit, but our people did not want to do so, because they created some difficulties, but now they have grown used to it so that they now bring the slaves when they collect their merchandise. The women come just like the men to our warehouses and are not ashamed of anybody.

The King of Ouwerre, although tributary to the King of Benin, rules his country in an absolute manner, and has an alliance with him.

The King ususally has three high noblemen as his counsellors. They have been given certain areas to rule on hehalf of the King, and no one opposes them. The King that ruled in 1644 was a mulatto or half-caste, called Don Anthonio de Mingo [Domingo] by the Portuguese and other Europeans. His father, Mingo, was married to the daughter of a Portuguese (he had been in Portugal personally) that he had brought from there and with whom he had a son. He dresses like the Portuguese and always carries a sword or a stick, like some other mulattos.

In religious matters they have the same habits as the Beni, but they do not sacrifice so many people and cattle. That they consider a devilish horror. And so these people could be brought with some small amount of education to the Christian belief. Fetish men or exorcists are not allowed in that country and people do not poison each other so easily as they do in Benin. The natives and their King stick to a certain extent to the Roman religion.

There is a church with an altar in the city of Ouwerre, with a picture of Christ on the cross and Mary and the Apostles and two candelabra beside that. The blacks come to this chuch constantly, handling their rosaries, just like the Portuguese, and pray with them and also other popish prayers. They have a very pious appearance. They also can read and write and appreciate Portuguese books, pens, ink and paper.

1. Thread woven in of a different colour; cf. Brásio, MMA, I, 325, note 3.