The Portuguese Discoveries

That part of the Peninsula which is called Portugal preserved its independence and its dialect from the encroachments of Castile. While the kingdom of Granada was yet alive, the Portuguese monarch, having driven the Moors from the banks of the Tagus, resolved to pursue them into Africa. He possessed an excellent crusade machinery, and naturally desired to apply it to some purpose. In Portugal were troops of military monks, who had sworn to fight with none but unbelievers. In Portugal were large revenues granted or bequeathed for that purpose alone. In Portugal the passion of chivalry was at its height; the throne was surrounded by knights panting for adventure. It is related that some ladies of the English court had been grossly insulted by certain cavaliers, and had been unable to find champions to redress their wrongs. An equal number of Portuguese knights at once took ship, sailed to London, flung down their gauntlets, overthrew their opponents in the lists, and returned to Lisbon having received from the injured ladies the tenderest proof of their gratitude and esteem.

It seems that already there had risen between Portugal and England that diplomatic friendship which has lasted to the pre sent day. A commerce of wine for wool was established between the ports of the Tagus and the Thames; and with this commerce the pirates of Ceuta continually interfered. Ceuta was one of the pillars of Hercules: it sat opposite Gibraltar, and commanded the straits. The King of Portugal prepared a fleet; great war-galleys were built having batteries of mangonels or huge crossbows, with winding gear, stationed in the bow; great beams, like battering rams; swung aloft; and jars of quicklime and soft soap to fling in the faces of the enemy. The fleet sailed forth, rustling with flags, beating drums, and, blowing Saracen horns; the passage to Ceuta was happily made; the troops were landed, and the pirate city taken by assault.

Among those who distinguished themselves in this exploit was the Prince Henry, a younger son of the king. He was not only a brave knight, but also a distinguished scholar; his mind had been enriched by a study of the works of Cicero, Seneca, and Pliny, and by the Latin translations of the Greek geographers. He now stepped on that mysterious continent which had been closed to Christians for several hundred years. He questioned the prisoners respecting the interior. They described the rich and learned cities of Morocco: the Atlas mountains, shining with snow and the sandy desert on their southern side. It was there the ancients had supposed all life came to an end. But now the Prince received the astounding intelligence that beyond the Sahara was a land inhabited entirely by negroes; covered with fields of corn and cotton watered by majestic rivers, on the banks of which rose cities as large as Morocco, or Lisbon, or Seville. In that country were gold mines of prodigious wealth; it was also a granary of slaves. By land it could be reached in a week from Morocco by a courier mounted on the swift dromedary of the desert, which halted not by day or night. There were regular caravans or camel-fleets, which passed to and fro at certain seasons of the year. The Black Country, as they called it, could also be reached by sea. If ships sailed along the desert shore towards the south, they would arrive at the mouths of wide rivers, which flowed down from the gold-bearing hills.

This conversation decided Prince Henry's career. To discover this new world beyond the desert became the object of his life. He was Grand Master of the Order of Christ, and had ample revenues at his disposal and he considered himself justified in expending them on this enterprise which would result in the conversion of many thousand pagans to the Christian faith. He retired to a castle near Cape St. Vincent, where the sight of the ocean continually inflamed his thoughts. It was a cold, bleak headland, with a few juniper trees scattered here and there: all other vegetation had been withered by the spray. But Prince Henry was not alone. He invited learned men from all countries to reside with him. He established a court, in which weather-beaten pilots might discourse with German mathematicians and Italian cosmographers. He built an observatory, and founded a naval school. He collected a library, in which might be read the manuscript of Marco Polo, which his elder brother had brought from Venice; copies on vellum of the great work of Ptolemy; and copies also of Herodotus, Strabo, and other Greek writers, which were being rapidly translated into Latin under the auspices of the Pope at Rome. He had also a collection of maps and sea-charts engraved on marble or on metal tables, and painted upon parchment. At a little distance from the castle were the harbour and town of Sagres, from which the vessels of the Prince went forth with the cross of the order painted on their sails.

They sailed down the coast of the Sahara; on their right was a sea of darkness, on their left a land of fire. The gentlemen of the household who commanded the ships did not believe in the country of green trees beyond the ocean of sand. Instead of pushing rapidly along, they landed as soon as they detected any signs of the natives -- the old people of Masinissa and Jugurtha -- attacked them crying, Portugal! Portugal! and having taken a few prisoners returned home. In every expedition the commander made it a point of honour to go a little further than the preceding expedition. Several years thus passed, and the Black Country had not been found. The Canary Islands were already known to the Spaniards: but the Portuguese discovered Porto Santo and Madeira. A ship-load of emigrants was despatched to the former island, and among the passengers was a female rabbit in an interesting situation. She was turned down with her young ones on the island, and, there being no checks to rabbit-population, they increased with such rapidity that they devoured every green thing, and drove the colonists across into Madeira. In that island the colonists were more fortunate; instead of importing rabbits they introduced the vine from Cyprus, and the sugar-cane from Sicily; and soon Madeira wine and sugar were articles of export from Lisbon to London and to other ports. In the meantime the expeditions to Africa became exceedingly unpopular. The priests declared that the holy money was being scandalously wasted on the dreams of a lonely madman. That castle on the Atlantic shore, which will ever be revered as a sacred place in the annals of mankind, was then regarded with abhorrence and contempt. The common people believed it to be the den of a magician, and crossed themselves in terror when they met in their walks a swarthy strong-featured man, with a round barret cap on his head, wrapped in a large mantle, and wearing black buskins with gilt spurs. Often they saw him standing on the brink of the cliff, gazing earnestly towards the sea, his eyes shaded by his hand. It was said that on fair nights he might be seen for hours and hours on the tower of Babel which he had built, holding a strange weapon in his hands, and turning it towards the different quarters of the sky.

There was an orthodox geography at that period founded upon statements in the Jewish writings, and in the Fathers of the Church. The earth was in the centre of the universe; the sun and the moon and the stars humbly revolving round it. Jerusalem was in the precise centre of the earth. In Eastern India was the Terrestrial Paradise, situated on high ground, and surrounded by a wall of fire, reaching to the sky. St. Augustine, Lactantius, and Cosmas Indicopleustes opposed the Antipodes as being contrary to Scripture; and there could not be people on the other side of the earth, for how would they be able to see the Son of God descending in his glory? It was also generally believed that there was a torrid zone, an impassable belt on both sides of the equator, which Providence had created for the lower animals, and in which no man could live. It was to this fiery land that the Prince kept sending vessel after vessel. The Portuguese did not see what would come of these expeditions except to make widows and orphans. "The Prince seems to think," said they, "that because he has discovered two desert islands he has conferred a great blessing upon us but we have enough uncultivated land without going across the seas for more. His own father, only a little while ago, gave land to a nobleman of Germany, on condition that he should people it with emigrants. But Dom Henry sends men out of Portugal instead of asking them in. Let us keep to the country that God has given us. It may be seen how much better suited those lands are for beasts than men by what happened with the rabbits. And even if there are in that unfound land as many people as the Prince pretends, we do not know what sort of people they are; and if they are like those in the Canaries who jump from rock to rock, and throw stones at Christian heads, of what use is it to conquer a land so barren, and a people so contemptible?

However, an incident occurred which produced a revolution in popular and ecclesiastic feeling. The prisoners captured on the desert coast offered a ransom for their release and this ransom consisted of negro slaves and gold. The place where this metal first made its appearance was called the Golden River. It was not in reality a river but an arm of the sea, and the gold had been brought from the mines of Bambouk in the country of the negroes. Its discovery created an intense excitement: the priests acknowledged that it could not have been placed there for the use of the wild animals. Companies were formed and were licensed by the Crown, which assigned to the Prince a fifth part of the cargoes returned. He himself cared little for the gold but the discovery of this precious metal, of which India was proverbially the native land, suggested the idea that by following the coast of Africa the Indies might be reached by sea. Letters and maps which he received from his Venetian correspondents encouraged him in this belief, and he obtained without delay a Bull from the Pope granting to the Crown of Portugal all lands that its subjects might discover as far as India inclusive, with license to trade with infidels, and absolution for the souls of those that perished in these semi- commercial, semi-crusading expeditions.

The practice of piracy was now partly given up: the Portuguese, like the Phoenicians of old, traded in one place and kidnapped in another. The commodities which they brought home were gold dust, seal skins, and negroes. Yet still they did not reach the negro land, till at last a merchant of Lagos, one time an equerry in the Prince's service, knowing his old master had exploration at heart more than trade, determined to push on, without loitering on the desert coast. He was rewarded with the sight of trees growing on the banks of a great river, which Prince Henry and his cosmographers supposed to be the Nile. On one side were the brown men of the desert with long tangled hair, lean, and fierce in expression, living on milk, wandering with their camels from place to place. On the other side were large, stout, comely men with hair like wool, skins black as soot, living in villages and cultivating fields of corn.

The Portuguese had now discovered the coast of Guinea, and they were obliged to give up their predatory practices. Instead of an open plain in which knights habited in armour and men dressed in quilted cotton jackets could fight almost with impunity against naked Moors, they entered rivers the banks of which were lined with impenetrable jungles. The negroes, perched in trees, shot down upon them from above, or attacked the ships' boats in mid-channel with their swift and light canoes. The Portuguese had no firelocks, and the crossbow bolt was a poor missile compared with the arrows which the negroes dipped in a poison so subtle that as soon as the wounded man drank he died, the blood bursting from his nose and ears. A system of barter was therefore established, and the negroes showed themselves disposed to trade. The Gold Coast was discovered: a fort and a chapel were built at Elmina, where a commandant was appointed to reside. This ancient settlement has just been ceded to the English by the Dutch. The ships carried out copper bracelets, brass basins, knives, rattles, looking- glasses, coloured silks, and woollen goods, green Rouen cloth, coral, figured velvet, and dainty napkins of Flanders embroidered with gold brocade, receiving chiefly gold dust in exchange. This trade was farmed out to a company for five years, on condition that the company should each year explore to a certain distance along the coast.

The excitement which followed the discovery of gold dust, and the institution of the House of Mines, gradually died away. The noble Prince Henry was no more. The men who went out to the coast were not of the class who devote their lives to the chivalry of enterprise. An official who had just returned from Elmina being presented to the king, His Majesty asked him how it was that although he had lived in Africa his face and hands were so white. The gentleman replied that he had worn a mask and gloves during the whole period of his absence in that sultry land; upon which the king told him what he thought he was fit for in words too vigorous to be translated. This same king, John the second, was a vigorous-minded man, and in him the ambition of Prince Henry was revived. He found in a chest belonging to the late king a series of letters from a Venetian gentleman giving much information about the India trade, and earnestly advising him to prosecute his explorations along the coast. The librarians of St. Mark had also sent maps in which the termination of the continent was marked. The king sent out new expeditions and fostered the science of nautical astronomy. A Jew named Zacuto and the celebrated Martin Behem improved the mariner's compass and modified the old Alexandrian astrolabe, so that it might be used at sea. Wandering knights from distant lands volunteered for these expeditions desiring to witness the tropical storms and the strange manners of the New World, as it was called.

Many skilful mariners and pilots visited Lisbon, were encouraged to remain, and became naturalised Portuguese. Among these was the glorious Christopher Columbus, who made more than one voyage to the Gold Coast, married a Portuguese lady, and lived for some time in the Azores. It was his conviction that the eastern coast of Asia could be reached by sailing due west across the ocean. It was his object not to discover a new land, but to reach by sea the country which Marco Polo had visited by land. He eventually sailed with letters to the Emperor of China in his pockets and came back from the West India Islands thinking that he had been to Japan. He made his proposals in the first place to the king, who referred it to a council of learned men. There were now two plans for sailing to India before the court: the one by following the African coast, the other by sailing west across the ocean. But expeditions of all kinds were at that time unpopular in Lisbon. The Guinea trade did not pay, and it was strenuously urged at the council that the West African Settlements should be abandoned. The friends of exploration were obliged to stand on the defensive. They could not carry the proposal of Columbus; it was all that they could do to save the African expeditions. But when Columbus had won for Castile the east coast of Asia (as was then supposed) the king perceived that if he wished to have an Indian empire he must set to work at once. He accordingly conducted the naval expeditions with such vigour that the Cape of Storms was discovered, was then called the Cape of Good Hope, and, was then doubled, though without immediate result, the sailors forcing their captain to return. The king also sent a gentleman, named Covilham, to visit the countries of the East by land. His instructions were to trace the Venetian trade in drugs and spices to its source, and to find out Prester John.

Covilham went to Alexandria in the pilgrim's garb, but instead of proceeding to the Holy Land, he passed on to Aden, and sailed round the Indian Ocean or the Green Sea, that Lake of Wonder with the precious ambergris floating on its waters and pearls strewed upon its bed, whitened with the cotton sails of the Arab vessels, of the Gujrat Indians, and even of the Chinese, whose four-masted junks were sometimes to be seen lying in the Indian harbours with great wooden anchors dangling from their bows. The east coast of Africa, as low down as Madagascar, or the Island of the Moon, was lined with large towns in which the Arabs resided as honoured strangers, or in which they ruled as kings. On this coast Covilham obtained in formation respecting the Cape. He then crossed over to the India shore; he sailed down the coast of Malabar from city to city, and from port to port. He was astounded and bewildered by what he saw: the activity and grandeur of the commerce; the magnificence of the courts; the half-naked kings blazing with jewels, saying their prayers on rosaries of precious stones, and using golden goblets as spittoons; the elephants with pictures drawn in bright colours on their ears, and with jugglers in towers on their backs; the enormous temples filled with lovely girls; the idols of gold with ruby eyes; the houses of red sandal wood; the scribes who wrote on palm leaves with iron pens; the pilots who took observations with instruments unknown to Europeans; the huge bundles of cinnamon or cassia in the warehouses of the Arab merchants; the pepper vines trailing over trees; and drugs, which were priceless in Europe, growing in the fields like corn.

He returned to Cairo, and there found two Jews, Rabbi Abraham and Joseph the Shoemaker, whom the king had sent to look after him. To them he gave a letter for the king, in which he wrote that the ships which sailed down the coast of Guinea might be sure of reaching the termination of the continent by keeping on to the south; and that when they arrived in the Eastern ocean, they must ask for Sofala and the Island of the Moon."

Covilham himself did not return. He had accomplished one part of his mission; he had traced the Venetian commerce to its source; but he had now to find out Prester John.

A fable had arisen, in the Dark Ages, of a great Christian king in Central Asia; and when it was clearly ascertained that the Grand Khan was not a Christian, and that none of the Tartar princes could possibly be Christians, as they could not keep Lent, having no fish or vegetables in their country, it was hoped that Prester John, as the myth was called, might be found elsewhere. Certain pilgrims were met with at Jerusalem who were almost negroes in appearance. Their baptism was of three kinds- of fire, of water, and of blood: they were sprinkled, they were circumcised, they were seared on the forehead with a red-hot iron in the form of a cross. Their king, they said, was a good Christian and a hater of the Moslems, and was descended from the Queen of Sheba. This swarthy king, the ancestor of Theodore, could be no other than Prester John; and Covilham felt it his duty to bear him the greetings of his master before he went home to enjoy that reputation which he had so gloriously earned, and to take a part in the great discoveries that were soon to be made.

But the king of Abyssinia wanted a tame white man. He gave his visitor wife and lands; he treated him with honour; but he would not let him go. This kind of complimentary captivity is a danger to which African travellers are always exposed. It is the glory and pride of a savage king to have a white man at his court. And so Covilham was detained, and he died in Abyssinia. But he lived to hear that Portugal had risen in a few years to be one of the great European powers, and that the flag he loved was waving above those castles and cities which he had been the first of his nation to behold. His letter arrived at the same time as the ship of Dias, who had doubled the Cape. The king determined that a final expedition should be sent, and that India should be reached by sea.

It was a fête day in Lisbon. The flags were flying on every tower; the fronts of the houses were clothed in gorgeous drapery, which swelled and floated in the wind; stages were erected on which mysteries were performed; bells were ringing, artillery boomed. Marble balconies were crowded with ladies and cavaliers, and out of upper windows peeped forth the faces of girls, who were kept in semi-Oriental seclusion. Presently the sound of trumpets could be heard; and then came in view a thousand friars, who chanted a litany, while behind them an immense crowd chanted back in response. At the head of this procession rode a gentleman richly dressed; he was followed by a hundred and forty-eight men in sailors' clothes, but bare- footed, and carrying tapers in their hands. On they went till they reached the quay where the boats, fastened to the shore, swayed to and fro with the movement of the tide, and strained at the rope as if striving to depart. The sailors knelt. A priest of venerable appearance stood before them, and made a general confession, and absolved them in the form of the Bull which Prince Henry had obtained. Then the wives and mothers embraced their loved ones whom they bewailed as men about to die. And all the people wept. And the children wept also, though they knew not why.

Thirty-two months passed, and again the water-side was crowded, and the guns fired, and the bells rang. Again Vasco da Gama marched in procession through the streets; and behind him walked, with feeble steps, but with triumph gleaming in their eyes, fifty-five men -- the rest were gone. But in that procession were not only Portuguese, but also men with white turbans and brown faces; and sturdy blacks, who bore a chest which was shown by their straining muscles to be of enormous weight; and in his hand the Captain General held a letter which was written with a pen of iron on a golden leaf, and which addressed the king of Portugal and Guinea in these words: "Vasco da Gama, a gentleman of thy house, came to my country, of whose coming I was glad. In my country there is plenty of cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and precious stones. The things which I am desirous to have out of thy country are silver, gold, coral, and scarlet."

That night all the houses in Lisbon were illuminated; the gutters ran with wine; the skies, for miles round, were reddened with the light of bonfires. The king's men brought ten pounds of spices to each sailor's wife, to give away to her gossips. The sailors themselves were surrounded by crowds, who sat silent and open-mouthed, listening to the tales of the great waters, and the marvellous lands where they had been.

They told of the wonders of the Guinea coast, and of the men near the Cape, who rode on oxen and played sweet music on the flute; and of the birds which looked like geese, and brayed like donkeys, and did not know how to fly, but put up their wings like sails, and scudded along before the wind. They told how as they sailed on towards the south, the north star sank and sank, and grew fainter and fainter, until at last it disappeared; and they entered a new world, and sailed beneath strange skies; and how, when they had doubled the Cape, they again saw sails on the horizon, and the north star again rose to view. They told of the cities on the Eastern shore, and of their voyage across the Indian Ocean, and of that joyful morning when, through the grey mists of early dawn, they discerned the hills of Calicut.

And then they sank their voices, and their eyes grew grave and sad as they told of the horrors of the voyage; of the long, long nights off the stormy Cape when the wind roared, and the spray lashed through the rigging, and the waves foamed over the bulwarks, and the stones that were their cannon-shot crashed from side to side, and the ships like live creatures groaned and creaked, and hour after hour the sailors were forced to labour at the pumps till their bones ached, and their hands were numbed by cold. They told of treacherous pilots in the Mozambique, who plotted to run their ships ashore; and of the Indian pirates, the gipsies of the sea, who sent their spies on board. They told of that new and horrible disease which, when they had been long at sea, made their bodies turn putrid and the teeth drop from their jaws. And as they told of those things, and named the souls who had died at sea, there rose a cry of lamentation, and widows in new garments fled weeping from the crowd.

That night, the Venetian ambassador sat down and wrote to his masters that he had seen vessels enter Lisbon harbour laden with spices and with India drugs. His next letter informed them that a strong fleet was being prepared, and that Vasco da Gama intended to conquer India. The Venetians saw that they were ruined. They wrote to their ally, the Sultan of Egypt, and implored him to bestir himself. They gave him artillery to send to the India princes. They offered to open the Suez canal at their own expense, that their ships might arrive in the Indian Ocean before the Portuguese. On the other hand, came the terrible Albuquerque, who told the Sultan to beware, or he would destroy Mecca and Medina, and turn the Nile into the Red Sea. The Indian Ocean became a Portuguese lake. There was scarcely a town upon its shores which had not been saluted by the Portuguese bombardiers. Not a vessel could cross its waters without a Portuguese passport. As a last resource, the Venetians offered to take the India produce off the king's hands, and to give him a fair price. This offer was declined, and Lisbon, instead of Venice, became the market-place of the India trade. The great cities on the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Nile fell into decay; the caravan trade of Central Asia declined; the throne of commerce was transferred from the basin of the Mediterranean to the basin of the Atlantic; and the oceanic powers, though rigidly excluded from the commerce itself, were greatly benefited by the change. They had no longer to sail through the straits of Gibraltar; Lisbon was almost at their doors.

The achievements of the Portuguese were stupendous -- for a time. They established a chain of forts all down the western coast of Africa, and up the east coast to the Red Sea; then round the Persian Gulf, down the coast of Malabar, up the coast of Coromandel, among the islands of the Archipelago, along the shores of Siam and Burma to Canton and Shanghai. With handfuls of men they defeated gigantic armies; with petty forts they governed empires. But from first to last they were murderers and robbers, without foresight, without compassion. Our eyes are at first blinded to their vices by the glory of their deeds; but as the light fades, their nakedness and horror are revealed. We read of Arabs who had received safe conducts, and who made no resistance, being sewed up in sails and cast into the sea, or being tortured in body and mind by hot bacon being dropped upon their flesh; of crocodiles being fed with live captives for the amusement of the soldiers, and being so well accustomed to be fed that whenever a whistle was given they raised their heads above the water. We read of the wretched natives taking refuge with the tiger of the jungle and the panther of the hills; of mothers being forced to pound their children to death in the rice mortars, and of other children being danced on the point of spears, which it was said was teaching the young cocks to crow. The generation of heroes passed away; the generation of favourites began. Courtiers accepted offices in the Indies with the view of extorting a fortune from the natives as rapidly as could be done. It was remarked that humanity and justice were virtues which were always left behind at the Cape of Good Hope by passengers for India. It was remarked that the money which they brought home was like excommunicated money, so quickly did it disappear. And as for those who were content to love their country and to serve their king, they made enemies of the others, and were ruined for their pains. Old soldiers might be seen in Lisbon wandering through the streets in rags, dying in the hospitals, and crouched before the palace which they had filled with gold. Men whose names are now worshipped by their countrymen were then despised. Minds which have won for themselves immortality were darkened by sorrow and disgrace. In the island of Macao, on the Chinese coast, there is a grove paved with soft green velvet paths, and roofed with a dome of leaves which even the rays of a tropical sun cannot pierce through. In the midst is a grotto of rocks, round which the roots of gigantic trees clamber and coil; and in that silent hermitage a poor exile sat and sang the glory of the land which had cast him forth. That exile was Camoens; that song was the Lusiad.

The vast possessions of the Spaniards and Portuguese were united under Philip the Second, who closed the port of Lisbon against the heretical and rebellious natives of the Netherlands. The Dutch were not a people to undertake long voyages out of curiosity, but when it became necessary for them in the way of business to explore unknown seas they did so with effect. Since they could not get cinnamon and ginger, nutmegs and cloves at Lisbon, they determined to seek them in the lands where they were grown. The English followed their example, and so did the French. There was for a long period incessant war within the tropics. At last things settled down. In the West and East Indies the Spaniards and Portuguese still possessed an extensive empire; but they no longer ruled alone. The Dutch, the English, and the French obtained settlements in North America and the West India Islands, in the peninsula of Hindustan, and the Indian Archipelago; and also on the coast of Guinea.

West Africa is divided by nature into pastoral regions, agricultural regions, and dense forest, mountains, or dismal swamps, where the natives remain in a savage and degraded state. The hills and fens are the slave preserves of Africa, and are hunted every year by the pastoral tribes, with whom war is a profession. The captives are bought by the agricultural tribes, and are made to labour in the fields. This indigenous slave-trade exists at the present time, and has existed during hundreds of years.

The Tuaricks or Tawny Moors inhabiting the Sahara on the borders of the Sudan, made frequent forays into that country for the purpose of obtaining slaves, exacted them as tribute from conquered chiefs, or sometimes bought them fairly with horses, salt, and woollen clothes. When Barbary was inhabited by rich and luxurious people, such as the Carthaginians, who on one occasion bought no less than five thousand negroes for their galleys, these slaves must have been obtained in prodigious numbers, for many die in the middle passage across the desert, a journey which kills even a great number of the camels that are employed. The negroes have at all times been highly prized as domestic and ornamental slaves, on account of their docility and their singular appearance. They were much used in ancient Egypt, as the monumental pictures show: they were articles of fashion both in Greece and Rome. Throughout the Middle Ages they were exported from the east coast to India and Persia, and were formed into regiments by the Caliphs of Baghdad. The Venetians bought them in Tripoli and Tunis, and sold them to the Moors of Spain. When the Moors were expelled, the trade still went on; negroes might still be seen in the markets of Seville. The Portuguese discovered the slave-land itself, and imported ten thousand negroes a year before the discovery of the New World. The Spaniards, who had often negro slaves in their possession, set some of them to dig in the mines at St. Domingo: it was found that a negro's work was as much as four Indians', and arrangements were made for importing them from Africa. When the Dutch, the English, and the French obtained plantations in America, they also required negro labour, and made settlements in Guinea in order to obtain it. Angola fed the Portuguese Brazil; Elmina fed the Dutch Manhattan; Cape Coast Castle fed Barbados, Jamaica, and Virginia; Senegal fed Louisiana and the French Antilles; even Denmark had an island or two in the West Indies, and a fort or two upon the Gold Coast. The Spaniards alone having no settlements in Guinea, were supplied by a contract or assiento; which at one time was enjoyed by the British Crown. We shall now enter into a more particular description of this trade, and of the coast on which it was carried on.

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