In 1686 a thirty-four year old Franciscan brother sailed from Amsterdam intending to assist his brothers working in Jerusalem. On the Mediterranean he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a man going to his home in Agadez, in the country now bordering the north of Nigeria. After two years of service he secured his release and tried to find his way to Elmina on the Atlantic coast. He missed his way, but eventually reached Luanda and after further mishaps finally returned home.

Pieter Fardé made no scientific observations and kept no journal as the great 19th century explorers did. His are only personal letters containing news and meditations on his condition. Nevertheless the seven letters he wrote and the other documents relating to him afford us a rare glimpse into the interior of Africa in the late 17th century, showing the astounding extent of communications and trade within Africa on a continental level.

The sources

The letters of Pieter Fardé, written in Flemish (Dutch), were first published in Brussels in 1706. (1) They were reprinted in Ghent in 1720 and again in Brussels in 1778.

Their authenticity was challenged in 1875 by M. Goblet d'Alviella, who stated, "Nous nous trouvons purement et simplement devant une ingénieuse supercherie littéraire." (2) Servasius Dirks undertook to reply to d'Alviella in a French translation of the letters which he published in 1878, (3) and in article published in 1887. (4) An Italian résumé of Dirks' translation was published in 1894 by Marcellino da Civezza, (5)who also makes use of a letter of Pieter's companion in chains, Daniel van Breuckel, a letter of Isaac Leck, who was captured with Pieter and shortly released, and a later letter by Pieter van Rampel, another released slave. The last named, who took an interest in Pieter's fate, collected information about his mishaps at sea after sailing from Luanda and tried to get aid to him. I have not been able to find out whether the last two letters are still extant.

A new edition of the letters, with the Dutch slightly modernized, was published by Stephanus Schoutens at Hoogstraten in 1903, together with the letter of Daniel van Breuchel, the record of Pieter's religious profession and his death notice. This edition is used as the basis of the present study.

In 1911 Cajetan Schmitz published a German résumé of Pieter's letters, (6) which occasioned a revival of the controversy over their authenticity. In a review of the book showing no acquaintance with the debate between d'Alviella and Dirks, Joseph Schmidlin put the letters in the genre of Robinson Crusoe stories and considered them a "pious fraud" published a generation after Pieter's death to promote Franciscan missions. (7) The basis of his opinion was the lack of any confirming information outside the letters of Pieter himself and the vagueness of their historical and geographical details which show no evidence of first-hand experience.

In 1914 Jerome Goyens wrote a rebuttal of Schmidlin's opinion, gathering impressive evidence to show that Pieter Fardé really did exist, was captured by pirates, wrote the letters attributed to him and eventually returned home. (8) Goyens' article included the record of Pieter's admission to the novitiate, a photo-facsimile of his profession statement, a letter of the Franciscan Procurator General to the Provincial of Flanders, 13 February 1679, commending Pieter's help in putting out a fire in the Jesuit house in Ghent, the letter of another missionary in Smyrna, 12 September 1687, condoling his superior over Pieter's capture by pirates, Pieter's death notice, and the testimony of Pacificus Smit, who visited Pieter's tomb in Aachen in 1692. Goyens was able to examine the autograph of Pieter's sixth letter in the archives of the Belgian Franciscans and concluded that it was really authentic and that the published editions reproduced it without fabrication. "La confrontation, que nous avons faite de l'édition du P. Schoutens avec l'autographe, nous a pleinement convaincu, que l'éditeur s'est borné à rajeunir quelques tournures de phrases surannées." (9) A second part of Goyens' article notes that the Bollandists, as early as 1715, published a Latin version of Pieter's death notice. (10) Goyens, however, makes no mention of the letters of Isaac Leck and Pieter van Rampel.

In spite of Goyens' cogent arguments, the learned German professor, Joseph Schmidlin, makes no mention of Pieter Fardé in his Catholic Mission History. (11) Similarly Frans M. Olbrechts takes no note of Goyens, and with a scientistic imagination goes on to dissect the letters into authentic portions and supposed editorial interpolations. (12)

The attention given to the Fardé letters in modern times took place before a mature understanding of pre-colonial African history developed, and appeared in publications and journals scarcely seen in the English-speaking world. It is time now to include the Fardé episode among those few glimpses we have of pre-19th century central Africa. The evidence is sufficient to verify the authenticity of the letters and the fact of Pieter's capture and eventual restoration to his homeland. What is open to question is the accuracy of all the details in his account. An assessment can be made by surveying the contents of the letters and associated documents and discussing the problems they raise, each in its context.

The historical background

Belgium, where Pieter Fardé was born, was united with Spain since the beginning of the 16th century when Charles V inherited the Netherlands from his father and Spain from his grandfather. By 1600 the northern part of the Netherlands had broken away to form the independent state of Holland.

Portugal, annexed by Spain in 1580, regained its independence in 1640, but this was not recognized until 1668. In the meantime Holland became a great maritime power and intruded on Portugal's monopoly in Africa. Elmina, founded by the Portuguese in 1471 on the coast of modern Ghana, was captured by the Dutch in 1637. In 1641 the Dutch also captured Luanda and the other Portuguese ports in Angola, but lost them again in 1648. Congo had once been a thriving kingdom, but a civil war in 1665 left it divided into three parts. The former capital, São Salvador, was burned and abandoned in 1678 and not reoccupied until over thirty years later. The area remained, however, an active centre of trade with the outside world, a fact which presupposes an active internal network of trade. (13)

In the Muslim world the Ottoman Turks had moved into Egypt in 1517, in 1525 took Algiers, and thereafter controlled most of the North African coast through semi-independent pashas and beys. The Turks had absolute power on the Mediterranean until the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Subsequently they confined themselves to pirate raids, operating from North African bases. The pirate fleets, manned mostly by renegades or Europeans captured as children, reached the height of their activity in the 17th century. The defeat of the Turks at Vienna in 1683, followed by their loss of Budapest in 1687, Belgrade in 1688 and Bosnia in 1689, intensified anti-European feeling among the Turks during the time of Pieter Fardé's travels.

Morocco was never under Turkish rule. During the 15th to early 16th centuries the Portuguese and Spanish took advantage of Morocco's weakness to establish many forts along the coast. In 1673 the `Alawid sharîf Ismâ`îl inherited the country his father had reunited and began to retake the Portuguese and Spanish forts. After al-`Arâ'ish fell in 1689 Spain had only fur bases left, including Oran near Turkish Algeria, and Portugal one. Salé, on the Atlantic, was an important Moroccan pirate base.

Outside Morocco and the Turkish controlled coastal area of Algeria the Berber and Arab tribes lived independently, organized mainly under Sûfî leaders. In the lower Sahara and Sahel, towns once part of the Songhay empire, like Timbuktu, Jenne and Gao, were ruled as independent city-states by men of mixed Moroccan, Berber and Black descendance. (14) Agadez too was governed by an independent sultan who ruled the whole region of Ahir. This sultanate was at the height of its power under Muhammad al-Mubârak (1654-87) and his son and successor Ag-Abba. Around 1674 Agadez annexed the Hausa state of Adar and moved onwards to inflict on Kebbi a blow from which it never fully recovered. In 1685 and again in 1686 Agadez similarly struck at Zamfara and in 1689 attacked Gobir. In the meantime, however, al-Mubârak died on 20 April 1687, perhaps from the epidemic which raged in Agadez from about February 1686 for two years. (15) At this time Katsina and Kano were at peace with one another, but both were very weak because of devastating raids by Kwararafa, especially in 1671.

Pieter Fardé's letters portray a vigorous contest between Protestants and Catholics. This must be appreciated in the context of the times, when Western Christian unity had just recently been severed, and people were strongly intent on reforming wrongs, upholding the truth or restoring broken unity. People are more easily stirred up at the time of a split than generations afterwards.

Events leading to Pieter Fardé's capture

Pieter Fardé was born in 1652. (16) On 11 September 1671 he received the habit of the Reformed Franciscans and began his novitiate in Ghent, (17) making his solemn profession as a Franciscan brother on 12 September 1672. (18) In the immediately following years his heroic action in helping to put out a fire in the Jesuit house in Ghent was commended in a letter of the Franciscan Procurator General to the Belgian Provincial. (19) During 1682 and 1683 Pieter visited Jerusalem where the Franciscans had a mission. This mission received the encouragement of a letter from Pope Innocent XI on 30 April 1686, which was the occasion for Pieter's volunteering to return to the Holy Land. (20)

On 16 May 1686 Pieter Fardé was already in Amsterdam awaiting departure when he wrote the first letter. It was addressed to his "brother"; this presumably is his married brother, (21) who was a go-between for communications with his other brother, Johannes, parish priest of Wondelghem, his sister Maria Seraphina (apparently a religious sister), (22) and his Franciscan brothers. The other letters must have been sent to the same brother, even though they sometimes say "Dear Brothers and Sister" or Dear Brothers". In the first letter Pieter announces the scheduled departure of his ship on the 24th or 25th of May.

The second letter, from São Miguel, 14 August 1686, says that the ship arrived at Lisbon on St. James Day (25 July), implying that the original departure was delayed. On 3 August eh ship left Lisbon in the company of another freighter and a warship as protection on the pirate infested waters. Off Cape St. Vincent the convoy ran into six Algerian pirate ships. In his detailed description of this episode Pieter informs us that the european ships fled towards the Canaries, but were overtaken by the pirates on 10 August. A battle ensued, during which many were killed and Pieter was wounded in the leg. A storm saved his ship from capture and it limped to São Miguel in the Azores, arriving on 13 August. (23)

The third letter was written from "Targa", 27 November 1686. It says that the ship was repaired and sailed from São Miguel on 10 September, stopping at Cadiz on 4 October. On 19 September, south of Crete, it met pirates once more, was shelled and caught fire. The passengers jumped into the water and were picked up by the pirates and taken to `Annâba. (24) Of the four bound for Jerusalem two were sold to a local merchant, while Pieter and Daniel van Breuckel (25) were sold to a Moor named Sura Belin, (26) who was coming from Persia and returning to his home at Agadez. He himself had been a slave for seven years in Livorno and spoke Italian. Pieter had already travelled part of the way to Agadez, since he wrote from "Targa", (27) and thought that Agadez was 100 miles further away. He took the occasion to write because a slave who had been in Targa for three years told him that he often wrote and received answers. The fourth letter, written from Agadez, 19 September 1687, recapitulates the events since leaving Amsterdam and, after a Scriptural meditation on his condition, refers to a letter he received from his brothers. They had heard about Pieter from Isaac Leck and Pieter van Rampel who were captured with him and then liberated. These men told the Fardé family of Pieter's preaching on the ship and winning many of the men to Catholicism.

A slave in Agadez

At this point the letters touch our area of interest and can be reproduced in full, with the omission only of Pieter's pious reflections and prayers about his condition. We can begin with the letter of Daniel van Breuckel, who wrote on 15 March 1687: (28)

Dear Friend in Christ,

Having found an occasion to write to my uncle, I cannot forego reporting to you how things are with your brother, my good friend, at a time when he himself cannot make use of this occasion, although he has often desired to write to you from Agadez.

I want to inform you that we arrived at Agadez on 14 December 1686. During our journey from Annaba to Agadez he tried to please our master in all things and was very careful to do what he was told to do. Everything seemed to be easy for him, although what he had to do was difficult. He could converse in Italian with our master, who himself had been a slave in Livorno; they understood one another also in Arabic, which the Brother knew a little, and in Moorish in which the Brother was very fluent. Our master was very pleased to see that the Brother was so clever in everything, and so slowly a certain intimacy developed between the two. Our master discovered that the Brother knew something about architecture, and that pleased him very much, since he intended to build a beautiful Italian-style palace outside the town. The brother drew various plans. Our master chose the one he like best and said: "As soon as this has been built you will be free, or get 200 rijksdaalders." Falling on his knees, he said that he was his slave and could not claim any money from such a kind gentleman and master. But when the construction was completed according to his wish and pleasure, "then," he said, "I ask liberty for myself and for my brother", meaning me, and while he said that he gave me a signal to fall on my knees as well. Seeing that he had such great compassion on his neighbour, the gentleman agreed to his request and said that he too had been a slave but never had experience of one slave interceding for another before he himself was free.

The construction started on 2 February 1687. The Brother was in charge of everything. All he asked, labourers and material alike, was given to him. There were many workers: Moors, Jews and Christian slaves, so that the construction made good progress. Since he had liberty to speak to everyone, he spoke sometimes of the Faith as well. Speaking as plainly as he could, he said that no salvation can be had except through Jesus Christ crucified, and in the true Catholic and Apostolic Church.

To the Jews he proved that Christ is the true Messiah promised by God to Abraham and his descendants. He demonstrated this to them mostly from the prophets, from Moses to Malachi. He also showed that the New Testament, written by the four Evangelists and the Apostles, testifies to us that in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ all has been accomplished which the prophets foretold about him, from his birth until his ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

Interrupting this letter, we can observe that the "Moorish" spoken by Pieter Fardé can only have been the dialectical Arabic spoken in Algeria and the Sahara, for which his stay in the Holy Land would have prepared him. No doubt he was weak in classical Arabic. The Moorish slaves presumably were Blacks of the traditional religion. The term "Moor" seems to have been used generally of any African Muslim or follower of traditional religion, whether Arab, Black or (as will be seen later) even of Indian extraction. In the early 16th century João de Barros referred to Muslim traders at Elmina as "Moors" (Mouros). (29) At the beginning of the 18th century Willem Bosman referred to the famous Aniaba of Assinie as a "Moor". (30) For the continuation of our story we now turn to the 4th letter of Pieter Fardé, written on 19 September 1687:

Arriving at Agadez with my master, I found a French Huguenot called Louis de la Place, who had been here as a slave of my master's brother for a year and a half. Seeing that I was a religious, he began to flatter me, saying that God had given me the grace to bring me into slavery so that I might so much the better be freed from my error and idolatry, as they cal the Roman Catholic religion. That is what they want to make the people believe, and they put it in their catechism in order to arouse their adherents from childhood with hatred against Roman Catholics. At any rate in their Heidelberg catechism called the White one, it is written concerning the holy Mass that this is nothing else but a denial of Jesus Christ's only sacrifice and suffering and a cursed idolatry. They talk the same way of the other sacraments.

Now this flattering tongue came to blandish me daily, saying that if I were willing to help him we could easily bring the people to the true Christian faith. He said that he belonged to the reformation of Calvin. I spoke against that as well as I could with God's help, maintaining that there was no true church to be found outside the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church; and thus we came to debate, although I have no ability for that. Nevertheless it was a good occasion to talk with one another about religious matters, since he had to help me with the construction of a house for my master. When the building is completed I am due to obtain my freedom together with Daniel van Breuckel. but the latter does not need it any more, for he died on 15 August from the heavy labour, so I think to which he was not accustomed; he melted away from the heat which is very great here. Pray God to have mercy on him and encourage me, for now I am the only one still here of about 90 persons who were on our ship.

When the Frenchman mentioned above saw that he could not succeed with me, but on the contrary in matters of faith I was opposing him and some other people here, he came to me and pretended to be ready to accept the Catholic faith, proclaiming to recognize and stand for the Roman Church as the only true church. He maintained this attitude for several days so as better to obtain the aim that he deceitfully cherished in his heart. God forgive him.

On 7 March he went with some Jews who were at one with him to the judges and accused me of leading the people to the Roan, papish, idolatrous Church. In order to confirm their accusation the Huguenot and the Jews became heathen (= Muslims). Then I was made a prisoner, with my master, who is a good man, taking the loss. God has given him the grace to become a Catholic with all his household, without any others who are not of his household knowing it. Before by imprisonment i was with him as though I were not a slave. My enemies also saw that, and they could not stand it. I had a beautiful occasion to talk about the faith; only they betrayed me so treacherously...

For details of Pieter's ordeal we return to the letter of Daniel van Breuckel:

A French Huguenot called Louis de la Place, who is a slave here too, together with some Jews could not endure seeing the Brother growing in esteem and attracting many people; so bursting with envy, they accused him before the judges, saying that he seduced the people and, if they did not punish him and forbid him to continue, he was capable in a short time of converting many to the false doctrine of papal Christendom.

Because of this accusation the judges had him arrested. When asked what he taught, he admitted all, affirming again that there is no salvation outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, and that by the merits of Jesus Christ crucified. Then and there they had him given one hundred strokes on the soles of his feet and then put him in prison. The next day, 8 March, they interrogated him again whether he would recant what he had falsely taught, and his answer was as on the day before. Hearing this, they put him naked on a moveable scaffold about 5 feet high, 6 wide and 8 long, on which stood a kind of gallows. At either angle of this they bound him by his hands, and on his feet they hung a weight of some 150 pounds. In this way he was transported through the streets of the town. Two men, one in front and one behind, flogged him all the time with whips so terribly that when they arrived back at the court he looked as if he were being taken out of a bath of blood. They had maltreated him from the shoulders to the soles of his feet. Nothing remained undamaged except his head and arms, which were too high for those who flogged him. When he was untied he fell down flat in his blood, crying incessantly: "Jesus, my Saviour!" Our master had to see all that and suffer that his slave was so injured; he did not even dare to say much, since it concerned a matter of religion. Nevertheless he took the risk of asking to have his own slave back, for fear they might kill him. Because he was a wealthy man who could afford building such a house, he had to pay 400 abokelpen - that is 300 rijksdaalders - to recover his slave; otherwise they would kill him. They finally agreed for 200, under condition that as soon as the building was completed the slave had to leave the kingdom and that he should speak no more of any religious matter under penalty of being burned and of our master being exiled from the kingdom. On that condition our master had him taken from prison and brought to his house, but the Brother was so stiff that he could not walk because of the scabs that had grown on his wounds; his skin looked more like the bark of a tree than the skin of a man. After the flogging he had spent five days in prison. How it will be with us from now on, God knows. Thank God we have a good master. He is taking proper care of the Brother and allows no one else to come near him. Now, as I have this chance to write I cannot speak to him. There fore I write in his stead without his knowing it, out of love.

All this is only a brief description, because to tell all the circumstances would be too long and very dangerous if this letter should fall into their hands. I hope you received the letter your brother wrote to you from Targa. And if you have received it, I beg you please answer it according to his request, for he longs very much for a reply, even if your letter is very short. Also do not write unless the Brother, your brother, writes first, for we do not know what our master will do with him, I mean whether he will release him when the building is completed.

I also beg you, when you are answering any of his letters, do not mention anything regarding what he suffered for religion, since he would blame me for having written about it. Surely he has received as he desired, since when we were still on the ship he told us that he wished to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ's name. And in his present suffering he behaved like a man until the end. I believe he had no other thought but that they would kill him, as I could gather from his speaking and exhorting while he was being scourged.

My dearest ones, let this be enough, and be consoled in the Lord, for I do not doubt that all this happened by God's particular design. When I once asked him how he could remember all those Scripture texts, he answered me that his mouth was opened as it were by itself when he should speak about the Faith. All this is out of love.

I remain your humble servant,
Daniel van Breuckel,
slave of Sura Belin,
Agadez, 15 March 1687

Daniel van Breuckel's letter was written immediately after Pieter's release from prison. For subsequent events we return to Pieter's 4th letter:

The Frenchman mentioned above is at present, in recompense for his fidelity, supervisor over all the slaves who are in Agadez.

When they brought me into prison I was very ill the first day, and sill more the second day. I thought for sure that I would die, but that was not the Lord's wish.

After six days my master redeemed me for 600 patacons, because he needed me to finish his house; but the judges put the condition that as soon as the house was completed he should sell me outside the kingdom of Agadez and that all the time I stayed there I should speak no more about the Faith, under penalty of severe punishment. Fear of punishment would not have kept me from speaking, but my master asked me not to, saying that it would result in more harm than good. Taking everything into careful consideration, I thought it best to follow his advice, for fear that he and all his household might return to heathenism (= Islam).

Under these conditions I was taken out of prison and brought to my master's house to recover from my ailments. It did not please me much that they came to fetch me; I would have preferred to stay in their hands so that they might fulfil their original plan. But since the Lord would not have it, there was nothing better for me, as for all people, than to submit to God's will and good pleasure, as David teaches us: "How I love to do your will, my God" (Ps 40). Christ himself gave us the example when he submitted himself totally to the will of his heavenly Father: "Yet not what I want, but what you want" (Mt 26:39). Furthermore Christ says for our instruction: "Because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (Jn 6:30) I hope that these numerous holy examples and your good prayers will strengthen me to bear my slavery patiently for the love of God, for the salvation of my soul, and for the edification of my neighbour.

The Frenchman mentioned above was also told by the judges to guard me; so he is now my foreman in the things I have to do for my master. I am not allowed to talk when outside the hearing and sight of my guards. As soon as I had recovered they came to take me from the house of my master and gave me, not far from the new building, a small cellar under the street to live in, where the light must come in from the front through the door. The Frenchman holds the key; he comes to take me out in the morning and shuts me in again at night. Every day he gives me two pounds of bread which he throws at me like a dog. He does not address me like a human being but like a beast, with angry and spiteful words; the least he says is "maudit papiste", that is, "damned papist". He looks at me with cruel eyes and cannot stand me at all, because it is not enough in his estimation for him to have been appointed my guard by the judges and to have power over me in everything. For he still may not beat me, because my master asked and obtained this restriction from the judges, and therefore he seems to burst with resentment...

For the next event we must refer to an earlier passage in the same letter:

When the building is completed I am due to obtain my freedom together with Daniel van Breuckel. but the latter does not need it any more, for he died on 15 August from the heavy labour, so I think to which he was not accustomed; he melted away from the heat which is very great here. Pray God to have mercy on him and encourage me, for now I am the only one still here of about 90 persons who were on our ship.

The next passage, still in Pieter's 4th letter, concerns plans for his redemption:

In all the things that happened to me on this journey I have been very much consoled by the thought that, when I was still in my province, I did not want to do or omit anything, nor to go or to stay anywhere, unless with the permission of my superiors; and they ordered me to make this journey. I left everything in their hands and to their decision, to do what they wished and thought best and not what I chose. That submission made many things easier for me than they really were. So, although I find myself now in a far away land, I don't want to do or omit anything without the advice and approval of my superiors, because in so doing I have found great peace.

Thereafter I beg my very reverent Superiors to advise me what I am to do in these circumstances. As soon as the construction is finished I must be sold outside the kingdom of Agadez. but my master asked me whether I could return the 200 patacons he had to give the judges for my release. Then he would not sell me, but according to his promise let me go free when his house is finished, which I think should be around May. It seems that my master clings too much to the money he had to pay the judges. Had I not happened to have been imprisoned I would have been free without having to give a penny. My master says that he gave that money three months after his promise to me. Yet I thanked him for his good car and asked him to be patient a bit more until I get your answer to the letter I wrote to you from Targa. He has allowed me this.

Meanwhile I heard that the town of St. George d'Elmina belongs to the States of Holland. It lies in Guinea on the sea in the south of Africa. The merchants living there carry on much trade with the surrounding kingdoms here which extend along the river Niger. In order not to waste any time I wrote there to a merchant to whom I was referred, named M. Colck. He answered me that if I could have the 200 rijksdaalders paid in Amsterdam to the account of his brother, Bartholomeus Colck, as soon as he learned that the money was paid he would come to my aid.

Now I recommend this to God. See whether you can afford to pay the amount mentioned. I would be extremely pleased if you could do so, but if it is difficult for you I will still be pleased and shall consider it God's will that I be sold again. Therefore I beg you not to blame me for writing to you for the means of my liberation, nor to think that I am demanding my right or have any right to the amount needed for my ransom and any money for my return journey. All that is up to your good pleasure, no less and no more. No, dear Brothers, far from me be the thought of exacting anything from you. If I recalled all the good things I received from you previously I would not dare to ask, but your letter moved me to tears and encouraged me to allow you to provide the means for my liberation. Yes, it was so sweet for me to read those words full of merciful love: "As for us, your two brothers, we wish to be able to contribute to your liberation with the best part of our blood. Jus indicate a way to do that; we will gladly accept it."

Likewise I read in the letter of the Very Reverent Father Coen, Vicar Provincial, that he ordered all the houses of the province to pray for me, so that they may know where I am kept in slavery and eventually offer me help and assistance. Not only in our province have they prayed for me, but also in that of Brabant, as Brother Franciscus Simons writes me. This was ordered by the Reverend Father Maes, General Commissary, when he visited that province. Brother Franciscus also lent me a helping hand, offering his services, if need be, to beg alms to help towards ransoming me. to Almighty God be praise and thanks for all eternity, since it pleased his divine mercy to move your hearts to compassion and to such an act of love. I hope he will not let it go unrewarded...

Since I see that you are bent on ransoming me, we will have to consider the matter well and consult well with my reverent superiors. I will pray God to move your hearts to what is best for me: ransoming me or not. If you do so I will consider it God's will; yet, although I have written to you about the works of mercy, I tell you for the second time: if you do not ransom me I will also consider it God's will, for nothing is better or more necessary for our salvation, as Thomas à Kempis says, than to will what God wills and not to will what he does not will.

I beg you to answer me immediately you receive this letter, better by the first posting than by the second, because it will be Easter before I ever receive your letter. If you and my superiors agree to ransom em, I would advise you to do immediately to Jan Greniers, behind our monastery, who best can give you a letter of exchange for Amsterdam without demanding money for it. The amount is 200 patacons for my ransom, plus what you might judge necessary for my return journey. You should enclose the letter of exchange in your letter and send it along with the letters destined for me to Mr. Bartholomeus Colck. Everything will be duly delivered. I have received a letter from St. George d'Elmina saying that letters of exchange to Amsterdam always arrive if they are brought to the post office, even if they contain thousands. You need not be afraid, because in Amsterdam letters of exchange arrive from all quarters of the world.

If you should not agree to ransom me, just send your letters all the same to Mr. Colck; they will be duly delivered.

Be glad for all of this, dearest Brothers and Sister. Be joyful, be one of mind, live in peace, and the God of love will be with you. My greetings to you together with all the reverend Fathers and pious Brothers and all friends and acquaintances likewise. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. I recommend myself to your prayers to obtain from the loving God that things may go well for me, your poor brother, especially for my soul. It is the recommendation of St. James that we should pray for one another, when he says: "The prayer of a good man has a powerful effect" (Jm 5:16).

With God's love I remain your humble servant and brother,
Brother Pieter Fardé, unworthy Franciscan and slave of Sura Belin, at Agadez

In the preceding passages there are variations and discrepancies in the ransom amount. For Daniel van Breuckel it was 200 abokelpen, 400 of which equal 300 rijksdaalders. For Pieter it was 600, then 200 patacons. The only clear fact, in the absence of further information about these currencies, is that Pieter was requesting 200 rijksdaalders.

Pieter continues about his plans for leaving Agadez in his 5th letter, written on 29 April 1688:

Dearest Brothers,

When I received your letters together with that of Mr. Colck of St. George d'Elmina, I could not admire enough, dear Brothers, the excellent love the two of you showed me...

The time I will be able to return home from this Moorish land is still very uncertain, since Mr. Colck writes to me from St. George d'Elmina that there is no chance now to sail from there for Europe. The ship that brought your letter leaves as soon as it is unloaded for the Cape of Good Hope. I cannot be there soon enough to make use of that occasion, for St. George d'Elmina is a good 200 miles or more to the south, towards the equator. Besides, my master asked me to stay another month or two, which I cannot refuse him, but as long as I am here I must stay in my ordinary dwelling in order not to let the Moors know of my departure. As soon as possible I will, according to the wish of Reverend Father Maes, try to take the first occasion to return. I had intended to come overland across the desert, from Targa to Algiers,with a caravan which passes by here sometimes coming from some kingdom around the Niger river, but my master advises against this absolutely. He says that the Moroccans and Algerians these days are very bitter against any sort of Christians because of the defeat of the Turks while fighting the Christian emperor. The Algerians are angry with the French and the Dutch, and the Moroccans with the Spanish because of Oran. It may be of little use for me to arrive there with a passport of freedom. He tells me frankly that it is not advisable for a Christian to travel that way, for one cannot know what the people's rage might lead them to do. My master thinks it best to choose the way of St. George d'Elmina and wait there for any ship that comes, and he promises to send with me one of his servants to bring me across the river Niger.

Time does not allow me to write longer; otherwise I would miss the chance offered to me to send my letter by land. Be assured with the knowledge that - praise God - all has been delivered well. I am giving my letter to a caravan of Moors which is just now passing by. It goes with merchandise to the kingdoms of Morocco and Fez. The letters it carries are sent via Cadiz.

I would have written a little letter of thanks, or asked you to do so, to Mr. Bartholomeus Colck for his zeal in arranging everything so well; but from the letter of Mr. Colck of St. George d'Elmina I learned that his brother, Mr. Bartholomeus Colck of Amsterdam, was about to go to sea in his capacity as captain of a warship in the service of his country. He was engaged for that by the Admiralty of Holland, since he is a courageous soldier and an experienced seaman.

In this month of April there have been terrible earthquakes at various times and places around here, so that flat fields as well as mountains are torn apart. Out of these clefts comes a smoky steam with an unbearable stench, as if from pools of sulphur and fire. Many huts and buildings of the inhabitants have fallen down. A countless number of people have been killed, to the fright of all who are still alive. but I hope that the good God will dispose everything for the best.

My warmest greetings to our dear sister Seraphina and to all the reverend Fathers and Brothers, no one excepted. I recommend myself humbly to your prayers and to those of our holy community, particularly to be able to keep steadfast in the Faith whatever happens, whether to me or to any of my faithful ones; for my master, together with a Jew born in Ferrara called Joshua, and also two Greeks from Rhodes have become so zealous in the Christian Catholic religion that they venture to catechise the people, but always very secretly. They come rather often to visit me in my prison, talking sometimes half the night with me through the bars of my door, and bring me refreshments now and then, but when the moon is hidden, so as not to be seen. The nights here are almost always as long as the days.

With this I remain, with God's love, your faithful servant and brother,
Pieter Fardé, unworthy Franciscan,
until now slave of Sura Belin

P.S. Your letter, dated 17 October 1687, was delivered to me on 26 April 1688.
Agadez, 29 April 1688
The caravan is leaving. I greet with all my heart the household of Mr. Reylofs.

From Agadez to the sea

We now turn to the 6th letter, the only one surviving in autograph form, and the one containing the most problems of interpretation and veracity in some details it narrates.

Dearest Brother in Christ,

I noticed in your letter of 8 March 1690 that you did not receive my letter of 27 December 1689, which I went you from Salé on a French ship going to St. Malo. In that letter I described to you my return journey until here almost in the same way as I will do so now. This journey does not seem any less full of mishaps than my previous one. Therefore I am no less full of admiration in noticing God's infinite goodness and mercy with me in my misery; for without that it would have been impossible for me to escape the great dangers of being devoured by wild animals in the desert, of drowning in the sea, and of succumbing from hunger and thirst during eleven months on a rough stony reef in the middle of the sea, as I am going to tell you.

Forty days before my departure 40 Italians were brought to Agadez as slaves. Among them there were two priests, whom I could see only twice, since they were given very little freedom by their master. I hope they will do much good there, if only they are not too rash.

We may suppose that the arrival of these priests and Christian slaves nurtured the precarious existence of the Agadez Christian community for some further years. In October 1710, just twenty-two years later, two Franciscan priests came from Tripoli to Agadez and after a short time went on to Katsina; they were looking for the rumoured Christians of Borno and Kwararafa. We do not know whether the Christian community started by Pieter Fardé still existed or not, because the two priests never returned to tell the story, dying from a plague in Katsina. (31) Yet when these Franciscans stopped in Agadez Ag-Abba was still king and certainly Pieter Fardé and the Christianity he planted must have been at least a living memory. We continue with the letter:

I left Agadez on 10 July 1688 for St. George d'Elmina with two Moors who by order of my master, Sura Belin, were to accompany me across the river Niger. Reasonably well provided with everything that could be useful for my trip according to local custom, I had a favourable journey as long as the Moors were with me. At the town of Gobir they took leave of me and returned to Agadez.

Now alone, I continued my way for two days through flat country without meeting anyone. The third day I reached mountainous land, which was very difficult. When evening came I put myself to rest under a tree, but when I had been lying there for about two hours, such a fear came over me that I began to tremble. I thought I was going to die on the spot from fear, for I heard such horrible raging and dreadful noise of wild animals that I turned my face to the ground for fear, praying God for mercy and asking that, if it were his divine will, he would release me from this miserable life, and if not, he would not abandon me in my anguish. I climbed the tree and stayed there until daybreak. Then I continued my journey, straying in the wild mountains like a lost sheep. I often saw wild animals and feared constantly to be attacked by them. Out of fear I began to put my closed hand over my mouth and sound as loud as I could, as the hunters do at home with the trumpet. As soon as the animals heard that they fled from me. Therefore I did the same again as often as I noticed wild animals. At night I climbed a tree again in order to sleep and to guard myself as well as possible against the animals. In this way I travelled four successive days without finding any beaten path. I orientated myself all the time towards the south, for I knew that St. George d'Elmina is to the south of Agadez. At last I met a beaten path, but it did not go south. It went from east to west, and I followed it eastward, hoping to find another one that would lead me to the south. So I went on for two more days, again without meeting any human being, but indeed many wild animals. As soon as I saw them come, I always began to make a trumpet sound, to shout "ha! ha! ha!" and to make great noise. Since I saw that they fled because of this, my fear began to diminish a little.

For the town where he separated from his guides Pieter has "Gobel", but there can be no doubt in identifying this with Gobir, the only important town/state south of Agadez. It was originally located in the Ahir mountains and then moved south to Birnin Lalle, in present-day Niger. If Pieter's account is true, this move cannot have been in the 18th century, as S. Hogben and A. Kirke-Greene maintain. (32) E.W. Bovill puts the move in the 15th century. (33) Possibly the defeat of Gobir at the hands of Askiya Muhammad Ture (mentioned by Leo Africanus) in the early 16th century occasioned the move. R.H. Adeleye attributes the move from Ahir to the foundation of the Agadez sultanate in the 15th century. (34) Gobir's capital moved again to Tsibiri, just west of Maradi, "during the second half of the seventeenth century", he says. (35) The Tsibiri location fits well with the route Pieter goes on to describe.

Pieter's route, during the early rains when the grass is not high, would have led him through the no-man's land between Katsina to the east and Zamfara and Kebbi to the west in what is still largely bush land. Travelling due south he would have gone over flat land until he came to the neighbourhood of Kwatorkwashi where there are high inselbergs. Even now hyenas roam this country. H. Clapperton has a similar description how in 1826 the servant of Richard Lander climbed a tree to escape hyenas in the same general area. (36)

On the 5th day Pieter would easily meet any road going west from Kano. From personal conversation with people in the area I learned that there was a pre-colonial route coming from Kano to Gwarzo, Gora, Kankara, Yandoto (Chafe), etc. This would naturally continue along the north of the river Ka to meet the Niger at Gaya, at which point caravans could follow the Niger to the northwest or cross over and continue to Sansanne-Mango, Yendi, Salaga (where the Gonja state was formed in the early 16th century), Kumasi and Elmina. The other route from Kano, going to Zaria, Birnin Gwari, Bussa, Nikki, Salaga etc., and followed in part by Clapperton and Lander, was too southerly for Pieter to have met in so short a time. (37) Pieter's mistake was to think that Elmina lay due south. That is why we find him on the road leading away from Elmina towards Kano.

The third day on this way I met four Moors. They addressed me and I did not understand them, but I experienced that they were more cruel than wild animals. They took everything I had, even my pants of rough cotton, my stick, which had a little axe and a pick and which my master had given me to protect myself as far as possible against wild animals, and my travelling bag, so that I was completely deprived of everything I had taken with me for my sustenance. It was not enough for them to have robbed me of everything. I still ran the risk of having my head split open with my own little axe. But about that they fell into disagreement. As far as I could notice, only one of them had this intention. The three others stopped him when he raised the axe to give me the blow and gave me a sign to go.

That day I did two more miles and then looked for a place to pass the night. I found it in a high tree. After I was there for some time I began to weep bitterly as I considered the situation I was in. Totally deprived of everything, I was ashamed of myself; besides, I did not know how I could manage any further without anything to keep me alive. I turned then during all that night to that most benevolent Father who commands us to call on him in anguish, and begged him not to abandon me in anything that might happen to me, whether living or dying.

Taking courage again, I set out in the morning and travelled for two consecutive days without finding any food. Then I became so weak that I could not go on any more and could hardly climb a tree to pass the night.

The third day I found a tree with fruits like wild figs, but they were not that. As I was starving, I ate some without trying to find out whether they were good or bad. A little while afterwards - excuse my description - I began to feel such cramps and great pain in my stomach as if I had taken poison. Unable to stand upright any more, I lay down under the same tree, writhing with pain like an eel. Then I began to have the runs, undergoing a purge from below and above. I became so weak that I could hardly help myself any more. Thinking that I was now finished and would soon be prey to wild animals, I recommended myself to God.

I continued lying there like this until one hour before sunset, when a caravan passed by of about 200 camels and 50 elephants. It had been to the Niger with merchandise and was returning now to Congo where it had come from. Some people of the caravan passed by without looking at me; others stopped and looked at me as if they felt compassion, for I lay there powerless, writhing in my dirt like a little pig. At long last the leader of these men came. He spoke to me in Portuguese; I answered in Italian and made him understand what had happened to me. He ordered his servant to clean me and gave me a loincloth such as they wear for me to put on. Then he gave me balm to drink to calm my stomach and ordered his men to put me on one of the elephants that was lightly loaded. They did so, putting me between the packages so that I could not fall. I fell asleep and slept until the next day when the caravan halted. Then he ordered me to be fed, and I slept again all day until two hours before sunset, the time they resume their journey, for because of the heat they travel during the night and rest during the day.

That good Samaritan had me well cared for every day, so that in six days I completely recovered and started, like the others, to go on foot. I often got to talk to him and found that Moor as exemplary in life and trained in virtue as anyone I have ever met in my life. He often spoke to me about "Brachmanni" and then pointed always to the East, from which I could guess that he was of the religion they call Brachmanism.

After fifty-seven days of travelling in that manner with him we arrived in Congo, where he allowed me to rest fourteen days in his house and always provided me with food, as he had done during the journey. Meanwhile once more a caravan was prepared with goods for Angola. On my arrival there I learned that an Angolan ship was ready to go to St. George d'Elmina and that it was only waiting for favourable winds to sail. I informed my good protector all about this and asked him permission to make use of this good occasion, and he left it to my discretion to make use of the occasion or to stay with him.

Seeing that I intended to leave, he himself went with me to see the captain and made an agreement with him to take me for four sciebas (about 6 guilders in our country), which I would have paid to him by Mr. Colck at St. George d'Elmina. My protector also provided me with food for fourteen days.

The preceding paragraphs are by far the most difficult section of all the letters. The first problem concerns the use of elephants. This is the only reference I know of to elephants being used for transport in tropical Africa. (Note, however, the picture of a boy riding an African elephant in the cartouche of Frederik de Wit's Totius Africae accuratissima tabula of around 1670. (38)) Yet elephants, presumably African ones, were used in the armies of antiquity; think of Hannibal's war against Rome and the Ethiopian Abrahah's siege of Mecca in 570. One only need visit the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to see African elephants performing circus tricks. The keeper informed me that the African elephants may be a little more difficult than the Asian ones, but they can be perfectly domesticated and mounted. Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia says: "The record made by Carl Hagenbeck, the famous German animal dealer, is an extreme example of this docility. Within two days he trained six African elephants which had never been worked before to carry loads and their drivers. Hagenbeck and many other experienced men say that there is no foundation for the belief that the African elephant is more savage and dangerous, or less easily trained, than the Asiatic elephant. In recent years many elephants have been trained to work in the Belgian Congo." (39)

We may yet wonder why, if elephants were at all domesticated in Africa, this was so rare or not much noticed. The word "Brachmanism" may give us a clue. One possible interpretation is that the "Moor" Pieter met was a Muslim, that "Brachmanni" is a corruption of the divine name "ar-Rahmân", and that the East, to which the man pointed, was the direction of Mecca. I am more inclined, however, to accept Marcellino Da Civezza's supposition that the man was a Brahman from India. (40) Eric Axelson, in Portuguese in southeast Africa 1600-1700, (41) shows that numerous Indians had settled in the Portuguese towns on the Zambeze as early as the 16th century (pp. 4-5). Canarins (= Goans) were employed on Portuguese ships (pp. 87, 163), who were also encouraged to settle along the Zambeze (pp. 101, 178-180). In particular, Canarins and Brahmans were urged to explore the interior, all the way across to Angola (p. 115). By 1678 the Portuguese were regretting the presence of the large number of Indians, who out-competed them in trade (p. 151). A Brahman led the way in trading for ivory with the Amvuas, far up the Zambeze (p. 137). Indians who were used to training elephants, therefore, could easily have moved through Africa to Angola, Congo and beyond. Their skill with elephants, however, seems never to have been picked up by Africans, and the phenomenon of domesticated elephants did not last long.

A second problem concerns the route of the caravan. Pieter must have been near Kano when he was picked up. It is not surprising that, travelling by night and in his condition, he makes no mention of Kano or any other place of note during the rest of the journey. Since it was the rainy season, the caravan would likely have continued east beyond Yola, to bypass the Benue, and then turned south. As for the route thereafter, J. Vansina describes routes in Angola and the immediately surrounding areas, which are well documented, (42) but we have no written sources for any route connecting Congo with Cameroon and Nigeria. Then there is the question of the tsetse fly.

A third problem is where in the Congo the home of Pieter's benefactor could have been. São Salvador was destroyed at this time, but there were many towns and small kingdoms in the area. (43) Fording the Zaire river with camels and elephants would be antoehr problem. It may be that the man's home was in Loango, since this was once part of the Congo kingdom.

A fourth problem is what kind of shipping connection there was between Portuguese Angola and Dutch Elmina. At this time Dutch ships were plentiful at the Loango ports of Buali, Malemba and Cabinda. (44) Pieter would more likely find a ship going to Dutch-held Elmina from one of these ports than at Portuguese Luanda. Pieter, however, goes on to say that he sailed from Angola, and that "the ships from this country" could not sail into the wind (as Dutch ships presumably could). The letter of Van Rampel, quoted by M. da Civezza, says that Pieter departed from Luanda. (45)

It may be significant that Pieter's death notice summarizes his experience in Agadez and moves straight to his being shipwrecked and being picked up from the reef by pirates, without any mention of a trip to Angola.

At sea

The rest of the 7th and the 7th letter can be briefly summarized. Pieter departed, but after two and a half days of smooth sailing the ship was driven by a contrary wind far to the southwest, past St. Helena, since "the ships of this country are totally unable to sail into the wind, but need a wind from behind or the side." In the early hours of the morning of 29 December 1688 (46) a storm arose and capsized the ship, sinking it instantly. Pieter was on deck praying at the time and saved himself in the water by finding some floating planks. At daybreak he found himself alone, and drifted to the southeast for three days until he met a small rocky reef. He describes how he survived for 11 months on the reef by drinking rain water collected in a crevice and eating the fish trapped in the rocky pools by the receding tide. A Dutch ship passed after 145 days (25 May), but the weather was bad and for fear of hitting the reef the ship went on. Pieter was sighted, however, and Pieter van Rampel heard of this incident and pieced it together with news of a man answering Pieter's description leaving Luanda on a ship which was lost. Guessing his identity, Van Rampel wrote a letter on 2 March 1690 informing Pieter's brother. (47)

After another 179 days (on 20 November) Pieter was picked up by a pirate ship going to Salé, in Morocco. Pieter was constrained to compensate the captain by agreeing to work under bond as a carpenter for him for three years. They arrived at Salé on 20 December 1689, and Pieter commenced working. On 27 December he wrote home a letter which was lost, and was surprised when on 9 April a Dutch ship brought him a letter mailed on 8 March authorizing him to borrow ransom money from the captain of the ship. It seems Van Rampel was responsible for gathering the information of Pieter's arrival at Salé. Pieter then waited for a Hamburg ship, "since only this town has free access to all Christian countries."

The seventh letter, written from Hamburg on 1 December 1690, tells us that on 14 September, shortly before leaving Morocco, Pieter received another letter from home written on 9 June. He says that he was 9 weeks at sea (putting his departure from Salé around 28 September), and would arrive at Ghent the first or second week of January 1691.

On his return Pieter was given the office of Commissary for the Holy Land and assigned to the Franciscan house in Aachen. (48) There he died from a fever on 16 June 1691. (49)


1. Copie van de Brieven van den godvruchtigen religeus Broeder Pieter Fardé, Minderbroeder Recollect van de provincie S. Ioseph in 't Graefshap van Vlandern, en ander brieven van divershe, etc. (Tot Brugge bij de weduwe van Franciscus Beernaerts, 1706).

2. In Patria Belgica, partie 3, livraison 28.

3. Voyages et aventures de Fr. Pierre Fardé (Ghent: Vanderschelden, 1878).

4. "Les voyageurs belges et le Patria Belgica", Magasin littéraire et scientifique (Ghent: Leliaert), v. 3 (1887), pp. 471-489.

5. In his Storia universale delle missioni francescane, vol. 7, part 4 (Florence, 1894), pp. 447-502.

6. Quer durch Afrika. Reisen und Abenteuer des Franziskanerbruders Peter Fardé von Gent in den Jahren 1686-1690 (Trier, 1911), vol. 1 of the series Aus allen Zonen.

7. In Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft, 1 (1911), pp. 349-350.

8. "Notes biographiques et documents du fr. Pierre Fardé O.F.M., voyageur en Afrique (1652-1691)," Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 7 (1914), pp. 20-31, and 8 (1915), pp. 371-2.

9. Ibid., p. 28.

10. In Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 8 (1915), pp. 371-372; cf. the Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum (Antwerp, 1715), vol. 6, tome 3, p. 143, "Appendix addendorum et mutandorum ad acta Junii", for 18 June.

11. Translated by M. Braun (Techny, 1933).

12. Vlaandern zendt zijn zonen uit (Leuven, 1942), pp. 209-232.

13. On the general area at this time see P.M. Martin, The external trade of the Loango coast 1576-1870 (Oxford, 1972).

14. See the slightly earlier descriptions of as-Sa`dî (1596-1655), Ta'rîkh as-Sûdân, ed. O. Houdas (Paris, 1913-14), and Ibn-al-Mukhtâr (1665), Ta'rîkh al-fattâsh, ed. O. Houdas (Paris, 1913-14); note N. Levtzion, "A seventeenth-century chronicle by ibn-al-Mukhtâr: a critical study of Ta'rîkh al-Fattâsh", B.S.O.A.S., 34 (1971), 571-593.

15. Cf. Y. Urvoy, "Chroniques d'Agadès", Société des Africanistes, 4 (1934), pp. 172-3.

16. Judging from his age on his religious profession; cf. Goyens, op. cit., p. 23.

17. See his reception document in Goyens, op. cit., p. 24.

18. See the autograph of his profession in Goyens, op. cit., p. 23.

19. The text is in Goyens, op. cit., p. 24.

20. Cf. Goyens, op. cit, p. 25, for references to documents in the archives of the Belgian Province of Franciscans.

21. See the 7th letter for reference to his "sister-in-law".

22. Named in the 2nd, 5th & 6th letters.

23. Pieter calls the Azores the "Flemish Isles" as was common at the time. See the map of Louis Renard, dated 1715, in E. Klemp, Africa on maps dating from the twelfth to the eighteenth century (Gilroy, 1968), map n. 47. Flemish people were among the first settlers of the islands.

24. Referred to by Pieter as "Bona", a European name for the town.

25. Referred to as "the copyist", which raises the question whether Pieter was incapacitated at that time.

26. In Dutch "Soura Belijn".

27. In the edition of E. Klemp. op. cit., maps dating from 1595 to 1737 list "Targa" as a country and sometimes a town in the Sahara. Gerhard Mercator the Younger, 1595 (map n. 16), Henricius Hondius, 1631 (n. 17), W.T. Baeu, 1642 (n. 18), P. Schenk & G. Valk, 1700 (n. 26) and F. de Wit, 1671 (n. 19) all place it far to the west of the direct route between `Annâba (Bône) and Agadez. The same is true of J.M. Hasa, 1737 (n. 20), still following the descriptions of Leo Africanus. Only G. de l'Isle, 1707 (n. 25), and N.S. d'Abbeville, 1679 (n. 46), put Targa directly north of Agadez. Targa, however, simply refers to the place the Tuareg live; cf. H.T. Norris, The Tuaregs (Warminster, 1975), ch. 2. If any particular town can be identified with Targa it may be Touggourt. Pieter's estimation of the distance tween Targa and Agadez as "100 miles further" is to be taken with the same seriousness as his estimation of the distance from Agadez to Elmina as "200 or more miles"

(Letter 5).

28. I thankfully acknowledge the help of Fr. Gerhard van der Peet, Missionary of Africa, in Preparing the translations.

29. Asia, década I, 54, ch. 3 (Lisbon, 1945), vol. 1, p. 88.

30. In his Nauwkeurige Beschryving van de Guinese Goud-Tand-en Slavekust (Amsterdam, 1718), 20th letter, II, pp. 209-10.

31. Cf. R. Gray, "Christian traces and a Franciscan mission in the Central Sudan, 1700-1711", Journal of African History, 8 (1967), pp. 383-393.

32. The emirates of Northern Nigeria (Oxford, 1966), p. 369.

33. The golden trade of the Moors, 1st ed. (Oxford, 1958), p. 107, note 1.

34. In "Hausaland and Borno 1660-1800", ch. 14 of J.F. Ajayi & M. Crowder (eds.), History of West Africa, vol. 1, p. 560.

35. Ibid., p. 584.

36. Journal of a second expedition into the interior of Africa (London, 1829), pp. 233-4 & 264.

37. N. Levtzion discusses these routes in his Muslims and chiefs in West Africa (Oxford, 1968), p. 24.

38. Map n. 19 in E. Klemp, op. cit.

39. (Chicago, 1959), vol. 4, p. 385.

40. Op. cit., p. 477.

41. (Johannesburg, 1964).

42. "Long-distance trade routes in central Africa", Journal of African History, 3:3 (1962), pp. 375-390.

43. Cf. F. Bontinck, Diaire Congolais, 1690-1701 (Louvain, 1970), pp. xlvi-xlix.

44. Cf. P.M. Martin, op. cit., p. 76.

45. Cf. M. da Civezza, op. cit., p. 497.

46. Pieter simply says the "29th". It must be December to match the number of days he gives before the next fixed date, his arrival at Salé. Van Rampel, however, says that the departure was in November; cf. M. da Civezza, op. cit., p. 497.

47. According to Van Rampel the ship was returning from Madagascar and had narrowly missed being lost on rocks at the Cape. Van Rampel places the sighting in April, a month earlier than the date calculated form Pieter's data, the same as he did for the departure from Luanda; cf. M. da Civezza, op. cit., pp. 492 & 497.

48. Cf. J. Goyens, op. cit., p. 25.

49. The death notice gives this date, but adds that he was "41 years old and 20 years professed". This does not accord with the information on Pieter's profession record, which would make him 39 years old and 19 years professed at the time of his death.