Joachim John Monteiro.

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The following description of the country between the
Kiver Zaire or Congo, and Mossamedes or Little Fish
Bay, comprising ten degrees of latitude, is the result of
many years of travel in and exploration of that part of
the coast.

My aim has been to present an accurate and truthful
account of its more striking features and productions, and
of the manners and customs of the various tribes which
inhabit it.

I have avoided mentioning more names of places and
persons than are necessary, as they would be of little
or no interest to the general reader. I have also omitted
detailed lists and descriptions of plants and anfmals that
I have collected, as such would only interest naturalists,
who are referred to the different scientific publications in
which they have been described.

This being the first detailed account of a most inte-
resting and rich part of Tropical Africa, I leave it with
confidence to the indulgence of my readers, assuring them
that at all events a want of truth is not included in its

( vii )




History .. .. .. .. ,. .. .. .. 1

Physical Geogkaphy — Character of Yegetatiox — Rivers 13


The River Congo a Boundary — Slave Trade — Slavery —
Ordeal by Poison — Insensibility of the Kegro — In-
gratitude .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 30


The River Congo — Banana — Porto da Lenha — Boma —
MussuROKGO Tribe — Pirates — Mushicongo Tribe — Fish

— Palm Chop — Palm Wine .. .. .. ., ..45


Country from the River Congo to Aubriz — Vegetation —
Trading — Civilization — Commerce — Products — Ivory

— Musserra — Sleep Disease — Salt — Mineral Pitch 56




Ambriz — Trade — Malachite — Eoad to Bembs — Travel-
ling — Mosquitoes — Quiballa to Quilumbo — Natives
— Quilumbo TO Bembe .. ,. .. .. .. ..84


Bembe — Malachite Deposit — Root Parasite — Engongui —
Mortality of Cattle — Fairs — King of Congo — Recep-
tions — Customs — San Salvador — Fevers — Return to
Ambriz .. .. ,. .. .. .. .. .. 104


Character of the Negro — Fetish — Customs — Arms and
War — Dress — Zombo Tribe — Burial — Insanity . . 131


Customs of the Mussurongo, Ambriz, and Mushicongo
Negroes — Mandioca Plant; its Preparations — Chili
Pepx'er — Bananas — Rats — White Ant — Native Beer
— Strange Sounds .. .. .. .. .. .. 154


Country from Ambriz to Loanda — Mossulo — Libongo —
Bitumen — River Dande — River Bengo — Quifandongo 1G8


City of Loanda — Natives — Slavery — Convicts — Theatre
and Morals ,. .. .. ;.. .. .. .. 178



\ V Division of Angola — Wbetched Pay of Officials — Abuses
w BY Authorities — Evils of High Import Duties — Silver
Mines of Cambambe — Journey to Cambambe — Explora-
tion — Volcanic PiOcks — Hornbill — The Plantain-
eater — Hyenas .. .. .. .. .. .. 195


Province of Cazengo — Golungo Alto — Gold — Wild Coffee
— Iron Smelting — Former Missionaries — Customs —
Natives — Productions .. .. .. .. .. 213


River Quanza — Calumbo — Bruto — Muxima — Massangano

— DoNDO — Falls of Cambambe — Dances — Musical In-
struments — Quissama — Libollo .. .. .. .. 228


Country South of the River QUanza — Cassanza — Novo
Redondo — Celts — Cannibals — Lions — Hot Springs —
Bees — Egito — Scorpions — River Aniia — Catumbella 249


Town of Benguella — Slave-trade — Mundombes — Customs

— Copper — Hyenas — Monkeys — Copper Deposit —
Gypsum — Hornbills — Birds — Fish — Lions .. .. 265



Country between Benguella and Mossamedes — Mossamedes
— Curious Deposits of Water — Hyena — Welwitschia
mibabilis — Mirage .. .. .. 282




Climate — Cookery — Drunkenness — Fever — Native
Treatment — Ulcers — Smoking Wild - hemp — Native
Remedies .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 294


Customs — Burial — White Ant — AVasps — Fruits —
Scents — Spitting-snake — ScARABiEUS — Lemur . . .. 313

Conclusion .. .. .. .. .. ,, ., 334

Appendix.. .. ». «• <• .. •• •• 339


Drawn on Wood by Mh. Edward Fielding; the Views from
Sketches by Mrs. Monteiro, and from Photographs; the
Implements, &c., from the Originals.

Map .. .. .. .. .. ., .. Frontispiece.

Travelling in Angola — View near Ambriz .. .. To face page 13

Porto da Lenha .. .. .. .. .. „ 45

View on the Congo, above Boma .. .. ., „ 55

Ankle-ring — Ring to ascend Palm-trees —
Cage for carrying Ivory tusks — Engongui —
Fetish figure — Mask — Pillow . . . . „ 78

Granite Pillar of Musserra — Hoe — Pipe —

Knives^ — Clapping hands and Answer .. „ 80

View in the hilly country of Quiballa —

Camoensia maxima .. .. .. .. „ 97

Quilumbo .. .. .. .. .. .. „ 102

Bembe Valley „ 104

Bembe Peak „ 127

View of the City of St. Paul de Loanda .. .. „ 178

Bellows — Marimba — Native smiths — Rat-
trap „ 218

Maxilla and Barber's shop — Carrying corpse for
burial — Quissama Women, and manner of
pounding and sifting meal in Angola .. .. „ 247


Mundombes and Huts .. .. .. ., To face page 208

Xative-smeltcd Copper — Powder-flask — Mun-
dombe Axe — Manner of securing Fish for
drying — Hunters' fetish (BengucUa) — Man-
ner of carrying in the hand (native jug) —
Gourd-pipe for smoking Diamba — Wooden
dish — Double-handled hoe .. .. .. „ 270

Welwitschias growing in a plain near Mossa-

medes .. .. .. .. .. .. „ 291

Pelopccus spirifex and nest — Devil of the Road —
Dasylus sp. — Caterpillars' nests — Mantis and
Nest — Manis multiscutatura and Ants' nests ,, 318




The following sketch of the discovery and earlier history
of Angola is translated and condensed from an interesting
work in Portuguese by Feo Cardozo, on the * History of
the Governors of Angola ' (Paris, 8vo, 1825) : —

*' The Portuguese, engrossed by the great hopes raised by
the conquest of Brazil and the Indies, did not determine to
establish themselves in Angola till eighty-four years after
they had discovered it. The King of Angola, jealous
of the advantages that he supposed his neighbour the
King of Congo derived from his trade and intercourse
with the Portuguese, determined to send several of his
subjects to Portugal to beg the like friendship for
liimself. Queen Catherine, acceding to his request, sent
to him Paulo Diaz de Novaes, grandson of the famous
Bartolomeo Diaz, who had discovered the greater part of
the West Coast and the Cape of Good Hope. Paulo Diaz
left Lisbon in September, 1559, with three ships, a few
soldiers, and a present for the King, bearing instructions
to open commercial relations with the latter, and to convert
him to Christianity. After many dangers he arrived in
May, 1560, at the mouth of the Kiver Quanza ; the King
of Angola was dead, but his son, who then reigned, re-
newed on his arrival his father's request for friendly
relations with the Portuguese. Paulo Diaz, relying on
his statements, landed with only twenty men, and leaving


- e c c < I t

«J « » t c . c

the rest on board the ships ordered them to return to Por-
tugal if within a certain time he should not come back to
them. He immediately marched to the Court of Angola,
where he and liis present were received by the King with

*• After the lapse of a few days, Paulo Diaz, wishing to
retire to his ships, was prevented by the King under the
pretence of his aid being required in some wars he was then
engaged in. He was thus detained a prisoner until the
King, hard pressed by the revolt of one of his power-
ful vassals, determined to allow him to return to Por-
tugal, so that he might bring him assistance. From the •
missals, altar-stones, and old-fashioned church furniture
that he saw in the hands of the negroes during his expe-
dition into the interior, Paulo Diaz concluded tliat mis-
sionaries had already been in the country many years
before. Pteturning to Portugal he gave an aecoi^nt of
what he had seen to the King, Don Sebastian, who sent
him back with the title of Conqueror, Coloniser, and
Governor of Angola, and conceded to him ample powers
for the establishment of the new colony.

*' Paulo Diaz left Lisbon in October, 1574, with a fleet of
seven ships, and seven hundred men, and sighted land
after a passage of three months and a half. Landing on
the island facing the present city of Loanda, he took formal
possession of it in the name of the King of Portugal. An
immense number of negroes witne:^sed the ceremony, as
well as forty Portuguese who had retired from the kingdom
of Congo, owing to the wars amongst the negroes of that

" The King of Angola received the Portuguese with great
joy, and in return for the presents tliat Dom Sebastian had
sent him, gave Paulo Diaz several armlets of silver and
of copper, and sticks of Quicongo wood ; the silver of the
armlets was afterwards made into a chalice and presented
to the church of Belem at Lisbon.

" Finding that the island was not suitable for establishing
the new colony, the Portuguese removed to the mainland,
and choosing the spot now occupied by the fortress of


San Miguel, built a church and founded their first colony
in Angola. They then aided the King, and enabled
him speedily to reduce his rebel vassal to obedience.
After several months passed in the greatest friendship,
tlie King of Congo attempted to intrigue against the
Portuguese, but without success. Perfect peace existed
between the Portuguese and the blacks of Angola for
six years, when it was destroyed by the base perfidy of
a Portuguese, who begged the King to make him his
slave, as he wished to disclose a most important secret.
Astonished at this proposition, the King called together
his 'Macotas' or council, and in their presence ordered
the infamous traitor to divulge it ; on which he said that
Paulo Diaz planned despoiling him of his kingdom and
mines, for which purpose he had collected great stores
of powder and ball. Next day the King caused all the
Portuguese to appear before him, and in their presence
the tyaitor repeated his story. The Portuguese, in
astonishment, attempted to refute the calumny, but with-
out attending to their explanations the King ordered them
from his presence, and taking counsel of his * Macotas ' was
persuaded by them to destroy at once all the Portuguese, and
thus avert the threatened danger. Approving their advice,
he feigned forgetfulness of the occurrence, then under
pretence of a war in the interior, sent forward the Portu -
guese, who, ignorant of the stratagem, were all suddenly
set upon and murdered, together with the Christian slaves,
numbering over a thousand. A similar fate befel all the
Portuguese engaged in trading in different parts of
the country, and their goods and property were taken
possession of. The traitor received the just punishment
of his infamy, for the King ordered him to be executed,
saying, it was not right that one should live who had
caused the death of his countrymen. This cruel butchery
concluded, the King sent Paulo Diaz, who was on his
journey from Loanda, an order not to proceed beyond the
spot at which he should receive it.

" The Governor, though totally ignorant of the horriblo
catastrophe, distrusted the message, and, retiring to

B 2


Anzelle, erected a wooden intrenchment, and fortifying
it with two small cannon, awaited tlie solution of the
affair. But few days had elapsed before he received
tidings of the dreadful tragedy, and of the advance of a
great army of blacks to annihilate him and the remaining
Portu<>uese. This news, far from terrifying him, inspired
him with the hope of speedily avenging the murder of
his countrymen. Animating his garrison, of only 150
men, with the same sentiment, he, with the aid of their
two guns, repelled the attack of the blacks, causing such
havoc among them tliat they were completely routed and
dispersed; he also sent his lieutenant into the interior to
ravage it with fire and sword. This was accomplished so
successfully, that the King, repenting of his barbarity,
turned against tlie Macotas who had counselled him,
and ordered them all to be put to death.

*' Paulo Diaz being reinforced from Portugal, defeated
several of the *Sobas,' or chiefs of Quissama, who at-
tempted to impede his navigation of the Eiver Quanza,
defeated a second time the Kmgof Angola, and conquered
the greater part of the Provinces of Quissama and Illamba,
the whole of which he could not occupy from want of men.
He then, resolving to acquire the silver mines said to
exist in the mountains of Cambambe, fortified himself
with his Lieutenant, Luis Serrao, and 120 men, at Tacan-
dongo, which is a short distance from the supposed mines.

" Here they were approached by the third army of the
King of Angola, so numerous that it extended for two
leagues. The Governor attacked it on the 2iid February, ^
1583, before it had had time to form on the plain below,
and vvith the assistance of several native chiefs fell on the
black multitude with such success as to disperse it com-
pletely in a few hours, leaving the field covered with dead.
Paulo Diaz ordered the noses of all the slain to be cut off,,
and sent several loads of them to Loanda as evidence of
his victory, and to inspire the blacks with the fear of his
arms. The King of Angola, rendered desperate by these
repeated defeats, attempted with a fourth army to obtain
a victory over the Portuguese, but was again routed with


^reat slaughter. In celebration of the above victory
Paulo Diaz founded the first settlement in the interior at
Massangano, under the title of Nossa Senhora da Victoria.

*'In 1597, 200 Flemish colonists arrived at Loanda,
but nearly the whole of them quickly died from the effects
of the climate.

*' About the same time the colony of Benguella was
founded by a party of seventy soldiers, but fifty of these
having walked out unarmed on the beach, to amuse
themselves by fishing, were surprised by a large number
of blacks, who cut their heads off, and then attacked the
twenty men in the fort. They defended themselves bravely
until all but two, who managed to escape, were killed.

*' Constantly engaged in wars with the powerful
' Sobas ' and savage populous nations of the interior, the
Portuguese gradually extended and established their
power in Angola.

"In 1595, Jeronymo dAlmeida, with 400 men and
twenty-one horses, again started from Loanda to take
possession of the silver mines of Cambambe, and on his
way established the fort at Muxima on the Kiver Quanza.
Continuing his march, he fell ill, and was obliged to
return to Loanda, leaving his officers in command. These
w^ere unfortunately drawn into an ambuscade in a rocky
ravine at Cambambe, where, an immense number, of blacks
falling on them, 206 of the Portuguese were slain, not-
withstanding their bravest resistance, and only seven
men escaped the wholesale slaughter.

" In the same year Joao Furtado de Mendonpa arrived
at Loanda, bringing with him twelve white women, the
first that had ever arrived in Angola, and who are said to
have all married immediately.

"The new Governor's first acts were to retrieve the
losses suffered by his predecessor, but starting in the
worst season of the year, he remained some time on the
banks of the River Bengo, where 200 men died of fever,
the rest suffering greatly from hunger. At last, cun-
tinuing his march with the remains of his force, he very
successfully reduced the rebellious ' Sobas' to obedience, and


relieving the little garrison at Massangano, inflicted great
loss on the blacks in a battle at that place. Eetni-ning
down the Eiver Quanza, lie re-established at Muxima
the fort that had been abandoned.

"In 1602, Joao Kodrigues Coutinho arrived as Governor
with reinforcements of men and ammunition, and full
powers to promote the conquest of the silver mines of
Cambambe. A powerful and well-appointed expedition
again started for this purpose, but on arriving at a place
called CacuUo Quiaquimone he fell ill and died. Manoel
Cerveira Pereira, his successor, resolving to carry out his
predecessor's intentions, marched into Cambambe, and on
the 10th August, 1G03, offered battle to the Soba Cafuxe,
whom he defeated in a great engagement ; continuing his
march he built a fort in Cambambe and forced the Soba
Cambambe to submit.

" About 1606, the first attempt was made to communi-
cate across the continent of Africa with the Kiver Senna,
on the eastern coast, and for this expedition Balthazar
Rebel lo de Aragao was chosen, but after proceeding for a
considerable distance he was obliged to return to lelieve
the garrison at Cambambe, closely besieged by the

'* Though constant wars were necessary to reduce the
warlike Sobas of the interior to obedience, the successes
of the Portuguese continued, and their efforts were also
directed to the conquest of Benguella and settlement there.

'*In the year 1621, the famous Queen Ginga Bandi
came to Loanda as head of an embassy from her brother,
the Gola Bandi ; she arranged a treaty of peace with the
Portuguese, was converted to Christianity and baptized
under the name of Ginga Donna Anna de Souza. She
w^as proclaimed Queen of Angola on the death of her
brother, whom she ordered to be poisoned, never forgiving
him for having killed her son. She then not only forsook
Christianity, but forgetting the manner in which she had
been treated by the Portuguese, bore them a deadly hatred
for upwards of thirty years, during which time she was
unsuccessful in all her wars against them.


**^ The Dutch, who for several years had greatly annoyed
tlie Portuguese on the AVest Coast, attempted to possess
themselves of some of their ports for the purpose of
obtaining a supply of slaves for their colonies in America.
During the governorsliip of Fernan de Souza the Dutch
despatched a fleet of eight ships commanded by Petri
Petrid, who attempted to force the bar of Loanda, but
meeting with a determined resistance retired from the
coast after a stay of three months, having oidy captured
four small vessels.

'*The Count of Nassau, considering that without an
abundant supply of slaves from the west coast the Dutch
possessions in America would be of little value, determined
to take stronger measures for obtaining them, and sent a
powerful fleet of twenty vessels, under the command of
General Tolo. On the 24th August, 1641 , this formidable
fleet appeared at Loanda, and such was the consternation
it caused that the Governor and inhabitants abandoned
the city and retired to Bembem. The Dutch landing next
day became, without opposition, masters of the place and
of a large booty.

"Pedro Cezar retired to the River Bengo, but, pursued
by the Dutc^h, retired to Massangano, where the Portuguese
suffered terribly from the effects of the climate. Many of
the native chiefs, taking advantage of the occasion, rose
in arms against them. Queen Ginga and several other
powerful chiefs immediately formed an alliance with the
Dutch. The Portuguese attempted, but unsuccessfully,
to punish several of them. The Dutch subsequently
formed a truce with the Portuguese, in consequence of
news arriving from Europe of a treaty of peace having
been concluded between the two powers; but shortly
after, treacherously attacking the Portuguese, they killed
the principal officers and forty men, and took the Governor
and 120 men prisoners.

"Those that escaped fled to Massangano until another
truce was concluded, and means were found to enable
Pedro Cezar to escape from the fortress of San Miguel,
where he was imprisoned.


" Francisco de Soutomayor now arrived from Portugal
as Governor of Angola, and with the reniDant of the troops
at Benguella, where he had landed, proceeded to Massan-
gano, without knowledge of the enemy. Queen Ginga,
influenced secretly by the Dutch, was collecting her
forces for the purpose of attacking the Portuguese, but
was completely defeated, leaving 2000 blacks dead on
the field of battle. A few days after, the Dutch again
broke their truce, and the Portuguese, incensed at their
repeated treachery, declared war against them. Thus they
remained till the arrival of Salvador Correa de Sa e
Benavides, Governor of Rio Janeiro, from which place
he started in May, 1648, with a fleet of fifteen vessels and
900 men. Towards the expenses of this expedition the
inhabitants of Kio Janeiro largely contributed, as they
saw how hurtful to their interests the loss of Angola
would be from tiie failure in the supply of slave labour.

'' Arrived at Loanda, he sent a message to the Dutch
Governor that although his orders were to preserve peace
with him, still, as he had so treacherously and repeatedly
broken it with the i'ortuguese, he considered himself free
to declare war against him ; but, to prevent bloodshed, he
gave the Dutch the option of surrendering, assuring them
of an honourable capitulation. The Dutch asked for
eight days to consider; Salvador Correa accorded them
two, at the end of which he sent his secretary on shore,
with orders to signal whether the Dutch accepted his
terms or meant to defend themselves; they chose the
latter, and the Portuguese immediately landed, and in-
vested the fortress of San Miguel. The Dutch had
abandoned six guns, these with four others from the ships
were the same night planted on two batteries, and the
fortress bombarded. This not having the desired effect,
Salvador Correa ordered a general attack. The Portu-
guese were, however, repulsed Avith a loss of 163 men
killed and wounded. The Dutch, unaware of this great
los^, and expecting a seconl attack, hoisted a white flag,
and sent to arrange the terms of capitulation, which being
done, the gates, on the 15th of August, 1648, were thrown


open, and there issued forth 1100 Dutch, German, and
French infantr}^ and as many blacks, who were all sur-
prised, on passing the Portuguese troops, at the smallness
of their number.^, and repented their hasty submission.
Salvador Correa sent them all on board three vessels to
await their countrymen away in the interior. On their
arrival these were also placed on board, and they set sail
the same day. Shortly after he caused the Dutch esta-
blishments at Pinda and Loango to be demolished, and
their expulsion being completed, he next fell on and
defeated the native chiefs.

" It was in the time of this Governor that the Italian
Capuchin Friars passed from the kingdom of Congo
to Loanda, to establish in the interior their excellent
missions. For several years the Portuguese waged a
constant war with the LiboUos, the Quissamas, the Soba
N'goUa Caboco, the Chiefs of Benguella, and the Dembos
Ambuillas at Encoge.

''In the year KiOl the first copper coinage was intro-
duced from Portugal into Angola, the currency up to
that time being in the shape of little straw mats called
*Libongos,' of the value of fifty reis each (about 2d.).
(These little mats are at present only employed as money
in Cabinda.)

" In 1758, the Portuguese established themselves at
Encoge. In 1783, an expedition was despatched to the
Port of Cabinda, to establish a fort; 300 men, however,
quickly died there from the effects of tlie climate, and
tiie rest surrendered to a French squadron, sent to de-
molish any fortifications that might impede the free
commerce of all nations on the coast of Loango.

Online LibraryJoachim John MonteiroAngola and the River Congo → online text (page 1 of 31)